A Whole Foods boycott?

More than 10,000 people have joined the effort so far.

By MSN Money Aug 18, 2009 5:22PM

There is a small movement afoot to boycott Whole Foods (WFMI) after chief executive John Mackey wrote an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal suggesting eight fixes for health care.


More than 10,000 people have joined the "Boycott Whole Foods" Facebook page. The site decries what it sees as Whole Foods' anti-union, anti-health insurance reform, right-wing stance. "Whole Foods has the right to be as hateful and selfish as they wanna be," the page states. "We also have the right to starve them of our $."

I read Mackey's piece, and I'm sure he didn't set out to enrage the good portion of his customer base that leans left. But some customers are upset, particularly with Mackey's decision to include this quote from Margaret Thatcher at the beginning: "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money."


Here's the CliffsNotes version of the rest of the piece:

  • This country is running out of money, and will face bankruptcy or new taxes and inflation.
  • We don't need a health care plan that will create huge new deficits and move us closer to a government takeover of the system.
  • We should move to less government control, through things like health savings accounts and more high-deductible health insurance plans.
  • Individually owned health insurance benefits are not fully tax deductible, but employer-provided health insurance is. That's not fair.
  • Insurance companies should be able to compete across state lines.
  • The government shouldn't tell insurance companies what they have to cover.
  • Enact tort and Medicare reform, and make medical care costs more transparent.

Mackey's ideas don't seem all that bad. However, his suggestion that President Obama's version of health care reform will lead to a government takeover of the system is highly dubious. But offensive enough to spark a boycott? Puh-leeze.


Investors might be staging a small boycott of Whole Foods shares Monday. The stock is down about $1 since Friday's close, a drop of about 3%.


Related reading:

The grocery battle favors Whole Foods

Whole Foods, Dollar Thrifty lead the way

Consumer stocks that soared too high

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