Whole Foods

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

I plan to do a lot more shopping at Whole Foods in the coming weeks. Mostly in response to the moronic boycott of the store now gaining momentum on the left.

Let me see if I have the logic correct here: Whole Foods is consistently ranked among the most employee-friendly places to work in the service industry. In fact, Whole Foods treats employees a hell of a lot better than most liberal activist groups do. The company has strict environmental and humane animal treatment standards about how its food is grown and raised. The company buys local. The store near me is hosting a local tasting event for its regional vendors. Last I saw, the company’s lowest wage earners make $13.15 per hour. They also get to vote on what type of health insurance they want. And they all get health insurance. The company is also constantly raising money for various philanthropic causes. When I was there today, they were taking donations for a school lunch program. In short, Whole Foods is everything leftists talk about when they talk about “corporate responsibility.”

And yet lefties want to boycott the company because CEO John Mackey wrote an op-ed that suggests alternatives to single payer health care? It wasn’t even a nasty or mean-spirited op-ed. Mackey didn’t spread misinformation about death panels, call anyone names, or use ad hominem attacks. He put forth actual ideas and policy proposals, many of them tested and proven during his own experience running a large company. Is this really the state of debate on the left, now? “Agree with us, or we’ll crush you?”

These people don’t want a dicussion. They don’t want to hear ideas. They want you to shut up and do what they say, or they’re going to punish you.

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268 Responses to “Whole Foods”

  1. #1 |  a different Brian | 

    And this is a surprise to whom, exactly?

  2. #2 |  Augie | 

    The Democrats stole their strategy for pushing their healthcare reform right out of the Republican handbook. Smear and marginalize anyone who disagrees. An old trick that works in the short term, but the Republicans paid dearly for it in the end, so will the Democrats.

  3. #3 |  skunky | 

    and the fact that his op-ed said, in essence, buy food from my company and you won’t need health insurance. Like if you can’t afford health insurance, you have enough disposable income to shop at Whole Paycheck. Oh, and the guy’s a proven douche, having trolled on stock bulletin boards bad-mouthing his M&A targets.

    The guy is a hack, his food is overpriced, even for organic. Are liberals supposed to support companies and executives that actively work against their policy proposals? No. We have freedom of choice of where we shop, unless we live in a place where the only supermarket for 20 miles is a Wal Mart, etc. As do you. I hope you enjoy your overpriced groceries.

  4. #4 |  bobzbob | 

    I don’t understand how the medical industry is so successful in promoting the “medical malpractice” myth as John Mackey repeats it. Virtually everything you know about medical malpractice litigation and insurance is wrong. 9 out of 10 people injured by real medical malpractice never see a dime in compensation and rates are high because insurer profits are higher than other types of insurance. And conservatives and libertarians continue to promote restrictions on the ability of society to place financial accountability on those who are responsible through the justice system.

    http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/036480.html

  5. #5 |  Chaos | 

    I have to say that I agree with you, despite being strongly in favour of healthcare reform. It’s not my fight – I’m a foreigner, so all I can do is comment from the UK that it really looks to me like the US would be improved by it.

    But that doesn’t excuse stifling debate. Stopping lies and disinformation (on either side) is good, of course, but this is ridiculous. If he is wrong, or lying, or misleading in his points, address the point – you can’t simply boycott his businesses to shut him up, and claim the moral high ground in the debate.

  6. #6 |  Mary | 

    OK, fine, Radley, you’ve guilted me into paying $4 for a head of lettuce!

    Seriously though, Mackey makes a ton of sense. All of his suggestions for healthcare reform made sense, except that last one about making tax forms easier. WTH? Go FairTax!

  7. #7 |  Josh | 

    I like how “Shellac” states on Daily Kos that “These things [high deductible health insurance w/ HSAs] are part of the problem, not the solution.”

    Uhmmmm…..maybe I’m wrong here, but don’t those kind of plans have limited availability due to stringent regulations? They certainly aren’t widespread. And from what I’ve read, the people who have those are quite happy with them.

    But no, lets mandate everyone purchase third-party payer health insurance, and have the government mandate what kind of “benefits” you have in your mandated insurance, regardless of your need for said “benefit” and regardless of whether or not said “benefits” are affordable.

  8. #8 |  Bob Dole Lives! | 

    I’ll def. be swinging by to pick up the slack.

  9. #9 |  RGD | 

    These people don’t want a dicussion. They don’t want to hear ideas. They want you to shut up and do what they say, or they’re going to punish you.

    Yeah, because the right sure isn’t doing that in this debate, either…and they are crazy scared of crap that isn’t even real.

    Regardless, boycotting a company because of a practice in an attempt to force them to change that practice is a well-used and often-effective tactic by folks of any political persuasion to make themselves heard.

    Weren’t you the one arguing recently about people’s right to protest and scream their stupid heads off in what should otehrwise be civil public forums? And now you’re calling dirty politics because of people…screaming their stupid heads off as private citizens?

  10. #10 |  greenish | 

    That is a vile slander. You can usually find lettuce for $2 a head or less. ;-)

    Weren’t you the one arguing recently about people’s right to …? And now you’re calling dirty politics because of people…?

    Dude, this is like Libertarian rule #3 or something. “X is a right” != “X is awesome and I can never complain about it”

  11. #11 |  greenish | 

    Eww! I had no idea that my emoticon would be turned into an ugly little image. There oughta be a law!

  12. #12 |  Graham | 

    It’s hard to keep from snickering when people say the town-hall protestors just want to prevent the country from having a discussion about health care.

    It’s not a discussion. It’s a snake-oil sales pitch, and anyone who suggests there might be a better cure is denounced as a heretic by those shilling for the plan.

  13. #13 |  Iced Borscht | 

    I am totally adding a Whole Foods link to my site’s sidebar. What other companies do shrill leftists hate? I may have to introduce a whole new category of links.

  14. #14 |  Michael Chaney | 

    Um, who is lying about death panels? Read here before trying to say “Sarah Palin”:

    http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/83481/

  15. #15 |  Michael Chaney | 

    Hoo boy – more stupidity from Maricopa County:

    http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2009/08/14/20090814computers0815.html

    “A Maricopa County Superior Court judge on Friday ordered that the Sheriff’s Office divulge the password it forcefully installed on a county computer system linked to sensitive state and federal criminal-justice data.”

    They’re apparently also now investigating some judges in retaliation.

  16. #16 |  Joe Strummer | 

    Yeah. I won’t be shopping at Whole Foods. When John Mackey is prepared to write that Medicare and Medicaid should be scrapped, and the tax code revamped so as not to privilege employer provided health care, then maybe there’s a reason to patronize his shops. Until then, all I hear is more state capitalist bullshit: let’s market-base that and tax-credit this as part of a pro-market health reform. Shove it Mackey, and shove it all you “libertarians” who think this is the way to a free society.

  17. #17 |  thorn | 

    Michael, what does your link have to do with Whole Foods or healthcare?

  18. #18 |  drunkenatheist | 

    @skunky:

    My boyfriend and I did a cost comparison between Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s & local mainstream chains. WF was cheaper or negligibly higher than TJ’s and the mainstream chains for many things; I’m taking into consideration the quality of the food, what we’re using it for, etc. It’s funny, because I’m out of work and he works part-time for now (only 80 hours last month), yet we can still afford to shop there for a fair amount of our groceries. I’m sure it’s due in part to the fact that we live in Philly and all the local WFs have a fair amount of nearby competition, but as long as you aren’t buying meat there, I’ve never really WF to be “overpriced” food.

    Furthermore, this is how boycotting over Mackey’s opinion reads to me:

    Socialized health care helps poor people.
    John Mackey owns Whole Foods, a company that offers high wages for unskilled work.
    John Mackey doesn’t like socialized health care.
    I’m not shopping at Whole Foods any longer.

    Right, that’s going to help poor people. Keep shopping at union grocery stores that are run by crappy unions that are pretty ineffective at everything but taking union dues.

  19. #19 |  drunkenatheist | 

    @RGD: It only works if you actually gave your money to the store or service to begin with. As I’ve stated (either here or on Reason), the truth is that many of the Democrats I’ve known were more interested in giving me shit for shopping at Whole Foods than actually looking to see if it was better than union grocery stores. I know very few socialized health care lovin’ Democrats who ever spent so much as a buck there.

  20. #20 |  justin cook | 

    Bobzbob please substantiate that statement. The page you linked to does not do so.

    If this were true, other insurers would be motivated by that higher profit and would then enter the business, driving down the profit margin until it was in line with other types of insurance.

  21. #21 |  justin cook | 

    Whoop — please substantiate the statement when you say: rates are high because insurer profits are higher than other types of insurance.

    (guess I shouldn’t use brackets to note a quote)

  22. #22 |  Iced Borscht | 

    As a wingless political agnostic, I suggest a compromise:

    Leftists tone down all the white noise and admit that, yes, many criticisms of nationalized healthcare are not only valid, but essential and quite often justified. In return, ardent right-wingers swallow their pride and admit that, yeah, Sarah Palin is a disgrace.

  23. #23 |  Big Chief | 

    Radley, I’m surprised at you. The tolerant open-minded members of the left wing don’t want to silence opposition. That’s the type of thing those nasty right wing types do. They are merely trying to help us properly shape our minds. If we don’t learn efficiently enough, they’ll send us to wonderful government reeducation facilities where we can lose our outdated ideas and learn to appreciate total government control of our lives. Smile! It’s because they love us! Everyone else knows what’s best for you!!

  24. #24 |  anarch | 

    These people don’t want a dicussion. They don’t want to hear ideas. They want you to shut up and do what they say, or they’re going to punish you.

    Send ‘em to Hit & Run.

  25. #25 |  Steve C | 

    You might be interested in a report from outside the Reason bubble. Okay maybe not! But here goes.

    The left – let’s put sample names here as stand-ins – Rachel Maddow and Dan Savage and Ezra Klein – probably expect to have some sort of normal policy debate, instead what we get is something completely unserious – tossing around the word socialism, not to mention Nazi and 1984 and whatever.

    So you can imagine that someone who starts the conversation using the wacko right’s favorite term, which is inaccurate when speaking of the legislation actually under discussion, and which they themselves refuse to apply to Medicare and the VA system – when you start out an op-ed this way you’re signaling. It’s like saying, “fuck you”, and then covering that with a bunch of reasonable-sounding words so Radley Balko can write an intentionally dense blog post about why the left is so nutty AGAIN (really, when WILL they stop being the hippie strawmen that we libertarians know in our bones they are?).

    Coincidentally I was just writing an op-ed that begins, “not all Reason readers are Michigan militia-style gun nuts”. It’s a learned and reasonable piece on the state of gun rights in America, in which I make several bullet points worth of suggestions that include not allowing people to buy nuclear weapons and landmines. Who could disagree?

  26. #26 |  Michael Chaney | 

    Re: thorn

    Radley’s implying that Sarah Palin was wrong about the whole “death panel” thing (although he doesn’t mention her by name). Given that there was some truth to it, plus the fact that it was at Reason that we first found out about Oregon’s suicide suggestions, I find it inappropriate to keep trying to act like Palin’s an idiot over that.

  27. #27 |  Sam | 

    Using the market against economy amounts to tyranny! Wait…

  28. #28 |  Steve C | 

    #14 gets a grand slam. pajamasmedia. instapundit. I click through and there’s an ad for Ann Coulter. Article written by James Taranto. Extra base hit for the WSJ Opinion Page.

    The crux of the piece is this brilliant piece of reasoning:

    “One can hardly deny that Palin’s reference to “death panels” was inflammatory. But another way of putting that is that it was vivid and attention-getting. Level-headed liberal commentators who favor more government in health care, including Slate’s Mickey Kaus and the Washington Post’s Charles Lane, have argued that the end-of-life provision in the bill is problematic–acknowledging in effect (and, in Kaus’s case, in so many words) that Palin had a point.”

  29. #29 |  happy days | 

    Related, this post…

    http://www.eschatonblog.com/2009/08/crazy-is-pre-existing-condition.html

    ….at Eschaton is just amazing — radically illiberal liberal nostalgia for a mystical past when dissent was shoved to the margins and cultural authorities decided who was allowed to speak in the public sphere.

  30. #30 |  Katharine | 

    I’ve decided against boycotting Whole Foods, but what I took issue with in the editorial was two main things: 1. He used a brand to forward a political agenda. He brought the brand into it, and that was inappropriate. 2. The mean spirited part of the editorial was the opening with the Margaret Thatcher quotation insinuating that health insurance reform is equal to socialism, which is ludicrous. Mackey can’t claim ignorance on that one – he’s too worldly – and that was a dirty thing to claim. So, I’ve decided on balance that a boycott is going too far, for many of the reasons you put out there. But I won’t pretend that editorial was benign or that I was okay with it either. And I do very much want a debate. But debates where we accuse each other falsely with words like “socialism” and “fascism” etc. aren’t fair at all, and brands should be left out of it, and individuals should speak for themselves.

  31. #31 |  Lisa Stone | 

    He should not publicize his political views. That will always cause trouble.

  32. #32 |  Jay | 

    I’m looking forward to doing a bit more shopping at Whole Foods, now that I know all the shrill obnoxious boycott at the drop of a hat folks won’t be there for the next week.

    Also, Radley, keep up the good work. You seem to have a tough lot in life, what with most everyone believing that you’re way down at the opposite end of the political spectrum from them. I appreciate the effort.

  33. #33 |  Tsu Dho Nihm | 

    Overall I like what Mr. Mackey had to say about healthcare. He had a couple of things wrong (tort was the most obvious – it has nearly nothing to do with health care costs), but the basic message was to get government out of the way. I’d have been considerably more enthusiastic about his op-ed if he hadn’t turned half of it into a commercial for his stores.

    Full disclosure – I occasionally shop at Whole Foods (as well as Trader Joe’s, Marsh, Kroger, Meijer, Georgetown Market, and local produce co-ops) and will continue to do so as long as the price/quality is to my liking. They could all drone on about any old thing they want and I won’t give a damn. Just give me the stuff I want at a good price.

  34. #34 |  CK | 

    I am attempting to join the local Death Panel. http://www.sss.gov/

  35. #35 |  Tsu Dho Nihm | 

    #28 | Steve C | August 15th, 2009 at 9:41 pm
    …click through and there’s an ad…

    There’s a cure for that:
    1) Install Firefox
    2) Install the Adblock Plus add-on

    And don’t judge websites too harshly on the ads you see. Oftimes the ads are automated depending on the content of the page. I can certainly be embarrassing, but it can also keep a good site online.

  36. #36 |  Tsu Dho Nihm | 

    Well, when I said “I can be embarrassing” I meant “It can be embarrassing”.

    But that doesn’t change the fact that I can be embarrassing, too.

  37. #37 |  Joe Strummer | 

    Libertarians want to end Social Security. They want to end Medicare, Medicaid. They want to end the VA. They want to end public schools. They want to eliminate state schools including those with medical schools. They want to eliminate state boards of medical licensing. They want to end the drug war. They want to create a single rate tax system with no tax credits. They want to eliminate the FDA, Centers for Disease Control, Department of Education, Homeland Security, Interior, EPA, DEA, FBI, and the Fed. They want to eliminate your state’s Insurance Commissioner, consumer product safety commission. If they could, they’d do it all tomorrow. They want to privatize your roads, and disarm your police. They want to legalize all drugs, including crack cocaine and meth. They want to release some 2-3 million from prison tomorrow who are in there solely for drug convictions. They want to end wars abroad, bring troops home tomorrow from Iraq and Afghanistan. They want to shut down NATO.

    Agree with it or not, that’s what they want.

    Then there’s John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods.

    John Mackey wants to impose unspecified “cost controls” on Medicare. He wants to tweak the tax code to create a subsidy for private health insurance. He wants protect corporations against med mal liability. He says nothing about the VA or Medicaid, or the FDA, or the state licensing boards that certify your doctor.

    So the idea that John Mackey is advancing any ideas that are anywhere close to libertarianism is so fucking laughable. Instead, what Mackey’s got on tap is a mish-mash of state capitalist gobbledy-gook.

    Why do “libertarians” have anything nice to say about John Mackey’s bullshit? Because libertarians have spent the last 40 years taking money from corporate America, from conservatives, and from foundations established by businessmen. And in order to court a John Mackey, you have to smile and say “More please” when he serves up his shit.

    Second, some “libertarians” have come to believe that a free society is just never going to happen. The best they can hope for is to be “reasonable” and “practical” and maybe some of their “ideas” will make it somewhere. Like the tiny HSA provision in a massive Medicare Drug benefit bill. For the “school choice” provisions in the NCLB.

    Throw them a few crumbs, and they’ll come back for more.

    So I agree with what Steve C. says. For the purposes of this conversation, John Mackey is acting in bad faith, and so are the libertarians who claim to think his column advances anything. This country has had socialism at its core from the days of federal building of the Erie Fucking Canal to the Post Office to Social Security, and the Veterans Administration, and yes Medicare and Medicaid.

    So if he wants to trot out the “socialism” card, he can go back to selling a bunch of junk at his overpriced and crappy stores: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/aug/05/whole-foods-boss-junk-food

    And as far as “regional produce goes”, I’ll be buying from the corner vegetable stand.

