Whole Fool

Nobody’s written about the latest from the CEO of Whole Foods, so, courtesy of reader J, here’s his attempt to remove his foot from his mouth after he called Obamacare “fascism”:

On “fascism”: I made a bad choice of language. I was trying to distinguish it between socialism so I took the dictionary definition of fascism, which is when the means of production are still owned privately but the government controls it — that’s a type of fascism. However, I realize that that word has so much baggage associated with it from World War II, with Germany, with Italy and Spain, that’s a very provocative word, so I regret using it. What I do believe in is free enterprise capitalism, and I’d like to see our healthcare system really unleash the power of free enterprise capitalism to create innovation and healthcare progress. I don’t think we have that – I think we’re moving away from that. So I do regret using that word, I won’t be using it in the future.

On the role of government: I’m in favor of a safety net. I do believe that the government can provide subsidies for our poorer citizens so that everyone can afford health insurance. One of the great examples that I point people to is what they’re doing in Switzerland, where you have still private health insurance markets and yet the government creates subsidies for all of its citizens so that everyone can afford health insurance. There you let the private market, competitive capitalism work and yet the government makes sure that there’s a safety net for people – that’s where I wish we were going in the United States.”

I’ll leave it to you guys to point out all the ways that he’s wrong about Obamacare (which anyone who isn’t getting all their information from Reason knows is pretty similar, almost identical, to Switzerland’s system). And I do wonder how anyone gets through about 5th grade without understanding that “fascism” is a loaded term. But my real question is why this guy is still in business? I live in one of the few areas of the country where the regular grocery store (Wegmans) is better than Whole Foods, so there aren’t any of them around here, but isn’t Whole Foods a place where progressive boycott-happy consumers (like me) would be shopping? So why aren’t they giving Whole Foods the full Wal-Mart treatment? This guy compared unions to herpes and is a climate change denier, in addition to his Palinesque views on Obamacare, so it’s not like his latest comments are out of character. Is the produce so much better at Whole Foods that it’s worth ignoring the fact that it’s run by this asshole?

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223 replies
  1. 1
    4tehlulz says:

    >why aren’t they giving Whole Foods the full Wal-Mart treatment?

    Class.

  2. 2
    Bulworth says:

    and I’d like to see our healthcare system really unleash the power of free enterprise capitalism to create innovation and healthcare progress. I don’t think we have that – I think we’re moving away from that.

    Sigh, yes, free market capitalism Freedom healthcare has never failed, it has only been failed. If we had only stayed on the path that would have someday allowed the galtian free market overlords to make our healthcare system work. A bunch more people would have died in the meantime. But wouldn’t that have been a small price to pay knowing that someday, maybe in the future, the free market would have eventually made healthcare work? Or not.

  3. 3
    Blanche Davidian says:

    I’m not from up your way, but I had occasion to fall in love with Wegmans almost 20 years ago when a friend of mine was attending Cornell in Ithaca. On my rare visits up there, I never failed to find five or six reasons to go to Wegmans. We’ve got a Whole Foods here and I refuse to darken their door.

  4. 4
    Maude says:

    Why doesn’t he just shut up? He is now going to have medical bills to get his foot removed from his mouth.

  5. 5
    JCT says:

    This is actually the second time this asshole has raged about Obamacare. The last time was in print and there was a backlash/boycott to some degree. I think stockholders and or the board told him to STFU and he’s been quiet since then.

    I stopped shopping there in response to his first outburst – haven’t been back…

  6. 6
    Baud says:

    Goddamn, that’s dumb on so many freaking levels…

  7. 7
    Kip the Wonder Rat says:

    I have always disliked Whole Paycheck. But..

    Even though we have the luxury of a great farmer’s market, a Trader Joe’s, a hippy-dippy health food store, and a very nice, if small, Publix, my seriously foodie wife still occasionally finds that she needs something at Whore Foods. And she’s the liberal in the family!

  8. 8
    Linnaeus says:

    Fuck Whole Foods. I can get as good or better products at farmers’ markets, fruit stands, and our local co-op chain, PCC. Plus, PCC is unionized.

  9. 9
    Seanly says:

    Whole Foods is probably still viewed as namby-pamby, high fallutin’ elitist foods. Plus they’re extremely expensive – they didn’t earn the nickname “Whole Paycheck Foods” by accident. We had one open here in Boise across the street from my office. Wife & I were there once & decided we’ll just keep going to the local places including the wierd WinCo.

    EDIT: Long time Boise residents were saying the Whole Food prices weren’t so bad & I had to tell them that was because all groceries are expensive here since we’re 6 hours from anywhere.

  10. 10
    Ed says:

    @4tehlulz: Right on, class. Now, what are the alternatives if you want organic stuff? Anybody in South Florida?

  11. 11
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I have never shopped at Whole Foods. I either go local or Costco.

  12. 12
    mettle says:

    Because it’s easy for totebaggers to “give up” stuff they don’t use anyway (e.g., Chick-Fil-A) but not stuff they desperately need.

    Were President of the Arugula Growers of America to say something similarly studied, there’d be no ramifications.

  13. 13
    Gus says:

    @JCT: I stopped shopping there in response to sticker shock. I get a better shopping experience at a local co-op, and it’s less expensive to boot.

  14. 14
    batgirl says:

    Um, I don’t really think he knows about healthcare in Switzerland. I’d totally take that. Healthcare in Switzerland is heavily regulated. Every private insurance company must offer the same basic plan to every citizen who must purchase the plan and the companies are not allowed to make a profit on these plans. They can then sell supplemental insurance on top for a profit.

  15. 15
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Shorter John Mackey: “If my taxes go up, I might not be able to afford a new Bentley every month, and that would tick me off something fierce.”

  16. 16
    Napoleon says:

    I quit going to Whole Foods when this guy popped of a couple of years ago about Obamacare. I have maybe only gone twice since then to get one particular product I could not find elsewhere.

  17. 17
    Maude says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    We don’t have one around here. It would lose to the big supermarket.
    This guy is one of our “Betters” and feels the need to lecture us on how things should be.

  18. 18
    SatanicPanic says:

    They sometimes have stuff I want, like fancy beers, but I usually shop at Vons. There is no “local” within miles of here.

  19. 19
    General Stuck says:

    It’s au naturale that a whole foods tycoon is a libertarian fool. And double so to hate the Obamacare. The more folks that are desperate and dying that will turn to bean sprouts and aroma therapy that is cheaper than cancer treatment. It is full freedom for folks to be well nourished when they go to meet their maker. Fucking messes that up – guberment docktors and death panels of did profit die/

    But you can be a fascist and soshulist at the same time. A loaf of government bread will go further if you don’t have to share it with people you don’t like.

  20. 20
    JPL says:

    Whole Foods bought out a local grocery/farmers market store here several years ago. I miss the other store because they had an in house bakery. The employees were happy with the change though because their pay increased, the benefits improved and they get a discount on their purchases. Yes the CEO is an ass but at least where I shop the employees are treated well.
    I purchase a lot of meat and produce from a local farmer so I don’t shop there as much as I did.

  21. 21
    dedc79 says:

    How exactly can he call the italian version of fascism as baggage when the italian version is how the term got into use in the first place?

  22. 22
    Linnaeus says:

    Whole Foods’ prices don’t bother me so much if those prices are in fact going to pay for employee wages, benefits, etc. I think a lot of retail and service jobs ought to get more pay.

    But where I live, I have the option of going to another place that has comparable products, the employees get comparable wages & benefits, and the labor practices are better.

  23. 23
    Mandalay says:

    And I do wonder how anyone gets through about 5th grade without understanding that “fascism” is a loaded term.

    He knew exactly what he was saying. He just didn’t anticipate getting called on it.

    And I doubt that his “dictionary definition” of fascism (“when the means of production are still owned privately but the government controls it”) actually exists in any dictionary.

  24. 24
    Warren Terra says:

    The bit where he denounces the crushing bootheel of the ACA (which establishes standards for privately provided health insurance, mandates that people have health insurance, and subsidizes health insurance for those who need the help) and praises the Swiss model (which does the exact same things) is pretty damn priceless.

    Can someone explain to me, or to this paragon of the free market, why I should buy my food at Whole Foods at a 50-100% increase in my grocery tab, when I can instead buy food incredibly cheaply and do something constructive with the savings, or buy food moderately cheaply at a store with happy workers and a less outspokenly assholish CEO?

  25. 25
    Baud says:

    How long before these idiots start singing the praises of the French or British model as their preferred alternative to Obamacare?

  26. 26
    Betty Cracker says:

    I read that Mackey’s first anti-healthcare reform rant really did damage their bottom line. Weren’t the wingnuts trying to organize buy-cotts (as if they’d know what to do with arugula!) to buck Mackey up? Message to the Board: Silence is golden. And duct tape is silver!

  27. 27
    White Trash Liberal says:

    I got to enjoy that interview.

