Wholly satisfied with Whole Foods

I read Lance Hardcastle's attack letter several weeks ago, and I wanted to write in to give my wholehearted support to the new, improved Greenlife [“Whole Foods: The Bigger the Worse?March 30 Xpress].

Personally, I was very excited when I heard Whole Foods was taking over the Asheville location. They are making some great changes. The new layout, for one, is much more comfortable to me — it reminds me of the Whole Foods in Atlanta, where I lived for seven years. Another plus: Since all the baked goods are now shipped from the regional bake house in Georgia, I can get all my favorite pastries, and they taste as good as home!

I know some people in Asheville will never like Whole Foods, and that's just fine with me. Ever since they hired that security guard, I see a lot less anti-establishment types in the store. Can't afford organic food if you have to pay for it, huh, anarchists? Maybe you should get a living-wage job instead of begging for change. (And while you're at it, learn to play guitar.)

As for me, it doesn't matter what people say. I'll be a loyal Whole Foods customer for life. As that rarest of breeds — a vegetarian libertarian — I admire the courageous stances CEO John Mackey has taken on controversial issues like climate change and entitlement programs. I agree with Mackey that there's “no scientific consensus” on the cause of global warming, and that people don't have an “intrinsic right to health care, food or shelter.” If you want something good, you've got to pay for it, kids. I learned that the hard way. And if a vegan spelt muffin from Georgia costs 60 cents more than a locally made muffin, I'm gonna pay it. Why? Because the market demands it, and the market is never wrong.

— Robert Thatcher


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53 thoughts on “Wholly satisfied with Whole Foods

  1. bill smith

    Wow. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that’s some mean reverse psychology there, Robert.

  2. Damm highfalutin big city Atlanta yuppie…go home and take your 60¢ with ya! We are all about low cost local veganism.

  3. NorthCarolinaGrown

    Well Sir, you should shop there, You are right, the pastries do taste as good as home. If one is in the habit of buying frozen pastries. It is the greatest business model, like Mickey D, they are the same everywhere you go in flavor and service. You deserve to shop there with your immediate negative portrayal of Asheville folk, the new management has the same feelings. You know, the ones that had comfortable jobs elsewhere, replacing folks that were competent in their long established roles. Please feel free to wander amongst the over-priced private labeled goods, it will keep you from the aisles of the stores I shop at and frankly, I won’t have to listen to yet another ” How it’s so much better where I just moved from” stories creatures like you tend to tell anyone close by.

  4. Dionysis

    ” I agree with Mackey that there’s “no scientific consensus” on the cause of global warming…”

    That’s awfully nice, but two opinions hardly constitute factual reality. If by ‘consensus’ the writer means that there are a handful of energy-industry lackey ‘scientists’ that do not agree, then okay. However, the overwhelming view of serious scientists is that:

    “Scientific societies and scientists have released statements and studies showing the growing consensus on climate change science. A common objection to taking action to reduce our heat-trapping emissions has been uncertainty within the scientific community on whether or not global warming is happening and if it is caused by humans. However, there is now an overwhelming scientific consensus that global warming is indeed happening and humans are contributing to it.”


  5. Whole Foods has been an overall improvement on price, quality, selection and service. And they do a good job of appeasing angry progressives with phony green and community crap.

  6. Big Al

    Please do not encourage local anarchists to add to the already overcrowded busker pool of Guthrie wannabes. As much as I dislike panhandlers, I would would rather pay them NOT to play.

  7. dpewen

    I love the buskers and the music scene here. I also feel because of this letter I will not be shopping at Green Life, especially if only folks like the writer are shopping there!

  8. dpewen

    I forgot to mention if the Whole Foods CEO really feels that way about global warming and people in need then I will never set foot in a Whole Fools store!

  9. travelah

    I and a lot of other like Whole Foods. They have a great variety of ingredients I like to use occasionally that I am not going to find in the bins of a grungy local seed shop. If the 20%ers don’t want to patronize the store, well, there are plenty of others who will.

    Thanks to Whole Foods for a quality organization.

  10. teleri

    There are things I like about Whole Foods vs Greenlife. Frozen pastries from Atlanta are NOT one of them. Neither is a CEO who is apparently a right wing pain who thinks the rich somehow deserve to grind everybody into the ground & doesn’t care if the general population can’t breathe or find drinking water within the next 50 years.
    I will just continue to go to Earth Fare, thank you.

