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Writing a letter to Whole Foods about their CEOs oral diarrhea elicited the following response.

Dear Customers,

Thank you for contacting Whole Foods Market to share your thoughts on John Mackey’s recent comments in the media. We understand and are concerned about your feelings of disappointment. We are hearing from many of our customers about this, and we are sharing all of the feedback we’re receiving with our leadership team, that includes both co-CEOs.

I want to acknowledge that we may not be able to provide a response that satisfies your comments, but we do want to provide some clarification. Here are the facts about the healthcare offered by Whole Foods Market:

All full time Team Members (30+ hours per week) who have reached a minimum term of service (either 10 or 20 weeks, depending on their job) are eligible to receive health benefits – that’s the great majority of our Team Members. No eligible team member who has reached this term of service has to pay more than 10 dollars per paycheck for their health benefits and may add family members to the plan at a slightly higher cost. Tobacco users pay an additional surcharge of 12 dollars per paycheck. Every three years, Team Members also have the opportunity to select their benefits in a company-wide vote.

Thank you for your feedback. Again, I understand this message may not win back your support, but I do hope you'll reconsider and please know that we are listening and working to make our stores (and our company) a positive part of your life.

Kind regards,
Rachael

Rachael Gruver
Customer Information Specialist
Whole Foods Market Global Headquarters
550 Bowie Street
Austin, TX 78703

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (11+ / 0-)

    Most Republicans are against contraception because you can't get pregnant from anal sex. ---Chelsea Handler

    by hobie1616 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 08:52:40 AM PST

  •  How does WF keep customers? (6+ / 0-)

    I gave up on them years ago, and refuse them my business.  Time and again Mackey offends his customer base and they keep coming back for more.  

    We do not forgive. We do not forget. The whole world is watching.

    by Tracker on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 08:57:45 AM PST

    •  most consumers don't care who runs the store. (0+ / 0-)

      it's that simple.

      WalMart is a (ahem) target simply because it's so big. But no one thought Target would go ant-gay. There are liberals who support abortion, yet buy from Domino's Pizza.

      And, knowing who's really taking your money at Whole Foods, has there been any check on his equivalents at any competitor.

      cheerleaders need not apply.

      by kravitz on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:08:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Unlike those (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CoyoteMarti, 2020adam

        Whole Foods is often the best option for getting more environmentally sensitive and local options, John Mackey notwithstanding.  Here it's be a bit like Dominos having a CEO who is anti abortion while the company funds planned parenthood.  Given that the alternatives are often giant corporate chains who are much worse, it isn't that surprising that people are split as to what to do.  Certainly I don't think buying from Safeway is the right response.  

        Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

        by Mindful Nature on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:24:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  In most metro areas where WF is (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SethRightmer, miss SPED, trumpeter

          there are local alternatives. Smaller, and perhaps less central, but in most suburban locales, very easy to find.

          Lazi...er...convenience is why WF would still have progressive clients.

          cheerleaders need not apply.

          by kravitz on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:16:28 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I suppose (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            2020adam

            If you want to drive ten miles to and from. (For me it's about twelve each way)  No irony there

            Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

            by Mindful Nature on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 12:19:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I work a block from WFM (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kravitz

              And go elsewhere.

              •  The question is (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                2020adam

                what is the impact of the "elsewhere."  If the elsewhere involves a long, carbon spewing trip to a store that sources its good from polluting factory farms that lobby to be allowed to spray and dump crap all over the planet, then color me rather unimpressed with your principles.

                The fact is the CEO is a loudmouth, while the company as a whole is a much better source for many goods that most other options for many people.

                Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

                by Mindful Nature on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 01:04:18 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  competitors are sensing annoyance with WF. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Mindful Nature, miss SPED

                  no reason there's only one major player. especially since the farms wouldn't mind plus business.

                  A&P actually has regional versions that mimic Whole. They've just put them in tony upscale areas, and distanced them from A&P. Not long before others, like Ahold, do the same.

                  cheerleaders need not apply.

                  by kravitz on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 06:29:39 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  that would be a very welcome development (0+ / 0-)

                    thanks for the news.  More the better.  I'd love to see WF pay a good price for keeping this jackass on payroll.

