Whole Foods CEO worried about Obama fascism/socialism, not worried about climate change

In an interview with Mother Jones, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey shares his view that "climate change is perfectly natural and not necessarily bad," and his belief that "free-enterprise capitalism works much, much better than either socialism or some type of fascism where government controls and directs business—which is where I believe we are headed now."

Mackey has a new book out; every Whole Foods I've been in of late has a copy at the checkout stand.


  1. I’d recommend to everyone who has the time to go to Whole foods, fill up a huge cart full of food, wait in the checkout line, let them ring it up, and then say “I would have bought that but since your CEO is a right wing asshole I won’t”, and walk out.

    1. I know you’re joking, but really, don’t punish employees for this idiot. Just don’t shop there and spread the word.

      1. Do employees bear no responsibility for the actions of the companies where they work? It is a question that I ask myself a lot lately. I’m not condoning the behavior Matt suggested, but the bastard corporations get away with so much these days, and of course it is their employees that carry out the dirty work.

        Confession: I work for a man so evil I will only refer to him as Satan. But I am trying to start my own business to get away from him.

        1. Has Whole Foods done anything wrong, or do you just hate the politics of one of the guys running it?  If you boycott every single corporation that has an asshole running it… well, I hope you are really into DIY using garbage.

          What made Chick’a’Fillet so offensive was that not only was the owner a dick, but they were dumping piles of money into bigoted organizations, and and spouting bigoted shit as the official company line.  

          Whole Foods has an image.  If they do good stuff to reinforce that image, does it matter that the CEO is a nut who wouldn’t shop at his own store any other day of the week?

          1. If you boycott every single corporation that has an asshole running it… well, I hope you are really into DIY using garbage.

            It’s not that hard to not patronize (or try to avoid) places where the owners are known far right wing activists. With the exception of Whole Foods they’re almost all running chain behemoths that sell garbage anyway.

        2. Not in this case, no. The employees aren’t carrying out any dirty work to speak of, and it’s wrong to assume that because you may have the opportunity or means to start a business, that a register jockey at WF does. The CEO and company make the policies. The better thing to do would be to try to support them in labor struggles, much in the same way people are trying to support Walmart workers who are trying to get better wages and working conditions.

          This isn’t like choosing to be a lawyer for the ACLU or a lawyer for the cigarette lobby or something, I mean really.

        3. “Do employees bear no responsibility for the actions of the companies where they work?”

          Considering in this case that they’re only supporting someone fucking them over, no.

        1. They have to deal with a self-righeous asshole snarking at them for something they have no control over, while the CEO does not.

          They (either the cashier or a stockperson) have to re-stock all the shit from the abandoned cart in the check-out aisle on top of their everyday responsibilities, while the CEO does not.

          1. Just because you are being paid doesn’t magically make something not a punishment, and I’m not sure why you think that matters. 

          2. Cool, where do you work? Can I come and be a dick to you because, hey, you’re still getting paid?

          3. Not “on top of their everyday responsibilities”, rather instead of their everyday responsibilities. And their paid in both cases.

            I worked in a supermarket in high school.  I preferred restocking to running the register or bagging.  It was more fun to roam the store with a carriage putting stuff back, than to stand in an assembly line ringing stuff up and bagging it.

          4. Oh. In that case you’re totally justified in acting like an asshole to a supermarket worker by making a futile gesture that does absolutely nothing to correct the issue you’re angry about or communicate your anger to the person actually responsible for it.

          5. Apparently you either think that all workers love their CEO and take protests against him as protests against them, or you think all customers are unable to express themselves in a way that makes it clear their protest isn’t aimed at the worker.

            I guess by that logic no one should ever boycott for fear we may be misunderstood.

          6. It has nothing to to with employees identifying with the CEO.

            Apparently you believe taking out your grievances on a low-level worker magically alerts to CEO to your grievance via some sort of voodoo transitive property.

            There are effective means of protest. The described scenario is not one of them. The only thing it could possibly accomplish is the venting of the “protestor’s” spleen, at the expense of the worker who has to clean up for that impotent, self-indulgent little stunt.

            The only aspect of the gesture that might actually make its way into the CEO’s ken is the lost sale, which can be just as well accomplished without the ill-conceived histrionics.

          7. “Apparently you believe taking out your grievances on a low-level worker…”

            Nope. Not “taking out”; conveying through. I’ve been the “low-level worker”. Didn’t mind it at all.

          8. Again, nothing is being “conveyed.” John Mackey is not going to know that the shelves had to be restocked, and probably wouldn’t care if he did.

          9. Hogwash. The cashiers will tell their department manager, who will tell the store manager. If it happens enough the store manager will tell his regional manager. Protests work. Not alone, but in numbers.

        2. It causes people who are already overworked and underpaid to have even more work to do, just so one can make a point. It is really shitty to punish service workers for this. Should they choose their job based on the CEO? How do they vet them all? And where are all of these amazing jobs from which they should choose?

          1.  Nonsense.  It offers employees more hours if they want them. And restocking is way more fun than checkout.  I know because I did that kind of work when I was young.

        3. It’s 5pm. The lazy pace of the afternoon has been replaced by the buzz of rush hour customers, most of them on their way home. With two more hours in your eight-hour shift, the day has already worn thin for you. A forty-something man approaches your register, catching you off-guard in mid-sigh. You snap back into a smile and ask him what’s cooking.