    Not only did he compare the ACA to fascism, he also said that the only way he could pay for the predicted rise in costs was the labor pool.

    The interviewer pushed back only the tiniest bit on the sewage that spilled from that guy’s mouth. It was Nice Polite Republicans at its finest.

  28. 28
    mai naem says:

    My sister needed some red bell peppers for a particular dish she was doing for a party and for whatever reason she couldn’t find at the stores around her so I ended up going to Whole Foods which happens to be the closest store to me. Anyhow I remember spending close to twenty bucks for about 8 red bell peppers which I thought was a rip off. Anyhow, that’s the last time I went to Whole Foods. I used to go there occasionally and get soup from the soup/salad bar. I didn’t feel all that hot a couple of times, put 2 and 2 together and am pretty sure I got kind of sick from their food. This Whole Foods doesn’t come across as the cleanest. It’s just that general feeling you get when you’re at not so clean places. Anyhoo, why does anybody go to Whole Foods. I have to beleive they aren’t in small towns and all the bigger towns have better choices. I would take TJs, Farmers Markets and Fresh and Easy any day over Whole Foods. Even Costco has some limited selections of hippy dippy earth foods.

  29. 29
    redshirt says:

    Can someone tell me all the places I shouldn’t shop/eat? Seriously.

    Whole Foods; Wal Mart (and derivatives); Chik-fil-a (not a problem); ??

  30. 30
    Bulworth says:

    a hippy-dippy health food store

    Well I sure do loves me some hippy-dippy health food stores. Have one pretty close to me so I don’t have to Whole Foods it.

  31. 31
    Rex Everything says:

    Seriously, yeah, boycott the motherfucker. People don’t boycott so much these days; I don’t understand why.

  32. 32
    MattF says:

    FWIW, I know a few people who work at the local Whole Foods in my area, and they are generally happy with their jobs and with the way the store is run. Mackey may be an idiot, but he knows how to run a high-end grocery store.

  33. 33
    Suffern ACE says:

    I agree. We made a mistake. A long time ago, before I was born, somehow we decided that the best way for people employed in the private sector was to make their employers come up with creative ways to offer health insurance coverage. I guess we figured that they were smart people who would eventually unleash their creative juices to get their employees covered. It turns out, those companies weren’t in the health insurance business, so they simply went and picked plans off the shelf, or offered whatever they could get away with (if anything at all), so that we have 10,000 different insurance plans out there. Then we decided that costs were out of control and that those same corporations would self insurance to control costs. But instead of innovating, they went to the same companies we had before to administer their self-insured plans so they could get back to doing those things that were profitable.

    Something is just not adding up. A true capitalist would like to make a profit in his business and not have to make all those decisions on health insurance plans. Where does he think this innovation is going to come from?

  34. 34
    batgirl says:

    So does anyone know if Lehrer was smart enough to call out Mackey on his praise (and lack of knowledge) of the Swiss system?

  35. 35
    dedc79 says:

    @batgirl: Would there really be any point? We all know that if Obama had adopted the swiss version word for word, Mackey (and others) would still be calling it fascist.

  36. 36
    sharl says:

    Whole Paycheck’s CEO apparently isn’t a real stickler when it comes to principles of the (mythical) Free Market™©®. This tweet provides an example from Washington DC:

    Ruben Bolling ‏@RubenBolling
    Whole Foods CEO prefers “free enterprise capitalism” to Obamacare “fascism.” By “free,” he means “free stuff for ME.” http://www.dcfpi.org/whole-foo.....hole-story

  37. 37
    Walker says:

    @Blanche Davidian:

    Our Wegmans is much better now than it was 20 years ago.

    Honestly, I go to these Whole Food Stores and I have no idea what the fuss is about. It exists in areas with sucky grocery stores.

  38. 38
    danimal says:

    Damn, it’s testing my patience to read such crap about Obamacare/ACA still. ACA is a free market approach to health care reform. How the hell does this captain of industry stay in business since he is evidently an illiterate idiot.

    Can’t say I’ve ever shopped Whole Foods, but I can say I never will.

  39. 39
    Concerned Citizen says:

    I go to Aldi and Trader Joe’s now. It’s too bad, Whole Foods has a bad ass mushroom selection. Good seaweed selection too.

  40. 40
    Walker says:

    Also, my understanding is that the Wegman scions are also pretty wingnut, but at least they have the sense to be quiet about it.

  41. 41
    trollhattan says:

    I seen enough Ford Excursions and Tree-Fiddys in the WF parking lot to convince me they’re largely supported by up-income suburbanites and not DFH professionals. Plenty of choices, so I can easily steer well clear.

  42. 42
    BarbCat says:

    I live near the Mothership of Wholefoods here in Venice and there is even a video about how impossible it is to find a spot in their parking lot. Not hilarious. When I point out what a piece of shit the CEO is and that all the recyclable burlap sacks and organically gown sprouts in the world aren’t enough to cover what a huge pig he is, they look at me quizzically like I’m nuts. IT CANNOT BE THAT I AM THAT UNINFORMED.

  43. 43
    rdldot says:

    @Suffern ACE: That’s true. I’m on Cobra now, paying 650/month for 1 person, but that’s about to end soon. So, I am trying to find other insurance and it’s just about impossible to compare the different plans, even within the same company. Then you basically have to interview with them in order to give them money.

  44. 44
    mai naem says:

    This goes along with the Harrahs/Caesars CEO wanting Social Security cuts. A-hole doesn’t realize the number of people who go gambling when their social security checks come in. The maroon has a PhD from MIT no less. I guess they don’t make economics’ majors take statistics at MIT.
    Also too, I heard on at least three AP hourly newscasts about Walmart saying that they would hire any Vets who applied for jobs at Walmart. Are they too stupid to figure out that the reason that Walmart wants to hire vets is because they wouldn’t have to provide health benefits thereby saving the company big $$$?

  45. 45
    FlyingToaster says:

    Once WarriorGirl was out of diapers, we stopped regular shopping at WholeFoods. Since the CEO’s previous outburst, I was able to find my shampoo at Hannaford, along with nearly everything else we used to get at WF. And I can get Sun&Earth stuff in gallon sizes from the manufacturer.

    Alas, Everyday Shea Bubble Bath is still not on the shelves at our local VitaminShoppes, so I will still have to stop in every other month or so.

    From my last couple of sojourns through there, the shoppers’ carts are not as full. I suspect that some of their smaller stores may be closing soon.

  46. 46
    BarbCat says:

    I live near the Mothership of Wholefoods here in Venice and there is even a video about how impossible it is to find a spot in their parking lot. Not hilarious. When I point out what a piece of shit the CEO is and that all the recyclable burlap sacks and organically gown sprouts in the world aren’t enough to cover what a huge pig he is, they look at me quizzically like I’m nuts. IT CANNOT BE THAT I AM THAT UNINFORMED.

  47. 47
    Maxwell James says:

    Speaking as someone who used to work for an independent competitor of WFM: for the industry, Whole Foods is a decent employer. The little natural foods market where I worked lost many employees to WFM over the years, because they paid a big wage premium – easily 50% above what was typical in our area – with benefits we couldn’t afford.

    And while Mackey is frequently an ass in public, he’s also one if the few Fortune 500 ceo’s who voluntarily takes a lower compensation package. That’s why WFM hasn’t gotten the “full Walmart treatment.”

  48. 48
    Maxwell James says:

    Speaking as someone who used to work for an independent competitor of WFM: for the industry, Whole Foods is a decent employer. The little natural foods market where I worked lost many employees to WFM over the years, because they paid a big wage premium – easily 50% above what was typical in our area – with benefits we couldn’t afford.

    And while Mackey is frequently an ass in public, he’s also one if the few Fortune 500 ceo’s who voluntarily takes a lower compensation package. That’s why WFM hasn’t gotten the “full Walmart treatment.”

  49. 49
    FlyingToaster says:

    Once WarriorGirl was out of diapers, we stopped regular shopping at WholeFoods. Since the CEO’s previous outburst, I was able to find my shampoo at Hannaford, along with nearly everything else we used to get at WF. And I can get Sun&Earth stuff in gallon sizes from the manufacturer.

    Alas, Everyday Shea Bubble Bath is still not on the shelves at our local VitaminShoppes, so I will still have to stop in every other month or so.

    From my last couple of sojourns through there, the shoppers’ carts are not as full. I suspect that some of their smaller stores may be closing soon.

  50. 50
    BarbCat says:

    I live near the Mothership of Wholefoods here in Venice and there is even a video about how impossible it is to find a spot in their parking lot. Not hilarious. When I point out what a piece of shit the CEO is and that all the recyclable burlap sacks and organically gown sprouts in the world aren’t enough to cover what a huge pig he is, they look at me quizzically like I’m nuts. IT CANNOT BE THAT I AM THAT UNINFORMED.

  51. 51
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Walker:

    It exists in areas with sucky grocery stores.

