The Whole Foods boycott starts now

Leslie Carlson

I'm spitting mad about Whole Foods' latest, thuggish attempt to mess with Portland food retailer New Seasons. You may have read the Oregonian story or New Seasons' CEO Brian Rohter's post about the subpoena asking for proprietary and confidential business information. The subpoena sent to New Seasons is part of a screwed-up merger that Whole Foods has been trying to execute with rival Wild Oats for the past 18 months.

Apparently, Whole Foods thinks that New Seasons' weekly sales figures, internal emails, marketing strategies and studies about where to open stores are integral to proving their case that the merger won't create a monopoly. They promise that the information won't go beyond their lawyers, but this is the second time that Whole Foods has tried to get confidential information out of New Seasons. Last year, Whole Foods tried to get the same information and promised that only lawyers, consultants and top management would take a peek.

I know Portland is a small city, but we're not complete idiots. This looks to me like a brazen attempt to get a leg up on New Seasons and maybe even put them out of business.

I'd rather shop at New Seasons any day, and in that I think I'm not alone. New Seasons is locally-owned and carries a wide variety of products from our regional foodshed. Whole Foods can't match their friendliness nor their local selection. I have tremendous brand loyalty to New Seasons (OK, it helps that their 7 Corners store is only a few blocks from my house, but still...) In many years of shopping there, I can't remember ever having a bad experience.

Whole Foods, on the other hand, appears to be a pretty wacky--maybe even unethical--company. You may remember last year, when CEO John Mackay got caught extolling the virtues of his own stock on a Yahoo message board under the pseudonym "Rahodeb." It wasn't his brightest moment.

In the past, I have occasionally stopped into Whole Foods. That ends today. Threaten my favorite locallly-owned grocery store, and I promise to never darken your door again.

Comments

  • Caelan MacTavish (unverified)
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    Good call. I have found my shopping habits trending that way anyway over the past few years. Now, I only go into Whole Foods if I happen to be in NW and need a quick snack.

    Prices are better, and people are friendlier at New Seasons. They deserve our loyalty.

  • Foie Gras, White Bread, and Unions (unverified)
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    I can't get too amped-up over this?

    1. Whole Foods did ban the sale of Foie Gras a couple years back and is moving towards better animal friendly products.

    2. I'm more concerned about condos going up in NoPo and replacing old bodegas or the Hostess Outlet off of N.Vancouver that will close when new condos go up taking away a place where people have bought inexpensive milk and break for over 15yrs.

    3. People seem to like Trader Joe's and their anti-union but folks usually are OK with that for some reason? Maybe rader Joe's (like WalMart) will start a butcher section one day and nobody will care?

    4. They're a big business..what's shocking about any of this?

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    I assume this isn't being done solely with bicycle messengers and scribes? If it gets into someone's IT system, there is no guarantee of privacy. There are no legal standards and the public really never gets access to the level of data that would determine whether the information is secure. Impression is based on the good faith of the promise and integrity of the organization.

    I know for a personal fact how this, bottom line, just means the data ain't secure. DHS has very well-publicized privacy policies and the public seem to accept the level it is at. Databases are fully secure and personnel cannot perform free queries. Everything is logged. The public accept the situation as secure.

    But, internally, their IT dept. has decided that all that only applies for 30 days. A sub-contractor, not an Oregon employee, can have carte blanche access, after the aging period. And it's not a real 30 days. It's a few days after the start of the month. How often does the sensitive data change? If you update a record on the last day of the month, it's available to pretty much anybody a few days later. And they can do free queries. I actually remember once- I popped in for a short consultation once- someone called a manager complaining that a machine was running slow. Since I was there and that was what I was there for, I took a look. Someone had submitted a query, a "tester", against the WIC database that read something like, "select name, address, current_phone from wic_client_master where bmi>7 and bmi <10 and age > 16 and age < 25 and child_count < 2 and abortion_count>1 and city='Portland'". Basically a SQL chick finder query.