          “Ah, not sure about that yet. You ever cooked with one of these?” he says, holding up an eggplant. Of course!, you say, and then rattle off a few ways of how to transform the misunderstood vegetable into a delicious savory side dish. You continue ringing up his items. Zucchini. Goat milk. Rice pasta. Yogi calming tea. You glance at him. He doesn’t seem like the anxious type. Kale. Onions. A Doba chocolate bar.

          He smiles, pointing at the chocolate. “We’ll see if that lasts the trip home.” He hands you his credit card, and you ring him out. With the bag in his left hand, he waves you goodbye and thanks you for the eggplant tips. You break into a smile all over again and wave back.

          A mother and her two kids. Soy milk. Basmati rice. A cherry pie. Kevita. Parsnips. Onions. Mother Jones magazine. In a last-minute plea from her five-year old daughter, some ginger candy. You smile at her as she reachs up to place it in your hand. You scan it and hand it back to her. Total is twent-five sixty-one. Mastercard. Debit. Receipt. Smile and wave. Repeat.

          It’s still only 5:30pm.

          A young male in a trim wool cardigan and knit cap approaches with a cart almost half-full. You smile at him— how can you not smile at someone so cute? —and he faintly smiles back, placing the items on the belt.

          “So what are you up to, a one-man potluck?”, you ask, smiling. You could almost pinch yourself for being so clever. He grins and chuckles, saying nothing. Adorable. You start scanning. Azuki beans, Eden, six cans. Plum vinegar. Rye crackers. Hemp Plus granola. Rice milk. Yogurt. Jasmine rice. Sumatran coffee. Carrots, five-pound bag. More yogurt. Rolled oats. Safflower oil. Dried cranberries. You look up at him. He’s on his phone. Rice vinegar. Creole seasoning. Salt. Cinnamon. Pecans. Chamomile soap. Seventh Generation paper towels. Black-eyed peas, Eden, two cans. Kale, pre-washed. Carob powder. Turbinado. Bob Mill’s Whole Wheat flour, five-pounds. Done. Total is seventy-six forty-four, you say, smiling at him.

          He bites his lip. You bite yours.

          This is the moment. This is it.

          1. $76.44 for that cart at Whole Foods? Notify the Loss Prevention Team, the cashier only rang up about half the cart.

          2. …He delivers his line.  You say: “I see.  I’ll pass your complaint on to the manager.”  Then you turn you light to the flash setting.  The manager comes over to help.  “Here’s another one.” you say.  The manager rolls the cart over to the side to await restocking by the part-time employees he’s had to call in since the wave of abandoned orders began.  The employees who agreed to come in when they weren’t scheduled were those who didn’t have other obligations.  They’re happy to pick up the extra hours, some even surpassing 40 hours for the week, allowing them to get overtime pay.

            The manager sends an email to corporate explaining all the extra hours, and the decreased sales figures.  Now the ball is in the CEO’s court.  His statements are costing the corporation cash. Message sent and delivered.  Nice.

          3. Corporate sends an email back: your comp is down for the month, start cutting hours and improve floor presence (i.e. juice your current allotment of staff and hours for everything they’re worth) or there will be a delivery of fresh hell at the next regional visit.

            Not so nice.

        4.  That is like saying it’s the same if you make a big horrible mess at your table when you’re out to eat because the employees get paid regardless. Everybody should have to do some time in the service industry at least once in their lives…..  You just don’t get it I’m afraid.

          1.  Actually it’s not like that at all.  You aren’t pouring the maple syrup, organic pickles, and whole wheat flour on the floor for someone to clean up.  You’re just delivering packaged items from one part of the store to another, from which a bored bagger will return them to their original position.  I hated bagging.  I loved doing restocking.  I could roam the store, talk with other employees, and flirt with the produce girl. 

          2. I WAS that cashier you are drooling over trolling, and I can say that if you pulled that I would be really upset. It’s not the extra work that is upsetting; it’s being treated like shit for no reason. It can be hard to emotionally deal with that kind of callous, self-serving rudeness. People respond to that kind of thing on a gut level. Maybe you would have enjoyed it, but we seem to have different ideas of acceptable forms of entertainment/protest. Cut it out, please. We’re all just people.

          3. If someone tells me my boss is an ass, and does something that hurts my boss, I don’t take offense, especially if I agree. I remember taking angry phone calls at a TV station where I worked. They were calling the manager a moron for something he said to the local paper about his newscasts. I loved it. I agreed with the callers and delighted in passing on their messages. Employees who can’t take valid protests against their employer, should look for work outside the service industry.

      2. Yeah, don’t leave all that food for them to re-shelf like a jerk.  Take it with you when you walk out!
        It’s more polite to the workers, deprives the company of much-needed profit, and is delicious!
        For bonus socialism points, give the food away to the poor.  Some might call it theft, but I call wealth redistribution “perfectly natural and not necessarily bad”.

        1. Come to think of it, that might be an actionable offense. Anything coming out of a cooler to the register must be sold or thrown out – the staff has no way of knowing how long it was out of the cooler, so it’s garbage.

          1. “Anything coming out of a cooler to the register must be sold or thrown out”

            Maybe in theory, but rarely in practice.  We were told to put frozen stuff back unless it was leaking from the box.