    If your suburb hasn’t had anything but chain grocery stores, then WFs is a step up. There are lots of places like this. I live in one. I’m not a foodie so I don’t really care one way or the other, but I could see the appeal.

  52. 52
    PurpleGirl says:

    @dedc79: Because he’s an ignorant git, day dreaming of free market capitalism when he should have been listening to the teacher/professor lecture in class.

  53. 53
    RaflW says:

    I lived in Austin for 6 years, and for a couple years worked across the parking lot from the original Whole Foods store (now gone).

    I also shopped regularly at and was a member of the Austin food coop Wheatsville. I now live in Minnesota and shop my local food copps here. Now, I also shop Trader Joes and Costco, so I’m a multi-store totebagger/cheap-ass.

    All that said, when I lived in Austin, I always thought of Whole Foods as being the toffy-nosed rich former-liberals, the ones who are still pro-choice and cool with teh gays (unless their kids are gay, in which case there’s 5 years of clenched-teeth adjusting).

    But on taxes, school choice, health insurance, stuff like that? The Whole Foodsies are just rich entitled assholes. Look at the parking lot. That tells you most of what you want to know: late-model Volvos, Lexi, Range Rovers.

    These people buy organic because 1) they can 2) it assuages consumerist guilt 3) their precious babiez.

    They don’t care if the workers get health care, paid days off, or whatevs. They just want to know if the acai berry extract is the best and strongest.

  54. 54
    BarbCat says:

    I live near the Mothership of Wholefoods here in Venice and there is even a video about how impossible it is to find a spot in their parking lot. Not hilarious, although all my acquaintances seem to find it spot on. When I point out what a piece of shit the CEO is and that all the recyclable burlap sacks and organically gown sprouts in the world aren’t enough to cover what a huge pig he is, they look at me quizzically like I’m nuts. IT CANNOT BE THAT I AM THAT UNINFORMED; THEIR KIWIS ARE PESTICIDE FREE FOR CRAPS SAKE, BARBARA! It’s probably my delivery and why I have only about 8 people here I count as friends (2 being my cats).

    I just got back from a month in Myanmar and I am almost ready to head back to a place where everybody wants to know about things, people and culture, even as they roast Vienna sausages over braziers on the streets at night. Bless ’em.

  55. 55
    Tim I says:

    I’ve been boycotting them for 3 years.

  56. 56
    wasabi gasp says:

    Climbing on kitty farts and pudding skin, rich dudes crying fascism is becoming one of my favorite things.

  57. 57
    Bulworth says:

    Damn, it’s testing my patience to read such crap about Obamacare/ACA still. ACA is a free market approach to health care reform. How the hell does this captain of industry stay in business since he is evidently an illiterate idiot.

    It is about more than some of us can stands anymore.

  58. 58
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    So why aren’t they giving Whole Foods the full Wal-Mart treatment?

    Poors shop at Wal-Mart. You’ve got a huge dose of “latte liberalism” at work here, with the giving of Whole Foods and places such as Lululemon a pass despite their – pardon the phrase – fascist ownership.

    And boy, do you see it in quite a few of the comments on this thread. If Wal-Mart’s management had said any of the same things about their workers, or about Obamacare, the same people on this thread defending Whole Foods as “a good employer” or a source of awesome/necessary anything would be calling for Wal-Marts around the country to be burned to the ground, and the ground to be salted thereafter.

  59. 59
    FlyingToaster says:

    FYWP I only hit submit comment once.

  60. 60

    Post-WWII the very definition of “fascism” has changed for Americans. I happened to have two American Heritage dictionaries back where worked long ago. Note the two different definitions.

    From 1975: “A philosophy or system of government that advocates or exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with an ideology of belligerent nationalism.”

    From 1993: “A system of government marked by a totalitarian dictator, socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition, and usually a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.”

    You’ll note that the second definition is so bland as to allow it to be applied to just about any government if you’ve got an axe to grind against it. The first definition pinpoints fascism as a right-wing phenomenon and points out the most important part of fascism: the merging of state and business leadership. If Obama were a fascist (or more so than the Republicans) then business would be not only embracing Obamacare, they would have invented it and imposed it.

    I knew nothing about the CEO of Whole Foods until I heard him on NPR. He needs to go to reeducation camp.

  61. 61
    StringOnAStick says:

    I’m lucky enough to have a local chain that is family owned and only carries organic produce (Vitamin Cottage, now in the process of changing their name to Natural Grocers). Whole Foods talks the organic talk, but the produce departmant always contains non-organic stuff and unless you shop with a jaundiced eye, you’ll pay organic prices for non-organic veg, fruits, nuts, bulk items, etc.

    Whole Foods does have a ratings system for their meat and seafood department (1 = conventional & not organic, 5 – grassfed/pasture raised) but they so rarely have anything other than the first 2 categories that I am inclined to call bullshit on the whole thing as just a yuppie feel-good exercise. We’re lucky enough to live in an area with plenty of producers of grass-fed meat, so the next family purchase is a chest freezer so we can deal directly with the farmer/rancher.

    Lastly, the most self-centered, every-stereotype-in-the-book behavior I have ever seen in an upscale grocery store has been in a Whole Foods. From the harried woman rocketing around with a stroller who launched her 6 month-old onto the floor face first and just seemed pissed about it, to the “allow me to wander the center of each aisle and ignore all who need to get around me” dreadhead, the clientelle can be beyond annoying. After the CEO was outed as a libertarian freak show, I quit shopping there. Fuck that noise; the local family chain gets my business, even if the meats are all frozen.

  62. 62
    Elliott says:

    30% of the Swiss work force is foreign nationals.

    http://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/po.....1/key.html

    It’s not so hard to have a social safety net if you can export unemployment.

  63. 63
    techno says:

    Yeah—so we have some more evidence that foodies are often about as politically enlightened as Rush Limbaugh. Who is remotely shocked by this?

    What is more interesting is that this clown is clueless about medicine and its delivery. There are reasons why nobody in their right mind would ever copy our system and roughly 170 nations with national health care—even with left and right governments. There are reasons why a for-profit model can NEVER deliver good medical outcomes. But most of all, we cannot afford a greed-driven medicine.

    Yeah—Obamacare sucks—it is probably worse and more expensive than what we have. But to call it Fascism pretty much misses the whole point. Just remember, Germany got the basics of nationalized medicine in 1889—they had made it part of their social order for two generations before the Fascists took over.

    Historical illiterates—sheesh!

  64. 64
    Loneoak says:

    I live somewhere that has twice as many good ‘health food’ grocery stores (3 local chains to choose from, plus WF) than the regular/classic kind, plus TJ’s. Of the whole bunch of them, only Safeway is unionized and as far as I can tell their workforce is the most miserable and their food is actually really pricey and comparatively shitty. A friend who worked there for a bit, and despite being inured to low wage temporary work dreaded the soul-killing aspect of the job.

    My attitude is that there is no way to avoid spending money at places run by people I profoundly disagree with politically. Name a retail CEO that is not a hyper capitalist douchenozzle. Maybe the Costco guy? I think there is a possibility of avoiding places that have particularly egregious practices, but its hopeless to avoid places based on belief of their CEO/founder (not to mention they are publicly traded and have a board, so it’s not really his show anyway).

  65. 65
    Felanius Kootea says:

    @BarbCat: I’ll admit I shop at the Whole Foods off Lincoln in Venice. I also shop at Trader Joe’s and Sprouts Farmers Market, but there’s always something that the others don’t carry that Whole Foods does. Whole Foods workers are fairly well paid and treated and are happy to work there which means a lot to me (can’t say the same for the Ralph’s closer to me which has had a number of worker strikes/picket lines).

    I did find the Whole Foods parking lot video was mildly amusing.

    There are numerous wingnuts who own great businesses (some mentioned the owners of Wegmans) but have the sense to shut up. I’m currently boycotting Shell Oil, Walmart, Papa Johns and Dominos. If I could figure out a way to boycott every business that’s related to the Koch brothers, I would – they bother me a whole lot more than John Mackey and are willing to spend millions to spread their toxic views.

  66. 66
    upstate guy says:

    you do know that the Wegmans are rabidly antiunion don’t you. I worked there in the 70s; my son worked there in the past few years and unlike me, he was forced to watch an antiunion movie that of course portrayed unions as evil etc. Wegmans also, I recall reading, forced a private school in Rochester to boot out its teachers union as a condition for receiving a large donation… I’m not saying this makes them as bad as Whole Foods, but let’s keep Wegmans in perspective. Myself, I prefer to shop at Tops.

  67. 67
    trollhattan says:

    @StringOnAStick:
    Hilarious. First WF I ever encountered was in Oregon on a road trip, and I thought we were going to be crushed by all the humongous SUVs circling the lot looking for moorage, before we ever got out of the car. Still, as a road food resource it wasn’t bad and I found myself thinking it was about fifty-percent as good as Seattle’s Larry’s Market (bestest supermarket evah) and had some unique things I couldn’t get back home.