    What would the auto be like without Ralph Nader? That's where we are with IT, which would be unrelated, except that it totally answers the question about is it safe. That plus the fact that a lot of thugishness these days involves benefiting from "involuntary" IT mistakes, leaves one to think the plaintiffs are totally justified in their resistance.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    Foie Gras' comments are both off-puttingly snarky and off base. The point here is that Whole Foods is seeking proprietary information and is going about it in a putatively legal way: essentially, Whole Foods has exceedingly deep pockets and can keep paying those lawyers until its "competitors", each of whom has a tony fraction of Whole Foods' resources, cry uncle. It's the same scheme as big businesses deploy in SLAPP suits (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) aimed at individuals or community organizations.

    It was never likely that I would patronize the Whole Foods going into my neighborhood, and now it's clear that I will never set food there.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    t was never likely that I would patronize the Whole Foods going into my neighborhood, and now it's clear that I will never set food there.

    That's a classic online Freudian slip! Agreed, as well, but I did that years back over veal. I'm a great believer that the "little" issues sometimes matter not for themselves but are good indicators. Kind of like why community policing works.

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    New Seasons has pretty damn high standards on what they'll call "Organic" -- my understanding is, a product needs to meet two out of three of Oregon, Washington, and California requirements (as opposed to the bogus Federal requirement, which is what Safeway etc uses.)

    Anyone know where Whole Foods stands on this? (Or, can anyone confirm what I said about New Seasons?)

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    I'm so totally with you on this. I've long been informally boycotting Wild Oats and Whole Foods for the way in they treat kids -- glares at fussy babies, no kid-friendly amentities, etc. New Seasons, in contrast, has snacks/samples throughout, stickers at the checkout and those snazzy car carts. I've always figured that the corporate ethic trickled down to friendly staff and a completely welcoming environment.

    So, yes. I'm there. Sign me up.

  • ShirleyC (unverified)
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    i>. People seem to like Trader Joe's and their anti-union but folks usually are OK with that for some reason? Maybe rader Joe's (like WalMart) will start a butcher section one day and nobody will care?

    Trader Joe's also has warts over their food disposal policy, their heating/AC and store design (high ceiling), and that they discriminate for employment based on age.

    Their strength is that they employee test everything and reproduce niche products regularly at a fraction of the cost. Of course, that's nothing that a local like People's Co-Op doesn't do. I would urge Oregon legislators to equalize "out of the trunk" sales of home brewed beer and ale to those in Washington State. It would put places like the Co-Op over the top.

  • amazed (unverified)
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    I can't believe you people are getting your hemp panties in a bunch because of a store's high ceiling design!!

    Why should any business try to make you happy when you want to control every single aspect of their operation to fit your leftist agenda?!?

    Face it...these are businesses. I bet that really stings that you have to pay them money for goods and services.

  • Brian C. (unverified)
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    I visit my local New Seasons occasion. It's across the street from work and it fills the void nicely when I need a healthy snack or beverage to get me through the day. That being said, I can't help but view it as another retailer that caters to the more money than brains crowd. I'd be on the fast track to poverty if I were to purchase the the majority of my groceries there instead of Winco. Never set foot in a Whole Foods, Wild Oats or other Yuppie Mart, but I imagine they're all relatively similar. So, consider me on board with your Whole Foods boycott. I'll be damned if I set foot inside that den of iniquity.

  • The Game (unverified)
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    Hate the game, not the player. The protective order will be tweaked to allay some of the NS concerns and NS will produce the docs. Happens more often than you might think, and will happen even more often under an Obama administration as more mergers are challenged. Merger parties will use every weapon in the arsenal to defend their combinations.

    Nothing to see here except that cries of "BOYCOTT!" are still a popular knee-jerk reaction.

  • Reality Check (unverified)
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    Brian C is right on: New Seasons is just like Whole Foods, Wild Oats, etc. All are a bunch of overpriced, "hip" stores for privileged white liberals.

    Local or not, New Seasons is always more expensive for the same product when compared against Fred Meyer, Safeway, Albertsons, or WinCo. The Yuppie Marts are simply not regular options for those living on a budget.

    It is very fitting that this is on the front page of BlueOregon.

  • Peter Bray (unverified)
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    Trader Joe's is a horrible place. Look, they sell Orange Roughy for crying out loud... it takes that fish something like 80 years to reach sexual maturity. They used to sell Chilean seabass (Patagonian toothfish) until boycotts were threatened. Ask them why they continue to sell such sensitive deep water fish... "it's what our customers want".

