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First of all, I must admit that I LOVE my local Whole Foods market.  There is no other place that can hold a candle to their quality of produce.  And as a vegetarian, their produce section is my little slice of heaven.

However, after I saw the Whole Foods CEO John Mackey's WSJ op ed piece (thanks to Aptoklas's recommended diary) I have to stop giving them my money.  

This will be one of my most difficult boycotts.  But I was so horrified by the Ayn Rand hardheartedness of his piece, that it actually overpowers my love of their produce section.  I'll gladly search out alternatives, and perhaps even find some great local stores in the process.

A draft of my planned letter to the company is posted below the fold.  I welcome any suggestions/comment on how to improve it.  It needs to be under 3000 characters, and it's now 2500, so I can add a bit more, but not a lot.

I am writing to express my outrage at the callous opinion piece penned by the Whole Foods CEO John Mackey in the 8/12/09 Wall Street Journal.  I am a regular visitor of Whole Foods, and for many years, I have appreciated the high quality produce, and numerous other healthy choices that the store provides.  However, I am disgusted the find that the company CEO holds disturbingly cold-hearted libertarian views.  Furthermore, the WSJ article is full of half-truths and misinformation about the goal of universal health care.  Mr. Mackey proudly states that health insurance premiums are paid for employees who work over 30 hours weekly.  Rather than seeing this as an accomplishment, I’d like to know "What percentage of the Whole Foods workforce does that policy leave uninsured?"  I also wonder how many more of his employees could be covered if health insurance premiums were not also subsidizing exorbitant insurance company executive compensation, coupled with millions upon millions of dollars in lobbying fees?

In his article,  Mr. Mackey attempts to play on fears of uninformed citizens by invoking the two-headed boogeyman of "rationing" and "long waiting lists" that are seen in the UK and Canada.  However, what is beyond question is that the current US health care system rations health care in a much less efficient and inhumane fashion.  The unemployed or underemployed (like many of your own "less than 30 hour per week employees") often forgo health care altogether,  or they wait until it is an emergency, and then overburden emergency rooms with problems that could have been prevented if addressed earlier.  What’s worse, is the policy of insurance companies routinely refusing to pay for covered procedures, simply to increase their already huge profits.

Mr. Mackey, your company provides a range of valuable, tangible products that have the potential to increase your customers’ quality of life.  In contrast, health insurance companies do not provide any such tangible products or services.  No, in fact, they exist purely to make profits by causing suffering and even deaths of their customers.  And since you have been so visible in your support of these heartless companies, I will no longer be a patron of yours.  While sick Americans are nearly powerless to make a statement against health insurance companies, luckily, my health is not dependent on services provided by your stores alone.  I will gladly search out healthy foods at other markets, and I will encourage all of my friends to do the same.

Update:  Here is the link for online letters.  You need to chose "Company Policy" in the lower drop-down list (in the "CONTACT US VIA EMAIL" section) and that will take you to an online form.


Update II:
Thanks to Magnifico for pointing out this thread on the Whole Foods blog.  There are already lots of comments expressing outrage, so if you're so inclined, add yours to the mix.

Update III: Okay... I certainly did not expect this much exposure.  There are a few typos and grammar errors in the letter that have been pointed out in the comments.  I just want to mention that I've seen them, and I'll make all the changes at once, rather than trying to keep up in real time.  Thanks for the rec's and edits, people!

Update IV: TigerMom started a diaryfor people to discuss their local alternatives to Whole Foods.  

One more update (Yes, I realize this is getting ridiculous, but this one is good info!):  As Alfonso Nevarez commented, it may also be effective to contact the Board of Directors.  You can do that here:

Contact Whole Foods Market's Investor Relations Department by
calling (512) 542-0204
or via email at ir.questions@wholefoods.com.

Originally posted to Hopefully Skeptical on Wed Aug 12, 2009 at 02:41 PM PDT.

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