Yesterday, I read something about Whole Foods CEO, John Mackey, that really disturbed me. Apparently, he was using an online alias between 1998 through 2006 to belittle his competition, Wild Oats. There are a few things that disturb me about this, but I think it requires some history.
I lived in Austin, Texas when there was just one Whole Foods…the first one. It was this lovely little co-op where cool people hung out and where you could get good quality, organic foods for a healthy lifestyle. It was awesome. It was one of the things that made Austin, austin-tatious (intentional misspelling). It was hard to make the transition to the new, industrial, magnanimous store that took it’s place…in a different location no less. It was the small business becoming corporate. It was a death in many ways. Eventually, since I lived a mere two blocks away, I enjoyed going to the new beast. I think I enjoyed Book People much better in atmosphere, but both were intertwined.
I hadn’t really given Whole Foods much thought after that until I began working for my friend Robin. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ll remember me talking about friends who are no longer on this earth. One of those friends was Darcie Shoemaker. Darcie specifically died as a result of being an employee for Whole Foods in Washington, DC. I’m not suggesting that the CEO could have done anything to prevent this. I’m just pointing out that as part of the greed that comes along with incorporation and expansion, is the rising of the ranks. Had the expansion never happened, Darcie would still be here on this earth, living very happily in Austin, TX likely. Again, I’m not blaming them for her death (though I believe she did tell them about her stalking experiences with the other employee who
hacked her up strangled her to death), I’m just pointing out simple facts.
The people who ran this store in the beginning were not these type of people. They weren’t the type of people to get online and cut down a competitor in favor of themselves and then wait for the stock to bottom out and take them over. That’s the kind of shit that Donald Trump does. That is not the type of thing that an Austin health freak does.
I’m just so disappointed. Besides that, I really like Wild Oats. I shop there a lot…much more than I do Whole Foods because Whole Foods is just too damned expensive (see, more greed).
I know that no one is exempt from greed to some degree whether it be material or emotional. I just never would have seen this coming and am truly abhorred by the whole concept.