Right now, between the pile of lawsuits and the stock prices that have been dropping for months, Whole Foods is has been in the news a lot lately. In pop culture, it’s gone from a beloved corporate icon to one of those things that people love to hate. I’m a chef and I worked for Whole Foods running culinary pop-up programs and developing recipes for one year. I came into my Whole Foods contract last fall with wide eyes and an eagerness to drink the kool-aid; I truly believed that this was a company that practiced Conscious Capitalism and lived up to its values of ethics and sustainability. What followed was not just the most soul-sucking, mind-numbing employment experience of my career (and I can’t emphasize that enough; working for Whole Foods was like having a dementor attached to the front of my shirt at all times), but also a uniquely dysfunctional and uniquely hypocritical corporate animal that I couldn’t have imagined from a consumer standpoint.
Whole Foods builds its whole image around being wholesome. It advertises itself on the basis of being ethical, sustainable, and fully invested in the well-being of all of its stakeholders (customers, employees, etc.) They do a pretty good job creating and selling this image of themselves, so a lot of people really buy into it- literally, with their (often ungodly amounts of) money.
I started this blog as a secret because typing everything out felt like much-needed catharsis. Now that my Whole Foods year is up and I’m happily out of there, I’m keeping this blog because I think that consumers have the right to know what their dollars are perpetuating. Plus, as long as you’re not the one dealing with it, this shit’s hilarious.
A quick disclaimer:
I’m notoriously bad at social media, photography and the internet. You’ll see some poor-quality photos here and probably some signs of technological incompetence, and I apologize. I’m recruiting help from a friend. But for now, it’s the values that matter, am I right?