  38. #38 |  thorn | 

    Given that there was some truth to it, plus the fact that it was at Reason that we first found out about Oregon’s suicide suggestions, I find it inappropriate to keep trying to act like Palin’s an idiot over that

    Thanks for the extended explanation; i had clicked the link, but wasn’t getting the connection you were trying to communicate.

  39. #39 |  BoogerPresley | 

    a new addition to the “shortest joke in the world” thread: Balko on healthcare. Nothing posted here has addressed the concept of pooled risk which is fundamental to the concept of insurance, and most “improvements” suggested actually go against the grain of how risk pools works.

  40. #40 |  Bingo | 

    Picked up some hummus and some beer at Whole Foods this evening. It’s wayyy out the way from my usual haunts (actually have to drive instead of bike) but intelligent discourse shouldn’t be punished.

    Still find it scary that there are a substantial number of leftists that support passing 1000 page legislation without reading or debating it.

  41. #41 |  hmm | 

    As soon as I saw an article about this I showed it to my wife. Her response was asking what I wanted for dinner from Whole Foods. I headed there again tonight. I think I will make a daily habit of it for at least the next week.

  42. #42 |  Greg C | 

    I participate in a few non-political forums that have a lot of “leftist” members. I was surprised at the widespread hate Mackey received. I honestly can’t even begin to understand where the “arguments” and boycott talk come from. I guess it’s just ” this guy does not unconditionally support 100% socialized health care. He is evil.” No attempt to debate a single position, just ” this point is stupid” or “that won’t help anyone.”

    One thing I really don’t understand is the extreme hatred of high deductible or other insurance that to me makes the MOST sense. I have done the math many times and there is a certain coverage with a sweet spot between cost/risk that makes the most sense. I understand a comprehensive health insurance that 100% covers going to the ER for a cold or to get a bandaid makes sense for some people ( well, not really). That’s why it’s good to have choices.

    FWIW, I will keep shopping at Wal-Mart. No Whole Foods within a reasonable distance. Wal-Mart has low prices and probably treats employers better than local competitors in my area, including unionized grocery stores ( where unions charge fees to secure minimum wage positions).

  43. #43 |  Mr. Reynolds | 

    I can’t believe that the folks pushing the boycott don’t see the irony.

    “I’m angry that Mr. Mackey suggests that a competitive, marke-based solution to the heathcare issue is better that a single, government-run option! To show my anger, I’m going to use a competitive, market-based response and take my business elsewhere!”

    I would suggest that the boycotters read some O. Henry, but they’d probably find something saying he was a libertarian and decide to take their business to Alanis Morrissette…

  44. #44 |  uila | 

    These people don’t want a dicussion. They don’t want to hear ideas. They want you to shut up and do what they say, or they’re going to punish you.

    Let’s not pretend Mackey’s op-ed was meant to inject new ideas into the health care reform effort. He wanted to squeeze a turd into the punchbowl. The changes he proposes would be a radical departure from the core tenets that (most) dems are trying to get through (employer mandates and the public option). So publishing his comments now, in the midst of a heated battle for hearts and minds, he is in effect trying to scuttle the current reform effort. The only thing “moronic” is thinking no one on the left would notice.

    Christ, I love a good boycott, give me half a reason. Our money is the only thing we as citizens have any fucking control over anyway. You really think I shouldn’t “punish” a guy who tries to step on my political goals? I’m curious, would it play any role in your shopping habits to learn that the CEO of some company was actively working to curtail your gun rights? When is a boycott justified?

  45. #45 |  xenophrenia | 

    So – one of the main ways that the sacred Free Market hails as it’s way of keeping it line is used and then those who use this legitimate tool to reign in an aspect of the Free Market – and suddenly it’s an evil tool. Wow. Sounds to me like it’s only a good thing when it is for something you believe in but it’s a bad thing when it’s used against something you believe in.

    Oh and let’s use the guilt provoking image of putting people out of work. How dare to you express you’re opinion to a company because you are hurting the employees. Wait – we should let companies and their overpaid CEO’s do whatever they want because we might effect others. Never mind what their actions effect – nah – let’s just not upset those at the top because it will be taken out on those at the bottom.

    Amazing.

  46. #46 |  perlhaqr | 

    I see you’ve attracted the wrath of the Kossacks with this one, Radley.

  47. #47 |  Phelps | 

    Silly monkey, that’s not what “corporate responsibility” means. It means giving all your profits to the Democrats and parroting whatever talking points the DNC send out that morning.

  48. #48 |  Jay | 

    Cute. It’s like when the right-wing blogosphere is all up in arms because Google didn’t make a Google Doodle in honor of President’s Day, and they all claim to be boycotting them, and using Dogpile.com instead.

    Mackey shouldn’t be too worried. Where else are they going to get their Kombucha?

    /Jay

  49. #49 |  old | 

    Mackey is just another rich guy that got his. I thought all these incredibly intelligent C.E.O.’s were going ‘Galt’ and were going to deprive the world of their incredible insights and their great ability to make dough. Fuck the rich.

    Hey, guess what? It is my dough, and I get to spend it anywhere I want, including not at Whole Foods.

  50. #50 |  old | 

    Who will stand for the C.E.O. of this Company? Who will speak on behalf of this poor Mackey? Who will dare defy the great left wing of the political parties of the great land of ours? Who? Who will write I am going to shop at Whole Foods more due to this? These poor companies, these poor C.E.O.’s who have done nothing other than try to learn a living, and publish op-eds about how people should not have health care. Who will stand, who will shout down the lefties at town halls? Who?

  51. #51 |  Michael Pack | 

    I don’t think the government or the employer should be paying for insurance,third party payers is a major problem with the health system.

  52. #52 |  CK | 

    @Old
    Those who have gone Galt have done it quietly. Those who talk about going Galt will never go. It is not so much that they would deprive the world of their incredible ability to enjoy life, it is that they would prefer not to be nibbled to death by le grande mass of moral midgets that makes up society..

  53. #53 |  Matt I. | 

    Yeah, because forcing people into getting ‘high deductible’ i.e. useless insurance and preventing malpractice suits is so in line with personal freedom.

    Fuck Whole Foods. Of course, I never shopped their to begin with.

  54. #54 |  fishbane | 

    “Agree with us, or we’ll crush you?”

    Um, really? Some yuppies being indignant about where they get their soyburgers is that threatening?

    I mean, sure, the “boycot” is silly, but so is calling this some sort of example of the Iron Fist of the Left.

    What’s next, the comfy chair?

  55. #55 |  Rob S | 

    Remember the games played with Google not so far back where searching for ‘incompetent’ returned George W. Bush as the top link? It’s be nice to see that flipped, so that searching ‘clueless hippies’ returns dailykos.com as the first result.

  56. #56 |  Rob S | 

    Matt I: ‘Force’? I’m intrested to understand how you make the leap from “Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts (HSAs)” to “forcing people into ‘high deductible’ insurance”. That’s quite a leap – are you sure you aren’t just finding things you want to find? If I make the suggestion that we legalize non-pasteurized milk for sale, should my opponent attack me for wanting to force non-pasteurized milk on America? That’s.. um. Silly. Or stupid. Or just downright deceptive, I’m not sure which.

    It’s neither an honest argument nor is it any sort of appeal to reason but it sure is fodder for reactionaries. That’s appropriate when arguing why your sports team is the baddest-ass of ‘em alll, but I’d say the problems of our country deserve a more honest dialogue then that. It’d be great if we lived in an environment where the reactionary tactic resulted in an instant loss; the electorate would immediately realize that ploy for what it is – an insult to their intelligence. Be nice if it rained Skittles every now and then too, but I’m not holding my breath. At least not while a site like Kos gets traffic.

  57. #57 |  DJB | 

    Joe, You are right, but I still support changes at the margin.

  58. #58 |  bobzbob | 

    “If this were true, other insurers would be motivated by that higher profit and would then enter the business, driving down the profit margin until it was in line with other types of insurance.”

    Only if assume that the free market functions as theorized, often it doesn’t. Barriers to entry are a common problem that distort the market.

    http://www.insurance-reform.org/TrueRiskF.pdf

    • Medical malpractice insurer profits are higher than the rest of the property casualty
    industry, which has been remarkably profitable over the last five years.
    • The periodic premium spikes that doctors experience, as they did from 2002 until 2005,
    are not related to claims but to the economic cycle of insurers and to drops in investment
    income.

    and:

    •According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), in 2007 the
    medical malpractice insurance industry had an overall return on net worth of 15.6%, well
    over the 12.5% overall profit for the entire property/casualty industry.
    • In 2007, medical malpractice insurer profit based just on insurance transactions, that is,
    just on the premiums they took in, was 24.6%. This was more than double the amount on
    insurance transactions for the entire industry (11.0%).

    • Put another way, medical malpractice insurers believe
    they will pay out in claims only 61.1 cents for each premium dollar they take in.

  59. #59 |  Cornellian | 

    I agree with some of the things he said but not others. But even if I had disagreed with everything he said I wouldn’t have considered it grounds to stop shopping at Whole Foods. I go to a grocery store for the groceries, not because I like or dislike the political views of its CEO.

  60. #60 |  Wise Health News & Topics » Blog Archive » Beet Juice whole foods internet forum | 

    […] The Agitator » Blog Archive » Whole Foods […]

  61. #61 |  Mattocracy | 

    No one is forcing anyone to get high deductible insurance. To be honest, libertarians don’t want to force anyone to do anything, including forcing them to buy health insurance at all if they don’t want to. There are no provisions to allow people to opt out of government HC if they choose. That’s not freedom.

    A good portion the health care bill is devoted to monitoring people’s personal activity, information gathering, and outlining severe punishments for non-compliance. This is comparable to the Patriot Act in the sense that the bill is more about big brothering Americans than protecting us from terrorism or providing adequate health services. I can’t help but think that if this was President McCain’s health care proposal, it would be ridiculed accordingly by the left.

    I don’t understand how people who agree with universal health care can support Obama care. The reforms he is proposing are not what everyone thinks they are. People are projecting their health care opinions onto the reform bill thinking that’s what the bill will do. The left seems to making the same mistakes with Obama and HC as the right did with Bush and terrorism.

  62. #62 |  bobzbob | 

    “I go to a grocery store for the groceries, not because I like or dislike the political views of its CEO.”

    Would you support (by buying from them) an organization who’s advertising supports speech you find dangerous to the country? Let’s say the CEO was an outspoken NeoNazi?

  63. #63 |  divadab | 

    As usual, the dialog of those rendered deaf by ideology. I include libertarianism, socialism, nationalism, capitalism – tools to divide people from themselves and allow the greedy power-apes to control.

    If your first response to an argument is to dismiss the person making it as a “leftist” or a “ditto-head”, you’re part of the problem.

    Anyway – why would anyone buy food from an establishment owned by a man who is basically saying “let them eat cake”? He has his platinum health plan and doesn’t want anyone who isn’t a corporate slave to have the same at his expense.

    And to those who now say “I will shop at Whole Foods to spite the lefties” – fucking grow up. What are you – a middle school cheerleader? You think like one…….

  64. #64 |  Enyap | 

    So Uila any objection to leftwing ideas is just squeezing a turd into the punchbowl. What happened to that bipartisan discussion we were supposed to have about healthcare.

  65. #65 |  divadab | 

    Oh ya – How can any sensible person take anything that lying ignorant Sarah Palin says seriously?

    Unless you reflexively support her because “she’s on our side”. Fucking homie retards.

  66. #66 |  Stacy | 

    Couple of things.

    First, I read your links, and while it is interesting about the liberal groups treatment of their employees, this isn’t about that, it’s about, you know, Whole Foods.

    Second, I found the link about the top companies to work for interesting. If you take a look at some of the other companies listed, the reasons they are good companies to work for is because of what they offer employees. For example, #17 explains how the company execs cut their own benefits in order to help pay for severance packaged, which is a nice thing to do. Whole Foods’ writeup is simply that it’s an organic store, which the employees like, which really has no bearing on their treatment. Teachers often like their employment as well, being that it’s a noble calling, but this has no bearing on their actual treatment by school administrators (which often is less then satisfactory).

    Third, I note that there isn’t a link for the claim that they sell local. They have actually come under criticism for misrepresenting this in the past (New York Times, “Is Whole Foods Straying from it’s Roots?”, 2007), even going so far as to put up pictures of local farmers while importing the product from out of state. I believe Michael Pollen gave them a vicious critique about this practice in the Ominvore’s Dilemma, pointing to the rise of corporate organic farming due to Whole Foods’ popularity.

    Forth, I’m not sure why it’s wrong for people to boycott the store if they disagree with it’s values. In a truly libertarian society, would consumer activism be a main way of working towards progressive goals? Why would someone that supports a liberal health-care plan be obligated to support a company whose values differ? That’s like saying that the claim to shop their more because you like Mackey’s plan is stupid. It’s not. Support the companies that share your values. I can understand hard-core liberals not getting this (because they’d rather use the government so they don’t have to sacrifice their weekly Whole Foods outing), I can understand hard-core conservatives not getting this (because they only support grassroots activism from “real Americans that think just like them” – when it benefits them),

    I can’t understand libertarians getting all pissed off about it. So liberals are wrong if they try to use government to enact change, but also wrong if they try to use the market to enact change too? What exactly were you wanting them to do? I’d think consumer activism of this sort should be encouraged, not insulted, if we ever want to allow the market to have a stronger impact then government.

    Cheers,

    ~ Stacy

  67. #67 |  James | 

    If he wants to use a nonsensical, purely-political term like “obamacare” and open with a quote about socialism, then Whole Foods deserves a boycott for making him its CEO.

    And I’m not going to give them my business (or even a cookie) just because they do things that should be REQUIRED.

  68. #68 |  John Markley | 

    Uila wrote,

    “Let’s not pretend Mackey’s op-ed was meant to inject new ideas into the health care reform effort. He wanted to squeeze a turd into the punchbowl. The changes he proposes would be a radical departure from the core tenets that (most) dems are trying to get through (employer mandates and the public option). So publishing his comments now, in the midst of a heated battle for hearts and minds, he is in effect trying to scuttle the current reform effort.”

    I find this statement fascinating. Mackey is proposing something that would be a “radical departure” from what the mainstream of the ruling party advocates… and for precisely that reason he is NOT trying to “inject new ideas into the health care reform effort.” Something only counts as a legitimate “new idea” if it is a proposal to slightly tweak the details of what those in power desire. I’m not surprised by this- it is the standard liberal mentality- but I seldom see it expressed so clearly and openly.

    You remind me of the way some of the neocons would argue during the Bush administration: it was OK to discuss some of the details of Bush’s foreign and military policy, provided you kept it within the bounds of arguments like, “Was the surge a brilliant idea, or a REALLY brilliant idea?” or debating whether our next unprovoked invasion should be launched at Syria or Iran. Suggesting that American warmongering as a whole was was a bad policy, however, was “unserious.” (Or America-hating, or dhimmitude, or whatever.) Neoconservatism has its origins among leftists who turned against the Democratic Party in the 60s and 70s because of their distaste for the New Left, so the resemblance is not surprising.

    I encourage everyone to keep this in mind when liberals express a desire for “debate” or discussion” or “conversation,” or whine that their opponents are not interested in these things. They’re not talking about a meaningful exchange of ideas. They’re talking about people who already agree with them on all fundamental points hashing out the technocratic details of how the left-liberal program would be implemented. This is the stance liberals always adopt when they’re in power- you’re only a legitimate participant in “discussion” if you’ve already submitted.

  69. #69 |  RGD | 

    @drunkenatheist: Fair enough, and I do agree with you there that it’s damn silly for someone to have a heart attack over it. Is WF the lesser evil? From your presentation, sounds like it.

  70. #70 |  Steve C | 

    “No one is forcing anyone to get high deductible insurance. To be honest, libertarians don’t want to force anyone to do anything, including forcing them to buy health insurance at all if they don’t want to. There are no provisions to allow people to opt out of government HC if they choose. That’s not freedom.”

    “Freedom” in this case means allowing one of the most obvious forms of moral hazard to run rampant – nobody will let his neighbor die, and neighbors know this. The hardened individualist “alternative” just isn’t how people work, and there are dire economic consequences to pretending otherwise.

  71. #71 |  Abdul | 

    Actually, the starting wage in NYC is 10 dollars an hour not 13.75.

  72. #72 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Good to know the lefty-liberal-socialist-commie Democrats are no better at making a cogent argument than the torture-anyone-that-isn’t-Toby-Keith Republicans.

    As I pointed out, now is the time for young libertarians to mate with Republicans (while they are out of power). Then, we’ll bang the liberals once a Republican gets back in office. And so it goes. Today they love, tomorrow they hate (when they are in office). But never, never do either ever make any sense.

  73. #73 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Health insurance used to be one of the best developments of the past 25 years. What took Congress so long to completely attack and destroy it?

    Oh yeah, GWB got 8 years by some miracle.

    Dems: Killing innovation whenever they can.

