Monday, December 28, 2009

New Yorker Article on Whole Foods

Food Fighter: Does Whole Foods’ C.E.O. know what’s best for you? by Nick Paumgarten is an interesting profile -- typically, a very long one. I read it online; it also appears in the current New Yorker. I didn't really want to know a lot of the stuff that was in it, but read through the whole article in a sort of transfixed uncomfortableness.

Last summer, John Mackey, the co-founder and current chief executive of Whole Foods, published a particularly nasty op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. I was so turned off that I stayed away from the store for several months. I knew that no actual boycott was functioning, but just could not stand to enrich a man who said that people would not need health care if they only ate right -- that is, bought their food at Whole Foods. And who said that the whole country didn't need to reform our health care system. (I'm not thrilled with the current status of that issue though I feel that it's going to improve, but that's not relevant here, really.)

The New Yorker article doesn't make me like John Mackey any better than I did before. If he would only shut up and stay out of my face, I'd be much happier shopping at his store. As I've probably made clear on this blog before, I find much to like about the fish, produce, dairy, and bakery products that Whole Foods stocks. And I'm quite aware that many people whose politics I don't like are enriched by my other shopping decisions, including grocery shopping decisions. Also, I think eating healthfully is a reasonable suggestion -- just that blaming everyone for every disease they might have is heartless. But Mackey's combination of arrogance, wing-nut ideas, and obnoxious theories really infuriates me.

So I wish he'd shut up or quit his company.


Jen said...

I couldn't agree more. I was terribly disappointed to read that op-ed piece last summer and I've been disappointed to learn about many employee policies, as well.

Mae Travels said...

Thanks, Jen. Do you ever shop there? I can't seem to completely stop, but I try.

Cindy said...

I was appalled at how skinny he was and how he was cutting out all sorts of things form his diet, even though he's already been a vegan for years. Personally, I think food is a gift from the earth for us to enjoy in all its fullness!

We don't have a Whole Foods near here, but when I'm in DC, I used to shop there. Not sure about the future ...