  • Experienced (unverified)
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    I read the comments. SO MUCH DISSATISFACTION! But why are you all so upset? This is what The American Way is all about! Capitalism! Big Business! Success! (at any cost).How many of you have an even a small notion how businesses are run? All companies--large or small--will fight and claw to live and grow--since they are "alive"so to speak. And they will prey on each other.You have all accepted this without question for decades--as long as your own little worlds are not too shaken by it. Now the chickens are really coming home. Don't be small and pick on Whole Foods. If you check on any large retailer, you will find many things that will curl your hair. Support local and small business as much as you can. Do what your conscience tells you. But if you are going to bash one retailer--you are just scapegoating. That is not how to change the world for the better.

  • Gil Johnson (unverified)
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    I don't shop much as much at New Seasons as I used to and the reason is higher prices (although Trader Joe's has become pricey on a lot of its lines as well). I do have to say that coming out of a New Seasons store, I'm almost always smiling because the workers there are so real. (Contrast that with the employees at Fred's or Safeway who are told to ask every customer, "Are you finding everything okay?" and do so in the most mechanical of voices.)

    New Seasons GM Brian Rohter could be facing jail time for contempt of court if he doesn't turn over the docs. That's pretty scary. And ironic, too, since his brother is a longtime reporter for the NY Times and probably has faced a similar situation over his notes.

    Stan Amy, who owns the biggest chunk of New Seasons, also owns the old Wild Oats building at 30th and Division that housed the Obama and Merkley campaigns. I would assume he gave these campaigns the space for free or at least an awfully good rate. So there might be a lot more at stake here than just a battle between two natural products retailers.

    Anyhow, I haven't bought anything at Whole Paycheck in years and I'm not going to start now. Maybe in solidarity, I'll start shopping more at New Seasons.

  • LT (unverified)
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    There are those of us who don't live anywhere near a Trader Joes, New Seasons, Whole Foods. Choices are grocery stores or the local health food store, or farmer's markets in season.

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    I shop at New Seasons because I like it! The service is great, the produce and meat are of excellent quality - and if something doesn't meet my standards, they have replaced it or refunded my money. I "returned" a watermelon once, when it was not what I expected (a phone call got me a refund - I didn't actually have to bring in the melon).

    Mostly, I like that it's locally-owned. And the employees have health insurance, I am told. Maybe that's why customer service is so good.

  • ws (unverified)
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    Whole Foods is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to shop there, because of the extraordinary cost of things there. No wonder the cost of living is so high. People need a high salary or hourly wage to shop at a place like that with any regularity.

    I read the O story, though I don't quite follow the Whole Food's guys rationale that he needs his competitor's proprietary info to prove his company's stores aren't trying to monopolize. Sounds like high end paranoid B.S. to me.

    New Seasons is a fun place to visit too. Nice nik-naks, cozy cafe setting. Also too expensive. Winco's the place for economical shopping.

  • edison (unverified)
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    A couple of things: NS supports local food producers and they're not nearly as expensive as some commenters have implied. If you shop at WF or TJ, take a moment to consider the hidden costs of a large % of their products. In particular, the transportation cost. Their product lines typically carry a larger carbon footprint than most of the products in NS. Also, $$ spent at NS stay in the community. Shop local!

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    Oh goody, Ms. Carlson's original posting about LEGAL BULLYING BY WHOLE FOODS has gotten turned into a litany of absurd snarky comments about where people shop, about where white people shop, yadda yadda yadda. Please. Back to the actual issue:

    LEGAL BULLYING BY A RICH CORPORATION

    Where you choose to shop is no more than an ancillary issue in this thread.

  • Randle McMurphy (unverified)
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    There is probably a protective order in place, rendering this a non-issue. Whole Foods probably offered an "attorney-eyes" only protective order, meaning that only attorneys would have access to information designated "highly confidential" by New Seasons. This is common practice in business litigation.

    There may be good reasons to boycott Whole Foods, but this probably isn't one of them.