            But it’s easy enough to select only non-refrigerated foods for your protest anyway.

        2. Derp. *slow clap*…. What exactly does your comment have to do with what anybody here has actually said?

      3. That’s not hurting an employee, assuming the protester didn’t project personal vitriol at the cashier. If I was the cashier I would be amused. 

        This is just one more reason to avoid Whole Foods and other chains. It’s possible to shop at mom and pop health food stores, and possibly farmers’ markets for produce depending on your location.  

        1. Avoiding Whole Foods isn’t the same thing as hassling the low-tier employees who have to deal with this asshole CEO lessening their benefits to “punish Obama”.

          1.  How is it hassling them?  There’s no mess, no fuss, just let the boss know there’s another cart of returns for him. He’ll have to call and ask other employees to come in for the extra hours.  It’s up to them if they accept the offer. 

          2. You’re making work for someone. And you KNOW damn good and well the store will NOT call in other employees. That would mean going over allotted hours, which WILL be counted against management.

            As Walt Kelley always reminded us, “the shortages will be divided among the peasants.”

          3. Bull. If it happens once or twice, it will be handled by the staff on hand. If it happened in droves, the manager has two choices: call in staff, or make customers wait while current staff restock.

            Who cares if the extra hours are counted against management. They can simply report the problem. It still lands squarely in the lap of the CEO.

      4.  How does this punish employees?  They’re paid by the hour, not by the number of items sold.  It should mean that there will be slower service as employees are used to restock the items, or employees will get more hours because of the increased need for staff.  Am I missing something?

    2. As someone who’s worked as a cashier, I would highly recommend anyone who did such a thing to get bent.

      1.  As someone who’s worked as a cashier, bagger, and stockboy, I’d be thrilled if this protest hit my store.  Boredom is deadly in a supermarket.  I even looked forward to the senior citizen bus for all the cart crashes and the cleanups.  Mop, wheeled-bucket, shovel, broom, trashcan.
        “Cleanup on aisle 4.  It’s pickles!”

        Sure beats checking or bagging.

        1. Gee, I would have loved working in your store… since it, based on my experience, is a fantasy.

          1. Nope.  I worked the pickle, olives, salad dressing, spaghetti sauce, pasta, parmesan, Pastene, watermelon rind, giardiniera, and more, aisle as a stockboy in the mornings, then went to the cash department to ring or bag.  I remember the senior bus would arrive around 9 on Tuesday mornings.  They would often wipe out a row of the big pickle jars on the lowest shelf because it stuck out beyond the other shelve and you could catch them with the front bumper of the carts.  Cans wouldn’t break from that height, but the big pickle jars would.  We’d scoop up the pickles and glass with two pieces of cut cardboard, then mop the rest. A cleanup call could be stretched into at least a 15 minute break from Cash.  It included a wander through the store, and if possible a visit with the produce girls.

            Your experience may not have been the same, but that’s no reason to throw the accusation of lying.

    3.  Punish them by shopping at their competition, not by being an obnoxious douche bag to their employees. I guess you could say that those folks are helping to support a right wing nutjob by working there, but in this economy blaming the employees is also obnoxious douche bag behavior.

      1. These days many of us have no choice as to where we work. We apply to as many places as have job openings and take the one job we’re offered.

    4. Clearly you just read this synopsis and not the interview it references.  And like many of your ilk, a few buzzwords sent you into a tizzy.  Sure Xeni here had her (his?) take, but how about you read the interview and make your own mind up?

      1. Ilk? Tizzy? Some of us haven’t shopped at Whole Foods for a long time based on this guys behavior, and statements. I don’t see anyone in a tizzy, and if you are going to bandy about “ilk” it would help me out if you defined what ilk that is. It’s funnier that way. 

      2. Did you look and see what the health care system he offers the folks who work all week to enrich him?
        http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/node/4187He believes in high deductible health care plans.  Which means,  when you’re sick or injured, the first $1300 in doctors bills?  That’s on you.  The first $650 in prescriptions.  Grocery store workers aren’t typically rolling in spare cash.    

        I’ve been the first person to have to tell someone about their high deductible.  They often don’t understand their insurance until they try to use it.  It’s not fun. “But I have insurance!  I have to pay a thousand dollars before anything kicks in?!”

        Deliberately financially punishing someone for seeing a doctor is stupid.  It also means you have sick people, handling food, who are incentivized to not get treatment.  I hope they sneeze on Mackey’s  cheese.

        I’ve read more than this interview about him, much of it his own words.  Don’t much care for him, so I shop elsewhere.

        1. I hadn’t actually read much about Whole Foods’ CEO before. One lost customer based on what I’ve read so far.

      3. You could also listen to the NPR interview. The fact this bozo (apologies to any professional clowns hereby insulted) chose to use the fascism accusation in two separate interviews only makes him that more disgusting.

    5. If you were to do this, do you think any of your vitriol would climb up the hierarchy into John Mackey’s lap? Think about it, this is exactly the kind of thing that *doesn’t* climb uphill. Not shopping there in the first place, that’s fine, it sends a message. Abusing the employees is a waste of your time, and theirs.

    6. Everyone who wants a talking-to and an extra bill via the hyperlocal police would certainly do that. Meanwhile Amazon reviews split ridiculously high and low, the platitudes on the high side are quite thick,  and Xeni let an oddly short article out.

