Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods, home of the $6 Asparagus Water, announced today that they’re cutting 1,500 jobs over the next two months.
“We believe this is an important step to evolve Whole Foods Market in a rapidly changing marketplace,” Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb said in a statement. If I had to venture a guess, it would be that the “rapidly changing market” refers to customers who are finally wising up to the price gouging that Whole Foods is so famous for. It’s just unfortunate that the result is employees losing their jobs.
When a new-and-improved Whole Foods opened up in West Little Rock last year, I noticed a definite shift in how the place was being marketed. Sure, there were still groceries, brands of vegan dog food and artisanal chocolate bars, but it the corporate tour guide that walked me around the store a week before it opened didn’t really talk much about that. Instead, she focused on the prepared foods side of things like a barbecue bar, pizza kiosk and a fully functional bar where customers can get drunk enough to make paying $15 for two chicken breasts seem like a good idea.
This is a company, after all, who admitted in July, 2015, that they routinely overcharged customers at their New York locations, something that co-CEO John Mackey called “mistakes.” And if any of you believe that the price gouging really was a mistake, I’ve got some lovely beachfront property in Arizona I’d like to talk to you about.
Gawker writer Hamilton Nolan has posted a copy of the severance letter that employees received from their corporate overlords. It isn’t a great package, but it’s definitely better than what employees of Walmart or Target would probably get in similar circumstances. It’s just a damned shame that store employees are the ones made to suffer because their delusional bosses decided that gimmicky products and overpriced groceries were a good business model. And don’t even get me started on how little they really care about local farmers and artisans. That’s a story for another day.