One becomes accustomed to a certain scale in any town — Manhattan has the Empire State Building; we have the Time-and-Temp building. This scale determines one’s sense of space, and subtly creates the collective self-image. Portland is not a big town, and I like that. One some level we came here to be right-sized. We don’t need 6000 cans of soup, or 1600 boxes of cherry tomatoes, or a maple syrup display that contains 192 quarts of the stuff. It feels a little embarrassing to be faced with a veritable mountain of all-natural marshmallow creme — it’s too much. It’s too . . . Texas. I didn’t realize it until Whole Foods came to town, but in Portland, “enough” is a feast.
I’m sure that Whole Foods Market will do just fine and survive quite well — the health food market is very healthy these days. And I will enjoy its glitz, noshing casually at the salad bar, but I will also keep shopping locally, supporting the little town it crashed into like a meteor, and maybe Whole Foods will find its right size here.
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