    7. I also propose things I have no interest in carrying out and would do nothing in reality but hassle the unassociated grunts.

    8. Good grief… what happened to the open-minded liberal who stands for diversity, and freedom of expression. This is typical. So, if a person doesn’t believe as you believe- even if this person built a successful company that provides a valuable service and employs who-knows-how many people- then you feel it’s okay to not only attack him personally, but actually try to damage his business. If that is not fascist I don’t know what is. …How about this, put the ignorance and venom away for 5 minutes, and try to see how an intelligent and productive person who actually accomplished something in his life can believe something you don’t and still be a rational human being. …I realize this takes a certain level of maturity, but I have high hopes for you. …Peace.

      1. Those liberals are the problem.

        I always love this line of reasoning: “Why can’t I speak all kinds of ignorance from my mind, but also be free of any criticism or consequences!”

      2. Heaven forbid any little people should have the temerity to disagree with a powerful CEO, criticize him or decline to patronize his business. Apparently, freedom of expression is only for those wealthy enough to afford it but not for the rest of us. If that’s not Fascism, I don’t know what is.

        1. Why would you want to reinsert the douchiness?   You think it’s not enough?  Great, give them $5 each.  Give them $20 if that’s withing your means. Just don’t skip it because you think it’s all beneath you.

          1. Did you notice how no one agrees with your clever idea and probably more like a dozen people have pointed out you’d be an asshole if you actually did this?

            Do you think all those people are crazy and/or lying and that you are the only one taking your suggestion seriously?  Or can you consider the idea that you might actually be wrong on this one?

          2. Did you notice that the idea originated with Mr. Matt C. Colgan and received 45 likes? No, I guess you didn’t bother to note that before shooting your mouth of and attributing the idea to me. That’s okay, it must have taken all of your concentration to label me an asshole for agreeing with those 45 supporters of Mr. Colgan that you were unable to count.

            I won’t ask you to consider the idea that you might actually be wrong on this one.  I can see it’s beyond your observational and contemplative capacities.

            But good luck to you anyway, and keep banging the rocks together.


  2. Mackey has a new book out; every Whole Foods I’ve been in of late has a copy at the checkout stand.

    How about finding local natural-food co-ops and shopping there instead?

    1. You mean the ones that Whole Foods put out of business?  All the local “health food” stores shut down when Whole Foods moved in, which was pretty annoying since they didn’t even offer the same items.  Now it’s doubly annoying.

      1. If the local store is big enough, WF seems equally likely to buy them out and slowly re-brand them as WF. See Greenlife Grocery in Asheville and Chattanooga, for instance.

    2. I actually do, and I’m pretty loyal. When you’re in cancer treatment, however, sometimes you have to just go to the closest place that’s a few blocks from your home or the hospital when someone’s helping you out.

      1. I’m not surprised you’re loyal to them, and I’m sorry if I implied that you’re not. I too have resorted a time or two to WF in a pinch.

        I hope you beat that cancer soon. :-(

      2. Wow! I didn’t know about your cancer. I am a five-year survivor who has always loved your postings. I guess I might have known had I been able to go online but I just finished 6 months in jail for continuing to grow the medication that allowed me to stay healthy, go to work and gain 3 pounds during chemo. It’s great to know you have got friends when cancer happens. I’ll be waiting to hear you’ve gotten through it all.

      1. Probably so. Here’s how I look at it. Coops and the like are for stuff I can’t get anywhere else. Regular stores are for saving $$$ which I can then apply to donations and other important life stuff. Saving the money is more important to me than keeping it out of The hands of fat cats.

  3. John Mackey’s been spouting Limbaugh-level insanity for years as his company pretends to be Your Friendly Neighborhood Hippie Grocer. I really feel sorry for his employees.

    1. He seems to be good at one thing, which for whatever reason means people want him to talk about other things. It’s really the problem that he’s given a mouthpiece for his non-grocery opinions.

      1. Endemic problem in society.  Most notable one being people who are really good at running for office are then given the job of serving in office, which they’re often unqualified for. 

    1. He railed against the entire concept of health insurance during the Obamacare debates. That pretty much cemented him as a crank in my book.

  4. In Pittsburgh, the opening of a Whole Foods a few blocks away actually *increased* memberships at the East End Food Co-Op. YMMV.

    1. In the same way, opening a Starbucks between two others increases traffic to the two that were already there.

  5. The last time I stepped foot in a Whole Foods was 2005 and I haven’t been back since learning about Mackey and his wanking self-worship. In retaliation, I shopped at a grocery much closer, owned by a totally different wankhole.

  6. He’s done this in the past too, spouted out insanity to the shagrin of his company. Sadly, Whole Foods was at its best when it was a small chain & had just begun to branch outside of Austin. As to your local shop going out of business, you can blame the big super markets for that one too. All of the good ones carry a decent organic section when it comes to dry goods.

  7. Except for the Vegan thing, he sounds like my kind of guy and certainly not some lunatic right winger(from page 1):  “I am pro-choice, favor legalizing gay marriages, protecting our environment, enforcing strict animal welfare protection laws (I’ve been an ethical vegan for 10 years), marijuana legalization, having a welfare safety net for our poorest or disabled citizens, and a radically reduced defense budget and military presence around the world. However, I’m also a conscious capitalist—I believe economic freedom and entrepreneurship are the best ways to end poverty, increase prosperity, and evolve humanity upward. I believe that all forms of socialism have been proven over time to result in a loss of both economic and civil liberties, with increasing poverty.”

