Thursday, July 12, 2007

Whole Food boss Mackey's Big Internet Mouth

Oh, I see. Now I know why Wholefoods forgot to restock Fizzy Lizzy. They've got their minds on MORE IMPORTANT THINGS.

PS - thanks to a tip from my dad in the comments - here is a more in-depth hi-brow report of Mackey's shenanigans. I haven't seen anything about this in the American press - have you?
Whole Food boss Mackey's Big Internet Mouth


  • At 13/7/07 00:54, Blogger Dagny said…

    I knew there was a reason why I don't shop at Whole Paycheck -- other than the fact that Andronico's is much more convenient to me.

  • At 13/7/07 01:10, Blogger FaustianBargain said…

    interesting. i wonder how he was 'outed'..

    that' i'd like to know first..

  • At 13/7/07 05:05, Blogger ChrisB said…

    what's the saying 'there's no such thing as bad publicity'!! (have you read about how the BBC edited a video of the queen the papers are full of it today??)

  • At 13/7/07 06:31, Blogger Andreea said…

    the ever reliable sun news :)

  • At 13/7/07 06:45, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ther is a whole chunk about it in the Guardian, Friday13th if you are interested. Love

  • At 13/7/07 08:20, Blogger Marc said…

    I thought that some of the things that Mackey said in the event with Pollan were imprudent for a CEO, but this is a whole new level of bad behavior. Probably not illegal, but certainly unethical.

    In the American press: the SF Chronicle had a story about it on the front page of the business section (from Associated Press), and the Wall Street Journal.

    As for faustianbargain's question above, the WSJ reports: 'Mr. Mackey's online alter ego came to light in a document made public late Tuesday by the [U.S.] Federal Trade Commission in its lawsuit seeking to block the Wild Oats takeover on antitrust grounds. Submitted under seal when the suit was filed in June, the filing included a quotation from the Yahoo site. An FTC footnote said, "As here, Mr. Mackey often posted to Internet sites pseudonymously, often using the name Rahodeb."'

    While the FTC is looking hard at the Whole Foods-Wild Oats deal, they are completely ignoring the ever-increasing concentration in the meat packing industry. The top four companies control around 75% of the market in beef, poultry and pork.

  • At 13/7/07 08:31, Blogger Nancy Lindquist-Liedel said…

    Heard about this on NPR, yesterday. I'm probably and evil person, but I think the whole thing is hysterically funny and shows you that no matter how rich and powerful a person is, human desperation knows no bounds.

  • At 13/7/07 10:18, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Caught red-handed! Ouch.

    But on to sweeter topics: did you read the NYT article yesterday about the world's "best" candy bars - (English, but of course)? I thought of you when I saw it...

  • At 13/7/07 10:34, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I heard about it on NPR also. And it is very serious stuff. I think the Whole Foods phenom is so much smoke and mirrors. People wander in with such highmindedness as they buy organic grapes flown in from Chile at huge cost to the environment. And Mackey uses the a financial message board to diss a competitor that he is looking to purchase. I'm so over WF after they tried to ram a 60K sq ft store into a quaint little area of our town.

    Apologies for my rant, but I truly can't stand this guy.

  • At 13/7/07 10:45, Blogger Owen said…

    I you read the Guardian article carefully it shows that Mackay outed himself on the message board last year. It's actually rather an indictment of the financial press that it has taken this long for anyone to catch on. Admittedly he didn't do it in an overt way, but a careful reader could have noticed. It makes his position legally stronger - since I suspect he quit and went public precisely BECAUSE of the merger. But it doesn't change the highly suspect ethics of the whole thing.

    I feel like Whole Foods is a big disappointment because it comes very close to being a very good thing. But if you look at union busting, the way the company gets defensive/aggressive about criticism, JM's public antics, and how it has gone about competitive issues, all those things are detractions any one of which could be glossed over but taken as a whole they paint a bleak picture. Particularly since not one of them makes a substantial difference. If they focussed on being a really high quality grocery store and on getting great raw materials and treating staff and customers really well - all things they actually do do very well, then they could take all these other issues and turn them around and it wouldn't affect their bottom line or financial success.

    In other words - they could do what they do, but do it right, and be just as successful if not more so

  • At 13/7/07 17:02, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ehhhh, you know: when I think about all of the CEOs and corporations in this country that are so completely and totally irresponsible and damaging and downright despicable and then I put someone like Mackey and Whole Foods up next to them, I really just don't feel WF deserves the evil brush they're painted with. I mean, Albertson's closes stores in poor neighborhoods and then re-opens boutique shops (Bristol Farms) in wealthier ones and effectively puts hundreds of union jobs to death.

    Perhaps it's BECAUSE WF caters to the socially-conscious shopper that they bring on the criticisms. Maybe if they stopped pretending to be holier-than-thou for one minute there would be less people jumping on them whenever they show themselves to be that which they are: a giant chain store.

    Still, last time I checked, nothing in WF (other than produce, grains, milk, and meat) is actually necessary for a healthy body. Soy ice cream, pricey balsamic vinegar, wine and gruyere are wonderful LUXURY items, but if you don't have the money to spend, why would you buy that stuff at WF?

    And if you do have the money to spend, you always have the choice of going elsewhere (Rainbow Grocery or K&L Wines, for example.)

    Apparently I'm out of the loop since I don't spend a Whole Paycheck at Whole Foods, but then I shop a lot at farmers markets, in ethnic neighborhoods, and yes - Safeway.

    But tonight I'll probably buy a chicken breast at WF and saute it with zucchini I bought last week at the UN Plaza FM.

    (Sorry for sounding so preachy.)


  • At 14/7/07 08:24, Blogger FaustianBargain said…

    I have to confess that with the exception of John Mackey's yahoo chatroom antics, there is nothing objectionable about WF from where I stand..I suppose I am in the minority here.

    Even re the yahoo is funny and probably a tad embarassing for Mackey now that he is outed, but is it illegal or does it go against business ethics? I am not sure.

  • At 14/7/07 16:44, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Actually, yes -- I read about it in the New York Times and (I think) the Washington Post (this was on Wed. when I read all the papers' food sections and see more headlines). It's pretty weird. Sort of like catching your Sunday School teacher shoplifting.

  • At 18/7/07 18:00, Blogger Chubbypanda said…

    This is actually pretty common on those message boards, particularly in Yahoo Finance's OCTBB message boards. There are a lot of ham-handed execs and day traders who think they can use the blogosphere and message boards to manipulate public opinion, even though they have no idea what they're doing. Sadly, they do manage to influence a portion of the online public; the same portion that usually falls victim to Nigerian 419 scams.


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