I know that a lot of liberals are villifying Whole Foods these days, and even boycotting, because of an op-ed their CEO John Mackey wrote in favor of some major overhauls to our health care system. At first, I was a bit put off by his arguments, especially because his arguments seem so much in conflict with the beliefs many of us have that Whole Foods is a great place to work, with generous employee benefits -- and this belief makes those of us with liberal guilt feel better about shopping there.
What some people would have us do
But accusing Mackey of having a "far right wing agenda" just for questioning the system and looking for ways to reform (which is also what Obama is doing) is a bit ridiculous. (Though, clearly, he is not in favor of programs he deems "socialist." And his arguments that we should not all expect to have an intrinsic right to health care is clearly contentious. Still, our democratic system allows people to disagree, and we are hypocrits to cry foul only when it hurts our cause, but then demand our own freedom of speech when right wingers are pushing an agenda we on the left disagree with. And who can argue with his assertion that a huge part of our astronomical increases in health care costs are attributable to obesity and poor eating habits, which come at least in part from bad personal decisions? Michael Pollan wrote an op-ed to the same effect, and he wasn't villified. I'm willing to bet most Whole Foods shoppers agree with Mackey and Pollan on this point, but that doesn't make it into the boycott propaganda.)
Anyway, I have decided to keep shopping at Whole Foods. Partially because they sell things we like to buy and they're convenient, and because I want all the people employed there to keep their good pay and great benefits... they're not the ones with the strong, publicly-stated opinions. But the bigger reason (and the one which the boycotting liberals seem to forget) is that Mackey himself is only making $1 a year as Whole Foods CEO after making a widely publicized announcement about it, before the current recession began no less, as well as donating the profits from his stock options to charity. So me shopping there isn't making him richer. It's helping all the people who work under him, and I'm all for that. And frankly, I don't know why anyone who used to shop there wouldn't agree. But on to other things...
I wrote a few weeks ago about our dilemma around what kind of Thanksgiving turkey to buy... the Butterball, natural free range, organic free range or heritage -- listed in ascending order of expense, as well as my preference. And, with all of my recent slacking, I basically let the clock run out on the heritage option because all the farms sell out their inventory way in advance. But, much to my surprise, on my last trip to Whole Foods, I found that I could still order a heritage turkey in the store. (Interestingly, you cannot order them on their web site, though you can order the other types of turkeys.)
So... problem solved! We're having a nice, gamey, authentic-tasting turkey for Thanksgiving again this year. Either a Bourbon Red or a Narragansett. I hope it's a Narragansett, since Mark and I met trying to get Rhode Island voters to approve a casino for the ..... Narragansett Indian Tribe. There would be a certain harmony in enjoying a turkey of the same name for the first Thanksgiving in which we're hosting people. Of course, I may need to teach a few extra classes just to pay for it! But I think it's worth it.
A tasty looking Narragansett tom
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