  • Shirley C. (unverified)
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    Posted by: amazed | Dec 3, 2008 5:45:37 PM

    I can't believe you people are getting your hemp panties in a bunch because of a store's high ceiling design!!

    Why should any business try to make you happy when you want to control every single aspect of their operation to fit your leftist agenda?!?

    If you give a good gd about advancing the issue why do you fire back with the most predictable right-wing knee jerk name calling? I would love to hear you articulate just why business has the rights you imply we would deny. What other things that we all can see affect the world, but have been the traditional providence of personal or corporate sovereignty would you like to continue because of no better reason than "aww, hell, we cain't act like a bunch of dirty, sweaty hippies..."?

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    Posted by: Randle McMurphy | Dec 4, 2008 7:05:49 AM

    There is probably a protective order in place, rendering this a non-issue. Whole Foods probably offered an "attorney-eyes" only protective order, meaning that only attorneys would have access to information designated "highly confidential" by New Seasons. This is common practice in business litigation.

    There may be good reasons to boycott Whole Foods, but this probably isn't one of them.

    Are you saying the data are not in electronic format?

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    Foie Gras? Someone's gotta come is here and start talking about foie gras and how that makes Whole Foods somehow better? First, foie gras is delicious, second, screw Whole Foods. If they want to act like corporate information stealing dicks I'll treat them as such and not shop in their store. Period. Foie Gras...(shakes head at white liberal guilt)

  • Shirley C. (unverified)
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    Posted by: Peter Bray | Dec 3, 2008 9:10:37 PM

    Trader Joe's is a horrible place. Look, they sell Orange Roughy for crying out loud... it takes that fish something like 80 years to reach sexual maturity. They used to sell Chilean seabass (Patagonian toothfish) until boycotts were threatened. Ask them why they continue to sell such sensitive deep water fish... "it's what our customers want".

    Certainly not giving a blanket pass to TJ's, but this is inaccurate. They market Orange Roughy, but it's "Orange Ruffy", which is actually tilapia fillets in an orange bag. I'll agree it would be nice not to cater to the yuppie fad, but at least a goodly number of those yups are eating a sustainable fish that I can culture in the effluent from my grow tanks, as opposed to deep sea perch.

    I guess overpriced depends on what you consider necessities. Where can you get a hand-crafted doppel bock for under $5? Amarone or Barollo for under $10? First ingredient chicken cat food, pine litter at dollars off/bag. I have big probs with Trader Joes, but these are the points that keep them useful!

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    Great, now this thread has evolved into free advertising for Trader Joe's, and as for the actual issue of legal bullying? Apparently that is irrelevant.

    Think about it this way, folks; what happens when your all-volunteer community organization opposes some corporate giant and gets sued in response? Gets issued demands for copies of e-mail, meeting notes, and so on, with lame assurances that "only the lawyers" will ever see this stuff? If you're comfortable with that scenario, then by all means get behind the bullying tactics that Whole Foods is using against New Seasons and small, locally owned grocers all over the US.

  • Renee (unverified)
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    I never shop at Whole Foods anyways. The design of their buildings suck up so much energy selling perfectly polished produce, all of which doesn't seem very sustainable to me. New Seasons all the way!

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    Kristin - I can't stand car carts. Can't stand them! I give the carts dirty looks when I walk by with my little hand basket. I wish they were never invented because when they are all taken, little kids whine about not being able to be in one. ARGH! I'm sure your kids never do that, though :)

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    Not to get back to the original topic or anything but . . .

    My understanding is that Whole Foods isn't doing this to be mean or necessarily to be snooping in New Seasons data but because they're being accused of monopolistic practices for buying up Wild Oats, and they are simply trying to establish that there are plenty of other options for that general niche market. I think that should be self-evident and not require Whole Foods to jump through a lot of legal hoops to prove it.

    I'm not sure that buying the Wild Oats stores was a brilliant move on their part, but I think the FTC or whoever is hassling them should just let it go.

  • Communard (unverified)
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    I don't support Texass companies or buy Texass products. I don't want my hard-earned money going to a state that produces the worst politicians.

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    I think a boycott would be ultimately useless, but something that MIGHT draw more publicity and public awareness is a picket. Nothstine did a piece for p3 and Loaded O on this a couple days ago, and it's simply unnecessary and not a situation to be trusted.

