I currently work part time at a health food store in my hometown. I’ve worked here for about 2.5 years. I got this job a few weeks after I left college, and have had it ever since.
Although it’s an unskilled minimum wage job, it’s been a fun job to have while I’m living at home.
Also, I get a lot of reading done, and constantly interacting and helping with customers and coworkers for 5 to 8 hours makes me better at socializing and more confident.
I like talking about supplements, and I get to teach customers about different supplements each shift.
As you’d expect, there are a wide range of customers that come into the store. Here are 4 types of people that seem to have a common interest in our store.
1. Raw Milk Crowd
One of our biggest money makers is raw milk. This milk comes from a small, local farm. They milk their cows and then deliver it in glass bottles without pasteurizing or homogenizing the milk.
In America the government requires that all milk be pasteurized. This means the milk is heated up to kill all the bacteria and enzymes in the milk. This is because some of this bacteria ‘might be harmful’.
Healthy cows rarely make milk with bacteria that’ll make you sick because cows munching on grass all day have healthy gut bacteria, which is very important for a cow (and humans). After all, they have like 4 stomachs. Cows are meant to eat grass, throw it up, and then eat it again.
But most milk in America comes from unhealthy cows. Factory farming supplies most of us with most of our animal products like eggs, milk, meat, cheese and whey protein.
Milk needs to be pasteurized when it comes from massive, industrial farms because the cows are fed corn all day. Cow aren’t meant to eat corn. They get sick. And that’s why almost all milk needs to be pasteurized.
Then, most milk is homogenized. I don’t know the exact process, but I do know the milk proteins are broken up into smaller ones. This helps the milk last longer.
Some states allow raw milk to be sold, but it can only be sold for one week after it’s production. After that you need to get rid of the rest. So we the employees get to bring home any leftover bottles.
It tastes sweet and delicious because all the cream, which gets removed with milk you buy at a grocery store) is still in the milk.
Most of the customers I see on Tuesdays come just for the raw milk. Then I don’t see them until the following Tuesday.
2. The Elderly Couple
Elderly couples shopping together is a common site in the store. They usually take their time shopping, which sometimes takes over 2 hours.
The funny thing about elderly couples is that they usually buy a large quantity of a specific item.
One couple buys 8 to 10 bottles of apple and orange and carrot juice. Another couple gets a case of ice cream each time they come in.
One woman buys 60 eggs for her and her husband each week. And another single old guy gets 12 jars of peanutbutter every other week.
Elderly couples are some of my favorite customers- It’s hopeful to see people who have been married for decades still enjoy each other’s company.
3. The Washed-up Hippie
As you’d expect, washed up hippies make up a lot of our customer base. Some were flower children of the 60’s, but now seem disenfranchised with the current situation of the world.
A lot of them will start talking about how the country is going to shit and people are getting worse. At first I felt obligated to indulge them by listening for 10 to 15 minutes, but now I try and politely excuse myself.
Exercise would help these people feel better.
Even though my description might be negative, I’ve become friendly with a lot of people in this group because the majority of them are regulars. Most of them come on Tuesdays because that’s when we have our 10% off senior day.
4. The All-Natural
The all natural is obsessed with eating the right food and not putting anything chemical into their bodies to protect their health. A lot of hardcore vegans and paleo dieters fall into this group.
During the height of the chronic depression of my early 20’s I was also obsessed with my diet and health. I was so desperate to feel better mentally that I adopted a strict paleo diet and spent hundreds of dollars on supplements in just a couple months.
Being this obsessed with my health made me feel more neurotic, so now I try to be nicer to myself in this realm.
I would like to live more in harmony with nature, but being an all-natural is too much work.
So, these are 4 groups of people I’ve witnessed over the past 2 and 1/2 years working at the health food store that I currently do.
I’ll do another post about the few crazy customers because these people are the most fun to laugh at coworkers with.
Unfortunately, the store is closing at the end of this year because a Whole Foods is going in down the road next year.
I hope all these people can handle the reality that this is our last year in business!
The CBD Craze
This is unrelated to the first part of the post.
Like THC (the stuff in pot that gets you high), another compound is CBD oil. CBD oil has been proven to be helpful for anxiety and depression, as well as chronic inflammation related problems like arthritis. Also it’s good for balancing our endocrine system through the endo-cannabinoid system.
Just our CBD products made the store over $18,000 in profit last year!
I have no interest in getting into the cbd business, but some people are currently making a lot of money selling it.
Only time will tell if this new health craze is just a fad like green coffee-bean extracts, balance bracelets, and most diets.
Until next time,