The Food (W)hole dilemma (the health care edition)

Whole Foods C.E.O. John Mackey had an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal the other day where he argued for a rather conservative/anti-Obama/anti-public option take on health care reform.  Mark Maynard wrote about it, there’s a piece in the Huffington Post that goes in great detail refuting Mackey, and Mackey tries to dig himself out on his own blog.

On the one hand, I tend to agree with the critiques of Mackey’s WSJ piece, though to be somewhat fair, Mackey does have some good points on his blog. It was the Journal’s idea to characterize Mackey’s article as a critique against “Obamacare,” and they apparently cut out most of the stuff that Mackey had originally included about the importance of emphasizing good nutrition and wellness.  But it is pretty easy to read Mackey’s piece as the rantings of self-interested CEO trying to minimize his labor costs in order to maximize profits for share holders.  Which, of course, he is.

This is hardly the first kinda creepy thing I’ve noticed about the Food (W)Hole.  In January 2008, there was a local story I blogged about here about a fish guy who was fired from Whole Foods under somewhat dubious circumstances.  Whole Foods has notoriously resisted efforts at unionization.  And other stuff, as this site notes.

But on the other hand, I really like Whole Foods.  They have excellent products and service, and if you know what to shop for or what’s worth spending the extra money on, I honestly don’t even think it’s that bad of a deal.  And I have to say if I boycotted every store that had some kind of political stance that didn’t line up perfectly with mine or that was run by a douchebag CEO, I’d have to revert to a hunter-gather lifestyle.

So I’ll keep shopping there and indulging my yuppie/foodie self.  But I am once again reminded this isn’t Whole Foods Co-Op but Whole Foods, Inc.

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