  74. #74 |  Jordynne | 

    I ‘ve boycotted Whole Foods forever – because I’m disabled and to survive I must stretch my monthly SS stipend. But you won’t see me boycotting Aldi. Or Wal-Mart. Say what you like about those stores, but the poor and disabled can afford to shop them for sustenance – but not for any bien pensant Gaia-protecting membership badge to show off to our We Know What’s Best For Everyone Snobs’ Club.

  75. #75 |  Capt. Clown | 

    “They want you to shut up and do what they say, or they’re going to punish you.”

    Can we please be honest and admit that “They” is Government? If you think the 2000-2008 GOP wasn’t the closest thing this country ever had to fascism, you’re kidding yourself. The goal of Government is always to obtain more power. Always.

  76. #76 |  joe | 

    Let’s go over Mackey’s article point by point.

    #1. high deducable HSA blah blah

    “Our team members therefore spend their own health-care dollars until the annual deductible is covered (about $2,500) and the insurance plan kicks in. This creates incentives to spend the first $2,500 more carefully”

    So if you’re unskilled, lower middle class, struggling to survive on 28k/yr, you should fork over 12% of your net income – 1.5 months wage – for your routine medical needs.

    #2. tax benefit stuff. fine, great idea.

    #3. repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines.

    wtf this means to somebody without insurance, I haven’t a clue. but every republican is shilling this one, so it must be top on the industry’s agenda.

    #4 . Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover.

    oookay …. riiight

    #5. Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits

    legal lobby, meet health care lobby.

    #6. Make costs transparent blah blah

    sure. that’s great. can I have my insurance now please?

    #7. Enact Medicare reform

    I’ll get back to you in 20 years on this one. right now I just want coverage.

    #8. revise tax forms to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation blah blah

    great idea. I bet he got real stoned one night and just thought this one up all by himself.

    Now that we’ve dispensed with Mackey’s proposals, this is the reason behind the boycott:

    “Health care is a service that we all need, but just like food and shelter it is best provided through voluntary and mutually beneficial market exchanges. A careful reading of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution will not reveal any intrinsic right to health care, food or shelter. That’s because there isn’t any. This “right” has never existed in America”

    Some of us beg to differ. We believe inherent to life and liberty is food, shelter, and medical care. Pay for it, fine, but in the end these things are a right, not a privilege. That’s why I’m boycotting Whole Foods.

  77. #77 |  Umesh Patil | 

    True Whole Foods may be most ‘employee friendly’ grocery store around. But it is most expensive too. I like ‘Traders Joe’ much better than obnoxious Whole Foods though I do like few items from there (bread, soups, salads, etc.)

    Whole Foods never offered ‘value for money’ for an average worker – not in past, not currently. No matter what its CEO writes in the news paper – it is way too upscale grocery store for many average workers like me.

    It stinks when it comes for ‘value for money’. Boycott or no boycott; my wallet and their prices ensure that I do not frequent that shop very often at all. Not for nothing it is called ‘Whole Paycheck’ grocery store.

  78. #78 |  James D | 

    Good God, everyone who actually works for a living and might want to keep some of it, hide your wallets! The Kossacks are here!

  79. #79 |  frank stallone | 

    If Mackey’s concern for the uninsured is such that a simplified method of voluntary donations is the most he feels needs to be said on the subject, while he trots out the old complaints about tort reform as being more crucial to solving the healthcare crisis, then he can go scratch his ass. Boycotting his store is not necessary; too many of the employers are probably decent, non-libertarian knobs and if they feel well treated, then they deserve support. But Mackey himself is just another I-got-mine jerk reading the history of this country through his own biased politics.

  80. #80 |  Mark | 

    “Mackey didn’t spread misinformation”

    Ah, but he did. He claimed that there were 830,000 people on waiting lists in Canada (which is a misrepresentation, but that’s what you get when you get your facts from Investor’s Business Daily), and, while comparing Canada to California in size, failed to note that California just eliminated health insurance for 900,000 children.

    There’s more, but Mackey basically came off as an ignorant blowhard who was trying to bait people. Why defend that?

  81. #81 |  Kathleen Hussein in Maine | 

    Mackey makes some obvious points. Yes we should all make better food choices and exercise more. We should incent those behaviors and not reward others. And it’s nice that his employees are paid above minimum wage. I don’t think he could get away with his markups otherwise. In fact, as has been pointed out, so many of WF’s practices appeal to liberals. So you guys can make fun of us if we turn around and say “wait-a-hold-it” when he puts out a piece with classic conservative black-and-white thinking: Here’s how to fix it. Be like me. And the Margaret Thatcher insight doesn’t inspire in 2009 when capitalism has run through everyone’s money and collapsed confidence to depression levels. Yes, please, let the free market roar. Thusly, we’re giving him a taste of his own medicine. We don’t like his tone. We don’t like his Ayn Rand worldview. I don’t want to punish his employees or his local suppliers, but I want him, personally, to be discomfited by his foolishness. Not the foolishness of his opinion, which he has every right to own. The boneheadedness of his shitting where he eats. Or where he sells what he’d like us to eat. If the rest of you want to go out of your way to support Whole Foods because of his comments, have at it. But I must believe his stockholders and his crisis management team aren’t thrilled with the bad PR petard he has hoisted himself upon. They probably sell a colon cleanse for that.

  82. #82 |  your momma | 

    it would be great if those marketing slogans you write about are true, but the company doesn’t make any special effort to buy locally or to achieve any of the other points you tried to make, they just use those as marketing ploys for gullible rich people like yourself.

  83. #83 |  Kathleen Hussein in Maine | 

    James D — Patrick Appel at Andrew Sullivan linked to this. Sorry to spoil your party.

  84. #84 |  George | 

    The reason not to shop at whole foods is because their food is “fake” organic and they get away with charging you a premium for food that is pretty far afield from actual organic food production. not that organic food is better (i just happen to prefer fewer chemicals and stronger flavors), but they shouldn’t get credit as a local, organic grocery when they are just an upscale Food Lion/Jewel-Osco/Winn-Dixie.

    That said, Mackey is at least advancing ideas that are not just “the government must takeover or else” and he shouldn’t be faulted for that. I don’t find his ideas that compelling (medicine should just be like anything else that we consume, TVs, food, gas, etc and the consumer should pay out of pocket and let me the market respond to outrageous pricing). Boycotting, however, is just dumb in this situation. WF is a great employer and punishing (like this boycott ever could!) a business that provides a decent place to work for workers at this end of the labor spectrum is just dumb. Who cares what the CEO’s personal views are? Only those who occupy such a position of privilege that any potential effect on WF workers is irrelevant so long as one’s pure expression of conscience is allowed to shine out to the world through the boycott.

  85. #85 |  Mattocracy | 

    Way to go Divadab, you make such convincing arguments calling us all idiots. You want us to grow up? How childish are you to act like a total ass on the internet where you can be safe behind your monitor.

  86. #86 |  rox | 

    don’t have a whole foods
    could not afford to go there if we did
    thought oped was a “let them eat cake” move
    people have the right to boycott whomever they want – regardless of your opinions so I support their right to do it
    I don’t think a people who have health care should be to vote on whether health care should be available or affordable for everyone else.

    Mackay should not bring politics into his business if he doesn’t want people to disagree with him and take it out on his business.

  87. #87 |  Robert | 

    I don’t know if this has been said, but I take issue with Whole Foods as a store, not whatever the CEO did. My local store has never sold anything relatively local (at least that I’ve seen). Whole Foods has a reputation for being organic, and yet many of its items are not organic, but marked up pricewise as if they are. What organic items they sell come from California or some place far away from where I’m from and the transport carbon emissions do away with any benefit the organic food might have had.

  88. #88 |  Jo | 

    Oh please. This has NOTHING to do with quashing debate, free speech, etc. (see the rabid hyperbole of your last paragraph). John Mackey is entitled to his opinion, and good on him for turning his little health food store into such a worldwide success that he gets to express that opinion in the WSJ. I have no problem with that.

    However, as a working class American who is disgusted by the relentless greed of so many, I do have a BIG problem supporting any company whose founder, CEO, and public face espouses ideas about health care that ignore the working poor and encourage the financial ruin of anyone who gets sick through no fault of their own.

    I and others like me can’t get our words into the WSJ whenever we feel like it. We have little access to real political power, but we CAN speak with our meager consumer dollars. Mine will get spent elsewhere. Simple as that.

  89. #89 |  Jeff Fecke | 

    I’m boycotting them simply because their CEO is terminally stupid. Seriously, if your clientèle is 98% lefties, you might not want to write a column in the WSJ attacking the current centerpiece of the left’s domestic policy agenda.

    Incidentally, a boycott is not stifling debate; boycotts are themselves a form of free speech. Just as is your right, Radley, to spend a lot more at Whole Foods to support them, it is my right to deny them my money. After all, if liberty begins with personal property rights, I have the right to dispose of my money in any way I see fit. If that means I choose not to support companies whose policies I oppose…well, it seems to me that’s the very heart of a libertarian approach to corporate governance. But what do I know? I’m a crazy leftist.

  90. #90 |  Mattocracy | 

    For those people who believe in universal HC, I say that you and anyone else who agrees with you should be free to participate in a universal HC plan if you wish. I just don’t understand why the rest of us who don’t share your morals and values should be pushed into something that we don’t agree with. Why are we not allowed to opt out of paying for and participating in welfare programs if we choose to do so?

    A tenant of Libertarianism is that one morality law that can be justified simply by the values of a voting block opens the door for more of the same. Our opposition to universal HC has to do with being free from the moral thugary of the masses. If we can make HC a moral obligation from everyone because of the values of a few or a majority, then the same rationale can be used to say “I feel like drugs are bad for you so we have to force prohibition onto everyone” or “I feel like terrorists have to be stopped no matter what so everyone’s bank accounts and emails should be monitored.”

    You might think us mean and selfish and the like, but so what. If you don’t like the way someone thinks, then leave them alone. That’s really what this boils down to. Don’t make us pay, and we won’t participate. Why can’t that ever be an option?

  91. #91 |  de stijl | 

    So the Left’s boycott of Whole Foods is worse than the Right’s boycott of advertisers who’ve fled Glenn Beck’s show?

    (Ick! I just linked to RedState which is as bad as linking to DailyKos.)

  92. #92 |  drunkenatheist | 

    @diva: lulz, I don’t think anyone here is claiming that Sarah Palin is omg! fighting the good fight! You might want to re-think that “retard” comment.

    @Stacy & ulia:

    John Mackey, a high-ranking EMPLOYEE of Whole Foods, has an opinion. That isn’t the same as the COMPANY holding an opinion. If I’ve missed it, my apologies, but I haven’t yet come across a press release from Whole Foods that says “Whole Foods Hates Socialized Health Care and Likes Raping Puppies. Yeeehaw!”

    A boycott against Whole Foods based on the OPINION of an employee is akin to my (former) boss telling me that our clients were boycotting us because I, the receptionist, am pro-choice.

    Your employer shouldn’t be subject to boycott or financial loss based on an opinion you hold – regardless of how un/popular it is. There’s something pretty fucking stupid about that, and for that basis alone, my boyfriend and I plan to amp up the number of Whole Foods shopping trips we make.

  93. #93 |  central texas | 

    I was looking for the footnote that explained why YOUR political statement (buying more often from Whole Foods) was so much more privileged than that of the protesters who intended to buy less

  94. #94 |  Spence | 

    Why is deciding to vote with your pocketbook “quashing dissent”? No on is throwing John Mackey in, jail, they are just deciding they don’t want to feather his retirement account any further. Isn’t that exactly a function of, oh, what do you call it? Yeah, the free market?

    It’s true that the outrage is silly, but for a lot of Whole Foods shoppers, maybe this is the first time they have realized that the company they love is being directed by an Ayn Rand-loving imbecile (and I would consider him an imbecile just because he was not savvy enough to see this coming). So for them, it’s like finding out that your favorite Uncle Buck is actually wanted in three states for bigamy, fraud, and tax evasion.

    Yeah, they are reacting a bit too emotionally. Yeah, Whole Foods does some good things (though you are overstating your case, and your cliched understanding of what counts for good on “the left” was dated about 1989). But hey, their CEO opened his mouth and let his Libertarian freak flag fly, in middle of an overheated and very personal public debate. Duh.

    They are a company that went from a commitment to healthy food to a commitment to catering to overpriced foodie whims. As occasionally happens, their public image drifted from their reality, until this particular gaffe popped the suspension of disbelief for people and they stopped to ask themselves if they really needed to spend their money there. As they realized that Whole Foods was now less farmer’s market and more Dean and Deluca, they decided they didn’t need it anymore. Funny irony is that John Mackey, just a few weeks ago, gave an interview about how WF had drifted from its healthy food mission. Then he went and did this.

    Fine, if I don’t like it, I’ll by my overpriced produce somewhere else. Preferably from a farmer. That’ the beauty of America, man.

  95. #95 |  Chance | 

    What Jeff said. All I ever see on this site is preaching about what the government shouldn’t do and how we should all just spend our money the way we wish through the free market to make social changes (e.g. eat at the non smoking restaurant, boycott the smoking ones, etc). But when a group you don’t like actually does so, it’s a bad thing that . Go back to your libertarian social club where you don’t win elections, you’re all talk when it comes to revolution, and you just gripe about how things weren’t like this back in some mythological time just before the McKinley Administration. You’re irrelevant.

  96. #96 |  Jay Severin Has A Small Penis | 

    Here’s an idea.

    I’ll draft up a bunch of pledges stating that the signer will never sue a doctor for more than $10,000.

    We’ll bring them to congress to show them that we need medical malpractice reform.

    If we have a couple million of them, there’s no way they will say no.

    Who will be the first to sign?

  97. #97 |  Christina | 

    “Agree with us or we’ll crush you?” That’s what Whole Foods is saying when it stomps out any attempts at unionizing. If you don’t agree with their policies or the statements of their CEO you have every right to stop shopping there. However, if you want to support a corporation that believes in depriving Americans of their basic rights, shop away.

  98. #98 |  harry | 

    I disagree with you, RB, but John Mackey and Whole Foods makes an interesting test case for how contemporary ‘corporate responsibility’ plays out.

    If some people don’t like a wealthy person’s political advocacy and actions, avoiding their company can be a reasonable non-violent response, and is very unlikely to ‘silence’ the aforesaid plutocrat, and is preferable to going all Timothy McVeigh on him or her. So unlike the proud stalwarts of libertarianism who seem to make regular post-rally appearances on Faux News, you won’t see me standing in Mackey’s corporate headquarters parking lot, carrying a loaded gun and a sign about how the tree of liberty needs to be nourished with the blood of patriots, or whomever. I’ll just avoid Whole Foods. Maybe your grocery purchasing contribution will cancel me out, but that’s fine– I’d prefer to know which stores/businesses are owned and managed by right-wingers who are working to defeat my political party. Yeah, American politics is ugly, but if you want political change there are only two viable alternatives on the national stage at present, and it looks to me like Mackey’s not playing on my team, despite all the ‘organic’ marketing and image massage he does with his store chain.

  99. #99 |  chesterdog | 

    Here’s the thing: Mackey built his little empire on the support of mostly liberal, health conscious customers. The vast majority support universal health care, probably single payer. They don’t have to shop at Whole Foods — they can go to Trader Joe’s and many other places. If they are offended by Mackey’s op-ed, why shouldn’t they?

  100. #100 |  Steve C | 

    “Dems: Killing innovation whenever they can.”

    Republicans: (using the state to go) torturing brown people whenever they can.

    But we all know which one of these libertarians care more about.

  101. #101 |  Steve C | 

    “For those people who believe in universal HC, I say that you and anyone else who agrees with you should be free to participate in a universal HC plan if you wish. I just don’t understand why the rest of us who don’t share your morals and values should be pushed into something that we don’t agree with. Why are we not allowed to opt out of paying for and participating in welfare programs if we choose to do so?”

    Because we won’t let you die. It’s not what people do, and if you choose to go without health insurance because of that realization, that’s moral hazard in the purest sense. So we’re going to use the force of the state to make you get some kind of insurance. Sorry!

    Welcome to the world of insurance.

  102. #102 |  JS | 

    Mattocracy #90

    Great post!

  103. #103 |  Doug | 

    “Mackey didn’t spread misinformation about death panels” This is a pretty low standard of truth you are pushing here.

    If I remember correctly Mackey did refer to the bill, which is essentially health insurance regulation, as socialism.

    I guess if you think any sort of regulation is socialism, then fine he was note spreading misinformation. However if you think regulating insurance companies is something that is both necessary and reasonable for government to do to foster healthy capitalism, then he is spreading misinformation about the heath care bill.

    Why should I care about how he treats his employees. I want heath care regulation to take care of my family and I don’t work for Whole Foods, so it is rather irrelevant.

  104. #104 |  harry | 

    Re Whole Foods groceries: Overall I think that most of Mackey’s merchandise is over-priced relative to quality. We had a Wild Oats ‘organic’ grocery store in my neighborhood for several years, I thought it was very good in terms of variety and quality and service, but then in 2007 Whole Foods bought them out and last year took over the store. Since then the variety of products has gone down greatly, and the prices have gone up slightly. All the previous store employees are gone, replaced by a staff that looks to be nearly all under 25 years old. If the other WF grocery stores are like ours, then probably they have a relatively low number of medical claims coming from that demographic, and can leave their employees in HSA’s w/o a lot of bad outcomes.

