It’s Gettin’ Real in the Whole Foods Parking Lot

by Sarah Henry on June 16, 2011 · 31 comments

in bay area bites,civil eats,food films,food flotsam & jetsam

DJ Dave in Whole Food Parking Lot

DJDave, also known as David Wittman, has penned a memorable little ditty about some disturbing (not) things that go down in the Whole Foods parking lot for affluent Angelenos picking up organic kale and Kombucha.

Posted last Sunday, the mock rage-rapper’s hip hop YouTube video “Whole Foods Parking Lot” has gone viral. Even Whole Foods appreciates the humor in a song that pokes fun at the culinary cliches of shoppers in Santa Monica, Venice, and, um, elsewhere, who can afford to spend 80 bucks for six things.

The 37-year-old former Berkeley boy, works as a commercial composer for Elias Arts, crafting catchy tunes for clients like Budweiser, Pepsi, and Haagen Dazs.

Wittman also composes film scores. But he wanted a place where he could create personal projects not destined for commercial use. So he and his like-minded friends formed the artist collective Fog and Smog Films, comprised of film editors, composers, producers, deejays, designers, and such from the Bay Area and Los Angeles. “Whole Foods Parking Lot” is their first collaboration; Wittman created, produced, and performs in the piece.


What inspired you to make this music video?

It’s completely born out of my own experience, this is what I do on a regular basis: I drive my Prius through the Whole Foods parking lot in Santa Monica and I live this ridiculously mannered West L.A. lifestyle, and I’m usually thinking about what I’m picking up for dinner that night.

And then someone comes up and takes my parking space and it’s like: “Oh, really? It’s about to get REAL in the Whole Foods parking lot man.”

It’s making fun of that and putting it in perspective. We all get really frustrated or stressed out by silly things. I wanted to show the craziness of that in our lives.

I started singing to myself about it and then I found a beat that works that is fun but has this aggressive little tone. And one day I just sat down and wrote it in less than 20 minutes.

Can you tell me some of your musical influences?

I grew up in the Bay Area going to Cazadero Music Camp in the summer, which had a huge impact on me. I started learning to dj there when I was 10. The Berkeley High Jazz Band was another big influence. I deejayed a lot at house parties when I was at Berkeley High and then later at UCLA, that’s where my moniker comes from.

In terms of hip hop, I listened to a lot of the standard names coming out of New York in the 80s like A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Mos Def, Rakim. I’ve listened to my share of Snoop Dog; there’s a creeping up quality to this song that’s a nod to Snoop.

What about your food influences?

I’m not a foodie. I like fresh food. But I don’t go crazy about the whole organic, local thing. I just try to eat well. I definitely started eating better once my fiancee moved in. The editor on this clip, Jake Pushinsky, is into food and restaurants, and comes from the food and beverage industry. He used to work at Hawthorne Lane.

Did you expect this video to be as successful as it’s been?

I knew it was funny so I would have been disappointed if only 19 people listened to it or even 900 people. I wanted to see what viral looked like. We’re up around the 500,000 mark now. What I didn’t expect: Fielding calls from agents and the “Today Show.”

What’s your favorite rhyme from the song?

You’re the most annoying dude I’ve ever SEEN brah
Could you PLEASE move? You’re RIGHT in front of the Quinoa.

Is there anything else out there like your video?

There’s another YouTube video set to a bossa nova beat about Trader Joe’s that I didn’t even know about until someone accused me of ripping it off. It’s well done and it’s similar but I think it’s slightly more endearing. I’m clearly making fun of myself.

What’s next for Fog and Smog?

We’re not sure. But it will be something authentic that comes out of someone’s genuine experience. We’re proud of this video because it’s an honest little slice of life.

What’s for dinner?

You know I think my fiancee and I will fire up the grill and we’ll have some chicken and I’ll make a kale salad and some quinoa. We might even have it with a Pinot Noir.

