When the co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods wrote an Op Ed about healthcare reform for The Wall Street Journal, I read the story and thought the ideas John Mackey put forth were among the most logical I’d seen so far. Within a day of the opinion piece, left wing extremists were up in arms, criticizing the CEO for daring to express his opinion. Before that happened, I’d visited Whole Foods once, shortly after a store opened near my Florida home. It was Christmas season, I was rushed and the place was so packed I didn’t really have time to explore the products.
When the snarking began, with leftie extremist bloggers asking people to boycott the business, I decided to return to Whole Foods and spend some money. My own silent protest. Nothing in Mackey’s editorial criticized anyone. Rather the CEO simply put forth ideas that might be useful in the debate.
It’s worth reminding we do not have an official bill yet—one, HR 3200, is out of committee but Congress hasn’t voted on the bill. Most in Congress do not appear to have even read HR 3200. I’ve read broad sections; the bill is a legislative insult. Congress failed the president and the people by crafting a bill with loopholes large enough to drive an ambulance through. In my opinion HR 3200 will do nothing to reform healthcare.
Yesterday my daughter and I had the shopping time of our lives. It started with hummus, a food my family can’t seem to do without. Becky and I had to restrain ourselves. We bought 4 different kinds from many available. This was after we had a field day in the produce section where we found another family favorite, clementines. We found some incredible coffee beans—Rainforest. The tea section, with dozens and dozens of loose leaf selections, is an exercise in tea leaf diversity. We found deals on Whole Foods’ 365 private label products. My daughter also bought a hot slice of pizza made with tomatoes, fresh basil and mozzarella.
Aside from an amazing variety of products, Whole Foods has amazing employees. I have rarely experienced that level of customer service in a food store. When I purchased a loaf of whole grain bread, still warm, in the porous bag fresh baked goods often come in, the employee handed me an outer sleeve—“When it cools, put it in this bag,” she said. “That will keep it fresh.”
Several employees helped us and all were friendly, professional people who appeared to be content in their workplace. The store team leader introduced herself to many customers—she walked the floor, assisting shoppers and explaining products as well as telling people about cooking workshops. I have many years of experience in retail. That team leader would be an asset to any outlet. No one knew beforehand I planned to write about our experience.
To say we’re hooked on Whole Foods is an understatement.
I have to thank some of the leftie extremists for spurring me to discover a place that not only focuses on quality products. The prices are in line with what I’ve been paying at the grocery. I spent, within a dollar, exactly what I spend each week at other stores.
The location we shopped at also has a weekly farmers’ market, with tents and vendors displaying all sorts of goods.
Everywhere we looked we saw a corporate conscience—from the recyclable bags and green products to a sign at checkout about a project designed to make school lunches healthier. What, exactly, is not to like?
So basically I am writing this column to thank Mackey’s critics. I’d probably not have re-discovered Whole Foods had it not been for the hysteria of a vocal political minority bent on suppressing ideas about a major issue in our country. Judging by the crowd yesterday, I’d say most Americans still believe in freedom of expression. I’d also bet most of the company’s employees value their jobs at a time when jobs are hard to come by.
Why would you want to boycott that?
[Ed. Note: No compensation, rewards, discounts,favors or gifts of any kind are derived from mention of the companies and products in this article. The US Report does not provide paid reviews for any product or entity, including political parties.]