    The new Whole Foods staff seems much less knowledgeable about food than the previous staff of Wild Oats. I’ve also read that their local starting wages here in my midwestern city are significantly lower than $13.25 an hour. I haven’t seen them doing any charity work in the store itself, and I see no evidence that they buy anything at all locally, much less sponsor or support a farmer’s market.

    RB, I think it’s great that the WF store in your neighborhood does things which sound good, but improving the US health care system far overrides anything Whole Foods, Inc., is doing on the philanthropic front. Yes, I’ve read of all their charitable work, but in the overall scheme of things I consider it window dressing from a man who refers to unions as “parasites” and is foolish enough to think that Ayn Rand provides a blueprint for a just society.

    I thought Mackey’s health care proposals were stupid, and I’ve always felt like his ‘organic’ marketing was at least 90% BS (it’s still large agri-business, the ‘green energy’ PR is largely belied by their transport costs which are extensively ‘non-green’, the health claims for US ‘organic’ and non-GM foods are unproven, etc. etc.). Whole Foods is a multinational big-box chain that has been leveraging out all their smaller competitors for well over a decade, and I’m sorry they have been winning. In my town, I’d love to see them replaced by a smaller, better store like we had before.

    Finally, re ‘death panels’, if that’s somehow on your map as a dividing line for fair debate, then I think your standards are way too low.

  105. #105 |  Steve C | 

    From Matt Steinglass. He’s like a Reason libertarian except grown up:

    http://trueslant.com/matthewsteinglass/2009/08/16/whole-foods-and-the-social-contract/

    “Do Daily Kos commenters really want a world where CEOs are expected to pander to their customers’ political prejudices?

    Um, hell yeah. What is supposed to be the hesitation here? In the 1900s I would have wanted a world where Jay Gould pandered to my political prejudices by not fighting unions, and I would have tried to boycott his railroads accordingly. In the 1930s I would have wanted a world where Henry Ford pandered to my political prejudices by not openly backing Nazi Germany or bankrolling anti-Semitic organizations, and I would have bought a Studebaker. And in the 1950s and ’60s I would have wanted a world where corporate CEOs felt some anxiety about voicing openly anti-Semitic or racist opinions, or about openly trying to destroy workers’ right to organize, for fear of being boycotted by the workers who buy their products. In other words I would have wanted a world exactly like the world that actually existed.

    Look, corporate CEOs’ support for tax cuts for the rich and their opposition to health insurance for the poor is class warfare. As Paul Krugman frequently writes, CEOs are allowed to voice these opinions openly because American society has lost its sense of shame; rich people are actually allowed to make the argument that poor people should have less money and rich people should have more because that’s good for America. They should shut up, and they should shut up out of a healthy fear that the majority of Americans will recognize that they are greedy bastards trying to manipulate the political system in their own interests, and will stop buying their damn products. We call that a “social contract”. Anyway, America is a capitalist country with a free market, and there’ll always be somebody else who’ll sell you that product without insulting you to your face or trying to cut your salary and take away your benefits. If any Whole Foods guys are reading this: you just lost my business too. When I’m in New York I can go to Fairway, in Great Barrington there’s Guido’s, and I hear out on the West Coast there’s a little place called Trader Joe’s.”

  106. #106 |  Carly Hyde | 

    “One thing I really don’t understand is the extreme hatred of high deductible or other insurance that to me makes the MOST sense. I have done the math many times and there is a certain coverage with a sweet spot between cost/risk that makes the most sense. I understand a comprehensive health insurance that 100% covers going to the ER for a cold or to get a bandaid makes sense for some people ( well, not really). That’s why it’s good to have choices.”

    “No one is forcing anyone to get high deductible insurance.”

    I had a choice between two insurance plans through my job, and I got the one that covered more. It falls into the high deductible category at $3,000 per year. The other option had a $5,000 deductible and covered less in other ways. Private insurance wasn’t an option. I had a GI bleed 10 years ago, got denied, and can now only get insurance through an employer or my state risk pool, which would cost me more than I make each month. If I wanted insurance, my only option was the high-deductible plan which cost me two days’ pay per pay period – a real strain.

    The hatred comes, in part, from incidents like this: I had longstanding abdominal pain and other symptoms, and put off the CT scan that my doctor wanted for two years because it would cost me $2,800. I have a work ethic (never missed a day of work despite the pain), I budget well, I don’t buy anything unnecessary or flashy, and I don’t take on debts I can’t pay back, so I waited two years and that made the outcome much worse for me and for my insurance company, which had to pay quite a bit more than it would have had I been able to get the test done when my doctor requested it, or when I realized that the symptoms were getting worse and weren’t going to resolve themselves.

    I don’t shop at whole foods (obviously it isn’t an option) but I’m certainly not one to quash debate. Reading all of this, “people are happy with HD plans, nobody is forced, etc.” just floors me. It was that or be uninsured. It was my only responsible choice. And I was not happy.

  107. #107 |  Mark F. | 

    “If they are offended by Mackey’s op-ed, why shouldn’t they?”

    They are “offended” at what? Mackey called for sending Jews to the concentration camps or something? He was just promoting libertarian alternatives to Obamacare. What kind of a Stalinist fuckhead is “offended” by a difference of opinion?

    Actually, Balko is right—the nutty left is offended at the mere metion of libertarianian proposals and wants to put those who don’t tow the party line out of business.

    Of course, you have a right to shop where you like for whatever reason you like. But don’t give me any bullshit that you are actually interested in reasonable debate if you start an economic war over a difference of opinion.

  108. #108 |  Kino | 

    ohh lordy they’s a mess ~o~ fleas on this hyere dog

  109. #109 |  Mike | 

    #66 says, “Second, I found the link about the top companies to work for interesting. If you take a look at some of the other companies listed, the reasons they are good companies to work for is because of what they offer employees. For example, #17 explains how the company execs cut their own benefits in order to help pay for severance packaged, which is a nice thing to do. Whole Foods’ writeup is simply that it’s an organic store, which the employees like, which really has no bearing on their treatment. Teachers often like their employment as well, being that it’s a noble calling, but this has no bearing on their actual treatment by school administrators (which often is less then satisfactory). ”

    Which links did you read? The ones I clicked on said they cut company execs benefits (no exec makes more than 14x the average hourly employee rate), They like their healthcare system, and other benefits. I didn’t even see the link saying they like working there because they sell organic. I’ve worked at a several normal grocery stores, (Stop and Shop, etc) and if your boycotting Whole Foods I can almost garuntee where you will be buying your groceries will be a store that doesn’t treat their employees as well.

  110. #110 |  RIRedinPA | 

    This is a bit of apples and oranges here. Mackay writes an op-ed piece stating his position on health care reform which doesn’t jive with how folks on the left want to see health care reformed. He’s essentially thrown a dog in the fight by doing so. One could make the assumption he is then willing to back up his decision with additional support of some kind of another, perhaps even financial. No one is arguing against his right to make those decisions or take away his free speech to voice them, they are just saying they no longer are going to economically support his business.

    So you’re saying you would happily support some business even though the owner of that business opposed political or cultural or moral views you held dear? As an example, would an anti-abortionist frequent a pediatrician if they knew that pediatrician gave support, say through being an advisory, to Planned Parenthood? I have an aversion to organized religion and therefore I avoid Chic Filet because it is owned and run by devout Christianist. Their entitled to practice whatever religion they choose, I am entitled to spend my money at whatever business I choose, its how our markets work.

    I don’t see the same comparison to the town hallies, ginned up on anti-Obama rage and fueled with falsehoods who are essentially trying to shout down their representatives in essence quelling discourse as the same as a boycott over a company’s position on health care reform. In fact, the boycott is discourse, Mackay put his position out there and people have responded. Chalk one up for Democracy!

    To use your tactic I guess I could say your willingness to now shop at WF in reaction to the boycott of WF which is in reaction to Mackay’s op-ed is even sillier than the boycott itself and stinks of a pot and a kettle somewhere.

  111. #111 |  Paul | 

    “These people don’t want a dicussion. They don’t want to hear ideas. They want you to shut up and do what they say, or they’re going to punish you.”

    No offense, but this blanket statement is as asinine as the story you are commenting about.

    This attitude goes both ways … need I mention the “town hall” crazies?

  112. #112 |  Dave | 

    We don’t even have a Whole Foods (yet) in Vermont, but I have shopped in them and would do it in a heartbeat for all the reasons you note, plus the fact that they sell quality products! Bad company, bad company, how dare you be what others wish the rest of the industry would be like?

    As far as the health care debate, it is lost if people don’t start speaking the truth in clear terms, and by people I mean the Dems. The Republican’s are a lost part of our country. If I wasn’t agnostic, I’d pray for them.

  113. #113 |  Henry Bowman | 

    Radley Balko wrote

    And yet lefties want to boycott the company because CEO John Mackey wrote an op-ed that suggests alternatives to single payer health care? It wasn’t even a nasty or mean-spirited op-ed. Mackey didn’t spread misinformation about death panels, call anyone names, or use ad hominem attacks. He put forth actual ideas and policy proposals, many of them tested and proven during his own experience running a large company. Is this really the state of debate on the left, now? “Agree with us, or we’ll crush you?”

    Glad to see you are finally catching on, Radley.

  114. #114 |  Mark Buehner | 

    “One could make the assumption he is then willing to back up his decision with additional support of some kind of another, perhaps even financial.”

    Why would someone assume that? The left apparently has a brilliant advantage- they pick other people’s pockets, but if you disagree you better pull out your wallet to prove your bona fides. That’s absurd. It’s purely theatrical (as Dems remind us every time we ask them why they don’t voluntarily do the things they insist government should force us to do, like paying higher taxes).

    “No one is arguing against his right to make those decisions or take away his free speech to voice them, they are just saying they no longer are going to economically support his business.”

    “His” business? John Mackey owns it? Funny, I believe all the stockholders (including unions and retirees) that own Whole Food stock would disagree. He is an employee. You want to punish all the other employees and stock holders because the guy who runs the place has a different opinion than you? You know… if the shoe was on the other foot I do believe we’d hear about Rovian plots and conspiracy to silence critics.

    This is very sad indeed. So much for having a debate. If you don’t want to be fired from your job, better not cross the president or get out of line. Have a great idea? Keep quiet about it, your coworkers may suffer for it.

  115. #115 |  plutosdad | 

    “Similarly, we progressives have every right to decide whether or not we want to spend our food dollars in a store whose CEO clearly doesn’t support the most important progressive cause of the moment.”

    Wait a minute, but he DOES support reform. He DOES want to help people, I mean that’s what he does in the rest of his life.

    Are you saying that if someone doesn’t support a particular bill by congress, then he doesn’t support health care reform? that is ridiculous.

  116. #116 |  sheiler | 

    I admit to having a knee-jerk response to the CEO of Whole Foods, internally. I shop there. I’m liberal. I don’t like to give my money to obvious jerks unless I have another competing reason to do so. I am not sure whether or not I will boycott WF, but I have already written a letter to them expressing my disappointment. I agree that eating well is one of the keys to having good health. But then there’s other things such as life and insurance companies.

    The thing with health care is very personal to me, because I am no longer in my 20s, no longer in my 30s, when I had perfect health and parents with minimal health troubles. But no longer. The behavior of my parents’ insurance company and their doctors has been a nightmare. One of many hundreds or thousands of nightmares, if you take a look at other anecdotes around the country.

    My father has the gold standard in terms of health coverage in the US, and has suffered *mercilessly* at the hands of …. his insurance company. My brother was able to quit his job to go and watch our father like a hawk in the various hospitals, because someone would make a decision at some point based on who knows what – made by some faceless beaurocrat – and my father would be transferred to some other institution and have to start all over again a plan of treatment. My mother works for an insurance company, and has also spent the majority of her time when not working, formulating questions to ask my dad’s insurance company, in order to uncover answers that people won’t tell her.

    In sum, I think it is a scandal at how badly we Americans get treated by insurance companies, those of us who are fortunate enough to have it, and welcome adding a public option to create ye olde American competition.

  117. #117 |  JohnMc | 

    … Is this really the state of debate on the left, now? “Agree with us, or we’ll crush you?”

    Radley, its a good piece. My only observation to you is that why did it take you so long? The Left I mean. This has been the Left’s modus operandi for 20 years now if not longer.

  118. #118 |  kcom | 

    From Joe:

    “Let’s go over Mackey’s article point by point.”

    My hopes were high at this point. Maybe somebody really will have an intelligent point-by-point response to Mackey.

    “#1. high deducable HSA blah blah”

    Oops, he’s starting in with the blah blah before the end of the first sentence. IQ just dropped 5 points.

    “#2. tax benefit stuff. fine, great idea.”

    Why?

    “#3. repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines.”

    wtf this means to somebody without insurance, I haven’t a clue. but every republican is shilling this one, so it must be top on the industry’s agenda.

    What it means is (basic economic literacy here), increased competition tends to drive down prices. More competition, lower prices. Lower prices, more affordability. More affordability, more people insured. Isn’t that the rationale of the “public option”? Except, in this case, it’s all without government intervention. It might not be a total solution, but why artificially limit competition and reduce the opportunity for people to be covered in the established market system. With more people insured, perhaps even you, the scope of the remaining problem is reduced? What’s not to like. (Imagine a different product, cell phone service for instance. What kind of deal could you get if your provider only had to compete with other companies in your immediate area? Do you think you could possibly afford a cell phone in one scenario but not the other?)

    “#4 . Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover.”

    oookay …. riiight

    Hmm, this looks a lot more like snark than an intelligent response to his point. Why do you think this is bad? I have no idea. I can guess, but that shouldn’t be my job when your covering something point by point. Minus 10 IQ points.

    “#5. Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits”

    legal lobby, meet health care lobby.

    Ditto what I said above. I see no reasoned argument here. Minus 5 more IQ points.

    “#6. Make costs transparent blah blah”

    sure. that’s great. can I have my insurance now please?

    This is a non-response to his point. Minus another 5. And, no, you can’t have it. It’s a service that needs to be paid for, like any other.

    “#7. Enact Medicare reform”

    I’ll get back to you in 20 years on this one. right now I just want coverage.

    Again, what happened to your point by point analysis. Is gimme, gimme, gimme really analysis?

    “#8. revise tax forms to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation blah blah”

    great idea. I bet he got real stoned one night and just thought this one up all by himself.

    Again with the blah, blah. Another 5 IQ points lost in your point by point analysis.

    Now that we’ve dispensed with Mackey’s proposals, this is the reason behind the boycott:

    Dispensed with is right. You could have saved yourself the trouble of pretending to do a point by point analysis and just stuck with the blah, blahs. It would have been faster and more intellectually honest. Like I said at the beginning, I had hope that someone would actually do a point by point analysis, but obviously it’s not you.

    “Health care is a service that we all need, but just like food and shelter it is best provided through voluntary and mutually beneficial market exchanges. A careful reading of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution will not reveal any intrinsic right to health care, food or shelter. That’s because there isn’t any. This “right” has never existed in America.”

    Some of us beg to differ. We believe inherent to life and liberty is food, shelter, and medical care. Pay for it, fine, but in the end these things are a right, not a privilege. That’s why I’m boycotting Whole Foods.

    You can differ all you want, but it’s true. It’s not in the Constitution and it’s never been a part of human existence. Since the time we’ve been running around on the savanna (or among the trees on the edge of the savanna) we’ve been responsible for gathering our livelihood. When the people started down the Oregon Trail were they going to California and Oregon for free government food, housing, and healthcare. Of course not. They knew they were responsible for themselves and the worked hard to make a better life.

    “Pay for it, fine, but in the end these things are a right, not a privilege.”

    No, they are not. For precisely the reason you mention – they have to be paid for. Therefore they are neither a right or a privilege. Rights can’t be purchased. Rights are inherent. If I’m stranded with one other person on a desert island I don’t lose any of my fundamental rights, regardless of the fact that there isn’t a hospital for 400 miles. Or a farm. Or even a house. I still have the inherent right of free speech, free association, freedom of religion, etc.

    If I have to pay for it, it’s a good or service. And a good or service can never be a right since goods or services only come from the productive labor of a fellow human being. And when you start claiming you have an inherent right to the goods and services produced by someone other than yourself then you are, quite literally, advocating slavery. I know you’ll gussy it up and make it look all pretty, but that’s what it is and there’s no getting around it. You’re claiming your inherent right to take someone else’s property at no cost to you. And, no, it doesn’t change the equation if you take someone else’s property to give to a third party (because they have an inherent right to it) and it doesn’t benefit you directly. You’re still enslaving the person you’re taking the property from. And you’re doubling the sin by pretending in your mind that stealing from someone is an example of compassion. Your whole rights argument is bogus.

    Now, if you say we should, as a society, adopt a policy that we provide everyone with food, medical care, and shelter, you might have an argument. We can do whatever we want as policy. A rational agreement among citizens is a fine thing. Sell it if you can.