    I've already got a couple people interested--if you would like to be included in a discussion about helping inform people coming to shop at WF in Portland and Tualatin, drop an email to loadedtips-at-gmail.

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    I stopped shopping at Trader Joe's when I figured out that their stuff is cheap because it's imported from Asia and other places that have abysmal food safety records and virutally no worker rights.

    Why buy cashews that are grown in Vietnam when we have American farmers growing the same crops? Why buy frozen veggie mixes that are chopped up in China when we have food processors shutting their doors in Woodburn?

    I had the same gut reaction to the WF story and will not shop there. They are trying to run small business out so there's no competition and they can then charge us even more.

  • Mike Austin (unverified)
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    Brian C is right on: New Seasons is just like Whole Foods, Wild Oats, etc. All are a bunch of overpriced, "hip" stores for privileged white liberals.

    Local or not, New Seasons is always more expensive for the same product when compared against Fred Meyer, Safeway, Albertsons, or WinCo. The Yuppie Marts are simply not regular options for those living on a budget.

    There are very few families that do all their shopping at New Seasons or Whole Foods. My wife shops at Freddies for "staples"; I shop at New Seasons for "fresh" food.

    I have tried most of the major chains and the meat and produce absolutely suck at all of them. The meat is slimy and frequently has an "off" smell. I won't even talk about how awful the fish is at Freddies. Also, the chains are understaffed: try getting help at Freddies!

    New Seasons is quite simply the best grocery shopping experience I have ever had. Their quality is outstanding; the staff is extremely helpful; they support local suppliers to a greater extent than anyone else; the rest rooms and the store itself are always clean and well-maintained; and if they screw up they admit it and they make it right for you. Also, much more of the money spent at New Seasons stays in Oregon.

    Yes, I spend more money on food than the average family. I also drive a fourteen year-old car. I'm walking my talk by putting my money where my values are. My values are different from yours. Deal with it.

  • Denny (unverified)
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    A boycott without a letter or email to the store explaining why you are doing so doesn't seem particularly effective. A list of email addresses to the board or corporate officers might help start a letter writing campaign.

  • AnnaLee Foster (unverified)
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    I have always found Whole foods to be a bit snobby...like $5 for a gallon of aplenrose "Organinc" milk (it is local for heaven's sake)...and I don't think that I found anything under a 5er or a 10er.

    At least at New Seasons the prices are manageable...

    On a different note, anyone think that it is ironically funny that the first line in the Google sponsored ad if for Whole Foods????

  • MT (unverified)
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    The assertion that "this is business" is ridiculous! We don't have to accept this kind of behavior (legal or not) and we can speak with our feet.

    The Pearl District now has a new Safeway and the existing Fred Meyer.

    This isn't about elitist shopping patterns (Whole Foods vs New Seasons), this is about conducting any business in an ethical manner.

    My reusable hemp shopping bag isn't entering Whole Foods!!!

  • Byard Pidgeon (unverified)
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    OK, "progressives"...WinCo is employee owned, has a large selection and low prices but is skimpy on organics...but New Seasons? Come on, this place isn't really a store where anyone on a non-living wage income can afford to buy their food. We go there, when in Portland, to the Deli, instead of going to an even more expensive restaurant...at that level, it's fine, but as the place to buy one's daily/weekly groceries?...you gotta be joking!

  • Jackie Manz (unverified)
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    Bravo, Leslie. I too am spitting mad. Here's a post I made to the "Whole Foods Forum" http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/forums/index followed by a post by "Winnie" bemoaning the fact that the "Man" (in the form of the FTC and Whole Foods' OUTSIDE legal experts) is forcing Whole Foods to defend itself. What pap.

    posted at 12/3/2008 11:53 PM CST
    Why not Leave New Seasons Alone?

    jem330 First post: 12/3/2008 Last post: 12/3/2008

    Shame on you, Whole Foods. Where is your ethos of sustainability and good business practices?

    Thankfully, Portland's vibrant and principled locally-owned markets are thriving. New Season's will have all my business. And apparently they will need it to fight Whole Food's rather disingenuous claim that it needs New Season's proprietary information. But not Zupan's. Interesting.

