Sunday, August 23, 2009

Whole Foods Boycott

Enjoying watching the Whole Foods boycott develop, I thought I would share some opinionated and thought provoking links from both camps. Should Mackey have spoken out publicly against creating a government health care system as health care reform? Will it hurt Whole Foods' bottom line and public image in the long term among its liberal client base? Or will hearing a liberal public figure speak out against public health add levity to the liberal argument in favor of establishing public health?

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey's Wall Street Journal editorial that raised the ire of some liberal customers and launched the boycott movement.

Dennis Allard in The Ocean Park Column addresses Mackey's 8 points arguing against a public health care system.

Kathleen Horan from New York City's public radio station WNYC interviews customers entering and exiting a Manhattan Whole Foods.

BBC chimes in with an excellent summary.

Embedded in a post on the liberal Americablog is the email letter Whole Foods is sending to customers who inquire.

Comments in Whole Foods forums.

Radley Balko of The Agitator gives a few solid reasons in favor of shopping at Whole Foods and against the boycott.

Transcript of Greta Van Susteran interview of Brian Sullivan, from Fox Business Record. In this interview, Sullivan mentions that Whole Foods offers domestic same sex partner benefits, a progressive stance that makes me think more than once against joining the boycott.

Mackey's justification of his opinion,

"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."

While not taking a stand on the boycott one way or another, I will state that I want to live in a country where health care is considered a right and not a privilege.


tgirl said...

FYI - Mackey is and has been anything BUT a liberal. He's as right wing as they grow them in Texas, where he started Whole Foods.

Exile Kiss said...

Hi Food, she thought,

Wow, I had no idea a boycott was happening against Whole Foods. Very interesting points presented pro and con. Thanks for the 411.

Foxwood said...

Do you believe the Constitution is the rule of law? Do you believe in the original intent of our founding fathers? Do you want to reform Congress? If your answer is yes, we have to work together to make this happen.

Food, she thought. said...

T-Mackey asserts himself to be a Libertarian, which I find stated clearly in his WSJ ed piece. However, some of his personal and company practices reflect liberal ideals. Allowing same sex domestic partner benefits, not taking a salary for the past 2 years and donating the funds to charity, and creating a 100k needs based fund for Whole Foods employees. As CEO of Whole Foods, I find him to be an important liberal figurehead despite some of his personal feelings, clearly where the disconnect leading to the boycott has occurred.

EK-This will be interesting to watch as it develops or devolves, one or the other.

Foxwood-I believe the Constitution was developed and has been used as a changeable document. We have interpreted the Constitution in different ways over the years as needs see fit, due to changes in morals and viewpoints of our lawmakers and citizens. We have changed much of the original intention of the Constitution and necessarily so.

ekd said...

I have to agree with the Agitator on this one. I kept re-reading what Mackey, looking for something wildly offensive. He has an opinion, he said it, and I'm sure PR is doing their best to back pedal. I find it offputting that anyone would suggest boycotting a company because the CEO *gasp* shared publicly his opinion on a controversial topic. I do not share his opinion. But, does it matter?

Food, she thought. said...

E-I understand people spending their money where their social conscious lies. I don't think his opinions are that revolutionary, I simply think he has a very politically enfranchised client base who want to believe they shop at a store with the same core values are represented. Does it matter to me? Probably not. When I want to shop at Whole Foods, I do so because of the quality of the product. When I want to shop somewhere for the quality of my wallet, I go elsewhere. It's not like Mackey supports Operation Rescue, or something of that nature. He was incredibly liberal when he was in college, starting the first vegetarian grocery store in all of Texas. Interesting guy, actually.

Paul said...

Back in 2008, this Whole Foods, CEO John Mackey (how old is this kid?), was caught posting negative comments (trash talk) about a competitor on Yahoo Finance message boards in an effort to push down the stock price. So now I am suppose to take this loser seriously? Please, snore, snore.

It’s funny we hear Republicans say that they do not want “faceless bureaucrats” making medical decisions but they have no problem with “private sector” “faceless bureaucrats” daily declining medical coverage and financially ruining good hard working people (honestly where can they go with a pre-condition). And who says that the “private sector” is always right, do we forget failures like Long-Term Capital, WorldCom, Global Crossing, Enron, Tyco, AIG and Lehman Brothers. Of course the federal government will destroy heathcare by getting involved, Oh but wait, Medicare and Medicaid and our military men and women and the Senate and Congress get the best heathcare in the world, and oh, that’s right, its run by our federal government. I can understand why some may think that the federal government will fail, if you look at the past eight years as a current history, with failures like the financial meltdown and Katrina but the facts is they can and if we support them they will succeed.

How does shouting down to stop the conversation of the healthcare debate at town hall meetings, endears them to anyone. Especially when the organizations that are telling them where to go and what to do and say are Republicans political operatives, not real grassroots. How does shouting someone down or chasing them out like a “lynch mob” advanced the debate, it does not. So I think the American people will see through all of this and know, like the teabagger, the birthers, these lynch mobs types AKA “screamers” are just the same, people who have to resort to these tactics because they have no leadership to articulate what they real want. It’s easy to pickup a bus load of people who hate, and that’s all I been seeing, they hate and can’t debate. Too bad.