    By the time they rolled into my town, there was plenty of direct competition and while I’d go occasionally, I seemed to average about forty bucks a bag so I was basically forbidden to return (something about guys shopping while hungry). So my “boycott” is really more a matter of a bad fit, but I’m quite happy to share Herr Mackey’s enlightened viewpoints with my friends and can reasonably claim to have cost them more than a little bidnez.

    That’s how it works, here in capitalistville.

  68. 68
    RoonieRoo says:

    I live in Austin and we were long time Whole Foods patrons. I liked how they treated their employees and I was willing to pay more for better veggies and local produce way back when.

    But that was 8 to 10 years ago. Today, my HEB Central Market has far better quality food and selection. Whole Foods has pushed out every local brand and actual organic goods in favor of their house brand with a price increase. The veggies that used to be better quality and local are no longer. The meat quality has definitely dropped. But I was mostly irritated with the steady drop in the brands I truly liked. At least I’m lucky that HEB has picked up most of them and at better prices.

    We shop at our farmers market and HEB now and I’m quite happy that we quit WF.

  69. 69
    Three-nineteen says:

    @FlyingToaster: Not sure how good/bad the price is, but here you go:

    http://www.amazon.com/Everyday.....B004US0TYK

  70. 70
  71. 71
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    My take on Whole Foods (With help from Monty Python).

  72. 72
    Kristin says:

    In what ways, other than having a CEO who is an asshole, is Whole Foods the same as Wal-Mart? Honest question, because I am forced to shop there to get meat that meets my standards for animal treatment. (I don’t have local options.)

  73. 73
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    @RaflW:

    All that said, when I lived in Austin, I always thought of Whole Foods as being the toffy-nosed rich former-liberals, the ones who are still pro-choice and cool with teh gays (unless their kids are gay, in which case there’s 5 years of clenched-teeth adjusting).

    That’s a fair assessment. I’ll also say that the Whole Foods parking lot is one of the few places I fear for my life; these people are in a hurry.

    Having said that, Whole Foods still has some of the best produce of any grocery chain, and their meat and poultry is pretty good, too. The downtown Austin store has a variety of stuff you simply don’t find anywhere else. Yeah, you pay for it, but sometimes it really is worth it.

    I have noticed (at least at the Gateway location) that they’re replacing all the packaged goods with the Whole Foods house brands, which frankly are not all that great. But like Maxwell says above, as grocery chains go, they seem to be one of the better employers (although it appears to be a condition of employment that you have some sort of body art).

    Having said all that, we rarely shop there anymore. We get our meat from local ranchers and farmers, we grow much of our own produce, and what we can’t grow we get from the farmers market. HEB Central Market carries much of the same high-end stuff, as well as most of the same cheap-ass comfort food you’ll find in their regular stores.

  74. 74
    Joel says:

    Is the produce so much better at Whole Foods that it’s worth ignoring the fact that it’s run by this asshole?

    It’s like you’re quoting me, directly!

    The answer is, at least in Seattle, yes.

    If you want a non-asshole company, you might be able to find luck with PCC or possibly Metropolitan Market (in our area). But both those markets are very expensive, much more so than Whole Foods, which competes price-wise with Safeway and Kroger/QFC.

    The one thing the executives at large companies usually do very well is hide their assholery from the public. But companies like Safeway are heavy lobbyists in their own interests (how many large companies aren’t?) and those interests are often at odds with the public’s.

  75. 75
    Joel says:

    @4tehlulz: Well, yes. If you work at Whole Foods, your base pay is roughly $2/hour more than the equivalent person’s at Walmart. You also get PPO coverage after 400 hours of working there. So, yes, you could say that the employees at Whole Foods occupy a higher class strata than those at Wal-Mart.

    That is what you’re saying, right?

    By the way, why aren’t we talking about Home Depot on account of Ken “top Bush donor” Langone?

  76. 76
    schrodinger's cat says:

    At this rate I am going to have to grow my own food, spin my own yarn and raise my own chickens. We do have a Whole Foods here, along with TJ and Shop and Stop and Aldis. There is also a family run store which has great bread and produce but does not carry everything. I miss Hannaford.

  77. 77
    aimai says:

    I hate myself for shopping at Whole Foods. They really grasp what I’m looking for and clearly their marketing strategies create a place where I feel at home. I know all the people who work at my local WF and have a lot of liking and respect for them and they seem to like the place. We are also in MA where health care is available through the exchanges already so although I don’t know what their health care provisions are like I do know that most of their workers do get coverage.

    I actually know the real hippy dippy type who sold them her chain of organic grocery stores–Bread and Circus. The entire Whole Foods operation is such a wolf in sheep’s clothing I couldn’t hate John McKay more if I knew him personally. However, that being said, my choices are Trader Joes (which has terrible produce) and Star Market/shaws which has a stench of death lying all over it and which probably doesn’t have any better policies.

  78. 78
    El Cid says:

    So, he really meant the word “fascism” as commonly used pre-WWII, when it had no baggage whatsoever.

  79. 79
    Ruckus says:

    Is whole paycheck better?
    Like almost everything else it depends. Produce and meat is generally much better than Ralphs/Kroger or Vons/Safeway but there are farmers markets that are just as good or better for the produce. Almost everything else they are more expensive and not really any better.
    A side question, how many supermarket chain CEOs are not assholes? Just because we don’t hear about them…

    Also, isn’t whole paycheck non union because they pay and take care of the employees better? And isn’t that the point of unions in the first place?

  80. 80
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @aimai: Shaws is terrible, do they still exist? They seemed to be on the verge of extinction 10 years ago. Trader Joe is good for prepared foods and junk food, so I am currently avoiding it, since I am trying to eat healthier.

  81. 81
    tystik says:

    I’ve been all over the country, and I like HEB in Corpus the best.
    I’ve never seen a selection of meat, and produce, and every other thing like HEB had.
    And they are out of Mexico.
    Wish they would expand up North.
    Prices where great.

  82. 82
    TriassicSands says:

    Almost identical to Switzerland’s system?

    Hmmm. My understanding is that Switzerland does not allow for profit health insurance in the delivery of needed medical care (companies can make profits on frills like private rooms). Since when did Obamacare cut the “for profit” out of the American system?

    The essence of free market capitalism is profit, so any system that doesn’t allow profits does not fit Mackey’s ideal. As it turns out, Obamacare is probably closer to his ideal than is Switzerland’s system.

  83. 83
    Wordsmith says:

    Whole Foods just opened in Boise last month(?) down the block from Winco, which is employee-owned. Winco’s business hasn’t suffered. When in the Cleveland – Solon/Bedford area, I’d hit Heinen’s which is similar to our Coop here …. somewhat.

  84. 84
    redshirt says:

    Besides Costco, then, what business should be frequented because of their politics?

  85. 85
    Kristin says:

    @aimai: But, apparently, your shopping there means you’re a complete asshole with no principles. Or, at least, that’s what I’ve learned today.

  86. 86
    tystik says:

    @Kristin: Just unaware.

  87. 87
    Joel says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I’m pretty sure all those “regional” chains are part of either the Safeway or Kroger umbrella now.

    For example, Shaws acquired Star Market while I lived in MA, and was subsequently swallowed by Safeway (I think?). Fred Meyer and QFC in Seattle are both wholly owned subsidiaries of Kroger these days.

  88. 88
    Kristin says:

    @tystik: I’m aware, thanks, but sometimes one has to make choices.

    It doesn’t make me someone who, for example, would clench my teeth for 5 years if I found out my hypothetical child was gay.

  89. 89
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Because he’s the BoBo of CEOs and totebaggers are morons.

    SATSQ.

    Never shopped there, never will. They haven’t really gotten a toehold in this area. Costco, the ordinary supermarkets, the farmer’s market, and my local CSA do just fine.

  90. 90
    Laertes says:

    @mai naem:

    Red bell peppers are just expensive. Eight for $20 isn’t bad, as grocery stores go.

  91. 91
    tystik says:

    @Kristin: It’s your world, I’m just trying to avoid it.

  92. 92
    Kristin says:

    @tystik: Well, another thing I’ve learned today is how morally superior so many of the BJ commenters are. It’s amazing, really, how many of them are in one place!

  93. 93
    Joel says:

    @tystik: Do try harder.

  94. 94
    tystik says:

    @Kristin: You should see the Football threads.

  95. 95
    geg6 says:

    We are lucky here. We don’t need Whole Foods and the chain hasn’t done well here. We have the local chain, Giant Eagle, that is excellent in pretty much every way. You can great house brand stuff (called Market District), they have many organics (I’m addicted to their organic chickens), their loyalty program gets me cheap gas (they also own gas/convenience stores called GetGo), and they also have regional upscale locations called Market Districts for foodies like me. Our local store also carries produce from local farmers, they often have meat from local producers, and they buy the prize-winning animals from the two huge local agricultural fairs we have every years. They pay well and provide good benefits. All of the corporate stores are union and most of the frachised stores are, too. We sneer at Whole Foods around here.