        1. Libertarians are probably closer to the technical core values of the Republican party, but as it has become more ideologically-focused and socially engaged, I would say that the large differences in social conservatism vs. social libertinism warrant a distinction between the two.

          Bear in mind, they are both political ideologies I find abbhorrent and wrong-headed, but I wouldn’t say they are the same.

          1. Or the promise of being a “captain of industry” (that they’ll never become because they’re too busy selling themselves and their future out.)

        2. Libertarians are Republicans in disguise only if you close your eyes and ignore their position on every single social and foreign policy issue in existence. Your average libertarian makes your average democrat look like a bible wielding moral authoritarian warmonger.

          In a world where libertarians have almost no elected political power, I am more than happy to see them influence the Republicans in a direction closer to sanity. I’m not saying I want a libertarian for president, but any influence they have on the Republican party is a good thing. I’ll take free market free love hippies over warmongering corporatist bible wielding moral authoritarians any day of the week.

          1. No, your average libertarian is the person who calls him or herself a libertarian. And many of them oppose basic rights for women, LGBT people, people of color, etc. You can’t just pretend the fascists who identify themselves as libertarians out of existence.

          2. Libertarians are like disgruntled conservos who don’t like one thing Republicans stand for, like public debt or war or corporate welfare, so they self identify as Libertarian. But then when you start asking them about abortion or tax law or gay marriage or welfare or immigration or health care, the answers you get back you would swear you are talking to Karl Rove. That’s why I say they are R’s in disguise, because they are.

          3. You are painting with an extremely broad brush there.  Where exactly do you live?  Maybe you live in some red neck section of the country filled with bible wielding Republicans who call themselves libertarians?

            I live in Boston.  Everyone I know who calls themselves libertarian generally votes democrat, hit up gay pride parades with gusto, and are about as far over on the social libertarian scale as you can possibly get.

            The US Libertarian Party’s position has been a thousand times more progressive on LGBT issues for nearly half a century longer than the Democrats.  The libertarian party’s official position since 1972 was that there should be marriage equality. The Democrats got around to that position in 2012.  

            I’m not saying that there are not ass hats wielding bibles running around call themselves libertarian.  I am saying that they are not libertarians by any definition.  The Libertarian Party’s position is crystal clear, major sources of libertarian thought like Cato are all in militant agreement on LGBT issues.

            I’m not saying you have to like libertarians.  I personally find their positions on the government  delusional and think that they would horrible administrators of the state.  I think that their views on the environment and social welfare suck.  When it comes to civil and social liberty though, they are fucking awesome and some of the most militant left field motherfuckers on this planet, and it pisses me off when liberals fail to see an ally behind the lines and slag off on them because either through ignorance or willful stupidity can’t accept that a free market nut can be a civil and social liberty nut.  They are pro gay marriage, anti-drug war, anti war war, violently against Homeland security and TSA, pro immigration, and in general, way the fuck more left on those things than your average democrat.  You share opinions with libertarians.  Get over it.

          4.  @boingboing-1a24d0708b32892bc735d64fa20d9dfb:disqus
            The Libertarian Party’s position is crystal clear, major sources of libertarian thought like Cato are all in militant agreement on LGBT issues.

            Yes, no federal protection. Let the states sort it out, that way states can decide to be horribly discriminatory if they choose. See Paul’s statement’s about how restaurants shouldn’t have to serve blacks if they don’t like. Also see the historical and endless opposition to civil rights.

          5. @boingboing-1a24d0708b32892bc735d64fa20d9dfb:disqus See: No True Scotsman. The people who actually call themselves libertarian, especially the ones with any political power, tend to write newspapers raging about fleet footed coloured people and vote against access to abortion.

            When you lay with dogs, don’t complain about the flees.

          6. “ignore their position on every single social and foreign policy issue in existence”

            Ron Paulentologists are not social libertarians and are not as principled as you imagine them/yourself to be.

          7. Libertarianism at the base level is a revenge fantasy where everyone else starves after the economic collapse that is always just around the corner.

            It’s also a scam by which academics make a nice living pitching replacements for the income tax to senile wealthy people.

            And yeah, there are also some really distasteful people.

        3. To a Brit libertarianism sounds like it originated with the dregs of the sixties me generation, with those who didn’t quite make it as expected in the capitalist world and have not quite left off talking a lot of feel good, touchy feely, individualistic/solipsistic nonsense to try and hide their true capitalist vocation.
          They always give themselves away somewhere.

          1. I did some research, and there was never a real coherent foundation for Libertarianism, economically or philosophically.

            It’s always been about getting money from wealthy donors by proposing alternatives to the income tax. WW2 made it irrelevant.

            Before WW2, it included a nominal amount of antisemitism.  Today it also appeals to white supremacists, because they see eliminating social programs as a way to trigger a race war where they will slaughter all the minorities.

    1. Like most conservatives, he wants a huge list of things that are all in some sense a “form of socialism” (e.g. welfare safety net, environmental protection), and then totally contradicts himself by denouncing “all forms of socialism.”  He’s as intellectually coherent as the tea partiers with the “Keep  Government Out of My Medicare” signs.  