DJ Dave and crew


Lyrics:

Intro (spoken)

Yo man…
Yo I know you see me here dude!!
I’ve been waiting here like 10 minutes, man!
No, no no… this is MY parking space man.
What you need to do is put your little hybrid in reverse,
And go out the way you came in.
WHAT?!?!
Yo its about to get REAL in the Whole Foods parking lot man…

Chorus (with feeling)

It’s getting’ REAL in the Whole Foods Parking Lot
I got my STEEL and you know it gets sparked a lot
Im on my grind homie… It’s on my mind homie!
These fools with clip boards are lookin’ at me like they know me!

It’s getting’ REAL in the Whole Foods Parking Lot
You know the DEAL with the little shopping carts they got…
Check out what I say, it happens every day…
It’s how we LIVE on the west side of LA!!

Verse 1

… Im ridin’ slow in my Prius…
all leather, tinted windows… you cant see us!!
Everybody’s trying to park, you can feel the tension
I’m in electric mode… can’t even hear the engine (Shhhhhhh)

Just then I saw a spot open up,
My timings perfect… Im creepin’ up…
But then this other dude tried to steal it going the wrong way
Yo man, I’ve had a LONG DAY!

Chorus
(same as before)

Verse 2

Now I’m on this inside, looking at my list
Organic chicken, Kale Salad and a Lemon Twist.
Some girl in yoga pants is lookin at me funny
I’m just trying to find a decent Pinot Noir for under twenty!

Then I take it to the cheese counter, Humboldt Fog?
We just ran out sir! Really Dog?
Take it easy man, I try to calm myself…
I’ve been on edge ever since they took Kombucha off the shelf…

Chorus

(same as before)

Verse 3

This Busters on his iPhone talking to his friends,
Picking up some cayenne pepper for his master cleanse.
You’re the most annoying dude I’ve ever SEEN brah…
Could you PLEASE move? You’re RIGHT in front of the Quinoa.

Damn, I’m about to check out.
Pay my 80 bucks for 6 things and get the heck out.
The express lane is moving hella slow…
Man, these fools don’t know… that shit is getting REAL….

Chorus
(same as before)

This post originally appeared on KQED’s Bay Area Bites and was cross-posted on Civil Eats.

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Marcia @Frugal Healthy Simple June 17, 2011 at 6:55 am

One of my friends shared that on facebook and I think it’s hilarious! So I shared it too. Parking lot in the Santa Barbara Whole Foods not so crazy. :)

Reply

Sarah Henry June 17, 2011 at 7:18 am

Funny, Marcia, how some of these places are more known for their road rage behavior than others. (Ever been to the original Berkeley Bowl, for instance?)

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Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart June 17, 2011 at 7:40 am

I LOVE that you tracked him down. Too funny. Oddly enough, the Whole Foods here in CO also have inadequate / annoying parking lots. I wonder if it’s a corporate strategy to make them look more popular (aka the lot is always full). OR, maybe because people do only buy 6 things, they figure the lot turnover will be faster/higher. Still … I’d say they need to plan better lots for a better customer experience.

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Sarah Henry June 17, 2011 at 8:01 am

Interesting observation, Roxanne, right up there with their little shopping carts. I wonder what Whole Foods HQ would have to say on the matter?

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Dianne Jacob June 17, 2011 at 7:54 am

Hilarious. What a great topic for your blog. We all need more reasons to laugh at ourselves, and this guy provides one.

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Sarah Henry June 17, 2011 at 8:00 am

I know what you mean, DJ. It’s been such a stressful week — felt a bit road rage-y myself — and it is good medicine to laugh at the absurdities of modern life. (And, as DJDave says, put it in perspective.)

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Vera Marie Badertscher June 17, 2011 at 8:29 am

Guess I live under a rock. Had not seen this. I never hear about You Tube videos until a friend shoves them at me. This is hysterical, and I particularly love the $80 for 6 items thing. I shop at Sunflower, similar store and they have tiny carts, too. Well, who can afford a BIG cart?

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Sarah Henry June 17, 2011 at 9:32 am

Exactly, VM. I think someone in corporate marketing figured out the consumer trick with those little carts. Makes you feel like you have lots, even if it is only six things for 80 bucks.