                    Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

                    by Mindful Nature on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 07:21:27 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Whole Foods has good quality natural food (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          trumpeter, miss SPED

          and especially so for local. But most of what they carry is still mass produced. And where I live, Kroger's selection of that kind of thing gets better all the time, and they're unionized (UFCW).

          When WF has good prices on good food, especially when it is local food where they have built an excellent supply chain, I'll buy it, but I'm not in love with the chain to the point that I'll throw money at them for things I can get better elsewhere. I suspect I'm in their target market, but I'm not their ideal customer.

    •  In lots of places they're the only... (0+ / 0-)

      option if you want organic, local, or, well, whole food options. Their produce section has unbelievable variety compared to the vast majority of grocers. The meat counter was my first encounter with grass fed meat and sausage without fillers. Despite all the bitching, their 365 brand offers some of the most affordable organics I've yet to find. For those on a restrictive diet, they offer a significant range of dairy, soy and gluten free options.

      All that said, we switched to a locally owned option immediately when we moved out here to Oregon. But what do you propose for those who don't have my good luck?

      "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

      by 2020adam on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:26:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  what do I propose? (0+ / 0-)

        Look around.
        Ask your local grocer to stock more of what you want.  Get your friends to do the same.
        If you think WFM is it, you aren't looking for alternatives.  (I don't mean you personally -) I mean that Kroger, Albertson's, Tom Thumb/Safeway, Fiesta, Central Market, Sprouts, Vitamin Cottage, even (gasp) Wally World stocks some of these items. Some stock them all. I can absolutely get local foods, soy-, dairy-, gluten- free, and grass fed beef at my Kroger and Tom Thumb; I am pretty sure all of these are at Sprouts too. These are all within a few blocks of my home or work, not ten miles.

  •  they are on my boycott list (7+ / 0-)


    for outrageous prices, for inadequate quality control, and for the way they treat their workers. I have to eat gluten-free, and it is no easy task to get all of my dietary needs met by avoiding this huge mega-chain - but I do.

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:00:19 AM PST

    •  I am one of those customers but am no longer (see (3+ / 0-)

      my comment below).
      However, "the way they treat their workers" is one reason I kept going after Mackey's first ridiculous statement a couple of years ago. I know one guy who works there who used to work at another grocery store, and he loves it. I asked him how he feels about working there and he said "my only regret is that I didn't make the change sooner." I've purposely asked questions of other workers about benefits and have gotten positive answers. So I kept going to Whole Foods based on those answers.
      But this most recent crap from the CEO is the last straw.

      We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

      by Tamar on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:08:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, they do treat their workers decently (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tamar

        However, their stance on unionization is reprehensible.

        What's funny is, if they allowed unions in, they probably wouldn't end up having to pay their employees any more than they already do, but they may very well force some of their competitors to pay more.

        But the top brass hate unions more than they like profits.

  •  The "benefits" start out with a huge deductible (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    artmartin, SethRightmer, miss SPED

    which makes it impossible for many employees to visit a doctor the first year of employment.

    Because the employees vote on benefits they do not cover things that most will never need such as for fertility issues etc.

    •  kinda... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CoyoteMarti

      Their deductible is similar to mine in another workplace, however they get a health savings card, pre-loaded with a set amount of money to help with things like doctors visits, prescriptions etc. So in essence, you're wrong on that.

      •  They do not get the card for at least 6 months (0+ / 0-)

        I think it is a year.  So for that period they cannot really afford doctor's visits.  At least that was the case during the brief  dehumanizing time that I worked there.

        They also required us to travel long distances for training at our own expenses before we ever get a paycheck.

        And I took off one day for the flu (which I got from being stuck in a car with my supervisor who was ill).  I never heard the end of that, even though I put in extra hours to make up for it.

