Whether a market is expensive or not depends on what kind of shopper you are.
If you are the kind of shopper that goes up and down the aisles and putting anything that looks interesting in your cart then even the 99cent store can be expensive. If you are the kind of shopper that makes a list and only buys from the list then even a market that is higher priced can be a cheaper alternative if you are only buying what you need and sales, of course help. We found out during the last grocery strike that Gelsons, ( a more high end grocery) was often cheaper than Ralphs (considered a cheaper store) and their produce was a lot better and fresher.
The cheapest market around us is Target believe it or not. Things can be as much as a dollar cheaper when it comes to laundry soap and cleaners. Milk is 10 cents cheaper but cat food which was cheaper is now more expensive for the only kind Liath will eat and not barf it up. That for the moment is cheaper at Ralph’s/Kroger.
I tend to be some where in the middle if I have money and the list kind when I don’t have money. Whole Foods can be very expensive if you are the first kind of shopper, however, they are also the only ones I know with a huge array of different kinds of tea. (Not always easy to find in this country.) They also have things like herbs and herbal things like lotions and soaps that otherwise you only find at craft faires and specialty stores.
It is a “Whole Paycheck” if you are going in for the best or newest interesting wine or cheese or 6 flavours of Kalamata olives and a kiwi torte. Not so much if you are after a bag of pistachios and some Honest Tea in bottles and the newest Putamayo world music cd because it’s the only place you can get it and you need to treat yourself. That hasn’t happened in a while for me but still…
Whole Foods is the only place I know that I can get nitrate-less hot dogs. Even Trader Joes had nitrates last time I looked. Much as Alison hates them I love a good chicken or turkey hot dog but nitrates are a quick ticket to a migraine for me. They also have products with no MSG and other things that I can eat that I’m not allergic to.
, In California the sprinklers are necessary because the air is so dry and almost all the markets have some sort of sprinkler system or flat out hoses to keep the fragile produce like spinach and lettuce revived. Vegies like potatoes and onions or most fruits don’t need it.
Anyway when I have money I love Whole Foods, I just wish they hadn’t bought Wild Oats which I loved even more, sigh.