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Jane Boursaw June 17, 2011 at 8:45 am

That’s completely hysterical. Good for you for glomming onto the viralness of it and doing an interview. On a related note, I told my son yesterday that if I could buy any car, I’d want a 1) Mini Cooper (prob can’t afford it); or 2) one of those adorable little smart cars. He completely disowned me.

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Sarah Henry June 17, 2011 at 9:33 am

Is it glomming on, Jane? I just thought this was hella funny (so middle school of me, I know) and wanted to 1. spread the word and 2. find out about the faux gangsta dude behind the beats. And, of course, I just loved it that he turned out to be a homegrown hero, the product of Berkeley High no less.

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Sheryl June 17, 2011 at 10:31 am

Thanks for giving me a chuckle in the middle of a stressful day. My Whole Foods has big wagons, and that’s even more dangerous since you can fit more than 6 items and spend way more than $80. But the one thing it has in common with the one in the video is the abysmal parking situation. Very cool that you tracked down the viral rapper!

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Sarah Henry June 17, 2011 at 10:32 am

So, Sheryl, does your grocery bill come in around more like $280, given the big carts? If so, ouch!

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Susan June 17, 2011 at 11:48 am

I don’t tend to shop at Whole Paycheck – I mean, Whole Foods, but I do miss living down the street from a Trader Joe’s so I could avoid the awkward parking situation (of course, since I’m a freelancer I can grocery shop during the day which isn’t as bad as the post-work hours).

What a great interview subject! I felt that this video had much higher production values than than the Trader Joe’s one (which I also enjoyed, that had a delightfully homespun quality to it), and I was curious if anyone at Whole Foods had a problem with them filming, like in the Trader Joe’s video. Also made me think of this IKEA video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ongGW-ryouk

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Sarah Henry June 17, 2011 at 11:56 am

Whole Paycheck indeed. The production values are such ’cause everyone associated with this clip works in music/film/editing/design professionally, and it shows. As for Whole Foods, they’re being good sports and promoting on twitter (@wholefoods) likely on the theory that all publicity is good publicity. I’ll check out the IKEA clip.

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MyKidsEatSquid June 17, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Laughing hard here. So funny.

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Sarah Henry June 17, 2011 at 4:17 pm

And is that tune stuck in your head, MKES?

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Living Large June 17, 2011 at 1:56 pm

This is so funny. Thanks for the interview. I often wonder about the people behind these viral videos.

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Sarah Henry June 17, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Everyone has a story, Living Large, and this guy’s hit a never with a lot of local (and far flung) folks.

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Melanie June 17, 2011 at 2:57 pm

As a non-clicker of viral video clips, I always feel left out by these phenoms; just don’t get ‘em! Watched this one with my girls, though, and we did have a laugh. Made me remember when the SF Mime Troupe first satirized Whole Earth Access (remember that store, also a Berkeley staple?) as Whole Earth Excess….

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Sarah Henry June 17, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Yes! And we used to call Real Foods Really Expensive Foods. Remember them?

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merr June 17, 2011 at 3:13 pm

What’s really funny to add onto this is that in our Whole Foods Parking lot they’ve recently started this whole test-driving a Prius, which is great, but does add to the congestion! Still, there is much about Whole Foods that I love so cannot stay away for long!!

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Sarah Henry June 17, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Seriously, merr? That’s just too funny — which Whole Foods is that? I wonder if the Prius test-drive thing is a national phenom?

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Jennifer Margulis June 19, 2011 at 2:50 pm

I just love this! I loved the song, and it’s great to read the back story.

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Sarah Henry June 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Glad you enjoyed it, Jen. I’m discovering, though, that there’s a group of peeps who just don’t think it’s funny at all. Different strokes for different folks I guess.

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Kelly June 20, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Loved this. You’re kaling me!!

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Sarah Henry June 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Fun pun, Kelly, thanks for chiming in.

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Donna Hull June 21, 2011 at 10:26 am

What a funny video and so true.

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Sarah Henry June 21, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Your comment makes me think that you may be a Whole Foods shopper, Donna.

Reply

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