Thursday, July 12, 2007


Wholly Rotten

Healthy, Organic, Sleazy.

I'm a huge Whole Foods fan. One of the nice things about my new job is that it is directly across the street from a new Whole Foods store. What I like best is that Whole Foods seems to approach its business from a perspective that being a good corporate citizen and profits don't have to be mutually exclusive. It turns out that may not be the case.

Whole Foods CEO, John Mackey (Mmm-hay) has reportedly been secretly talking up Whole Foods and bashing competitor Wild Oats on yahoo investor forums. At the same time, his public persona espouses concepts of transperancy and accountability. Legal, perhaps, but definitely unethical and sleazy. I don't mind buying products from profit maximizing multinational corporations - Walmart doesn't try to sugar coat its agressive business model . When I shop at Whole Foods, I'm buying more than overpriced, organic, ethically raised products, I'm also buying into this espoused ethos, or at least I used to.

Perhaps this is just another in a long line of examples of broken institutions in this country we can put on a list with the Media, Congress, the Presidency and so on. But frankly I'm getting pretty tired of it. So bear witness as I slowly devolve into a ranting Granpa Simpson with this dispatch I just sent to Whole Foods investor relations.

Dear Whole Foods:

I'm a daily shopper at your Alexandria, VA store. I enjoy Whole Foods for it's commitment to healthy living and the environment. I take pride in knowing I'm spending my money with a company understands corporate citizenship and profit are not mutually exclusive goals. Like a majority of your customers, I don't mind paying a little more to support that focus.

However, I find the reported actions by your CEO Mr. Mackey, in relation to postings regarding Wild Oats to be totally at odds with the values espoused by your corporation. Even if legal, Mr. Mackey's actions are sleazy, inappropriate and unethical. Mr. Mackey should be fired for his actions and an apology issued to customers and shareholders. Absent firm and harsh consequences, Whole Foods is simply Enron with a really, really nice meat and produce section. I certainly hope that the board of directors can find a means to resolve this issue consistent with the values the corporation claims to uphold, until that happens, I’ll be shopping elsewhere.


Let's see what happens shall we. I'm tired of institutions like government, the media, corporations, etc. thinking that it's just about truthiness. Values mattter and if you can't walk the walk, don't talk the talk. Of course now that I've set off on this path I figure in about six months I'll be living under a bridge mutter to myself and training my army of stray cats. Either way it should be fun for you to watch.

Labels: , ,

What else could he do but aplogize? His behavior was highly unethical, perhaps criminal. He has for years been touting himself (on his own blog) as the paragon of transparency, and then it was revealed that for seven-plus years he was touting himself and his company, and ripping a competitor, under an alias. Yes, he should be fired. The guy's hubris is so great it took him a week of heat to force him to apologize. Actually it took several days for the media and the blogosphere to really turn on him. Why? -- see:
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?