    But claiming rights where none exist is just an example of intellectual laziness. “I want it to be true therefore it is true” is never a good jumping off point in discussing the real world. By addressing the real world facts of human existence, instead of the fairlyand version, you might get closer to where you want to go.

  119. #119 |  Peterk | 

    @Augie “The Democrats stole their strategy for pushing their healthcare reform right out of the Republican handbook. Smear and marginalize anyone who disagrees.”

    are you saying then that the Republicans have been following Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals? That’s one I’ve never heard before.

  120. #120 |  Capt. Jan | 

    Radley hit the nail on the head and drove it through the wood! Excellent read! Time to go to Whole Foods and stock up on hurricane supplies. WTG Radley and WTG Whole Foods!

  121. #121 |  Steve | 

    To Joe at #76:

    Mackey wrote:
    “Our team members therefore spend their own health-care dollars until the annual deductible is covered (about $2,500) and the insurance plan kicks in. This creates incentives to spend the first $2,500 more carefully”

    Joe criticized:
    “So if you’re unskilled, lower middle class, struggling to survive on 28k/yr, you should fork over 12% of your net income – 1.5 months wage – for your routine medical needs.”

    but Joe ignored that Mackey wrote:
    “We also provide up to $1,800 per year in additional health-care dollars through deposits into employees’ Personal Wellness Accounts to spend as they choose on their own health and wellness.”

    So I’ll point out:
    First of all Joe, don’t bother talking about the HSA deductions as a percentage of “net” (post-tax) take home pay, since HSA contributions (both employee and Mackey-matched dollars) are deducted pre-tax. Second, if Mackey contributes up $1800 per year to an employee’s HSA account that augments an insurance plan that has a $2500 deductable, it means the employee only has to contribute $700 pre-tax dollars per year. That’s a mere 2.5% of his gross wages. Not 12% of his net, as you erronously suggest.

    Additionally, since the employee’s HSA balance rolls over year after year, it means that — if the employee doesn’t incur any medical expenses the first year — he doesn’t have to contribute the next year if he doesn’t want to. Or if he uses a little bit of it, he can modify to a lower amount. Or he can keep contributing year after year and let the account grow for unforseen needs in the future. The set really promotes personal accountability: in one’s health and lifestyle, and financial managament. What’s wrong with that?

    For the record, speaking as someone who participates in his employer’s High Deductable/HSA option, I can attest that the yearly expense *exactly* equals the same as the annual cost of the traditional plan my company offers, should medical incidents force me to pay my entire annual deductable. The beauty of it: whatever I don’t spend, I get to keep, not throw away on premiums for unused insurance. What could better??

  122. #122 |  anon | 

    Those of you in Wisconsin don’t need Whole Foods to eat healthy.

    Look for a “Woodmans” which is employee owned. It has a huge
    selection of both ‘organic’ produce and locally grown items. The
    prices for those – and all other goods – are exceptionally competitive.

    Be warned that they do not take CREDIT cards. Debit cards, checks
    or cash only.

    I am NOT an employee of Woodmans nor a relative of an employee.

    I am only a completely satisfied and very loyal customer!

  123. #123 |  Mark Buehner | 

    How many people that shop at Whole Foods can’t afford health insurance anyway?

    This all comes back to exactly WHAT the president is trying to accomplish. Is it to insure the uninsured? Fine- 10 million are illegals, we can send them home. Another 10 are eligible for some form of government insurance already, so track them down. So lets provide a program to cover the 10-20 million left. You don’t have to take over the whole system to do that- just expand medicaid.

    Or is he trying to make healthcare ‘cheaper’ for most people? You can’t do that by government fiat. McCay listed a number of ideas that would increase competition, reduce expenses like defensive medicine etc.

    But Obama is being disingenuous. He has a laundry list of problems with our current system and his argument is to let him run it his way and magically each of these disparate issues will be resolved, even the mutually exclusive. It is right that we should question such ‘logic’, particularly as badly as government runs the things it runs now. If Obama can squeeze billions out of medicare, DO IT NOW. Then i’ll have a bit more trust in my heart that such a thing is politically or pragmatically possible.

  124. #124 |  George | 

    @sheiler, you say, “My brother was able to quit his job to go and watch our father like a hawk in the various hospitals, because someone would make a decision at some point based on who knows what – made by some faceless beaurocrat – and my father would be transferred to some other institution and have to start all over again a plan of treatment.”

    Under the public option, that faceless bureaucrat will just be a government worker. But public schools are better than private schools, right? And the Post Office is better than UPS or Fedex? Yet we’re supposed to believe that government bureaucrats, in the area of health care, will somehow be the fierce competitors that spur private industry to maximal efficiency. Guess you haven’t mailed a package recently!

    @RIRedinPA, I really think your statement “I have an aversion to organized religion and therefore I avoid Chic Filet because it is owned and run by devout Christianist” encapsulates so much of the dissonance between libertarians and liberals. I’m an atheist, “hate” Christianists in the sense that they seek to oppress others with their superstitions, but really wouldn’t be bothered at all eating at Chic Filet if I happened to like their food. The question for me is do I want to get the things this business sells. Unless they really are directly funding al-Qaida, my personal disagreement with the business’ owners has nothing to do with whether I purchase their products. Your life sounds like performance art where you struggle to project your views outward. If there were two stores and one provided a superior product at a better price (not WF, btw) but the owner loved watching the 700 club, would you really hope that an anti-christianist boycott would drive that store under, leaving everyone with one of lower quality and worse price point?

    Stores are for shopping. Voting booths are for political opinions. Internet is for trolling. Family gatherings are for discussing Obama.

  125. #125 |  The Censorship Of The Left On Healthcare at Hispanic Pundit | 

    […] Balko explains: Let me see if I have the logic correct here: Whole Foods is consistently ranked among the most […]

  126. #126 |  Steve | 

    Carly @ 106: you mentioned having a GI bleed ten years ago, forcing your subsequent insurance policy options to be $3000 or $5000 plans. How many years after your GI bleed did you begin your HD plan, and how many years after starting the HD plan were you advised to get a CT scan?

    Socking $100/month into an HSA (equal to about $72 take-home pay, since the HSA is pre-tax) for two or three years after your GI bleed would have covered most of that procedure.

    A more pertainent question might consider asking is: why should a CT scan cost $2800? Could it be due to demand, a result of the unnecessary and duplicate tests (for others, not you, if this was your first/primary test) that Obama claims he’d like to see eliminated?

    If more people relied upon their own budgets (HSA’s etc) instead of third party payers, maybe they’d realize how much treatment, drugs, and tests cost… and opt out of uneccessary stuff, which could reduce the inflation of demand/price of medical care, making it more accessable for all of us.

  127. #127 |  Bill | 

    First of all, for those of you criticizing liberals who overreact,
    this is nothing compared to the way Glenn Beck and Rush fans are acting at town hall meetings and Tea Parties. I saw people at the post office with Obama is a Nazi signs, and that’s in North Jersey. Overreacting has no political affiliation.

    I’d like to see some info on how widespread and organized this boycott really is. Liberals can be quite stupid, but so far this doesn’t seem like much of a boycott to me.

  128. #128 |  RIRedinPA | 

    @Mark Buehner

    “Why would someone assume that? The left apparently has a brilliant advantage- they pick other people’s pockets, but if you disagree you better pull out your wallet to prove your bona fides. That’s absurd. It’s purely theatrical (as Dems remind us every time we ask them why they don’t voluntarily do the things they insist government should force us to do, like paying higher taxes).”

    One could make that assumption because he felt strong enough about his convictions to write an op-ed piece about health care reform. You take from my post that I do not support his position and I do support that of the boycotters, but I’ve only said that since he’s put himself into the fray there is nothing wrong with people making the decision to no longer purchase their food from WF based on his comments. Had he said he felt health care is a right and should be provided to all, including illegal immigrants and it should be paid for by raising taxes on people making greater than $100,000 a year he would have been vilified on the right and I suspect some would cry for a boycott. Which would be fine and understandable.

    Excellent point about the “his business” comment. Of course he doesn’t own it, but he is the co-founder and “face” of it and therefore I use the term his in that context. Perhaps he should have considered the possible ramifications to “his” business before he threw his hat in this ring and wrote the op-ed. I personally have no responsibility to the workers of WF, he does. Part of that, as CEO, is not to court controversy that might effect the bottom line of “his” company, though given his history that seems difficult for him to do. I am sure his board of directors are thrilled with his decision to write the op-ed.

    “This is very sad indeed. So much for having a debate. If you don’t want to be fired from your job, better not cross the president or get out of line. Have a great idea? Keep quiet about it, your coworkers may suffer for it.”

    This is bull. Once again no one is saying he can’t use his right to free speech but since he has put his position out there and customers of his business disagree with it your saying they have no right to take their business elsewhere or advocate their own free speech rights and encourage others to do likewise? Discourse is not a one way street.

  129. #129 |  Squid | 

    It seems like only yesterday that people boycotted the Dixie Chicks for promoting their political opinions. Which leads me to wonder,

    1) How many of those boycotting Whole Foods once criticized those who threw away their Dixie Chicks CDs as uncultured, unsophisticated hicks?

    and 2) How long ’til John Mackay makes dozens of appearances on daytime chat shows and glossy magazine covers where the journalist class can talk with him about how unfair it is that he’s being “silenced”?

    Sauce for the goose…

  130. #130 |  RIRedinPA | 

    @Squid…

    I did, but it had to do with purchasing those Dixie Chicks CDs in the first place, not boycotting them. : D

    Long live Neko Case… : D

  131. #131 |  Betty Pawsheifer | 

    Does John Mackey have the same health insurance as his cashiers and stock clerks? I bet not…

  132. #132 |  sheiler | 

    @George:

    I work at a large university where I happen to interact with countless calls to ship stuff. I loathe using FedEx because they offer crappy service, crappy customer service, and I find the US Post Office to offer better service. DHL was muuch better, but then again, they’re European, and they have self-imploded.

    My grandparents used Medicare with only some complaint. Actually, now that I hear and experience for myself what private insurance companies are doing, Medicare looks so good. Same thing for my uncle who gets medical coverage at the VA.

    Whenever I read or hear people making your kind of argument, public servant bureaucrat versus corporate market-driven care, I can’t help but comb my memory for times when I too was maligned by some government official, and come up short. Either I’ve been lucky, or your argument is just old and weak.

  133. #133 |  John Mackey, Whole Foods, and Health Care | Vegan.com | 

    […] take the time to dig more deeply into this story. From what I can see, Radley Balko has written the smartest piece defending Mackey’s […]

  134. #134 |  syn | 

    “These people don’t want a discussion. They don’t want to hear ideas. They want you to shut up and do what they say, or they’re going to punish you.”

    Impressive to see such a wise and intellectually-sophisticated person finally acknowledge what has quite obviously been going on since 1969.

    Another wise person once said:

    “A life led unexamined is a government-inspired zombie”

  135. #135 |  Lisa K. | 

    These people don’t want a dicussion. They don’t want to hear ideas. They want you to shut up and do what they say, or they’re going to punish you.

    Sorry, torture is out of fashion now that the Bushies left town.

    I personally plan to never spend another dime at Whole Foods. John Mackey has a right to his opinion, but I also have a right to support businesses that support my worldview. If you don’t like it, tough, and if think you can take us all on by shopping there, good for you-although my guess is that a guy like you wouldn’t’ve been caught dead in a Whole Foods before you found out the CEO was a right winger.

  136. #136 |  JB | 

    No surprise from the people that worshiped Stalin and Mao.

    There is a reason I refer to most Leftists as fetuses in need of a medical procedure. It’s self-defense at this point.

  137. #137 |  Green Tee Readings » Links for August 16th through August 17th | 

    […] The Agitator » Blog Archive » Whole Foods – A different take on the Whole Foods CEO vs health care reform. […]

  138. #138 |  The Crossed Pond » The Whole Foods Boycott | 

    […] Balko has been, dare I say it, en fuego on this one. 1 and 2. posted in: […]

  139. #139 |  Kimberly | 

    Yes the left does indeed want everyone to shut up and do as they are told.It’s what left wing moon bats do best.Where have you been?

  140. #140 |  Harley2002 | 

    The Left’s Moronic

    You should have stopped there LOL.

  141. #141 |  Warren | 

    If the dying left wants to boycott those it disagrees with I would be more than ready to support this right.The problem is that they shriek like small children when everyone else boycotts those who purvey their nonsense.We will see how …ahem…liberal they are when the conservative boycott of Progressive Insurance and Procter and Gamble starts to bite

  142. #142 |  George | 

    @sheiler. Medicare is a great plan, and it’s also extremely expensive. It covers nearly everything and is of course open to the abuse such a plan might have (from both docs and patients). The public option is not Medicare. The public option is being sold as a cost saving, competition inducing plan. That’s very different from Medicare, and government bureaucrats running Medicare have very different incentives from those that would administer a public option.

    A public option, then, is more analogous to the public option of schools. Some public schools are very good, better than the surrounding private schools, but I doubt many would view that as the norm. Similarly, while you may have had a good experience at your local post office, the fact that UPS and Fedex can charge more to deliver the same package indicates that the consumer “values” their delivery service more. In fact, USPS has to be “protected” from competition by a law that doesn’t allow anyone but them to deliver First Class letters to people’s homes.

    I can see the argument that the country should have single payer health (i.e. something like everyone gets Medicare), and damn the costs–it’s a moral issue. I don’t personally want that, but I think it makes sense as an argument–we are a rich society and one of the costs we have to bear is high quality, expensive coverage for all.

    What I don’t buy is that the government can enter the market and tone it up in no time with its efficient, competitive, keep-the-insurance-companies-honest public option. The public option sounds a lot like an expanded version of MediCAID. That program will get no rave reviews. It’s a rationing, bureaucratic nightmare.

    The problems with health care are very real, but pretending that the public option is meaningful reform is illusory. I think the whole orientation our society has right now towards health and health care is fundamentally off. Check out the new piece in the Atlantic about health care reform: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200909/health-care

  143. #143 |  D. Jason Fleming (djasonfleming) 's status on Monday, 17-Aug-09 19:40:04 UTC - Identi.ca | 

    […] http://www.theagitator.com/2009/08/15/whole-foods-2/ […]

  144. #144 |  Mark in DC | 

    John Mackey is a genius. Many conservatives think WFs is a bastion of liberal wingnuts and think twice about shopping there. But Mackey is obviously aware that for every liberal (in all 50 states according to Gallup today) in the nation there is roughly 2 conservatives. So now he has just sent a message that will be well-received amongst the right, which far outnumbers the left.

    The best part is that a small % of the lunatic left are now boycotting his store which will only serve to increase number of shoppers from this much larger ideological group. He loses a few crazies and gains the fastest growing section of the electorate.

    And the icing on the cake is his new clientele will also be cleaner and much better dressed here on.

  145. #145 |  Brian Crouch | 

    What’s surprising is how few people read Mackey’s editorial and said, “Hm, food for thought.” So many haven’t paused in humility to wonder if maybe, just maybe, this person who has helped so many people might have a point (or two) worth considering.

    Mackey is a job creator, and a good job creator. That’s a rare talent in the world, the ability to not only invent something new, but to turn that innovation into the provision of a living for many families. There is no social service or assistance that comes close to the positive impact of a job.

    The kind of mind that can create so many of them is a mind that at least deserves respect of a fair hearing and consideration.

    Also, how can they miss this crucial point? Those that desire a boycott, consider: his salary is now $1 a year, so a boycott would not hurt him one bit, but hurts all those workers.

  146. #146 |  Mary A | 

    To #76. Perhaps you should have read the whole article. If you would note, Mr Mackey also included the following:

    We also provide up to $1,800 per year in additional health-care dollars through deposits into employees’ Personal Wellness Accounts to spend as they choose on their own health and wellness.

    In other words, the average employee only needs to come up with $700 to cover their health expenses (The $2500 Deductible- the $1800 Savings Account). And if they don’t have $1800 in medical expenses, they get to keep the money.

    One more example of how the facts get lost in this whole health care debate.

  147. #147 |  vicki in flyover usa | 

    It’s quite laughable to read liberals complain about the prices at Whole Foods. The prices at Whole Foods are high because as a company they do exactly all the stuff the libs want them to do. Pay high wages to their workers, provide health insurance, buy local, buy organic, be green, and so on and so on. All of that stuff costs MONEY. And the only way to recoup those costs is through what you charge the customer for the product. Of course, they’ll argue that the CEOs and managers are making pocketfulls of money. Maybe. I hocked everything I have to start my small business. And my employees got paid even when I wasn’t making enough money to take a dime for myself. It’s easy to brush all that under the rug when the company becomes successful and starts making a profit. Then everyone has there hand out. Kind of like that story we used to read when we were kids, The Little Red Hen.

  148. #148 |  aelia | 

    I have a High Deductible plan with HSA. My employer max’s out my HSA each year up to the full amount of the deductible. In years i dont need much healthcare the money gets rolled over 4k last year.