    Read more:

    http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2008/12/new_seasons_fights_chains_subp.html

    New post Reply to this post Report Abuse 2 You Have Hidden winnie's Posts Show Posts

    Re: Why not Leave New Seasons Alone? posted at 12/4/2008 10:15 AM CST

    winnie First post: 7/17/2008 Last post: 12/4/2008 Total posts: 63 We are reading and listening to your concerns so we hope you’ll be open to reading ours.

    The last year has been something of a nightmare for the administrative team members here who have been jumping through hoops to meet requests from the FTC. While our customers, our competitors’ customers, industry insiders and merger experts all seem to agree that customers have not been adversely affected by the Whole Foods Market/Wild Oats merger, the FTC continues to press their case forward.

    While we would love to see this whole issue go away, we have no option but to defend ourselves against the FTC's ongoing effort. We know that New Seasons and many other fine natural foods stores are serving their customers well and that those customers, like ours, continue to have ample choices even after our merger with Wild Oats. Since the FTC insists that we have harmed these markets, we have to defend ourselves by showing that these markets are doing well. Part of our defense is based on gathering information from third parties through subpoenas, mostly from competing retailers but also from some vendors who supply Whole Foods Market.

    We have not singled out New Seasons. Rather they are one of 96 companies (stores and vendors) that our outside legal counsel has subpoenaed. Why so many? The FTC has targeted Whole Foods Market in 29 different markets, and we must now defend against the claim that we do not face substantial competition from other supermarkets in all of these markets.

    If we could defend ourselves without gathering information from competitors, we would. We don’t appreciate being put into this situation by the FTC. This is absolutely NOT an attempt to look into competitors’ information. In fact, no one inside Whole Foods Market will look at this information at all – only our outside counsel and their consultants are authorized to see the information gathered due to the FTC’s protective order. For those non-lawyers reading this, subpoenas and protective orders are a standard part of litigation practiced in virtually every antitrust case in the United States. The protective order prohibits any of this information from being shared with any Whole Foods Market team member, including in-house legal counsel. And while we understand that some of you will have trouble trusting the government system of protective orders, we give you our word that Whole Foods Market will not breach that trust.

    We find it very unfortunate that the FTC’s ongoing pursuit to affect our merger (which was consummated more than a year ago) continues to be burdensome to Whole Foods Market, other stores like New Seasons, and U.S. taxpayers. We know the New Seasons and Whole Foods Market customers are a dedicated, caring group of people. We thank you for your concern for your local stores. Know that while we may not always see things eye to eye, we are working toward the same goal – making the world a better place through food choices.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    Bravo Renee! Form follows function and questionable form should lead to questioning the function.

    Make it policy that the FTC's "meddling budget" can't exceed its enforcement budget. How can an agency that's always oh, we missed that because we only sample 1 in 1,000,000, always be in little organics' hair?

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    Well I shop at the new Food Front in Hillsdale since it is within walking distance for me. And it is even more local, more expensive, more lefty, and more white than either New Seasons or Whole Foods, so there!

    Seriously, this is like arguing which multi-national oil company is the better one to buy gas from, when they all suck.

    Only I would argue the opposite in this case, that Food Front, New Seasons, Trader Joes, and Whole Foods are all good. At least all are better than Safeway/Fred Meyer/WinCo/Costco/WalMart.

    Whole Foods has stricter standards for seafood than New Seasons. New Seasons will sell some seafood that is less than sustainable, although they will mark it with a yellow or red tag. But Whole Foods only sells seafood that is certified as sustainably harvested.