  11. twinkie223

    Sounds like another disciple of the Ayn Rand School of Narrow Understanding. Global warming is real, want to know what causes it? Shipping pastries from three hundred miles away when they could be baked locally. Also, the atmospheric build-up of hot air blown by insufferable boors. Please keep shopping at overpriced corporate chain stores, that’s just one less snob at my tailgate market. Win-win!

  12. Ken Hanke

    I also feel because of this letter I will not be shopping at Green Life, especially if only folks like the writer are shopping there!

    I would like to believe that the letter is satirical. At the same time, I see it draws the endorsement of the usual suspects.

  13. Cosmic Ballroom

    As an established omnivore I find Whole Foods meat prices to be obscene.

    The author’s reference to being a vegetarian librarian was useless information.

  14. sharpleycladd

    I read the letter and laughed, figuring somebody was cribbing Swift’s “Modest Proposal.” I waited patiently through my work day and was not disappointed! The letter and the responses, including the appearance of Tim Peck* formed a wonderful tout ensemble of uniquely Ashevillian consumerist angst, teen-rebel politics of the left- and right-wing variety, passive-aggressive displacement – ah! A soupcon of the town I love!
    *The phrase “Tim Peck” is used here as synecdoche, not as an ad hominem attack.

  15. WitchDoctor

    I often think that timpeck and travelah might be satirical characters created by mat catastrophe, but there are things that timpeck says that make me suspect that he might be real.

  16. cwaster

    I had a southwest wrap from there recently. I did not like it, nor was it anywhere near as good as the old ones in my opinion. Nor was it even made in Asheville.

  17. Jim Shura

    You Whole Foods Volksturm people do realize that Whole Foods just laid off lots of the former Greenlife people six weeks ago? What do you care?

    You want what you want when you want it. It’s all that matters to you.

  18. bill smith

    People who shop at Greenlife are the kind of shoppers who will pay 8 bucks for an organic mango smoothie but complain about 3 dollar local kale at the Farmer’s market.

    Also, to state the obvious again, this letter is satire.

  19. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Oh, for god’s sake.


    Please, Mr. letter-writer Robert Thatcher, tell us. Are you being satirical or not?

    Or are you a plant for……… whomever?

  20. Betty Cloer Wallace

    It surely is a real burden trying to carry on a real conversation with ghostly personas.

    Whatever happened to all the real people in Asheville–people with real names– real people who take responsibility for their opinions without hiding behind cute monikers and aliases?

    We’ve become a town of apparitions, which does not bode well for a real future.

    Anonymous opinions are cheap.

  21. bill smith

    [i]Whatever happened to all the real people in Asheville[/i]

    Well, I suspect they are out there in the ‘real world’.

    It’s the internet, betty. Nothing new.

  22. laura

    >>>You Whole Foods Volksturm people do realize that Whole Foods just laid off lots of the former Greenlife people six weeks ago? What do you care?<<< laid off? we were offered a severence package and those employees took it willingly. it was actually a pretty nice offer. we don't want anyone that works here to feel trapped or obligated. they got a sweet deal. their choice to leave, our choice to stay...

  23. The Master Who's Always Right

    OK, I think this new Greenlife is 100% better than the old more shaky Greenlife, it is about time they went corporate. I totally agree with Robert Thatcher. John Mackey is a total inspiration. I am disappointed that he did not become president. Those dirty Asheville bums should move to Canada if they want a hand out.

  24. bill smith

    I think Travelah only likes whole foods to contrast those of us who take issue with out-of-town corporate organic. Ten bucks says he’d never set foot in such a crunchy, heathen place.

  25. davidl

    In response to Whole Foods masquerading as Greenlife: why not call rename the store ‘GreenHole’.

    Shoppers can throw their Asheville dollars down the GreenHole and watch them emerge in corporate headquarters in Austin, Texas.

    Or you can shop at the French Broad Food Coop, Westville Market, Trout Lily, etc, and keep your money working to provide local jobs

  26. Charles Swann

    Laura, I’m curious how you define a “pretty nice” offer. If the Whole Foods health care benefits are as good as advertised, and people were still jumping ship, a) the severance package must have been incredibly generous or b) people must have really wanted to get the heck out of there.

    In this economic climate, I’m surprised that anyone would want to leave her job, even with several weeks worth of pay in her pocket. And that leads me to believe that forces were at work that pushed people out, or at least made them uncomfortable to the point where they felt they had no choice but to take the money and run.

