New hours at Whole Foods neglect early-morning customers

This morning, I stopped by Greenlife Grocery, more accurately known as Whole Foods, to grab a coffee and muffin on my way to work. It was 7:30 a.m., a time when Greenlife is always bustling. When I tried the door, it was locked. Just then, a Greenlife employee walked by. "The store's closed?" I asked. "We're opening at 8 a.m. from now on," he said.

Puzzling — why does a place that sells what seems to be millions of dollars’ worth of muffins and coffee every morning suddenly need to change its hours, totally unannounced? It’s not because they’re suffering from economic decline — ever see that parking lot, or the store for that matter, less than ridiculously crowded? Maybe the sales between 7 and 8 a.m. just aren’t quite what they are, say, between 8 and 9 a.m., or around the noon hour, or after work, when they're pulling in closer to a billion dollars in an hour?

OK, I exaggerate, but you get my point. They seem to make lots of money all the time. So why not be open at 7 a.m. to serve the community that supports them, we who really need our morning cuppa joe and roll? Is it hasty to speculate that corporate greed and bottom lines are to blame?

I watched it happen: Greenlife, despite its communal roots, is no longer a "community" grocer. Rather, it is now part of a corporate conglomeration caring more about strategic financial calculations (the rich get richer) than about the community that supports them. The "free coffee" seemed proof that they were feeling at least a little guilty and were trying to soften the blow for a trail of disappointed regular customers.

Am I being petty, or just wishing for the old community store, pre-corporate bottom lines that now dictate the new coffee hour?

— Virginia Bower
Asheville

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