  96. 96
    Jade Jordan says:

    I stopped going to Whole Foods when he had his last ObamaCare insult. I drive across town to the Farmers Market. Better Prices, Better Quality. A little inconvienent.

    I don’t buy from A##holes.

  97. 97
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @RaflW:

    Look at the parking lot. That tells you most of what you want to know: late-model Volvos, Lexi, Range Rovers.

    If you would post a link to the list of approved automobiles, I would appreciate it.

  98. 98
    trollhattan says:

    @Joel:

    Im my part of Californiastan, Walmart is tearing giant hunks out of the traditional supermarket chains’ market share, Safeway included. Even Target has recently added food here, which seems really odd but–there it is.

    Since grocery is pretty much by default an oversaturated retail segment, there will be some non-surviving chains and if one’s shopping strictly based on price, the union stores have a disadvantage against strenuously non-union Walmart.

    It’s not going to be pretty.

  99. 99
    Kristin says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I’d also like a list of approved places to buy clothing and electronics.

  100. 100
    Laertes says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    If Wal-Mart’s management had said any of the same things about their workers, or about Obamacare, the same people on this thread defending Whole Foods as “a good employer” or a source of awesome/necessary anything would be calling for Wal-Marts around the country to be burned to the ground, and the ground to be salted thereafter.

    I suppose it could be that people care a lot more about how someone treats their workers than about what kind of stupid shit they twert on the tweeters.

  101. 101
    eyelessgame says:

    … I know too many chemists to be able to understand what people mean when they say “organic”. As far as I can tell, all my foods contain carbon.

  102. 102
    Kristin says:

    @Laertes: Nope, impossible.

    We’re just asshole fake liberals who need our special food.

  103. 103
    J.W. Hamner says:

    Whole Foods does have excellent produce, and an incomparable selection of said produce. It also has vegan and vegetarian items for my wife that aren’t sold elsewhere. We don’t go there very often, but when we do it’s to get things we can’t get anywhere else… and that most definitely includes the farmer’s market (when it is in season) or the local co-op.

    I’m ambivalent about boycotts generally, but I guess the rule is it’s ok for a CEO to be a Neo-Nazi as long as they keep quiet about it? Or do I have to vet every place I shop?

  104. 104
    BlueNC says:

    Is the produce so much better at Whole Foods that it’s worth ignoring the fact that it’s run by this asshole?

    Pretty much, yes.

    Produce is better — higher quality and better selection than the local Harris Teeter, Kroger, or (shudder) Food Lion.

    Meat and especially seafood also *much* better than the other options.

    At least in my neck of the woods (Triangle area of NC)

  105. 105
    Emma says:

    @Ed: There’s a new place on US 1 and 136th. Nice produce and deli. Several farmers markets every weekend. And my Publix has pretty good produce including an organic section. If I want indian, japanese, or chinese spices and products there are several small shops that provide them.

  106. 106
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Wow, you really hit a nerve with the yuppies. Well done, I guess.

  107. 107
    trollhattan says:

    @geg6:
    Reading that, I imagined Giant Eagle as envisioned on The Simpsons, with actual eagles bringing your groceries out to the car. I’d so shop there.

  108. 108
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Is the Prius approved or is that too expensive and/or faux-gressive? How about Subarus? Or do we need to buy American? OR do real-gressives only ride bicycles? What is my lifestyle directive here?

  109. 109
    tystik says:

    @SatanicPanic: Follow the “Cole”.

  110. 110
    Hal says:

    There you let the private market, competitive capitalism work and yet the government makes sure that there’s a safety net for people – that’s where I wish we were going in the United States.”

    So, um, what’s his problem with the ACA? If anything, you would think he would be complaining the ACA doesn’t do enough, not that it’s too much.

  111. 111
    Joel says:

    @Laertes: Demagoguery is so much harder that way!

  112. 112
    Kristin says:

    @SatanicPanic: I think you probably have to take public transportation. A bike might be okay, but you couldn’t buy it from anywhere but Costco and it couldn’t be manufactured in China.

  113. 113
    Pococurante says:

    @redshirt:

    Chik-fil-a

    They treat their employees very well also. DADT though…

  114. 114
  115. 115
    SatanicPanic says:

    @tystik: Doesn’t Cole drive a Volvo?

  116. 116
    CaptMaggie says:

    All I know is I’m dreading telling my husband. He’s really bonded with the fish guy at our Whole Foods. I’ve known the CEO is a jackass for a long time but have kept it to myself so as not to rock his world. I think this is it though. Fortunately we live in area with good options. But the husband surely does not like change. At all.

  117. 117
    Joel says:

    @Bobby Thomson: Is that the inaugural salute to the smug dipshits club?

  118. 118
    Seanly says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    WWII was a big part of the problem. There were wage freezes in place so the only incentives were fringe benefits. IIRC both Canada & the UK introduced their systems a few years after WWII. Not sure if there was an attempt to do it here.

    We seem to be backing our way into universal healthcare (feds pay 46% to 60% depending on who’s counting). I say we just take the plunge for some kind of universal healthcare so it isn’t a system cobbled together with baling wire & bubble gum. But the USA is all about stuff cobbled together…

  119. 119
    tystik says:

    @SatanicPanic: 1996 Subaru, rebuilt engine.

  120. 120
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Kristin: Most days I walk to work, so I win the Progressive Olympics in that category, I’m just asking so I will know which of my friends I’ll have to start shunning.

  121. 121
    Kristin says:

    @SatanicPanic: There needs to be a liberalpedia (if there isn’t one already) or some such that tells us exactly how to remain completely pure.

  122. 122
    Karen Crosby says:

    @4tehlulz: I am giving that wanker the Walmart treatment and ending my shopping at Whole Foods. I can’t afford to buy much there but there are items that I can’t get at the supermarkets. I will start doing a little shopping at Sprouts and search harder at King Soopers and Safeway. The staff at the 11th St WF in Denver is just wonderful but I really can give another cent to the wanker.

  123. 123
    Joel says:

    @Kristin: Progressopedia, Kristin. Sellout Obot libtards are not allowed.

  124. 124
    Joel says:

    @Kristin: Progressopedia, Kristin. Sellout Obot libtards are not allowed.

  125. 125
    jl says:

    @batgirl:

    That is correct. The Whole Foods honcho doesn’t know what he is talking about. The Swiss system is commie. A uniform basic plan that every insurer has to offer, more subsidies, public plans that would correspond to a state level public option here in the US, much tighter regulation (the books of the insurance companies can be made totally transparent to the federal Swiss gummint if a rate dispute arises), and strict cost-effectiveness tests for reimbursement by the basic minimum plan (that is, much more powerful “death panels” than proposed in the US.

    So what country is the Whole Foods guy babbling about?

    It is interesting to compare and contrast the devastation the commie Swiss system has visited on the population. Swiss life expectancy zoomed from middle of the pack for high income industrial countries to top two (Edit: at ALL age levels, even for oldest) or three after a lot of this commie stuff happened. While US stays mired at the bottom. Thank goodness we have corrupt crony capitalism and industrial cartel based government in the US.

    Think about it, even a more industrial cartel controlled government than the Swiss have. That is quite an achievement. Of course, our industrial cartels are more sociopathic than those of most countries, so that does make some difference.

  126. 126
    gelfling545 says:

    No Whole Foods in this area. I doubt they will be able compete with Wegmans (There are 3 in a reasonable driving distance from my house) or the small Feel-Rite Fresh market organic foods and the Lexington Co-op. Trader Joe’s is supposed to be coming here but I don’t know why or what market they’re going for. Wegmans is slowly moving down the east coast (they are as far as VA now.) I don’t know their politics as they don’t parade it but are not unionized although I understand that they treat their employees really well and are tremendously supportive of the community to the extent that they have a manager of volunteer service for the area.

  127. 127
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Kristin: That is a GREAT plan. How can we make this happen?
    ETA- Joel is right, it must be Progresso-paedia.

  128. 128
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    I’d like to see our healthcare system really unleash the power of free enterprise capitalism to create innovation and healthcare progress.

    Off you go then, John Galt Mackey. You’re rich and the banks love you, and you think there’s a space in the market to Whole-Foods-ize healthcare. We’ll be laughing from the sidelines.

  129. 129
    Tonal Crow says:

    Is the produce so much better at Whole Foods that it’s worth ignoring the fact that it’s run by this asshole?

    No. GOP him. Get him outta there, and I’ll consider buying something there.

  130. 130
    eemom says:

    I have one right down the street and used to go there all the time. Not so much anymore, though less because of politics than because, after 18 years of motherhood, I am so fucking tired of spending half my life in grocery stores and do take out more often than I used to.