  27. been there, done that

    …the author should be able to speak his/her opinion…even if he/she is talking out their ass…yet another self-righteous complainer forced out of their own city..what are you complaining about? Whore Foods won! and demolished a very nice local bizness…WFM is just like the government…they pretend that they love you, they get what they want, they undermine what’s good and real and sustainable..all for control and market domination…hope you enjoy your regulated, “wholemogenized” shopping experience!

  28. reasonable

    Comical. Thank you all. Anything that twists the collective panties and tweaks the noses of the usual haters on here has just got to be doing something right.

    For all you who profess to never shop there again, I and many others will supplant your business exodus with even more frequent and larger purchases.

    The Law of Unintended Consequence is always at the ready.

    Good job, Whole Foods, and keep up the clean-up! I and many others no longer feel like needing another bath after leaving there now.

  29. Charles Swann

    It’s getting difficult to tell the satirical from the nakedly ignorant on this thread.

    You scabs can have your bland, undercooked, and poorly prepared deli foods if you so desire. I honestly thought that the declining quality of the prepared foods was a silent protest against the new corporate management. But now that the dissenters have been dismissed, it’s clear that this tasteless fodder is being shipped in from out of state, and that the substandard slop is fully endorsed by the people at the top.

    If the prices were going down, it would be a different story, but management seems to think: if these Asheville idiots will pay four dollars for a pack of organic soft taco shells, why even give them the choice to buy the $1.50 tortillas that are available at *literally every other Whole Foods in North Carolina.* Now that’s the free market at work.

  30. bill smith

    [b]Anything that twists the collective panties and tweaks the noses of the usual haters on here has just got to be doing something right.[/b]

    Thanks for proving my suspicions true; you only claim to support a business like whole foods because you see it as being contrary to those you oppose, and not because you ever actually shop there.

  31. Laura

    i too was shocked that so many people chose to leave. it seems like there are so few jobs in this town that provide you with a living wage… but the severence package was incredibly generous. and very tempting. i don’t blame a single person for taking it, if it makes them happier to not work for whole foods anymore. and they are all actually eligable for re-hire after a period of time! (i think it’s 2 years maybe?… not sure…) so if they decide to come back, they are welcome! no one is banned, no one is outted. most people who still work here and don’t work here anymore are still social and great friends.

    i love this job. i can’t believe how well i am paid, how great my health care is, and how wonderful i’m treated as an employee. i don’t agree with everything our CEO stands behind, but it sure does feel a lot better to work for this company than others i’ve read about or have worked for in the past.

    everything in this business is up to the customer. if no one buys the product, it comes off the shelf. if you don’t want food from our south kitchen in atlanta, then only buy things with stickers that say “made in house.” if you don’t want to shop here, that’s fine. this town is so full of great options of where to get food, we’re really very lucky. let’s celebrate that, and stop being so negative! =) (especially to employees who work at greenlife. we’re all just trying to make a living. you’re not hurting a big company in austin, you’re hurting real local people who live among you…)

  32. bill smith

    I am so happy to learn that whole foods will begin sourcing all their produce from NC farms. That shows they really care about the community.

  33. Bjorn

    He certainly sounds like a Thatcher, however that’s no crime. Not caring about your fellow Space Ship Earth passengers might be, especially if they’re the ones baking your muffins that go in whole & come out smelling much like this letter.

  34. Tory

    I want muffins from Cambodia. Why don’t they carry those? Those liberal terds.

  35. carig

    Whole Foods did just what I said they would….ruin a great local business….just like I saw them do in the Northeast. Grateful that there are options as I will not shop at Whole Ripoffs.

  36. I think that it is great that Whole Foods can do things to improve Greenlife overall. However, there is no good reason why Asheville can’t keep the bakery items local. It’s cheaper and of course supports the area more. It doesn’t make sense that these items are traveling from Atlanta if that truly is the case.

  37. Charles

    Unfortunately, that is indeed the case. Laura–the Greenlife employee above–refers to the “South Kitchen in Atlanta” where many prepared items are made, before being shipped out to Whole Foods franchises across the region.

    There is no reason whatsoever why they can’t produce these items locally. It’s not like Asheville has any shortage of bakers.

  38. jlz

    I’ve never been a big fan of Whole Foods.. or
    “Whole Paycheck” as we call it here.

    I’ve watched the store grow from a small local
    “cool” place to the overpriced and greedy conglomerate it is today.

    It always reinforces the feeling that if you are not rich, you can’t afford to eat healthy.

    Sorry to hear it’s coming to Asheville.

  39. JOHN-C

    I’m really disappointed with the raw food section now that A-Whole Foods has taken over…

    And all the non-organic produce…

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