The CEO of Whole Foods is apparently operating under the delusion that his company’s business model involved making people healthy. In that vein, he says his company sells “a bunch of junk.” and is vowing to help his customers eat healthier.
He went on to say that Whole Foods was going to launch a healthy eating education initiative to encourage customers and employees to reduce obesity.
But Mackey told the Wall Street Journal: “Basically, we used to think it was enough just to sell healthy food, but we know it is not enough. We sell all kinds of candy. We sell a bunch of junk.”
Mackey, dude. I don’t know if anyone’s told you this, but at the end of the day, you sell food. That’s your business. If you’re encouraging people to eat less of it, unless you can turn up the margins, something that’s going to be tough in this economy, you’re screwing your shareholders. Whole Foods has a simple business model: selling overpriced food to people who care about Mother Gaia, and who think an overworked Filipino adolescent driving a pair of oxen around a rice patty are all the farming technology the world needs.
Whole Foods provides somewhere to go to buy food so they can feel good about themselves. That’s what you’re selling, Mack. You’re selling a dream to hippies, and at a much higher profit margin than your typical supermarket. If those folks come to Whole Foods, and feel good about themselves when they buy a box of organic, fair trade ho-hos, that’s a win win situation. You win, because you just sold an overpriced box of ho-hos, and the consumer wins, because they can feel good knowing they are buying the best product subsistence farming has to offer. It’s what capitalism is all about!
Whole Foods needs to ditch the true believer, and hire someone who’s more interested in making money for their shareholders. I have no CEO experience, but I understand what Whole Foods sells, so I offer my services. I would never shop at a Whole Foods store myself, but I know plenty of folks who do, and they have money to burn. I’ll keep selling them the dream, and promise to cry for Mother Gaia all the way to the bank, and print your dividend checks on 100% recycled, organic bleach free paper. Wouldn’t want any of our shareholders feeling bad about themselves, now would I?