Boycotting Whole Foods: Productive or Petty?
If you’ve spend any amount of time listening to supporters and protestors of the impendings health care reform policy go back and forth about their particular points of view, then there’s a good chance you heard about the founder of Whole Foods performing a complicated foot-in-mouth procedure while voicing his opinions on the topic.
In case you didn’t, read his vivacious disagreement with a universal health care system now.
The fallout from the opinion piece, which was posted in the Wall Street Journal, has got a lot of Whole Foods shoppers up in arms and shouting boycott. Before you jump on the bandwagon, there are a few things to consider about the organic grocery CEO and the possibility of a boycott.
1. Will it accomplish anything?
John Mackey, the outspoken founder of Whole Foods that has created all this ruckus has always been an avid libertarian. Until now, he’s just done a better job of keeping his viewpoints under wraps. So, if you’ve been shopping at Whole Foods this whole time, you’ve been supporting these opinions whether you like it or not. Do you really think that he’ll change his mind because of a boycott? And, in the event that he does publicly retract the statement, do you think it would be genuine?
2. Will it really affect healthcare policy?
Boycotts are very powerful tools, especially when it comes to product manufacturers. However, it takes a lot of people and a lot of really concerted efforts to make them effective. Although he’s very wealthy and probably supports politicians that think the same way about health care reform, being part of a small percentage of people who by his products is going to be far less productive than accurate information and voter participation. Write your congressional representative. Join community discussions. Pickett. Sign petitions. These are tactics that have the potential to make and impact.
3. Consider what you’ll really be missing.
Everyone in the sustainability movement has an opinion about Whole Foods. It’s too expensive. It’s elitist. It’s doesn’t really sell that much local or organic food. However, many people depend on whole foods for access to healthy, local food for their families. Some towns have other options, and there’s always the farmers’ market, but what if the only other option is Wal-Mart…is a boycott worth it?
4. Last, but not least, John Mackey doesn’t own Whole Foods, it is a publicly traded entity. Although he may have the power to speak as its voice, there are hundreds, and probably thousands of Whole Foods employees that feel very differently.
Read more about the Whole Foods Boycott controversy here.
Image Credit: ElephantJournal.com