    However, I flat out refused to order from Papa Johns when my son wanted their pizza the other night, so I can haz some purity points for that, plz.

  131. 131
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    I worked at the Palo Alto Whole Foods for almost 4 years as a cashier while I was in school. I fucking hated Mackey-I remember he spoke out twice against health care,and we were given instructions on how to talk to customers about it. Fucker, just imagine if a low ranking peon had spouted off to customers. Anyways, I must be a liberal purity firebagger or something, but I out of principle support going to a unionized store in the first place. WF is so deceptive in how it markets itself to affluent progressives-especially the kind of folk who have no problem with gays and abortion, (but oh, the stories I could tell of those PAMPA fuckers and being a trans person) but who think Jerry Brown and Obama are going to tax away their wealth.

    Also, unlike a lot of other grocery stores, WF cashiers had to (mandatory!!) pester customers to donate to WF’s tax write off charity scam of the month (rather than just having it pop up as a message in the card reader). Fuck that shit.

    Bottom line: too many affluent and wanna be affluent people shop there who really don’t give a shit about unions for there to be change. Its a status thing-if you are up and coming, its something you can do to make yourself feel as if you are yourself up and coming.

    Of course a lot of my jaundice comes from annoying people from Palo Alto, Menlo Park, etc. But still, fuck WF for creating a business that caters to those fuckers.

  132. 132
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @eemom: Do you drive a car from the unapproved list?

  133. 133
    Kristin says:

    @SatanicPanic: I’m too busy running over hippies with my Range Rover to do anything about it.

  134. 134
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Kristin: @Joel: This, sadly, is probably a good place to start.

  135. 135
    Brachiator says:

    but isn’t Whole Foods a place where progressive boycott-happy consumers (like me) would be shopping?

    No, Whole Foods is for chumps. And that they sell, and idiots buy, useless homeopathic crap, is ridiculous.

  136. 136
    Chris says:

    @Seanly:

    Not sure if there was an attempt to do it here.

    There was. Southern Democrats shot it down out of fear it would lead to integrated hospitals.

  137. 137
    GxB says:

    @wasabi gasp: Careful, you’re getting into Rodgers and Hammerstein territory here:

    Climbing on kitty farts
    and skin on pud-ding
    These are a few of my
    fav-o-rite things!

    FWIW, I’ve got a small stake (a few $K) in WF stock. I was going to dump it the last time that meathead shot his mouth off, but I’m guess I’m just as susceptible to looking the other way as the next guy when it comes to money. But this time it’s settled, the sell order is going in tomorrow. Got to stop supporting these mouthy shitheels.

  138. 138
    tystik says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay: Welcome back, nice retort.

  139. 139
    cathyx says:

    This seems so out of character for someone who owns a health food grocery store.

  140. 140
    J.W. Hamner says:

    @Joel:

    Damnit! Now I need to get a new magnetic knife rack. Am I allowed to order it off of Amazon or does their evasion of sales tax put them on the “no buy” list?

  141. 141
    Linnaeus says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    Anyways, I must be a liberal purity firebagger or something, but I out of principle support going to a unionized store in the first place.

    I wouldn’t say that. It’s a choice you’ve made based on your values and available options. I myself try to do the same when I can.

    I can understand why someone might shop at a place like Whole Foods. I choose not to for a few reasons and I’m fortunate enough to have other options I prefer. I wish I had similar options for everything that I buy, but I don’t. We all do what we can.

  142. 142
    Kristin says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: That is hilarious.

  143. 143
    Raven says:

    We have an older Earth Fare, Trader Joe’s and a new Fresh Market. The Fresh Market and Earth Fare are really expensive and have some nice stuff and Trader Joe’s is what it is but ours does have parking. The Kroger closest to campus is in the process of expanding and they have stayed open while they do it. What a cluster fuck that is.

  144. 144
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    A Silicon Valley legislator proposes…..Aaron’s Law.

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023.....fraud-law/

  145. 145
    redshirt says:

    Redwing Boots – Made in America!

    Anyone else?

  146. 146
    Raven says:

    @redshirt: My last pair is so frickin heavy!

  147. 147
    tystik says:

    @redshirt: Some Justin’s, check the country of origin….WhoooHooo!

  148. 148
    redshirt says:

    @Raven: Heavy = Quality.

    I’m sure they have lighter styles, yes?

  149. 149
    karen says:

    When I lived in Takoma Park, I used to go there and the local food co-op. That was before he spouted off (2005-2007). Since I’ve lived in this area, I go to Giant, the one is this area has a decent organic, health food, etc. department and because of my RA, I get Peapod delivered and they have a decent vegetarian section. I’m not perfect but I can say that once I know that a company or CEO of the company has principles or policies that I violently don’t believe in, I have a hard time going to their store or using their product unless I have absolutely no choice. But if other people decide otherwise, I have no right to judge and don’t.

  150. 150
    Raven says:

    @redshirt: Dunno, these are a flat sole work boot that I have had for years. They shine up amazingly but it’s hard for me to wear them when I’m working on my feet for a long time. I am old, bear that in mind.

    eta I hate their fucking “purpose built” commercials. Isn’t that Rick Warren’s bullshit?

  151. 151
    Joel says:

    @redshirt: New Balance, also owned by a raging wingnut, used to be made in USA. Now I think they’re fractionally made in the USA. They still have a plant in Maine.

  152. 152
    trollhattan says:

    @redshirt:

    Lessee, Limmer, I think. Certain New Balance. Are any Danners made here any longer? Any Cole Haans? IIRC some Keenes are made here.

    It’s a short list.

  153. 153
    redshirt says:

    @Raven: No idea. I have no TV. I feel smug about it, till Sunday. And also cool TV shows on Starz or HBO or some such.

  154. 154
    Raven says:

    @redshirt: Redwing now has lines made in China.

  155. 155
    Raven says:

    @redshirt: They are radio commercials.

  156. 156
    redshirt says:

    @Joel: I was pretty bummed out when I learned that about New Balance. I had been – hitherto! – a huge New Balance supporter. They were my sponsor, and I do a lot of sports. So I spent a lot of money with them – but heck! I’m from Maine, they’re from Maine, I’ve been to their factory in Skowhegan, and to their two outlet stores, which have great bargains. Everyone was happy!

    Then, CEO Wingnut. Damnit! I’ve haven’t gone in for over a year. I’m serious about supporting political views with my dollar – it’s one of the votes that counts.

  157. 157
    redshirt says:

    @Raven: Oh, yeah, I know them. Sam Elliot voice, right? Sam, that dude with the cowboy mustache? Man, that guy’s got the cowboy niche cornered.

  158. 158
    feebog says:

    I’d like to see our healthcare system really unleash the power of free enterprise capitalism to create innovation and healthcare progress. I don’t think we have that – I think we’re moving away from that. So I do regret using that word, I won’t be using it in the future.

    Look asshole, we have seen the results of free market capitalism on our healthcare system. It has resulted in skyrocketing costs and horrible health care outcomes compared to any first world country that has a universal health care of any sort. As a nation we currently pay about 18% of GDP compared to European countries who pay 8 to 11%. If we were paying say, 10% per year, that would mean well over a trillion dollars a year we could use for education, infrastructure, research, and debt payment. It’s pretty simple economics, but apparently you are to stupid to understand it.

  159. 159
    redshirt says:

    @Raven: Another bummer.

    I love the world, but I hate sending manufacturing jobs to them. That was the foundation of the American economy for near a hundred years, and made us great. To be pillaged and plundered by the Masters of the Universe.

  160. 160
    Raven says:

    @redshirt: Some times you eat the Bar

  161. 161
    Cassidy says:

    Whole Foods has nothing to do with liberals or hippies or any of that shit. It’s a status symbol for people who have enough money to not have to shop at the regular grocery stores.

  162. 162
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @trollhattan: Just looked in five pairs of Cole-Haans – Four made in China, one in India. Johnston & Murphy, India. Bass, Brazil and China. Both pairs of Allen-Edmonds, though, were made in the US. A smattering of Italy and England in the rest of the footwear.

    Okay, I have a lot of shoes.

  163. 163
    tystik says:

    @Cassidy: Oh Boy. End of thread.

  164. 164
    Raven says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I stepped up on the platform
    The man gave me the news
    He said, You must be joking son
    Where did you get those shoes?
    Where did you get those shoes?

    Well, I’ve seen ’em on the TV, the movie show
    They say the times are changing but I just don’t know
    These things are gone forever
    Over a long time ago, oh yeah

  165. 165
    Joel says:

    @Cassidy: I know, and they re-use shopping bags, too!

  166. 166
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Raven: Don’t try your pretzel logic on me.

  167. 167
    abo gato says:

    @tystik: HEB is not from Mexico. They have expanded into Mexico in the past few years, but they started in Kerrville over 100 years ago and are now headquartered in San Antonio. I do love their Central Market but for years they had a grocery lock on SA. Finally, we have a Trader Joe’s that opened in November and another WF that opened about the same time. As a crazy ass foodie, I hate that I like the new WFs as much as I do. TJ’s is okay but it has too many pre-made foods for how I want to cook.