    This year i had a C-section with 5 days in the hospital. there was more than enough money in the HSA to pay the dr’s visits and birth up to the deductible. I have money left to pay for dental, vision and any other care i may need this year. Since I’ve met the deductible, all dr’s / hosps will be covered for the rest of the year.

    As for whole foods, 2800 deductible is contributing 233+ a month toward your health. How much is car insurance? Isnt car insurance required by state law?

  149. #149 |  Nightly Ramble:Slippery | BitsBlog | 

    […] BALKO:   You ask: Is this really the state of debate on the left, now? ‘Agree with us, or we’ll crush you?’ […]

  150. #150 |  Peter | 

    The typical liberal response to people who disagree is call them names like liar, racist, fascist, Nazi, hater, homophobe, sexist, baby-killer, polluter, war-monger, etc. Then when that doesn’t work, they get on the phones for help and start a boycott. If only they could get big brother involved.

    Walmart here we come!

  151. #151 |  Jake | 

    Hey Lisa K, the WF CEO is a right winger? Wow, can you really be that slow? The columnist is correct, WF’s policies are a liberals wet dream. As for their health care program, they offer better benefits then any left wing organization or business out there. Just because he is smart enough to understand that Obama’s proposal is doomed to fail doesn’t mean he is a “right winger”. It means he is a businessman who has found a benefit plan that his employees like, and one that works.

  152. #152 |  misanthropicus | 

    Hah-hah-hah! Doesn’t this resemble the gay rights crap? With all their idiotic protests now they have managed to move from indifference/vague sympathy under a growing shade of public antipathy.

  153. #153 |  Standfast2 | 

    Mackey has built a business, created wealth and jobs for thousands of people and has set a standard for workplace democracy. Compare WF to GM, Chrysler and much of Wall Street whom would you rather learn from ? Mackey is also more qualified than Obama, Biden, McCain or the other thousand or so windbags, journalists and “experts” on health care who inhabit the adminsitration, senate and house…any of then run a business, paid employees and provided health care in a competitive market.
    His ideas on health care should be welcomed and discussed.
    More business people should do the same, rather than hide behind bland sounding statements and PR hacks. If liberals chose not to shop at WF, so be it..we all have a choice as to where and how we can spend….but consider the example that you set. You are more likely to hurt the other mostly “liberal” employees who work at WF stores.
    I know more about Mackey as an ultra-lite backpacker than his politics, but to call him a “right winger” just because he has pragmatic view as a business owner is “lazy” and shallow. Give him more credit than that….debate his ideas and commend him for having the courage to speak out…or would you rather speak to a PR person from WalMart, Target or Safeway ?

  154. #154 |  Whole Foods Fight - The Opinionator Blog - NYTimes.com | 

    […] “I plan to do a lot more shopping at Whole Foods in the coming weeks,” wrote Radney Balko at his blog, The Agitator. “Mostly in response to the moronic boycott of the store now gaining momentum on the left. Let me see if I have the logic correct here: Whole Foods is consistently ranked among the most employee-friendly places to work in the service industry. In fact, Whole Foods treats employees a hell of a lot better than most liberal activist groups do. The company has strict environmental and humane animal treatment standards about how its food is grown and raised. The company buys local. The store near me is hosting a local tasting event for its regional vendors. Last I saw, the company’s lowest wage earners make $13.15 per hour. They also get to vote on what type of health insurance they want. And they all get health insurance. The company is also constantly raising money for various philanthropic causes. When I was there today, they were taking donations for a school lunch program. In short, Whole Foods is everything leftists talk about when they talk about “corporate responsibility.” […]

  155. #155 |  Roseanne Sullivan | 

    Butter costs $5 a pound at WF. At TJs it costs $2.49. I’m surprised to hear that prices at someone’s WF are “about the same” as TJs.

  156. #156 |  Mohawk | 

    I am self-employed and have a large-deductible ($5,000) health insurance policy. I am in my 50s and have my two daughters (one 19, the other 21) on the policy. I have a $5 million limit of liability. I can go to any hospital or doctor I want, though I get more paid for if I visit the insurance company’s network doctors or hospitals. I opted out of drug coverage and vision care.

    My premiums for my two daughters and me are $260 a month ($3,120 a year). I have been doing this 13 years and have never come close to hitting my deductible. Every year I save thousands of dollars in premiums, and if I ever do hit my deductible, the savings would make it about a wash.

    My sister, who works for our school district, spends $615 a month ($7,380 a year) to insure herself and her two kids on the district’s group policy. The school district spends thousands more. Total cost: about $17,000 a year for her coverage with a $250 deductible, no charge for routine doctor visits, prescription drug coverage with a $5 co-pay per prescription, vision coverage, you name it. And they must go only to approved docs and hospitals.

    So I have more freedom, a higher limit of liability ($5 million versus her $3 million), and much lower costs because of my large-deductible policy. The more responsibility we take for ourselves, the more we benefit.

  157. #157 |  tim | 

    It’s 5:00PM and I just read this article and some of the comments.

    Here’s is my point. I suspect that most of the people bad mouthing Whole Foods and the opinions put forth by John Mackay still have their jammies on.

    Get lives! Get jobs! Do anything…but shower first

  158. #158 |  Jonathan | 

    I work in a business located closely to a Whole Foods, so I’m in there a lot shopping. It seems most of the employees are generally left-leaning types. I wonder how they’re taking Mackey’s lashing. I’m sure they don’t feel like they work at a company that perpetrates evil.

  159. #159 |  Conventional Folly » Boycotting Whole Foods is dumb | 

    […] Balko deconstructs the called-for boycott of Whole Foods by some on the left for this anti-single-player op-ed by its […]

  160. #160 |  Noreen | 

    The author asks, Is this really the state of debate on the left, now? “Agree with us, or we’ll crush you?” YES, and this has been the state of “debate” on the left for some time now. I live in Davis, California where lefties are always talking about “dialogue” — oh, we just want a dialogue – meaning, agree with us or shut up. One more thing: here in The People’s Republic of Davis nonsense such as this Whole Foods boycott goes on all the time.

  161. #161 |  Mark Buehner | 

    “This is bull. Once again no one is saying he can’t use his right to free speech but since he has put his position out there and customers of his business disagree with it your saying they have no right to take their business elsewhere or advocate their own free speech rights and encourage others to do likewise? Discourse is not a one way street.”

    But why should Mackey or anybody else be punished for an idea? You disagree? Fine- rebut the point and let people decide on their own. But this boycott is INTENDED to stifle debate, not to promote it. It has no other point.

    Do people have the right to boycott? Of course! But I’d like to know the why of it. Why is it more important to bully this man into silence instead of simply engaging and defeating his ideas? The president got a free night of network TV, certainly nobody on the other side had that kind of platform.

    I guess my objection is exactly that- the fruits of this movement are to silence the opposition. Do you have the right? Assuredly. Is it the right thing to do? I think absolutely not. We need more ideas, not less. The left has been screaming and hollering about the silencing of opposition for 8 years on pretexts far less inflammatory than this, and now this is how they intend to operate? Pot meet kettle.

  162. #162 |  Islandparty | 

    Yo, loser mon, you be a big laugh, can’t take de heat can you mon? So now rightwing boy be cryin’ cause dem bad “lefties” usin’ your tactics. Yo, mon lets jump up and have a good boycott I bring de Red Strip. But all you righty fools don’t get it, when stupid CEO run his big mouth and pee all over his customers and make dem angry, den guess wh, his Board will have ’nuff of his doins and fire him. Dat’s what de boycott is for you damn fool.

  163. #163 |  james | 

    Definitely shopping at the whole foods, and bought 100 shares of WFMI today, just for emphasis.

  164. #164 |  Confused | 

    So the left boycotts WalMart because it doesn’t provide health insurance and is now boycotting Whole Foods because it does. Ummmmmm . .. .

  165. #165 |  Aunt Samantha | 

    This is America, we reserve the right to vote with our dollars no? People can choose to boycott any establishment for any reason whether we agree with it, or even understand it.

  166. #166 |  Texan99 | 

    I’ll never understand why people object to high-deductible plans. They’re the only kind that make sense to me.

  167. #167 |  D Max | 

    I had not heard about the boycott until now. I think this is another case of the Right desperately latching onto anything. How many are part of this botcott? I saw something on facebook with 452 members… Pure desperation from the Right. It is sad and funny at the same time.

  168. #168 |  Linda Copeland | 

    I made it a point to shop at Whole Foods this past weekend. I think Mackay makes sense. We carry deductibles for our car insurance and homeowners insurance. Where is it written that we should get everything paid for by the insurance company?

    I think Mackay’s program makes sense. Have a high deductible, throw some bucks to the employee for their healthcare expenses, cover everybody even the part timers.

    89% of the employees are covered by Whole Foods. What other retailer has that percentage of coverage?

  169. #169 |  bmmg39 | 

    divadab: “Oh ya – How can any sensible person take anything that lying ignorant Sarah Palin says seriously?”

    That’s amazing. Two posts and twenty minutes earlier, you were putting out the call for more civility and for less of the “leftist”/”dittohead” name-calling, and then you came up with this.

  170. #170 |  WFM4ALL | 

    Hopefully, this will stop, or at least slow down the rampant hording of the free samples giving away by WFM and their vendors. It is no secret which folks like getting something for nothing!

  171. #171 |  Ziggy Stardust | 

    I had never been to a Whole Foods until I read about this foolish boycott. I drove 1/2 hour past at least 10 other major chain supermarkets to give Mackey some of my hard earned cash. It was almost what I expected pricewise. Some items were actually competitive. A couple of important things, this was the CLEANEST supermarket I have ever been in, and the staff was friendy, helpful, and ALL SPOKE ENGLISH! I can’t afford to do a full weeks shopping there, but they’ll certainly get my continued support.

    CAPITALISM WILL TRIUMPH!

  172. #172 |  gabriel | 

    Wow. The Leftists who have commented on this piece have done a great job proving the Agitator’s point. Good work!
    I’ve always assumed Whole Foods was a hard left leaning company. It never kept me from doing my shopping there. Doing all my shopping there from now on – simply because the liberals opened their mouths.

  173. #173 |  frankebe | 

    Whole Foods in Redwood City is very AFFORDABLE. Their prices BEAT THE PRICES at the local supermarket AND even TRADER JOE’S!!!!! So take that canard out of your arguments.

  174. #174 |  "The Mob" | 

    Hoo-veggie doggie…looks we gots ourselves a “mob”.

    Go cry me a V-8 river leftist morons. Only you are allowed to complain? And us conservative leaning Americans don’t shop at Whole Foods and are such a drain on the healthcare system cause we be fat.

    Yeah right. We eat at farmers markets and yearn for solar panels on our roofs too.

    And we support the first amendment. And if the owner of Whole Foods thinks he has a better idea for the health care crisis, he has a right to say so.

  175. #175 |  Mark | 

    A naive idiot wrote:
    “The Democrats stole their strategy for pushing their healthcare reform right out of the Republican handbook. Smear and marginalize anyone who disagrees. An old trick that works in the short term, but the Republicans paid dearly for it in the end, so will the Democrats.’

    Yes, you are so right, because the Democratic Party never before thought to smear and marginalize anyone.

    I swear to god, anyone who puts forth the notion that one political party or other is or was so pure that they only recently became corrupt or only just now started doing things solely for their own advantage after years of tirelessly and selflessly serving the people is frankly too stupid to engage in any sort of debate about politics.

    As for leftists and liberals boycotting Whole Foods, who cares. There aren’t enough people in this country who want Obama’s ridiculous health care plan to make enough of a difference. Just look at the “huge” effect left wing boycotts have on Wal Mart and you will catch my drift. Those boycotts only succeed in making those doing the boycotting look like out-of-touch elitist whiny assholes, which, frankly, is how pretty much everyone on the far-left in this country who would engage in a Whole Foods boycott could be described already anyway.

  176. #176 |  Mark | 

    I have never in my life bought a single item at Whole Foods. But I will be buying all my food there from now on to counteract the bunch of crybabies who can’t stand someone with a dissenting viewpoint; it’s like the left is made up entirely of Keith Olbermanns. I have a distinct feeling that there will be far more people shopping there in reaction to some silly crybabies’ boycott than will actually quit shopping there because of said boycott.

  177. #177 |  More Beer Less Whine | 

    I didn’t read John Mackey’s article and don’t know any of the facts, but it’s clear the CEO acted stupidly.

  178. #178 |  Defending Whole Foods - Hip Hop Republican | 

    […] Radley Balko shares some of what this “right-wing operation” has done: Let me see if I have the logic correct here: Whole Foods is consistently ranked among the most employee-friendly places to work in the service industry. In fact, Whole Foods treats employees a hell of a lot better than most liberal activist groups do. The company has strict environmental and humane animal treatment standards about how its food is grown and raised. The company buys local. The store near me is hosting a local tasting event for its regional vendors. Last I saw, the company’s lowest wage earners make $13.15 per hour. They also get to vote on what type of health insurance they want. And they all get health insurance. The company is also constantly raising money for various philanthropic causes. When I was there today, they were taking donations for a school lunch program. In short, Whole Foods is everything leftists talk about when they talk about “corporate responsibility.” […]

  179. #179 |  Leslie | 

    Should be fun watching the right wingers buying arugula at Whole Foods. Remember it is called Whole Paycheck for a reason.

  180. #180 |  hitnrun | 

    Ahahahaha

    It’s the same thing with Starbucks. Whenever a company starts to really click with a left-wing clientele, their faces freeze into a rictus grin because they know that 1) they’re still a corporation and 2) that means they’re going to do something to mortify their new customers eventually.

    They run hard to the left, “go green,” start hiking up their wages, contribute vast amounts to liberal causes, but it’s never enough. Then the bricks start going through the windows.

  181. #181 |  Dan | 

    The problem is there are people who subscribe to “Agree with us or we’ll crush you” on both extremes. I think the people who are saying they want debate and actual discussion are the people who still have common sense in the middle who see how ridiculous both sides are acting in this and any political topic these days. having freedom of speech is not “free speech”. it can’t be free. it comes with a price: the responsibility to respect other people’s opinions and let them speak their side, and the responsibility to know what you are talking about and have real reasons to back it up. you don’t have to agree. but we all have to discuss it with open minds and the willingness to compromise instead of picking tiny details in proposals and then dismissing the entire idea because of them. and again, i say this for both sides, not just one or the other.

  182. #182 |  Beth | 

    It’s interesting to hear some of the people here strongly supporting their right to economically punish Mackey for voicing opinions they disagree with. I’m sure that they would have no problem with Mackey acting likewise with other Whole Foods employees.

  183. #183 |  Beth | 

    Mackey = Ayn Rand???

    How about you use the money you’ll save from not shopping at Whole Foods to buy an Ayn Rand primer so that you’ll know what the h*ll you’re talking about?

    (And this coming from the same people so opposed to anyone using the word “socialism.”)

  184. #184 |  Sadie Jane | 

    This boycott discussion is motivating me … to go out of my way to shop at Whole Foods.

  185. #185 |  J.T. | 

    They’ll be back. Once they step into a Walmart, and have to shop around the unwashed masses, they’ll come running back.

  186. #186 |  J.T. | 

    >Oh, and the guy’s a proven douche

    I assume your using the traditional definition of douche-[Doosh] n; someone who doesn’t agree with my political views

  187. #187 |  jaybird | 

    you would be dumb enough to spend your hard-earned dollars those exhorbitant prices at WFM. We will boycott without you!

  188. #188 |  Tubby | 

    Two things:

    1) Boycott Whole Foods. I doubt the CEO will care. If the company gets hurt because of a boycott, who’s going to suffer – the CEO or the expendable workers?

    2) Most people on this comment board that have mentioned libertarianism have no idea what libertarianism really is. Start her and be educated – http://www.lp.org

  189. #189 |  James Q | 

    From #30, Katharine:
    “But debates where we accuse each other falsely with words like “socialism” and “fascism” etc. aren’t fair at all, and brands should be left out of it.”

    Katharine, you either don’t know your definitions or you are disingenuous.
    #1 below sure sounds like Obamacare to me!

    Here’s the Merriam-Webster definition of Socialism:
    * Main Entry: so·cial·ism
    * Pronunciation: \ˈsō-shə-ˌli-zəm\
    * Function: noun
    * Date: 1837

    1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
    2 a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
    3 : a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done

  190. #190 |  Early | 

    I sincerely hope the rich “liberals” that object to free speech not only boycott Whole Foods for a week or two, but stop going there altogether. I’d prefer to shop at the most wholesome and sustainable grocery store in America without having to deal with their self-righteous attitude. They can take their Priuses, typically a third car, to Ralphs.

  191. #191 |  Why The Whole Foods Boycott Is Good For the Local Foods Movement | Farm To Table | 

    […] them. I think it is silly, but I’ll defend their right to do so. Radley Balko had this to say: Let me see if I have the logic correct here: Whole Foods is consistently ranked among the most […]

  192. #192 |  Laughing Liberal | 

    How is the Left boycotting Whole Foods any different from the Right boycotting the Dixie Chicks for calling Bush a turd or Disneyland for providing health care benefits to same sex couples?

    According to the NYT, the Southern Baptist Convention is currently boycotting “more than 100 properties, including the Walt Disney and Miramax studios, the ESPN and Discover cable networks and dozens of trade journals”.