    2. Hopefully he avoids socialist organizations like churches.   And car insurance. And polio vaccines.  And water without extra typhoid. 

    3. Sounds like he doesn’t actually know what socialism is, since he’s arguing in favour of it in the first bit.

    1. This is the same guy that works for a $1 salary and donated his stock portfolio to charity. Hardly sounds like someone who only cares about his personal net worth. Not that he’s not a nutter…

      Edit: Also, he is a Co-CEO, not the CEO. He was chairman of the board as well, but resigned from that position some years ago.

      1. “This is the same guy that works for a $1 salary and donated his stock portfolio to charity.”

        Hahahaahaahaha, yes, he’s making no money off anything and is living off kindness and the goodwill of man. You are one of the more credulous, gullible people alive.

        1. Thank you for your reasoned, fact-based refutation. You’ve greatly elevated the level of this discussion.

          1. I don’t have his tax returns and private financial docs available to rebut, anyone who believes someone is working for a “dollar salary” and isn’t monetizing his hard work is gullible beyond belief.

  8. What Mackey was describing is more accurately described as corporatism, although his mistake is understandable as corporatism was the economic system developed under Fascist Italy. When you look at a list of the past few administration’s cabinets and see how many are former CEOs it does seem that we’ve moved past regulatory capture and into a more toxic realm.

  9.  I’ve worked with John in the past. I wouldn’t be too quick to label him, but he’s definitely got libertarian values.

    1. “he’s definitely got libertarian values”

      So does Glenn Beck. Self-ascription is a terrible/wonderful thing.

  10. Mackey said “free-enterprise capitalism works much, much better than either socialism or some type of fascism where government controls and directs business—which is where I believe we are headed now.”

    So I guess he’s been asleep at the wheel since FDR…

    1. Anything that even vaguely resembles a “command” economy has been dead since the fall of the Berlin wall and for good reason.  Freaking out over Obama is dumb, but old sk00l command economies were an order of magnitude dumber, which is why literally no one does it that way anymore.  When people say “socialist” today, they really just mean welfare state, which is entirely independent of your market system, as the Scandinavians have proven so effectively.

      1.  You should look into US agricultural policy.  It very strongly resembles a “command” economy.  Especially since Nixon but probably going back to the death of family farms early in the 20th century.

        What annoys me most about this latter-day anti-socialist fervor is how often it seems to ignore the fact that a great many US policies have been and are pretty damned socialist.

        1. You realize that US agricultural policy is simply awful by almost any objective measure and has been completely captured by corporate interests, right?  It isn’t much of a command economy, but even if it was, I wouldn’t hold it up as an example of a command economy working awesome.

          I too am annoyed by all of the OMG SOCIALISM coming from the right, because it fails to split apart  welfare state policies and command economy policies.  Command economy policies have failed so spectacularly that almost no one does it, and those that do have ruined economies.  Anyone that purposes command economy policies should be punched for being a moron with a complete and total inability to learn from the past and present.  Thankfully, the president isn’t a moron and hasn’t proposed any command economy policies.  

          Welfare policies have shown that you can smooth over social strife, make your population happy (which is the only thing that matters in the end if you ask me), but you have to be careful to balance how much you spend.  That isn’t OMG SOCIALISM, that is welfare state policies.  It deserves a critical eye so we don’t spend ourselves to death, but it isn’t the next step to resurrecting Stalin.

  11. More evidence that supports my hypothesis that Austin is full of posers. My brother and mostly his wife are totally in love with Austin, where they live. I hang out with them and also have a few gigs every year over there. Whole Foods shows just how poser Austin is.

    While there have been many Whole foods stores in Houston for a long time, I find I can get the same quality merchandise by going to little storefront Indian grocers, Mexican carnecerias, and even a Russian store or two if I am willing to drive a little.

  12. “climate change is perfectly natural and not necessarily bad”
    Until the desertification of farmland sets in. Although he’ll probably start selling free-range organic soylent green.

    1. That’s ridiculous.  Given that Soylent Green is people, and “certified organic” meat must be fed entirely with certified organic feedstock, I doubt that even 1% of Soylent Green could qualify as organic.

  13. Nearly all the people that say free-market enterprise is perfect as it is, are white, and most are male. I think that alone brings down the credibility of people that emphasize that ideology right now. Even in a perfect meritocracy some day, though, the reasoning is still flawed. For instance if the majority of people place value in things other than dollar bill success, such as contributing to art or science, or building things, or connecting to people, does that mean the perfect world will price them out of existence as inferior in free enterprise terms? Think about it this way, because not all people like to be tough guys, and formulate into gangs, we pay to have the police with taxpayer money. We understand that society isn’t just about competing to be the best tough guy. So why is it supposed to be about the swiftest capitalist? Why can’t some people understand that is not the same civilization everyone is signed in on?

    In addition he gets his climate change information from the American Enterprise Institute, which has received funding from the Koch brothers and ExxonMobile and yet he calls it a variety of sources. He also sites Science magazine, the abstract you can see here. Based upon the author’s findings in the abstract, it appears that CO2 is most likely accumulating, possibly nearly three times as fast as it is sequestered. It’s only by applying Gloor’s rather large confidence intervals, that one could conclude complete carbon sequestration. I’d have to see the article but I’m already considerably doubtful. 

