Friday, August 14, 2009

Boycotting Whole Foods!

Even ABC News got into the act about ObamaCare supporters threatening to boycott Whole Foods because the CEO wrote an op/ed in favor of a free market solution to the health care issue:
"I will never shop there again," vowed Joshua, a 45-year-old blogger, who asked that his last name not be published.

Like many of his fellow health food fanatics, Joshua said he will no longer patronize the store after learning about Whole Foods Market Inc.'s CEO John Mackey's views on health care reform, which were made public this week in an op-ed piece he wrote for The Wall Street Journal.

Michael Lent, another Whole Foods enthusiast in Long Beach, Calif., told that he, too, will turn to other organic groceries for his weekly shopping list.

"I'm boycotting [Whole Foods] because all Americans need health care," said Lent, 33, who used to visit his local Whole Foods "several times a week."

"While Mackey is worried about health care and stimulus spending, he doesn't seem too worried about expensive wars and tax breaks for the wealthy and big businesses such as his own that contribute to the deficit," said Lent.
Eh??? How does he know!
Christine Taylor, a 34-year-old New Jersey shopper, vowed never to step foot in another Whole Foods again.

"I will no longer be shopping at Whole Foods," Taylor told "I think a CEO should take care that if he speaks about politics, that his beliefs reflect at least the majority of his clients."

Countless Whole Foods shoppers have taken their gripes with Mackey's op-ed to the Internet, where people on the social networking sites Twitter and Facebook are calling for a boycott of the store.

A commenter on the Whole Foods forum, identified only by his handle, "PracticePreach," wrote, "It is an absolute slap in the face to the millions of progressive-minded consumers that have made [Whole Foods] what it is today."

"You should know who butters your hearth-baked bread, John," wrote the commenter. "Last time I checked it wasn't the insurance industry conservatives who made you a millionaire a hundred times over."
Well not all is lost.
And not all Whole Foods customers were upset by Mackey's op-ed.

Many posted online that they agreed with his message and would try to shop at the chain more often.

Frank Federer wrote, expressing fatigue with the knee-jerk reaction of other shoppers.

"You can count me as one vote FOR Whole Foods' CEO," wrote Federer. "At a time when most folks are more inclined toward rancor than discussion of facts, I applaud John Mackey."
There is a lesson here, especially if anyone aspire to be a CEO of some fortune 500 company:
According to Robert Passikoff, the founder of Brand Keys, a N.Y.-based consulting firm, what a CEO says or does can often have a direct impact on consumers' pocketbooks.

"You can have a tremendous effect as a CEO, but it's a double-edge sword in that you'll have people who will support your position and feel better about your brand because of what you say," said Passikoff. "But equally so, you'll have people who think you're crazy and because they can't take it out on you, the CEO, they'll take it out on the company."

It is the risk of losing customers, said Passikoff, which more often than not leads CEOs to keep their mouths shut, at least when it comes to polarizing issues such as health care.
"It's relatively unusual for a CEO to be as outspoken as Mackey has been," said Upshaw. "Because any time you weigh in to something political, you're bound to have loyal customers who will question [your] point of view, and that can have a very negative effect."

Upshaw added that Mackey's op-ed may have done more harm than might be typical because of the unique makeup of his clientele.

"You have more activist consumers going to Whole Foods than other stores," said Upshaw. "They're not just simply expressing an opinion, they do something about it.
You know, I still think some people are being narrow minded here. Besides why is it that a privately owned company has to fall into the point of view of their own customers? Where did that logic come from?

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