        •  3 months. At least that's what is now. (0+ / 0-)
        •  sorry you had such a sh*tty experience (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CoyoteMarti

          but I know many people in WF corporate as well as people on the floor that all love their jobs and wouldn't leave for anything. I hope you found a better job.

          •  No one at my store in Florida loved thier job (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            artmartin, SethRightmer, miss SPED

            I reported to 8 different supervisors who all contradicted each other.  When I started working theree, they were ranked as one of the best places to work, so I know other locations could not possibly have been as bad.

            I worked in the floral department but went through the same training as the food service employees.  
            They did not stress food safety at all.  I knew enough to take off my apron before entering the restroom, none of the food service employees did until they finally posted a sign.

            They could also care less about the environment.

            The actual policies of the company sounded awesome (other than the anti-union speeches), and we were excited to start working there.  The reality was so different.

  •  I'm in the process of formulating my "mostly (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nespolo, Lucy Montrose, artmartin

    boycott" Whole Foods plan. For the last couple of years, I've gone pretty often in order to get organic apples (extremely important) and other organic produce and I've done a fair amount of other shopping while I was there.
    But after Mackey's most recent absurdity -- even worse than before -- I've decided I can't justify continuing to shop there. So by talking to friends, I found out that a local health food chain that used to be pretty small has grown in size. Their newest store is twice as big as the previous one (all run on windpower!). My daughter and I went there yesterday and found almost all of what we need. I have now a short list of about 3 items that I will still need to get at Whole Foods -- but I can do that maybe every two weeks (or less often), spending less than $25.
    The only thing I have to check out is whether the employees of the new place I went to get benefits. It's not a multi-million $ corporation so I don't know what the situation is there.

    We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

    by Tamar on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:02:07 AM PST

  •  I'm lucky. I have a huge range of alternatives (8+ / 0-)

    to Whole Foods where I live.

    But this is what people like Mackey are basically saying:

    My lot made regulation a dirty word back in the 80s.  That lack of regulation contributed to the poisoning of our food supply.  Then I got very rich charging lots of money to people who were scared of poisoned food.  Why the hell should I give a crap about regulations?

  •  PS; if we knew you hippie libs cared about... (5+ / 0-)

    others rather than just yourself, we would have told our CEO to STFU. Live and learn.

    WF is on my S* list and there it will stay.

    Tax and Spend I can understand. I can even understand Borrow and Spend. But Borrow and give Billionaires tax cuts? That I have a problem with.

    by LiberalCanuck on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:10:24 AM PST

  •  And how about his climate change comments? (0+ / 0-)

    I'd like to see how they're responding to those. Perhaps I should write and find out... :P

  •  Yep I got that too (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    miss SPED

    It's good to know there's an outcry.

    Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

    by Mindful Nature on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:21:08 AM PST

  •  I've only shopped there infrequently (0+ / 0-)

    and am even less willing to now that the CEO has gone all Tea Party on us.  Plenty of other options, such as Mother's Mkt here in SoCal.  

    WF still might see me now ant then only if I need a hefty buffalo roast...

  •  The closest Whole Foods market (0+ / 0-)

    is about an hour from here and the prices are way more than I can afford so I won't be shopping there. I've only been there once and didn't buy anything, however, I was quite impressed with the store.

    The fish market had some very nice offerings, but the prices made me forget about ever buying anything.

    The only trouble with retirement is...I never get a day off!

    by Mr Robert on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 10:46:34 AM PST

  •  I'm off to Trader Joe's right now. (0+ / 0-)

    I'm never sure if I've forgotten and left the lid up, or if InvisObama™ is using the loo.

    by The Gryffin on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:37:35 AM PST

  •  7chains (0+ / 0-)

    Sell gluten free, grass fed, organic, and locavore food where I live or work. Not a whole foods desert.

  •  I don't patronize WF (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    miss SPED

    because there isn't one here. Even when I lived where there was one nearby, I tootled on past them. There's a reason they're called Whole Paycheck Market.

    Being "pro-life" means believing that every child born has a right to food, education, and access to health care.

    by Jilly W on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 03:30:18 PM PST

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