Or does it really seem like Wild Oats has really gone downhill since Whole Foods took over?

A lot of items I considered to be staples aren’t really being carried anymore; and the quality of much of the rest seems to have declined.

When I lived in San Francisco, going to the Whole Foods on California Street was a treat; I could spend hours in the store wandering around, smelling the cheeses, trying various samples, and with the knowledge that anything I’d buy would be top-quality … hence the reason why many of us called it “Whole Paycheck”.

When I first moved to Salt Lake City, going to Wild Oats was a similar treat … perhaps not on the same scale, but it was nice knowing that I could still get really good quality organic or all-natural food.

But over the past 6 months or so, since the sale to Whole Foods closed, and as the changeover has been ongoing, there has been a decided downturn, especially at the store in Sugarhouse.

For example … based on Fastgrrrl’s recommendation, I thought I’d give ProBars a try. The Cran-Lemon Twister and Whole Berry Blast flavors seemed like they’d be absolutely delicious, so I grabbed a couple of each the other day along with my dinner after my crazy-doctor appointment.

I guess I’m going to have to start inspecting my purchases closer before I pay for them … because in the case of both flavors, the bars’ sell-by/best-by dates were 2-2008 … yep … more than 2-months expired.

And as screwed up as my digestive tract is, I don’t take any chances with expired food, packaged or otherwise; and since I’m not the best about keeping my receipts, into the trash they go. $12.00 straight into the garbage.

This is the sort of thing I’d expect from the corner markets in San Francisco (which are really liquor stores with a few grocery items), not from a natural or gourmet foods store Wild Oats or Whole Foods.

The Wild Oats in Fort Union is in better shape, but still not what it was … it’s been awhile since I’ve gone to the downtown store, so I can’t comment on that one.

And since Trader Joe’s won’t open a store in Utah unless/until the Utah legislature changes the liquor laws to allow them to sell real beer and wine, we’re rather stuck with our limited options.

Here’s hoping that things return to normal soon, and that once the big new Whole Foods is built near Trolley Square that steps are made towards what I remember from San Francisco.