I know Whole Foods is the poster child for organic and all, and yes they do have a lot of wonderful products which I am glad they are sharing with us. Even though those items are generally way over priced and prohibit many people from shopping their due to the high margins Whole Foods imposes. Which is probably the root cause of why they fired one of their own employees for trying to ensure you didn’t have to pay even higher margins.
Last December, just before Christmas, the Ann Arbor, MI Whole Foods had someone make off with over $300 in food. John Schultz, an employee of 5 years at Whole Foods was on his break (as in not on the clock) when the store manager called for help to subdue a robber. Schultz came to the aid and as a result, was fired. You can read the whole news clip by clicking HERE.
Whole Foods claims that it is against company policy to touch a customer. Ok, but don’t you have to buy something or intend to buy something to be a customer? When did being a thief mean being a customer? Does this also mean that if someone is beating you senseless in the bulk foods aisle of your local Whole Foods, you can expect no staff to come to your aid because that would mean touch you or the person beating you, so basically you are going to lose some teeth at the least because Whole Foods doesn’t want to touch you.
Also, this guy was off the clock, not working for Whole Foods so Whole Foods is a bit in murky waters claiming he is always an employee, if that’s the case, I believe they owe him a lot of over time. Also, this guy only went after the thief because the manager requested it, how can you catch a thief without actually touching the thief? Usually they don’t stop just because you asked politely. So the manager can be held liable because it was only on his request that the employee came to help.
Third, this did not happen on Whole Foods property, so again, Whole Foods is on some very shaky ground. Do they now feel they have the right to dictate terms on public property or the property of others? I wonder what would happen if Wal Mart decided to do that to Whole Foods, I’m sure Whole Foods would have issues with it.
Whole Foods is a company that I really used to like, but the more I look below the surface the more I prefer doing my shopping else where. This is one more example to add to my list. Here is a guy that did the right thing and they reward him by firing him, the day before Christmas, yet their CEO who was clearly in violation when pretending to be someone else on Yahoo message boards praising his stock while trashing competitors, gets a slap on the wrist? He should have been fired and fined heavily. This is a company whose morale compass is out of alignment. As many of the comments on the article are saying, I have to agree, it would be a good idea to boycott Whole Foods, they don’t seem to understand the world of realities.
Whole Foods is known as Whole Check because it costs so much, they do that because they keep their margins very high. That means, you pay more for the very same thing that your local supermarket sells for 30% less. This is probably why the “customer” robbed them; they needed food and couldn’t pay the high prices. But that would make too much sense to play high prices, so they blame the not on the clock employee for violating policy. That’s just wrong.
Also, lets look at this issues more. A zero tolerance policy of no touching. Is Whole Foods saying they own the employee no matter where they are? Have the right to dictate their lives? Not very people friendly but really if you look at the comment by the Whole Foods spokesperson said “He is still considered an employee of Whole Foods Market regardless of where he was and what was happening.” So lets say you work at Whole Foods and your spouse comes in to shop, does that mean when you go home at night you can’t kiss them or hug them? By the definition given by Whole Foods, yes, they have to right to fire you for that. If you play a contact sport, you are fired if you happen to touch someone who is a customer too. Don’t you dare shake hands with someone either, you will be fired! Anyone else see how insane and completely off the chart of common sense Whole Foods is being on this? Talk about police state mentality, I wonder what policies they have toward customers that we don’t know about.
If you own stock in Whole Foods, you might want to ask the board why is it they are wasting money and reducing your income potential. If you read this, Whole Foods has essentially said to every shoplifter to come on in and rob the place, because employees will be more afraid of being fired than stopping you from robbing the place. All that shop lifting is going to cut into operating margins which means weaker stock performance. This company has shown very little goodwill and more interest in political correctness than correctness and common sense. I am not for giving money to companies that can’t tell the different and realize a good thing when they see it. As a result, I urge you to think about spending your money else where, there are plenty of options in most locations and often less expensive at that! With a tighter market on the way, maybe Whole Foods will realize we don’t want to have to worry about our safety in stores because employees fear for their livelihood. The best way to help a company see the light is to spend your money else where.