  168. 168
    Jay B. says:

    An actual difference between WF and Wal-Mart? Their SKUs. Instead of cheap chinese things made by virtual slaves, WF actually buys and markets products from local farmers, fair trade purveyors and small-scale organic producers. Your milage may vary on weather those things are desirable, but some of those are still small-scale providers or are companies that try and do the right thing. Does that mean Mackey is right on his purchasing policies? What’s better? Money that is funneled into smaller businesses or an opinion? He seems like an asshole in the public realm and I wouldn’t vote for him. He seems, on the other hand, to run a pretty good business that is more enlightened in many ways than others — and certainly Wal-Mart.

    So, we like Costco because their CEO is cool. Who else?

  169. 169
    redshirt says:

    @Raven: I don’t follow you, but then, no TV.

  170. 170
    eemom says:

    @redshirt:

    Sam Elliot

    played the uber cool motorcycle riding boyfriend of Cher in the 1985 film Mask.

    Eric Stolz, who played the deformed kid in that film, later played Travolta’s drug dealer friend in Pulp Fiction.

    (Why yes, I am bored out of my gourd doing work shit this evening — why do you ask?)

  171. 171
    redshirt says:

    My mother worked at a Wal-Mart in Southern Missouri in 1975. I used to get lost in the toy department. So hipster it hurts.

  172. 172
    glaukopis says:

    They have a much better supply of Gluten-free products, as well as lactose- and soy-free products (for other people in my family). I don’t shop at WF much (quite expensive), but Trader Joe’s just doesn’t have everything I need and the regular supermarkets are dreadful. I can get organic from the local farmer’s market too, but there’s virtually no meat at mine, and WF has helpful butchers. So – don’t like his politics at all, but it is convenient for a few things.

  173. 173
  174. 174
    Raven says:

    @redshirt: First one I was in was at Lake Wapapello, place had great fishing gear. There also was a Helpee Selfee Laundromat and a Vida Blue car wash!

  175. 175
    tystik says:

    @abo gato: Thanks for the info. I thought I read somewhere they where from Mexico.
    Wishful thinking on my part I guess. Still never saw the variety of meat that they provide.

  176. 176
    tystik says:

    @eemom: Wasn’t that based on “The Elephant Man”?

  177. 177
    Rosie Outlook says:

    @geg6: Another Giant Eagle fan here. They have everything Whole Paycheck has, for half the price and none of the SWPL aura. We only have one WF around here, in the wealthiest burb in town, but Giant Eagles everywhere.

  178. 178
    Ruckus says:

    @geg6:
    When I lived in the Columbus OH area Giant Eagle was great for all the reasons you posted. Much better than Kroger or actually any other chain I’ve been in.

  179. 179
    Rex Everything says:

    Jeez, there’s a bunch of Volvo-driving yuppie idiots on here, who could have guessed? Except, like, anyone?

  180. 180
    eemom says:

    @tystik:

    No, different deformed person. But both were true stories.

  181. 181
    tystik says:

    And this……Plus Historically, the company is known for its charitable donations, with 5 percent of annual pretax earnings given to causes in the communities it operates in, including education and food banks.[45] An annual charitable program maintained by H-E-B since 2000 is the Excellence in Education Awards, in which teachers, administrators and schools in Texas are recognized with awards totaling $500,000 in contributions in 2009s

  182. 182
    Ruckus says:

    @Kristin:
    it couldn’t be manufactured in China.
    Pretty hard to buy a bike that isn’t overpriced that is not made in China or Taiwan. Even many of the top Italian bikes actually have the frames made in Taiwan. A commuter bike priced below 800-900 will be made in China. There are exceptions but they are very rare.

  183. 183
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ruckus: Yeah, when I lived in Columbus, Giant Eagle was where I did all my grocery shopping. Until the huge fancy Kroger opened on the edge of the Brewery District, that is.

  184. 184
    tystik says:

    @eemom: Both good movies for sure.

  185. 185
    PJ says:

    @Laertes: Red bell peppers range between around $1 – $3/lb (this past weekend $1/lb!) at my market in Brooklyn. At, say, 2 large peppers to the pound, that’s $12 for 8 peppers at the $3/lb maximum (which is rare). Whole Foods must have been charging around $5/lb, which is crazy.

  186. 186
    redshirt says:

    The loss of manufacturing was the fall of America. The hollowing out since is a vulture on a dying cow.

  187. 187
    sapient says:

    I don’t like the guy’s views on a lot of things, but Whole Foods 1) labels stuff (which is good), 2) has high-quality food (which is good), 3) treats its employees well (which is good), doesn’t overpay its executives (Mackey doesn’t make nearly as much as most CEO’s), 4) they honor animal rights and try for environmental stewardship.

    Okay, so he’s a wacko in a lot of ways, but do we really know what other CEO’s think? Sure, they have the decency to shut up, but there are way worse ways to spend money than good food at Whole Foods. They’re expensive because good stuff costs money.

    I won’t quit shopping there.

  188. 188
    ChrisNYC says:

    @Cassidy: Oh bull. I and all sorts of non-status seeking people in Brooklyn and other bereft “inner cities” shop at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods because they have exotic elitist items like …. FISH — trout and flounder even (I know, it’s shocking) — and are open past 6 pm. My local supermarket has no FISH. You must live in a place with those wide-aisled, everything-on-offer palatial supermarkets. Not everyone does.

  189. 189
    Ruckus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    We had a huge brand new Kroger and GE went in across the street about a year later. Kicked Kroger’s ass it did.

  190. 190
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ruckus: Well, I lived downtown, German Village and then back behind the main library, that Brewery District Kroger was the only really good grocery store that was nearby.

  191. 191
    Wordsmith says:

    @sapient: Where you shop is totally up to you. Mackey has around $94 million in Whole Food stock so that 700K annual salary is misleading.

  192. 192
    tystik says:

    @SatanicPanic: Hows that going?
    Your saying “Idiot Liberal Education”, typical.

  193. 193
    Cassidy says:

    @tystik: Eh, you gotta ruffle the feathers of the easily fleeced “organic”, all natural crowd every now and then. Unfortunately, the veterans of BJ are very strong against simple trolling.

    I honestly don’t care about the store one way or the other. I don’t shop there as it’s overpriced. I have a family of 6 to feed. Doing that in a healthy manner is hard enough without the trendy markup.

  194. 194
    tystik says:

    @Cassidy: the veterans of BJ are very strong against simple trolling.
    Not usually.

  195. 195
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    I noticed while working there that WF would often get rid of private label brands in favor of their own.

  196. 196
    Elie says:

    @JCT:

    Well, I went back from the first time he shot off(Whole Foods is exceptional in alexandria va — but I am going to have to move on)

    I listened to the idiot on NPR and was screaming at my radio and asking how Whole Foods still hasnt bought him out and told him to STFU. I think he is hypoglycemic. Vegan is not good enough. He eats no oils (like olive, peanut etc) EITHER. This man does not have enough nurtrients to sustain his brain. Underneath, he is just another corporatist ASSHOLE. Whole Foods better get rid of their effing PROBLEM

  197. 197
    K says:

    Libertarian my ass. Friends who work there describe it as creepy and authoritarian. They’re not content with exploiting workers, but expect them to be happy about it and spread the good tidings. This outfit is a borderline cult on the inside.

  198. 198
    Elie says:

    @sapient:

    I LOVE the local Whole Foods in Alexandria VA. It is the class grocery store in this area. I frankly do not UNDERSTAND why Giant and the others don’t undertcut and give them a good run for their money. Its a TOTALLY different environment than my true home in WA State where Whole Paycheck is in the middle of the pack (at best), with high prices and not particularly interesting stock. ALL the other alternative stores are cheaper and as good or better. Trader Joe’s puts the final knife in their gut there, but doesnt have enough scope to do it here.

    They HAVE to not only get rid of this dude, but shut him the fuck up until they accept his resignation or sells his share or whatever. He got loose before and that can’t happe again.

    PS — Giant, Safeway and all of you guys in Alexandria — Wake the fuck Up!

  199. 199
    Lori says:

    @RoonieRoo: Yeah, I hate that they push out other brands for the house brand, too. Seems like Whole Foods copies the ingredients, packaging style, and puts the copies next to the original brand on the shelf (marked lower price, of course) – then after a little while stop carrying the original one, and up the price of the house brand. Really annoying. If there was a good alternative with a wide variety of organic food (processed as well as produce), I’d choose it. Meantime, I’m balancing shopping close (by bike or by foot), eating healthy, and trying to avoid pesticide farming and having some responsibility for kids and adults who get covered by pesticides from that kind of farming. It’s not possible to fight every battle, but if a good option to WF presents itself I’d love to take it.

