I wondered if this would happen. Within days of John Mackey's thoughtful editorial in the Wall Street Journal, explaining his opposition to Obama's health care reform plan while offering a detailed free market alternative, customers are enraged and planning to boycott. An ABC News report provides some eye-opening quotes from former-Whole Foods customers.
One comment left on the Whole Foods online forum called the editorial a "slap in the face," and suggested that Mackey "...remember who butters your hearth-baked bread. Last time I checked it wasn't the insurance industry conservatives who made you a millionare a hundred times over."
I can only guess whether or not these angry former customers actually read the piece, at least further than the point where it expressed Mackey's problems with the Obama plan (or Obama, in general.)
One former patron said, ""While Mackey is worried about health care and stimulus spending, he doesn't seem too worried about expensive wars and tax breaks for the wealthy and big businesses such as his own that contribute to the deficit."
The ignorance runs thick among the growing mob, who seem unaware of Mackey's remarkable social conscience. In 2007, Mackey reduced his annual income to $1.00, began donating his company stock portfolio to charity and even created a $100,000 emergency fund for staff members who fall on hard times.
Another former Whole Foods customer said, "I think a CEO should take care that if he speaks about politics, that his beliefs reflect at least the majority of his clients."
Funny. Considering the great measures Whole Foods has taken to improve animal welfare through the Animal Compassion Foundation (which helps producers raise their animals naturally and humanely) and become more environmentally-friendly (The EPA confirmed Whole Foods is the second highest purchaser of green energy in the country), the millions of dollars donated to community charities every year (at least 5% of annual profits), the Whole Planet Foundation (which combats poverty in rural communities) one would think Mackey's beliefs certainly reflected those of his clients.
Additionally, Whole Foods pays 100% of health insurance premiums for all employees who work more than 30 hours a week.
John Mackey respects his patrons and all Americans enough to encourage the federal government to empower them, to establish and protect an affordable, competitive health care market that offers choice and inspires innovation. The kind of choice and innovation that built the remarkably socially-conscious Whole Foods Market.
Slap in the face, indeed.