  14. Under socialism, the profits of successful businesses are shared by their workers and by the public.

    By that definition, Bush/Obama-ism, whereby the losses of failed but politically connected companies are shared by the public, is not socialism in any way whatsoever.

  15. Yet another out of touch, megalomaniacal, corporatist asshole who takes money from the peasants only to use it against them.

    Remember that every time you shop at Whole Foods, you give more voice (money) to a piece of shit that hurts society.

    With your money, you help spread this idiot’s destructive message.

     Don’t shop at Whole Foods.

    1. y’know, it’s funny — everyone focuses on the one guy at the top but ignores the thousands of people who make their living working at the stores. From what I’ve seen and been told by some of the employees, the pay’s pretty good and they’re pretty good places to work, too.
      They’re also pretty good at educating their staff, and pretty good to work with as a vendor. Yes, they’re still focused on large, standardized-packaging, national-coverage producers, but unlike many other grocery chains WF is actually willing to work with local, small suppliers. I’ve dealt with a half-dozen other chains that wanted to, but simply couldn’t, accommodate that.

      You want to make an impact? Buy a single share of WFM. That gives you voting rights, so you can vote against the imbecile at the top.

      1. y’know, it’s funny — everyone focuses on the one guy at the top but ignores the thousands of people who make their living working at the stores.

        Hmm…. Perhaps that’s because he has oodles more power and a bully pulpit to air his extremist ideas.

      2. Uh no, I’m not going to invest in Whole Foods. I will divest my money from them as a consumer. No one who cares about the future of humanity should shop at Whole Foods. If the board removes the current CEO and denounces his idiotic, dangerous, bullshit about climate change… then we’ll talk.

        Climate change isn’t a fucking joke. Next summer when the sky is blood red again and the smoke keeps me from being outdoors getting healthy exercise, I’ll be stewing indoors thinking about how much I despise the Whole Foods CEO (among other moronic conservative/libertarian shit for brains). Trust me.

        1. I think I’ll pass on trusting you; you seem to be blissfully unaware of simple concepts like “shareholder engagement”.

          1. How about simple concepts of business the CEO should follow?

            You seem blissfully unaware of the power of consumer action.  Once again, I’m not giving those assholes my money.

            Your convoluted “plan” won’t work, period.  Hey everybody!  Go through all the trouble of investing in Whole Foods (and pray they don’t take the money and run with giant bonuses to the asshole CEO in the meantime).  Let’s all bump up the price so they can profit-take on the way out the door, that’ll show ’em.

            Let’s get everybody in a tight economy to spend money on stock in Whole Foods when they can simply take their good money elsewhere and send a clearer message.

            Yes, yes… a great plan… for me to poop on.

        2. Were you spending money at WF before this? No? Then your “boycott” is just a whole lot of hot air.

          Were you spending money there before and now have stopped, but never told anyone at WF why? See above.I think we’re done here.

          1. Were you spending money there before and now have stopped

            YES. I stopped a while ago and am continuing to do so as they keep screwing up. Are the various issues with Whole Foods news to you? This CEO dumbass has been saying crazy shit for a long while now.

            but never told anyone at WF why?

            NO. I notified Whole Foods a long time ago through change.org and will continue to do so as the CEO keeps spewing insane, destructive stupidity.

            Also, Whole Foods is going to see a drop in revenue as more and more people boycott them.

            If you still don’t understand, see the links in my previous post. Later.

          2. Glad to see it’s working out so well for you.

            You mean your broken link? Nope, it doesn’t work. Here, I’ll teach you how to use stock market quotes like business people do.

            Meanwhile, Kroger takes lead from Whole Foods. We’ll see if this trend continues and increases with the boycott down the road where people begin taking their money elsewhere.

            Meanwhile, because of the pressure from people threatening boycotts across the country (on their Facebook page, twitter, etc.), the Whole Foods board has obviously forced the CEO to begin retracting some of his statements… (too little, too late though). You seem to think it doesn’t matter, but for some strange reason the Whole Foods board felt they needed to address the issue on their Facebook page.

            Being the business-savvy person you are, I’m sure you would know that it’s too early to see what effect the boycott will have on the company’s valuation. We’ll just wait and see, won’t we?

            Also, if profits begin to drop in 2013, I guess we won’t be hearing back from you again, will we?

            Also, thanks for reminding me to print out some stupid shit the CEO says and put it on the front door of my local Whole Foods for the customers to see as they walk in. I hope you’ll do the same. ^_^

  16.  of course, the best reason not to shop at whole foods is that it’s horrendously overpriced and sells products with dubious ecological and nutritional benefits at a ridiculous markup to credulous dreadlocked/yoga-pantsed hipsters.

    1. Everyone says this (“Whole Paycheck, hur hur”) but you can spend totally normal and reasonable amounts on groceries at Whole Foods, particularly their house label 365. They just have a lot of fancy expensive stuff right next to the normal stuff, so people are tempted into impulse purchases of truffle oil and exotic cheese. And the standards they adhere to are, by and large, hardly dubious.

        1. And it’s (mostly, as L_Mariachi points out) less than the other stores in my area.  That’s why blanket statements don’t always work.

    2. Come to Whole Foods in Chicago, more like wealthy, yuppie mamas, literally* drinking wine while they shop.

      *you can get a cup/glass holder in your cart to drink your wine from the bar (yes there’s a massive bar inside) while you shop. Something I’d otherwise support fully…..