  200. 200
    Full Metal Wingnut says:

    @Blanche Davidian: I graduated from there almost 10 years ago. Coming from Florida and its Publix (Pube Licks) it was a special something. Wegmans brand ice cream and all W brand stuff is the best store brand stuff around. The place makes every other grocery store in the country look like a crack den.

  201. 201
    Ruckus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    Northeast – Gahanna. We had lots of choices. At the time the only WF was on the west side.

  202. 202
    Full Metal Wingnut says:

    Seriously. Other than one in Syracuse I’ve never not been blown away by a Wegmans. I know it’s high praise to heap on a grocery store, but it truly kicks ass. The Ithaca one is more hippy-friendly than the one by me in central jersey (for obvious reasons) but they’re still uniformly superb. Their produce (at least in Ithaca, was just there recently) is comparable to Whole Foods.

  203. 203

    @Maude: “Why doesn’t he just shut up? He is now going to have medical bills to get his foot removed from his mouth.”

    That will still cost less than getting his head removed from his ass.

  204. 204
    Elie says:

    @Full Metal Wingnut:

    The West has a different and more competitive environment around “coop” like grocery stores. There was a Whole Foods in Seattle, but it had a hard road with lots of competition. All the “regular” grocery stores caried full supply organic vegetables and fruits, organic meats and dairy, eggs etc. Plus,where I lived in Whatcom county — we had plenty of local high quality fruits, veggies, meat and dairy. Our local “regular” store was Haggen. We had the Bellingham Coop, a really big Bellingham Farmer’s Market and Trader Joe’s. I got my eggs from a local farmer — ordered bi-weekly — fresh from Auricana and Rhode Island Red chickens. We had lots of dairies in the area and several sources for high quality organic dairy products, including some dairy that was not pasteurized (but had to follow strict, state monitored quality standards)… I found the environment here out East to be significantly lower, more expensive and non competitive — where the local regular stores just do not compete for the best. It is sad and the people here get lower quality food and pay lots more.

  205. 205
    tystik says:

    @Joel: http://youtu.be/Q2F5piurv-0

    Same sentiment@ 3:13 top comment.

  206. 206
    tystik says:

    @4tehlulz: And bias.

  207. 207
    Suzanne says:

    There are a few products there that I can’t find conveniently anywhere else….vegan chocolate chips for some hummus I make, a yummy seitan that I love, whole wheat orzo. And their bulk grains and beans, I have to say, are awesome. But we have Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, Fresh and Easy (Like Your Mom), and Costco, so I don’t go often.

    I have to say, though, that as a vegetarian, they really do make that lifestyle easy and there are products they carry that I really like. Our good food co-op closed, and the new one sucks donkey ass.

  208. 208
    Xenos says:

    I live in a country with a Swiss-style system. It works extremely well. Doctors can’t charge much(they have a union which negotiates rqtes eqch yea with the Ministry of Health), so they hqve to work pretty hard to mqke a lot of money. Most work long hours, and most do just fine. But to put it in American terms, they are top 10 percent rich, not top 1 percent rich.

    Tellingly, nobody else in the system (aside from the pharmacists) are allowed to make a profit. Salaries are quite good in the medical sector, but all clinics and hospitals are non-profits and contracts for lab-work and drugs are strictly regulated and profits are thin enough that most people who work can afford what they need. Drugs, for example, are qbout 1/3 what they cost in the US.

  209. 209
    Xenos says:

    I live in a country with a Swiss-style system. It works extremely well. Doctors can’t charge much(they have a union which negotiates rates each yea with the Ministry of Health), so they hqve to work pretty hard to make a lot of money. Most work long hours, and most do just fine. But to put it in American terms, they are top 10 percent rich, not top 1 percent rich.

    Tellingly, nobody else in the system (aside from the pharmacists) are allowed to make a profit. Salaries are quite good in the medical sector, but all clinics and hospitals are non-profits and contracts for lab-work and drugs are strictly regulated and profits are thin enough that most people who work can afford what they need. Drugs, for example, are qbout 1/3 what they cost in the US.

  210. 210
    Mark B. says:

    I have some personal history with the man, and I’ll have to say he’s just as much of a dick in his personal relationships as he is in his business relationships.

  211. 211
    sapient says:

    @Wordsmith: I know that he owns a lot of stock, but he helped start the company. He’s not a corporate raider. I don’t agree with him on many fronts, and think that he’s psycho on the healthcare issue. But I agree with his animal rights values, and respect him for that totally.

    Elie, I’m in Charlottesville. We have a wonderful store, Foods of All Nations, that is one alternative to Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s just opened, and Wegman’s is coming soon. Still, I have a bit of nostalgia about Whole Foods – they did begin a real movement to shepherd the environment. Is it real? I hope so. Is Mackey wacky? Absolutely. But I respect a good deal of what he stands for. (He’s not running for President, and who knows what the CEO of Wegman thinks!, or Kroger!, or Giant!)

  212. 212
    PLH ~ NYC says:

    We know free market capitalism doesn’t work with health insurance because every year our premiums go up and we get less health care for our dollars. This asshat is so far removed from worrying about his premiums, he can’t even imagine that paying $12K is actually painful for a single father of two when it actually doesn’t pay for anything. unless you go in network. A few years ago it was $8K and out of network was reimbursed. SINGLE PAYER/PUBLIC Option is the only solution to fat bloated insurance companies who get between me and my doctor.

  213. 213
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    This thread has exceeded my expectations. Bloody hypocrites, most of you are, and not only willing but eager to show it.

  214. 214
    Elie says:

    @sapient:

    True.. But why does he set my teeth on edge with his gratuitous pronouncements? I don’t CARE what his personal beliefs are. Give us the good food — that is what I want from you. That is All that I want from you..

    That said, it must suck to be his employee and know that despite the huge prices that the store charges, that he doesnt think that they will ever merit decent heatlth care that HE pays for. In the NPR interview, he basically said that his employees would basically make up the difference in their salaries or he would hire more part time workers. Nice.

    I take it back. His ass sucks and yes, I DO care what he thinks and he is also stupid enough to stick his stupid ideas like a finger, in my eye.

  215. 215
    Elie says:

    @Mark B.:

    That is usually the case. It is rare to find assholery in one sector alone. Maybe he needs to have a little buttered toast and stop with the extreme diet. Honestly, I could NEVAH eat a diet even without oil, for Pete’s sake. Why effing bother to eat at all?

  216. 216
    Dexter's new approach says:

    Dude is so poorly informed. Maybe he half-watched a Frontline episode or just figured the Swiss are pro-market (for Euros) so their system must be better. The level of GOVT control overall is far greater in the Swiss system.

    This life-in-a-bubble notion that there is a properly functioning free market for healthcare really pisses me off. I’ll repeat, US Healthcare: lacks any sense of price transparency; it profoundly lacks equal information for standing parties; it favors self-referall for further payment; payers and patients and providers all have different, irreconcilable incentives that can not be reconciled by market forces in reality; the US “free market” is really just mess of corporate bureaucracy … I could go on and on.

    He’s right though, the Swiss have a sensible system. Maybe we should try it.

  217. 217
    debbie says:

    Having heard both NPR interviews, it was nice to wake up this morning to an NPR report about all of the negative reaction to them. What this man and so many others need to understand is that government has stepped in specifically because business and medical leaders chose to do nothing to stop the health care system from becoming just one more predatory machine in this country.

    Obama stepped in when jerks like this guy abdicated their responsibilities to their employees and their customers.

  218. 218
    Li says:

    @batgirl:

    Yeah, I agree completely, the Swiss system works because the insurance is not-for-profit, and there are tight controls on things like executive compensation. Obamacare is likely to fail because it provides an endless stream of customers with no effective choice straight into the maw of rapacious for-profit corporations.

    My prediction is that the insurance companies will jack up insurance prices on some contrived excuse, and roll in massive profits even as they further impoverish our nation. This deal is, in some ways, the worst of all worlds.

  219. 219
    julie says:

    I only went once to our Whole Foods, but didn’t like it. I sure hope Trader Joes is one of the good guys.

  220. 220
    Ed says:

    @Emma: Thanks!

  221. 221
    tkogrumpy says:

    Is the produce so much better at whole foods………No.

  222. 222
    Steph says:

    @4tehlulz:
    @dedc79: @jl: thanks bat girl we needed that!

  223. 223
    sapient says:

    @Elie: Whole Foods actually has very good health care:

    http://www.wholefoodsmarket.co.....am-members

    Sure, it could be even better, but workers are treated well in comparison to similar opportunities.

    Look, I’m not a fan of the guy, but the store is good. I’m happy to shop there and to support it. People who complain about prices should show their work that they’re supporting humane and environmental sustainable alternatives. And, yes, I know he’s a sicko regarding climate change. But, still, his store finds alternatives to plastic, etc. – I don’t see that kind of stuff going on elsewhere.

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