Since no one at Whole Foods Market Inc., can tell CEO and co-founder John Mackey just how bad he screwed up, I will. Mr. Mackey, your extremist views on employee benefits and unionization have, lucky for you, mostly flown under the progressive radar to date. Which is why pushing that luck with this screed on healthcare suggests you are either out of your flippin mind or have suffered a lapse in business acumen not seen since New Coke. And in the WSJ no less:
While we clearly need health-care reform, the last thing our country needs is a massive new health-care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our health-care system. Instead, we should be trying to achieve reforms by moving in the opposite direction—toward less government control and more individual empowerment.
Mr. Mackey, I'm not sure if you understand who it is that shops at your organic grocery chain: a lot of progressives, vegetarians, professional and amateur athletes, and others who care so much about the environment and what they eat that they're still willing to shell out three bucks for an organic orange, even in the midst of the worst recession in sixty years. I was proud WFMI was based in my hometown of Austin, and defended it against most of the conservatives I knew growing up there, many of whom still hold your entire business in utter contempt. Some of them ridiculed me for shopping at Whole Foods, with all the "tree huggers and granola eaters and hippies" who, incidentally, made you a millionaire.
Mr. Mackey, you just shat all over your best customers. Given the years of pseudonymous postings on Yahoo finance slamming a competitor you were quietly trying to acquire at the time, double talk and unethical behavior arguably seems to be becoming a habit for you. So I will never, ever, shop at your stores again, unless you retract that op-ed, apologize for stabbing us in the back, or resign. In this day and age, it's just too easy to locate competitors. Until then, well, judging by the Whole Foods community forum, not to mention the discussion in Hopeful Skeptic's and Aptoklas' diaries, you've finally managed to universally piss off everyone. I predict the next few weeks of your life are going to suck, immensely.