    Isn’t that one more example of “agree with us or we’ll crush you”?

    “Shut up and do what we say, or we’re going to punish you” works both ways Mackey, and you should be smart and intellectually honest enough to know that.

  193. #193 |  MC | 

    Mackey in 2012!!

  194. #194 |  Izzy | 

    “These people don’t want a dicussion. They don’t want to hear ideas. They want you to shut up and do what they say, or they’re going to punish you.”

    Huh, sounds like the last 8 years of Cheney/Bush. Sieg Heil!

  195. #195 |  Shopfloor » Blog Archive » By Being So Stupid, Boycott of Whole Foods is a Good Thing | 

    […] be enjoying this if only the foolishness didn’t display such a totalitarian impulse. As blogger Radley Balko puts it,” “These people don’t want a dicussion. They don’t want to hear ideas. They want you […]

  196. #196 |  MC | 

    Perhaps the biggest upside of the boycott is fewer self-righteous, idiotic bumper stickers on display in the WF’s parking lot (at least for a while).

  197. #197 |  To Laughing Liberal | 

    Ummm…. because the Dixie Chicks acted like school age children who didn’t want to share their jump rope on the play ground. Further, the “Right” didn’t boycott the country music band, the public did. As a Chicks fan right from the start, I still have a hard time listening to their music, namely because I have little respect for celebrity exploitation of status in the manner in which they used it. And that goes for those on both sides of the isle.

    The op-ed is different in that, “It wasn’t even a nasty or mean-spirited op-ed. Mackey didn’t spread misinformation about death panels, call anyone names, or use ad hominem attacks. He put forth actual ideas and policy proposals, many of them tested and proven during his own experience running a large company.”

    He didn’t put down any one plan. He offered alternatives. What part of that is intectually dishonest?

  198. #198 |  WFM4ALL | 

    WFMI is the stock symbol for WholeFoods. Agreat company, a good tock that has been on the rise lately.

  199. #199 |  Doesn’t Quite Have That Cesar Chavez Feel To It « Around The Sphere | 

    […] Radley Balko: Let me see if I have the logic correct here: Whole Foods is consistently ranked among the most employee-friendly places to work in the service industry. In fact, Whole Foods treats employees a hell of a lot better than most liberal activist groups do. The company has strict environmental and humane animal treatment standards about how its food is grown and raised. The company buys local. The store near me is hosting a local tasting event for its regional vendors. Last I saw, the company’s lowest wage earners make $13.15 per hour. They also get to vote on what type of health insurance they want. And they all get health insurance. The company is also constantly raising money for various philanthropic causes. When I was there today, they were taking donations for a school lunch program. In short, Whole Foods is everything leftists talk about when they talk about “corporate responsibility.” […]

  200. #200 |  Molony | 

    “These people don’t want a dicussion. They don’t want to hear ideas. They want you to shut up and do what they say, or they’re going to punish you.”

    That’s a universal statement for most Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals anymore. Far too much self-righteuousness going on in politics for most to develop a fair and balanced opinion.

  201. #201 |  Morning Report, August 18: Lobbyist Daschle, Sanford’s Kool-Aid, Flying Amino Acids, « Evangelical Gateway | 

    […] A silly boycott of Whole Foods–yes, Whole Foods–takes shape on the Left.  Bill McGurn is right: the […]

  202. #202 |  Whole Foods, Health Care, And The Morons Who Threaten To Boycott | iamnotachef.com | 

    […] to it, with two excellent posts that skewer these fools far better than I could. Read the first one here, and the second one […]

  203. #203 |  bmmg39 | 

    Leslie: “Should be fun watching the right wingers buying arugula at Whole Foods.”

    Stereotype much? I’m a Bush-supporting vegetarian and I like shopping at Trader Joe’s. (WF is farther away from me, but I’d shop there, too.)

  204. #204 |  The Liberty Papers »Blog Archive » Radley Balko Responds To Commenters | 

    […] Balko wrote a post explaining why the boycott of Whole Foods, a company that does everything the left wants employers […]

  205. #205 |  Angry health food mobs organize - VolNation | 

    […] pretty much sums up the lunacy of the left on this issue: The Agitator Blog Archive Whole Foods […]

  206. #206 |  Thoughts on John Mackey and Whole Foods « Muse Free | 

    […] 13,000 members. But he will also gain customers of other ideological dispositions. Bloggers such as Radley Balko have been writing about this episode too. His readers will certainly be spending a few extra […]

  207. #207 |  Dr. Iam Anonymous | 

    @ Big Chief: As a tolerant member of the left wing I am highly offended by your post. I read the op-ed piece and have no problem with it or a healthy health-care debate. In fact I *gasp* even like some of his suggestions. Your path, however, doesn’t seem to be supportive of any bipartisan efforts of those who are willing to listen to your claims… see as follows:

    No wonder I hate all you right-wingers. You’re obviously Palin lovin’ bible-thumping extremists.

    See, it’s a hurtful comment designed to make you feel like shit because of your political affiliation and not promote bipartisan problem solving or healthy debate. Just like your post. In conclusion: Go suck an egg!

  208. #208 |  Dr. Iam Anonymous | 

    @ #150 (Peter) That’s also the typical conservative response. Just substitute “communist” for “Nazi” etc. Just saying it goes both ways with the name calling. Anyway those (on both sides) who are truly worth listening to don’t generally stoop to the baseless insults…

  209. #209 |  Chris | 

    Radney,
    Whole Foods does not buy local. Every, and I mean EVERY, packet of strawberries comes from Watsonville, CA, whether you shop at WF in New York, Washington DC or Kansas City. Why doesn’t Whole Foods truly embrace local growers and buy local when it’s easy and reasonable. All that shipping across the country is bad for the environment.

  210. #210 |  lars | 

    Gee, and I thought in a capitalist system the consumer could chose where he or she purchases goods. Now you tell me I can only make purchases based on price or quality? If you get bad service at a restaurant you don’t go back . People can boycott if they want, freedom of choice and all that. The purpose isn’t to shut down this lefty paradise but to remove an employee whose values are upsetting the customers, like a crappy waiter. I had no idea that customers are supposed to submit to the whims of company CEO’s. I guess I come from an era when companies catered to customers and not the other way round.

  211. #211 |  The Whole Foods boycott | PowerTowneDistro.com | 

    […] http://www.theagitator.com/2009/08/15/whole-foods-2/ Share and Enjoy: […]

  212. #212 |  The Distributed Republic | 

    I just bought some overpriced food at Whole Foods…

    In response Whole Foods CEO John Mackey’s sensible WSJ editorial, some leftists have organized a boycott. While I can understand how someone might disagree with parts of what Mackey wrote, a boycott? Really? For Whole Foods?

    To me, enterprise is a…

  213. #213 |  Karl Groves | 

    This is a good re-introduction of logic into the whole issue. I think this guy could have saved himself a lot of the vitriol headed his way if he had chosen certain words more wisely in his Op-Ed. The quote about socialism that preceded his article as well as the characterization of universal healthcare as “ObamaCare” obviously were not needed and ring suspiciously of similar right-wing kookery found elsewhere.

    As a moderate who supports healthcare reform (of what “flavor” I’m as-yet undecided), I found his Op-Ed to be excellent and logical and we need much more of that, and much less of the typical conservative fear mongering. The healthcare reform train probably has too much steam to halt this time around. Both parties had better stop the partisanship and work together to come up with something that works before we’re left with a huge mess that could have been avoided with some simple cooperation.

  214. #214 |  WFM4ALL | 

    WholeFoods is having some great bargain promotions at this time which makes it even more affordable.

  215. #215 |  Head Like a Whole | 

    […] want to about the Whole Foods/John Mackey/Obamacare op-ed debacle—in two excellent posts here and here, so I’ll just add some scattered observations. What I find interesting is that the […]

  216. #216 |  G Richter | 

    I live 150 yards from a Whole Foods. It was one of the reasons I chose my place to live. I joined the boycott yesterday, permanently.

    Why? Because after reading John Mackey’s op-ed piece, I still have two questions:

    1) Where do people get their health care when they lose their jobs?

    2) Where do people who are born with serious conditions get health care?

    In the first case, I would think that Libertarians would find some form of universal health care liberating. Small business owners would not be stuck with the burden of providing health care and we could have more small businesses as a result. As someone who is starting a small business myself, this is a major issue for me. The availability of a reasonable cost (no one said ‘free’) universal health care system would make it much easier for me to hire. I formerly believed that COBRA laws protected people who lose their jobs. Please investigate what happens to COBRA when a small company shuts down and cancels their health care policy. (Hint: COBRA goes away the next month, often with no notice to the people signed up for COBRA.)

    In the second case, I have a daughter (now aged 31), who was born with a genetic condition. This basicly renders her uninsurable for a lifetime under the current model. She currently works for a government health provider in her state and gets health care as a result. But if she changes professions, she is sunk. Why? Because genetic diseases are a pre-exisiting condition that date back to one’s birth, so there is no getting coverage for any consequences of pre-existing conditions. And in her case, her genetic disease means that the most likely illnesses she will get are linked to her condition. She essentially has a life sentence to health care risk in addition to her misfortune of birth.

    I note that John Mackey’s proposals deal with neither of the above two issues (as well as many more, with which I am less familiar.) He lives in the breezy, comfortable world where no one in his family has a condition from birth and his view of health care is all under his control (corporate health care).

    So I joined the boycott. And, it is permanent. If Mr. Mackey wants to run a grocery store, fine. But when he uses his bully pulpit to propose solutions that do not include my daughter, then I will chose to shop at another grocery store. Mybe next time, he will actually examine the issues in more details prior to giving us a pablum answer to a very difficult problem set.

  217. #217 |  seng | 

    Do these progressives not see the irony of voting with their dollars in a free market to advocate a single payer health system in which you have no ability to do so? What happens when they dont agree with some part of the single payer health care system? Stunning…

  218. #218 |  Stephen Manion | 

    This was a very counterproductive thing for a CEO to do. Controversy is all downside. It is anger that drives action; in this case a surprisingly swiftly organized and effective boycott. The demographics of his customers make it worse. Bean sprouts and liberalism go together like ants and picnics. His angry customers will just go to another health food store hurting Whole foods while helping the competition. Bye Bye Market share. As CEO his first responsibility is to the stockholders, not his own ego. He just screwed the stockholders. I not only dumped my stock I’m selling short. No political consideration, just making the best of his mistake. His lemons. My lemonade. Organic lemonade in this particular case. Word on the street reports an organized movement to shore up the stock. Professional opinion on the street is it can’t possibly hold. A lot of people who think they are helping Mr. Mackey are about to be badly burned. Perhaps not just monetarily. I wonder if these folks realize that, even done for political purposes rather than avarice, organized stock manipulation is still a felony.

  219. #219 |  Chrisanne Ford | 

    Hey #218—I hope you didn’t short wholefoods today, you would be taking a beating…up 28 cents last time I checked.

    While we’re at it, let’s tar and feather Warren Buffett for his insane opining on the deficit today in the NYT’s. What the hell does he know anyway.

    Peace.

  220. #220 |  Zachary Adam Cohen: Whole Foods CEO John Mackey: Marketing Genius or Out-of-Touch Schmuck? | TechnoRush | 

    […] them, a cathedral of sorts. Whole Foods, as Radley Balko said in his wonderful post on the subject, “is everything leftists talk about when they talk about “corporate responsibility.&#8221…” It sure […]

  221. #221 |  Lee | 

    As a long-time liberal who is against the current plans for health reform (I have read the proposed Legislative bill, which won’t pass as is and will be changed/amended ad infinitum), and who is against “public” option by the government, paid for eventually by all of us (it doesn’t work in the UK, Canada, Massachusetts, Tennessee, etc.), I find Mackey’s suggestions logical and fiscally responsible. We cannot sustain the debt that our country is approaching. To think you can “get something for nothing”, as many ultra-liberals still believe, is ludicrous. And the name-calling is infantile – Barney Frank’s latest outburst is a perfect example. I shop at Whole Foods occasionally; now I will do almost all my shopping there. New customers will be gained as a result of this disgusting boycott. But perhaps, as one writer noted, there will be less congregating around the free food samples, so boycott away – it’s your right. Just don’t call others names and remember how you got that right.

  222. #222 |  The American Spectator : AmSpecBlog : Radley Balko Explains It All | 

    […] how it went down: Balko points out the flaws of logic in the Whole Foods boycott supposedly gaining momentum after CEO John Mackey […]

  223. #223 |  Lee | 

    already left a comment

  224. #224 |  HansJurgen | 

    Typical libtards to boycott Whole Foods! Now I plan to do all my grocery shopping at Whole Foods since there won’t be as many libtards shopping there!

    Name one thing that the government runs successfully. So, I agree with Mr. Mackey and will do whatever to become a member of the “mob” that will stop the stupidity from the liberal retards – that’s libtards.

    Use your brain you idiots! I agree that health care needs to be overhauled, but not by the freakin’ government – especially idiot Obama who’s is bankrupting America! Every government program is going into debt. Even not-my-prez Obama said so about the US post office. So, wake up and get a clue!

  225. #225 |  Stephen Manion | 

    More talk on the street that there is a (poorly) organized movement to shore up Whole Foods stock (WFMI). The pros still say it can’t possibly hold. Experts think the bottom will drop out right at the end of this after hours session (in about 5 minutes) or at the beginning of tomorrows pre-market trading session, and then drift lower still during the day. So far there has been no trading in the stock during the after market session. Very very odd. It’s like everyone is holding there breath ready to dump as soon as someone else does and they see the down-tic. A lot of people who think they are helping Mr. Mackey are about to be badly burned. Perhaps not just monetarily. Maybe they don’t realize that, even done for political rather than monetary purposes, organized stock manipulation is still a felony.

  226. #226 |  Kathleen | 

    All of this Macky employee wonderfulness will go down the drain when Whole Foods is no longer doing so well as it is today. . Just like Toyota – No unions but they started out with very excellent employee benefits etc. Now that has all changed. Salaries are down in the low teens as opposed to almost union scale levels previously among many other benefits that have been and they have no union to stick up for them – they just have to eat it. The capitalist system sucks – rewards idiots and mediocrity.

    We can grow our own food and shop at farmers markets. I won’t miss you Whole Foods

    People in this country have been so indoctrinated that they have no idea who capitalism actually benefits or even how it works – and believe me it is not them. The American people need a huge education.

    Wake up America – go and seek out the truth and find out which side you ought to be on. Learn something real instead of listening to Limbaugh and the other rabble rousers. The enormous guys have you all by the throat and they are squeezing. We are about to get a sweet deal for the insurance companies – now everybody has to buy in and no public option to buffer the blow . We will be criminals if we don’t – very nice work United Health Care. And you gave up 2% of PROJECTED profits to get it? WOW!

    Boycott Whole Foods – Macky is one of them – the god almighty dollar is all that matters anymore.

    By the way – everyone over 65 that I know loves medicare and we should all have it and stop paying protection racket money to sleazy insurance companies.

  227. #227 |  Kathleen | 

    you can’t simply boycott his businesses to shut him up, and claim the moral high ground in the debate…..

    Yes we can. He has the ability to sound off in a major publication which we don’t and this is our answer to the @*&%. In a capitalist system there is very little choice for us “ordinary” working stiffs. Boycott his A^&#.

  228. #228 |  Kathleen | 

    Name one thing that the government runs successfully.

    I PUT AN ENVELOPE IN A BLUE BOX ON MONDAY AND VOILA! ON WEDNESDAY IT ARRIVES AT THE PLACE I WISH. AND IT ONLY COSTS $.49

    Such a deal you indoctrinated moron.

  229. #229 |  c j | 

    Manion, get a life! Lee, that is fn hilarious…about the free samples. The guy has an opinion, should everyone be punished if they have a different idea. I for one will shop more at WF.

  230. #230 |  C.Grigsby | 

    This man also takes $1 in salary a year and all dividends from stocks go straight to charity. He employs over 500 thousand people and as you said, he treats them extremely well.

    I’m fed up with these left wing freaks going after innocent, generous, principled folks. Glenn Beck is also, like him or not, getting hammered w/advertisers pulling ads from his news hour for speaking what he believes to be true. This was a free country last time I checked with our 1st amendment still in tact!!!

    I will be doing my shopping Friday at Whole Foods even though it’s 45 minutes away!

  231. #231 |  laslavic | 

    I’m curious if the self proclaimed wealthy leftists that brag they are 90% of Whole Foods customer base will show the same noble behavior by pulling their investments and unwavering political and ideological support for their patron saint george soros now that the cat is out of the bag regarding his funds $800 million investment in the Brazilian state owned oil company along with obama $2 Billion loan to drill drill drill off a far more beautiful coast than California can claim? I’m guessing a european earning profits is ok with the leftists especially because he works so diligently with his billions to create a global serfdom he and his leftist ilk….the above mentioned mob, will rule over….