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    i've been shopping natural/og since the early 80s. in that time, quality has improved, costs have decreased, variety has grown, access to products in much better, and there are more (and better) locally grown products. i've been a member of Food Front, PCC in Seattle, First Alternative in Corvallis (and served on that Board). i buy as much OG as i can; not always cheaper, but always a better buy.

    that said, i shop all kinds of places: Freddies, Safeway (the only store in the Woodstock neighborhood), New Seasons, T Joes, Whole Food, QFC. NS for bulk, of course; Freddies has bulk, but i'm going to get that from NS for a lot of reasons (including keeping more money local and supporting the smaller, local corporation). cost is not associated so much with where you shop but how you shop.

    i don't buy prepared foods. i cook from scratch. it takes longer, but it's cheaper, healthier, and tastes a hell of a lot better. that's the most important way to keep costs down: make your own damn meals. if you lack time, prepare foods on the weekend, or learn how to make good foods that have less preperation (there are so many good cookbooks on that).

    you can even shop cheap at WF; just get their house brand. the offerings in that, esp OG, have gone up greatly.

    and since i shop by bike, i can't load up on all the shit that drives up most food bills. i have to get what i need and still make sure i can carry the 6-pack home. priorities, man.

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    A: You think you had it bad, that's nothing, my family lived in a paper bag in the middle of the road!

    B: Ha! You were lucky to have a paper bag!

    Or something like that, with apologies to Monty Python's Flying Circus (& cf. book 2 of the Lemony Snicket A Series of Unfortunate Events books, as my daughter pointed out).

    More seriously, to second a point above even more strongly it isn't a boycott if you don't tell them you're boycotting.

  • Zarathustra Pratt (unverified)
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    More seriously, to second a point above even more strongly it isn't a boycott if you don't tell them you're boycotting.

    Believe it or not I actually met the great-grandson (Geoffrey) of the bloke that "Boycott" is named after and he said that very thing!

    Oddly enough that conversation degenerated into miming a Python sketch as well, the "Batsmen of the Kalahari".

  • Aerin (unverified)
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    My daughter read this and asked the GM at WF to give a talk to her high school business class on the practices discussed. They'll probably end up boycotting them, but it's a considered approach, I thought.

    And that skit is hilarious , though perhaps you need to be English!

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    Zarathustra P., my great U.S. labor & working class history professor in graduate school had it that Boycott was a landlord or maybe a landlord's agent in Ireland, who had provoked the ire of the community -- those details have become hazy to me. What sticks in my mind what the language in which they expressed themselves about Mr. Boycott: That they intended "to leave him severely alone."

  • Fireslayer (unverified)
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    Well Renee, I think you are being a little alarmist and failing to understand the reality that it is the FTC that is being chickenshit here. It is screwed up that respondents in FTC acitons have the burden to prove their actions do not create monopolies. My guess is Whole Foods does not even have a 4% market share in the grocery game and therein lies the absurdity of this little drama.

    For the record, I do not carry brief for Whole Foods (If they had listened to me back in 1981 or so when they were a handfull of field hippys in Austin, Texas they might still be called Saferway. John Mackey was one of the originals and I think the bit about him puffing his stock is a hoot and, well, that was probably not all he was puffing that day....

    And ideologically I presonally favor food coops.

    The reality is that Whole Foods and more recently New Seasons are the reason you are now seeing healthier and healthier foods in the mainstream supermarkets and the fact that more and more consumers are insisting on chemical free goods.

    I am personally boycotting i-pods and self righteousness unless it's from my own private Ivanhoe.

  • Michael B (unverified)
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    Looks like tomorrow is the deadline for New Seasons to comply with the Whole Foods subpoena, according to a post at the Natural~Specialty Foods Blog.

    They also have a story about the Portlanders boycotting Whole Foods, including a mention of BlueOregon and this post. It's at:

    www.naturalspecialtyfoodsmemo.blogspot.com

    Michael B, Portland

  • rw (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I am sorry to say I'm struggling thru my plebian bias on this convo. I've never been able to afford a bag of groceries from any of these Extreme Food Emporiums.

    I see the important point regarding local produce, quality, local business and strongarm shyster tactics.

    And I find my mind flitting to wondering why I should give too much thought to a food emporium that gives no thought whatever to such as me.

    Heh. There you have it. Now I have uncovered my innermost whiney, entitled, "fix mine first and then I will help you fix yours".

    Glad most of you can afford exquisite, exquisitely-arrayed produce et. al. just packed in nutrients not available to the common trogs who must shop elsewhere if they want to keep that food coming to the last day of the month....

    Sigh. And before you cry, "off topic! off topic!": so what?

    Hehehehe.

    bex

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