      1. Clearly, I need to have a chat with Trader Joe’s about upgrading my shopping experience. It’s hard pushing my cart with an open bottle of vodka in one hand.

      2. Let me guess: the one on Kingsbury.

        Avoid that one.  All privileged yuppies, all the time….and the most poorly laid-out aisles I’ve ever seen in any grocery store.

  17. My hometown’s Whole Foods has an odd juxtaposition, being just across the street from Chevron’s corporate headquarters.  Guess the two have more in common than you might think.  (I stopped shopping there when a Sprouts opened a few miles away.)

  18. Isn’t there a Union Carbide plant somewhere you folks could be picketing?

    Mackey certainly has a large ego (it’s certainly legendary among those who work at Whole Foods) and he is wrong-in-spirit if not in fact on the Global Warming thing, but he’s pro-Animal welfare, pro environment, pro-choice, and pro safety net.  He could probably use a friendly emailed reminder but the world (and the corporate world) has so many  more evil men that picking on Mackey seems just stupid.

    I’ve for example been stuck in the industrial sector without insurance for 20 years or so.  Two years ago my live in girlfriend in started working at Whole Foods.  Not only has she gotten five dollars an hour in raises since then, I now have insurance, AND I would have it even if she  were my boyfriend.

    From what I understand workers are treated at the least fairly if not well.  My girlfriend has certainly found that efffort given is rewarded.  I know there are companywide programs in place that compost the waste that isn’t already given to the poor.  I know that the company is committed (if only because it makes bottom line sense) to community education and community outreach.  And it’s interesting at the very least the pull they have created for themselves in food labelling–you could make the case if you wanted to that Whole Foods has actively kept other corporations from lying to the public

    Now, they are also flat out wrong in my opinion on GMO’s which I think are the only way to the feed the world moving forward, their corporate raidering in the last quarter of the twentieth century reminds you of A & P’s behavior in the last half of the nineteenth and yeah, Mackey’s a dope on Global Warming, but overall, I’d give them a meh at worst on global damage done. 

    Mackey’s a capitalist–not a shocker–most multi-millionaires are.

    There;’s a lot worse out there–and they ain’t hard to find.

    1. I like to think that rich belligerent ignorant mouthy sore losers should be prepared to take their lumps regardless of ther political beliefs. That way they can understand that their wealth does not mean they are immune to the contempt (and boredom) of other people.

    2. Is a union-busting boss who sometimes pretends to be green better than one who just spouts Limbaugh talking points?  Either way, you’re stuck near minimum wage without health insurance.

      1. Only because your comment was specifically in reply to mine will I respond by saying that if you had read my comment you would have seen that 1) employess have a good health insurance program available to them and 2) motivated employees are well above minimum wage–in my girlfriend’s opinion, one of the company’s main fualts is that it actually sends too much positive feedback to the less motivated.
        I’m starting to sound like a Whole Foods crusader, and I’m not, they’re just another company.  But let me just conclude:  Man, Wal-Mart is evil.

    3. “Isn’t there a Union Carbide plant somewhere you folks could be picketing?”

      It’s really the height of ignorance to demand that people stop disliking someone because there are more “important” people to dislike. Perhaps you should stop wasting your time with multiparagraph replies if you’re concerned about effort prioritization.

      1. CW:  On the internet when we come across replies longer than we care to read or are able to understand, instead of composing belligerent replies, we usually just say “tl;dr”

        1.  Weren’t you just criticizing someone for ignoring what you had written?  Wanna read CW’s comment again?

    4. and he is wrong-in-spirit if not in fact on the Global Warming thing, 


      More importantly, he buys into this “the amount on your paycheck is what you are actually worth to society” bullshit.  And there’s the fact that he would rather have society led by an unaccountable corrupt private sector (including himself, surprise surprise) than a barely accountable corrupt public sector.

  19. Fascism?  Where’s the union busting, state religion, censorship, torture, preemptive war, nationalism taught in schools obsession with fertility, repression of unconventional sex,  hatred of immigrants, and worship of a nonexistent past?  Because that’s Fascism.

      1. People who try to redefine “Fascism” are usually spouting Mein Kampf talking points and seem to be neo-fascists trying to fly under the radar.  This guy just sounds like a kook.

    1. They have a branch here because they bought out and renamed a small equivalent local chain… but I already boycott them due to their ridiculous prices.

  20. I don’t understand how this guy thinks it makes business sense to constantly piss off people who don’t agree with him politically.

    I personally pre-boycotted Whole Foods because it’s overpriced and filled with so many “woo” products.

    If you’re in NYC, Fairway is a superior (and apolitical) alternative.

  21. Can anyone explain to me (as a non-American) why some Americans have this hard-on about the evils of socialism? Living as I do in Australia, a country where we have public health cover, legalised abortion, gun control and until the 90s when certain governments decided to raise money by selling off state owned infrastructure like public transport, power and water utilities, these were all government owned too.

    Is it purely some word association because the USSR had the word Socialist in it that therefore everything socialist is evil, pinko, commie,scum?

    Socialism seems to work well here, and in places like Canada, the UK, Sweden, Norway, Finland and quite a few other European countries but I see the the word Socialist being bandied about like it means the Anti-Christ.

    1. The people in the US who use the word “socialist” incorrectly are willfully ignorant, and proud of it.  

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