  232. #232 |  laslavic | 

    Leslie #179 you keep living in that fantasy world where brilliant self proclaimed elites primarily on the coast and a few flyover college towns are the bulk of the wealthy….right. Let’s see you have the unions…at least the million of dollars for democrat politicians. You get teachers and government workers and newly arrived immigrants. You get Detroit and lots of cities working on becoming like Detroit with their completely and hopelessly almost entirely controlled by democrats corrupt governments with millions of citizens and non citizens waiting for hand out instead of hand up….all yours lefty. I’ll give you the lawyers and college profs..of course they have to be democrats because both in one way or another rely on government for a paycheck or in the lawyers case more laws that only good democrat politicians can be counted on to provide and I’ll give you the beltway bureaucrats that also vote left to keep the big government big and there cushy job in the budget. Your self proclaimed superior world view doesn’t have any correlation with wealth but hey if you feel better thinking all the successful people are leftist go for it…delusional fool. We on the right will keep paying the majority of the taxes because it’s the law and your constituents need the money more than ours I suppose…right?

  233. #233 |  Stephen Manion | 

    Too early this morning I received a phone call from a friend who works at Whole Foods. She is scared. She says traffic is way down and the people who come in are buying very little. I asked if she thought they might be the conservatives who are supposedly shopping there to support Mackey, or maybe people they brought in just to make it look like they had some business. She wouldn’t speculate but said there are already rumors of layoffs. She is afraid for her job on the one hand but thinks the boycotters are right on the other. Really conflicted about the whole Whole Foods fiasco.

  234. #234 |  Stephen Manion | 

    You’re right, CJ, That remark about the free samples was about as inane and irreverent as they come, but please don’t attribute it to me it was someone hiding behind the nom de plume of “WFM4ALL” who hasn’t the conviction of his opinions to use his real name.

  235. #235 |  Save the GOP » Blog Archive » Whole Foods Vs. The Left | 

    […] left went bananas. Libertarian Rodney Balko tried to explain to them why he thought they were […]

  236. #236 |  Left Wing Closed Mindedness « Threads from Henry’s Web | 

    […] Whole Foods […]

  237. #237 |  WFM4ALL | 

    WFMI is a great stock. WFM is a great market that is an asset to ANY community it is in. This boycott is by misguided idiots who shouldn’t be shopping in WFM anyway.

  238. #238 |  TimCT | 

    Hooray to Mackey for 1) being a exemplary citizen and employer and 2) for having the courage to voice his legitimate concerns over a government takeover of our health care. The far-left see only what they want to see, cannot tolerate a dissenting opinion, and would try to drive a man out of business for intelligently stating his opinion. I wouldn’t be surprised if they wouldn’t physically harm him and throw him in jail if they could. The far left continues to marginalize itself and prove to the level-headed, average American that they are not to be trusted.

    bobzbob…get a clue, you’re like an alcoholic in denial. Current tort laws promote frivolous lawsuits, do NOT efficiently or fairly compensate patients injured in medical malpractice, AND add $150 billion dollars unnecessarily to our ANNUAL healthcare costs because of defensive medicine. (THAT’S $1.5 trillion over 10 years!!) Health care reform requires tort reform.

  239. #239 |  pete | 

    Have any of you people had a debilitating illness, or have a loved one with a long term illness. Have you ever spent years with a loved one, as they basically lived by a thread from the insurance companies arbitrarily deciding what treatments or drugs are right or wrong for them. Even though they haven’t a clue as to the specifics and intricacies of the illness. and yet, people live and die by the whims of someone in a corporate insurnace office, that has it’s bottom line and profit margin to be careful of.
    This is what it comes down to you dumb fucks.
    What if you’re not well enough to work, because you can’t afford the treatment you need, to be well enough to work enough, so you can afford the healthcare that will keep you healthy enough to freakin’ continue to work, so you can afford to pay the ever sky rocketing insurance premiums.
    You get into your political stances, without seeing this for what it is. This is about human decency. I spent a lot of money in WholeFoods, and really struggle with this. But i am not going in there, for a long time.
    I’ll spend more money and buy locally… which is something i should be doing anyway.

  240. #240 |  Dennis Allard | 

    All socialist programs should be abolished, to wit: public schools, social security and medicare (which are merely “entitlements”), the army, national parks, the interstate highway system, the Internet, and familial socialism (where rich people give their children money).

    Yes, I’m kidding.

    I read Mackey WSJ article and responded point by point at:

    http://oceanpark.com/blog/2009/08/whole-foods-to-boycott-or-not-to-boycott-a-response-to-ceo-john-mackey/

  241. #241 |  Frammy | 

    Holy god, I consider myself left-wing and pretty liberal, but I don’t agree with this boycott nonsense AT ALL. With all the corporate and governmental corruption, is setting cross-hairs on a guy who, by his own choice, lowered his base salary to $1 a year a smart move at all?!

    People need to take a step back from the 24-hour talking heads and really see what Mackey was trying to say. He wasn’t purposefully pimping his brand, but holding up in show-and-tell fashion, because, like any specialist in any field anywhere, he’s talking about what he knows. And running a 1.3 billion dollar a year certified organic grocery chain that employee’s 50k+ people, 89% of which have FREE HEALTHCARE, and even in these times still providing these services while still keeping average employee wages well over $10 an hour deserves a handshake and an “atta-boy”, not the proverbial silver bullet.

  242. #242 |  archgreen | 

    Never been to WF, but drove 28 miles today to spend $100. I found out it was a great store, friendly employees. I plan to continue trading with this company on a weekly basis. The left wing nuts are just that.

  243. #243 |  Suzanne | 

    #66 (Stacy) —

    Whole Foods does treat its Team Members VERY well.

    Our benefits are amazing. I don’t pay for medical. The “high” deductible is easily covered with a Personal Wellness Account card that you can use to cover your deductible, buy OTC products at Walgreens, etc, use towards glasses, contacts, Lasik, braces, what have you… Whole Foods pays well, offers good PTO packages, and there are a lot more reasons TMs loves Whole Foods than its organic certification.

    Whole Foods provides the opportunity to learn so much, move forward within the company, travel, transfer to other stores/states/countries, and empowers us to make our decisions day-to-day.

    I understand (to a point) the general response to the article, but do you know how many people in our stores feel differently?? I’ve seen in the comments here that people don’t feel they shouldn’t boycott just because of our jobs… But what of our ideals, opinions, and beliefs???? You are taking 1 person’s opinion out of tens of thousands and applying it to us all. This is not John Mackey’s store, this is MY store. He does not come in and have a direct influence on my store in its day-to-day operations…I do. Instead of boycotting John Mackey and hoping (somehow?) to have an effect on his opinion…couldn’t you talk to your coworker or your neighbor or even your parents about healthcare reform??? Those are the people you can actually influence.

    Best,
    Suzanne

  244. #244 |  Dana | 

    Ah Liberals…They all believe in free speech until someone who disagrees with them decides to exercise his free speech. I find it strange that the same group that defends the KKK’s right to march in DC now finds it hard to accept a reasonable, well-thought out opinion from one of the best CEOs in the country.

    Living in this country should mean being able to voice your opinion without having to suffer the consequences, especially when that opinion is part of the “honest” debate which was requested by the president.

  245. #245 |  Paul Flynn | 

    Don’t matter where I buy my food. While we all blahblahblah…the Insurance Corporations are jizzing with glee because no matter how this so-called health care reform goes, these corporations are soon gonna be rolling all of us and stuffing there greedy gobs with unprecedented profits having the biggest piggiest soirres the world has ever seen…see massachusetts

  246. #246 |  » Blog Archive » Evil | 

    […] to be a liberal after all, and I still pass as one to avoid social and economic ostracization, like what happened recently to the CEO of Whole Foods. I should probably avoid heating things up even more by […]

  247. #247 |  Jeff | 

    Great summarization of this moronic boycott.

  248. #248 |  An Open Letter to Whole Foods Boycotters | Subculture Lifestyle Magazine | 

    […] on Whole Foods, good and bad NY Times A variety of reactions GOOD Boycott the Whole Food Boycott The Agitator “I plan to do a lot more shopping at Whole Foods…” Classic! Share/Save This entry was posted […]

  249. #249 |  The Conservatieve | 

    Thank you! This “boycott” is only making more people shop there, me for one!
    The left speaks their mind and push their policies, but God forbid you oppose them. Seek and destroy!
    This double standard must stop!
    The reason for this boycott is because the left is dying a miserable death and they know it. They are bitter and mad.

    sit back and enjoy the show. The left had the country by the tail politically and pissed it all away in 6 months. Haha!

    Eagerly awaiting the slaughter in 2010!

  250. #250 |  Melissa | 

    What’s going on here, we need freedom of thought and opinion to find the solution to a huge problem. Don’t punish those who are trying to contribute to the conversation… that’s medieval, or at least McCarthy era. Why are you trying to take us back there? Now I’m definitely shopping at Whole Foods

  251. #251 |  The Writing On The Wal » Blog Archive » Business does what’s best for its business. | 

    […] it, I just think it’s interesting. Why am I not joining it? Well, for one thing, I agree with Radley Balko (via The Daily Dish): Whole Foods is consistently ranked among the most employee-friendly places to […]

  252. #252 |  Avery | 

    A company as progressive as Whole Foods and the left is calling for a boycott!!! What happened to the right to opinion?
    I’ve never shopped at Whole Food but now plan to support the Company.

  253. #253 |  Mo | 

    For the people out there that are boycotting Whole Foods, you are a joke and if you read the article, you would see that, My CEO has a valid opinion!
    First off, The health care industry needs to be reformed, not become universal. Where do you think the money is going to come from? It’s going to not only take years, but also take millions of dollars. Don’t you see our already downward spiraling economy and you want to be taxed even more? That’s probably where the money is going to come from. No one is looking at the entire picture!
    I have the best insurance that anyone could ask for and there is no way in Hell that I would give it up without a fight.
    John was saying that it is our own responsibility to take care of ourselves through diet and exercise. If you look at America today you will see a world where diseases and medical conditions could be avoided. Diabetes and obesity!!! Most cases are caused by poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle.
    People would rather be lazy and live in their own learned-helplessness!
    Its hilarious that so many people are boycotting my work all because one man had an opinion. Are we adults or children? It’s freedom of speech. It’s an ability for people to look at both sides! (Is it the fact that people really don’t want to have to take responsibility for themselves at all?) Which brings me to the point. I think he was saying that we spend so much money and cause so much problems to our own health and we need to change that. That if we took better care of ourselves we could avoid many problems. This would save millions of dollars in the long run.
    Also Whole Foods Market is a wonderful place where we support local, humane animal treatment, healthy diets, Knowledge and equality for all employees! we help sustain farms and people all over the world. We raise money for hundreds of things to help communities all over the USA and world! We do have great insurance and benefits. We also work hard and dedicate our time and effort by giving back to the community. Take good look at other large companies and compare them to Whole Foods. There is a difference and its major!

  254. #254 |  Whole Foods Boycott Over Op-ed Ridiculous « Upset Patterns | 

    […] limb here – are in general agreement with most of what the corporation does. As Radley Balko writes: Let me see if I have the logic correct here: Whole Foods is consistently ranked among the most […]

  255. #255 |  How to annoy your stupid Republican Facebook friends when debating healthcare (# 3): Whole Foods, John Mackey and the ‘public option’ « thump and whip | 

    […] Cue the narrow-minded ‘customer’: […]

  256. #256 |  Kathleaner | 

    Whole Foods stock is up about 20% in August – during the time of this great boycott. 20% is a great year, let alone month. I hope someday a bunch of economic idiots boycott me.

    The left’s regulations always benefit large companies and make them even larger. Regulations from FDA, and most others are in place specifically to insure that the established companies will not face new more nimble competitors. Now the left (good cop), and their NeoCon (badcop) brothers, have programs that make sure these big companies are too big to fail. In a government run system, those same leaders will be in charge of things in your life, only then they can force you to pay them, and you won’t be able to boycott your food or health provider, because you won’t have an alternative. I’m a new Whole Foods Customer for life, and Mackey is a genius. He even managed to help keep out the “undesirables” from his establishment as well with just a few strokes of the pen – and with no regulations, and without signs at the door stating “idiots not allowed”! Bravo.

  257. #257 |  Laura | 

    In response to KCOM

    The best most well written statement about this health care depate I have read anywhere on line. You hit the nail on the head! if anyone can read what you wrote and still not get why so many people (REPUBLICANS, DEMOCRATS AND INDEPENDANTS) are against Obamas universal health care, then they just don’t want to get it. Many of the people here who are so hot for this government health care obviously have never had to go on welfare or medicaid or the crap medical they give our returning vets because if they did they would never want the governemnt running their health care. I have many horror stories I can tell from years of watching people who have used both gov. health insurances listed above and I know I will continue to pay what ever I have to no matter how much so I never ever ever have to take anything from the government. People also say look at medicare or social security it works well you paid into it for many many many years that you have worked the governments not just giving this to you you had to pay for all the years you worked. And now we find out they have taken your money but they are both almost bankrupted so were did your money go? You know want to give the gov. more of your money so they can throw it out the window? Not me!

  258. #258 |  Raymond Moser | 

    Looks like the extreme right and left are doing their best to sabatoge health insurance reform on IDEOLOGICAL GROUNDS. Attacks on the views of the CEO of Whole are not only ugly, bullying of constitutionally protected free speech, but are not helpful for health insurance reform, which most average Americans want and need. While the California (LEFT WING CRAZIES) boycott a decent company offering desperately needed jobs the (RIGHTWING CRAZIES) spread boldface lies about death panel/living wills and future health care rationing (like it doesn’t exist in our HMO’s or many health insurance denials of coverage NOW! Clear basic reforms of our private health insurance industry system was the number 1 domestic priority of President Obama’s successful and clear victory last November. Our job as patriotic citizens in a democracy is to support the new president’s broad initiative, while making suggestions on how to improve it. Now, he has to show his own solution to the House/Senate Bill differences and get the best compromise enacted into law, with or without Republican support. He has to get it done!

  259. #259 |  Maddy | 

    Well said! I totally agree! I haven’t been to Whole Foods in a long time, but when I heard about the ridiculous boycott, I decided to start shopping there more often and I’ve already gone once. So, thank you boycotters for reminding me what a great company Whole Foods is.

  260. #260 |  mind cleanse | 

    mind cleanse…

    The Agitator ” Blog Archive ” Whole Foods is an excellent post. But I feel it is missing on a few points….

  261. #261 |  sue | 

    Out of curiosity, how many of you are collecting SS or using medicare? How about mom or dad, grandparents? Are you ready to “opt out” of those gov run programs? Didn’t think so.

  262. #262 |  LemmingWarrior | 

    Boycotting is a very effective weapon used to turn the tide for civil rights read up on how African-Americans used it during the civil rights era.

    This is one boycott I’ll be joining in as I believe healthcare should be a RIGHT and not a PRIVILAGE for the lucky few who can well afford it.

  263. #263 |  Theman | 

    Ron Paul baby !

    im gonna go to whole foods soon, never been but going to cause i heard they got coconut oil

  264. #264 |  Janey | 

    Actually, Whole Foods’ lowest (starting wage) here in CO is $10.00 per hour. I’m not sure where you got your figures. And they don’t buy local all that often, it’s more marketing than anything else. If you are in the store and take a tally of what items are from other areas versus items that are local, you would see a disporportionate amount of foreign and non-local products there. It’s smart marketing and it obviously works if you don’t read between the lines. They make a good profit from saying that the items they choose to sell are free of harmful ingredients when they sell Heinz ketchup and Newman’s Own Lemonade with HFCS in them. Last time I checked you couldn’t make that at home. Although they have good intentions, Whole Foods is just another brick in the now inherently corrupt agribusiness wall.

  265. #265 |  John | 

    “Out of curiosity, how many of you are collecting SS or using medicare? How about mom or dad, grandparents? Are you ready to “opt out” of those gov run programs? Didn’t think so.”

    Short answer is Yes, I would like to opt out. As a personal observation, I doubt grandma would need SS, if the government hadn’t confiscated so much of her money over her life time.

    “This is one boycott I’ll be joining in as I believe healthcare should be a RIGHT and not a PRIVILAGE for the lucky few who can well afford it.”

    Interesting redefinition of a “RIGHT” as in the past, a “RIGHT” didn’t force others in your servitude. I suppose that next you will say you have a RIGHT to clothing, therefore someone should be forced to pick cotton.

  266. #266 |  The Best Journalism and Blogging of 2009! | ICED BORSCHT | 

    […] Foods,” by Radley Balko (Part 1 and 2) the […]

  267. #267 |  JB | 

    For some reason the “leftist” definition of freedom equates to being able to live comfortably at others’ expense. It’s the same logic that says the ability to live without spending your life working should be a right, not a privilege, and therefore slavery should be legalized.
    When will this end? Isn’t the “right” to be fed or to own a house much more important than the “right” to see a doctor? Why not take away the “evil” for profit food and housing industries 1st?

  268. #268 |  Mike | 

    Why is always a left and right issue? If people don’t want to shop there that is fine and if people do want to shop there that is fine. Once a label of left or right is put on something, someone will be wrong and someone will be an asshole for thinking he or she is right. Let everybody be.
    Yes I know this is a very liberal thought.

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