A case of “PR deja vu” for Whole Foods’ John Mackey

Until now, we’ve been weekly customers at Whole Foods.  We don’t usually buy much there — just a few items from the bulk bins like spelt flour or nutritional yeast or a bit of candy for a treat, a bottle of lemon juice, occasionally picking up some vitamin supplements, maybe a healthier brand of hot dogs once in a while, a loaf or two of spelt bread in the past.

Before it became Whole Foods, we shopped at Wild Oats too.  Having Whole Foods buy out Wild Oats wasn’t something to keep us from patronizing the business.  What’s kept us from getting more groceries there has been the simple reason that Whole Foods’ prices on many items are so high.

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey
Whole Foods CEO John Mackey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It appears that may be a thing of the past for us now, and all because of two key words spoken by Whole Foods CEO John Mackey in an interview on National Public Radio this week as he gave his views on the Affordable Care Act, saying it’s “like fascism.”

So, here’s a law that was passed by both branches of Congress, signed by the President, upheld as being constitutional by the Supreme Court, considered by the most ardent liberals as not going far enough to solve the issue of high health care costs for the average American citizen (wanting a single payer system instead), and Whole Foods’ CEO deemed the ACA as being “like fascism.”

Mackey has joined the list of American business leaders who’ve gone out of their way in expressing their displeasure about “Obamacare,” and in many cases ended up backtracking just a tad when customers complained loudly.

When will these folks ever learn?  And how is it that folks like these end up running companies like these anyway?  You’d think once they’ve seen one fool mixing their business side with misstated, inflammatory political views and getting heat from a majority of customers because of it that they might learn a lesson.

If you want to see the kind of response Whole Foods has been getting after Mackey’s “fascism” comment, all you need to do is look at the company’s Facebook page and see the kinds of comments they’ve been getting even on items that have nothing to do with Mackey’s remark.

People are pissed off.

But John Mackey just doesn’t seem to get it.  Even his retraction today didn’t go all that far toward calming people down.

What’s funny is that this isn’t the first time Mackey has found himself in a bad view in the public relations spotlight.  The rest of that story goes back to the days when Whole Foods was looking at buying out Wild Oats — what used to be our favorite health food store before Mackey’s company made the move — and Mackey played a foolish online trolling game to make Wild Oats look bad.  A bit of stock price manipulation, perhaps?

NEW YORK TIMES:  How Whole Foods CEO Led 2 Lives

Aaaahhh, but that was just another case of “Conscious Capitalism,” wasn’t it?

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Should we be excited? Angry?

There’ve been a couple of stories that have stood out to me in some of my news surfing and Facebook scanning today.  The first has to do with a good/bad news scenario.  The second is just troubling.

THE FIRST

A report from NPR showed the nation’s unemployment rate fell to 8.6 percent in November from 9 percent in October as payrolls went up by 120,000 jobs.  Great news, right?

Well, maybe not all THAT great.  The report also said that the labor force shrank by 315,000 people.  How’s that?

That’s the number of people who have just given up on finding a job because it’s become too discouraging.

And it’s really not all that surprising that the unemployment rate dropped that much at this time of year.  Retailers were among those who did the most hiring, mainly because of the holiday season.

What will the numbers show when this holiday season is a memory?

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) saw fit to do some partisan grandstanding at the news.

“Any job creation is welcome news, but the jobless rate in this country is still unacceptable.  Today marks the 34th consecutive month of unemployment above eight percent.  As you may remember, the Obama administration promised unemployment would stay below eight percent if its ‘stimulus’ was enacted. That promise has gone unfulfilled.

“Because the president’s policies have failed, the House has passed a series of bills designed to remove government barriers to private sector job creation. There are now 25 bipartisan jobs bills passed by the House awaiting a vote in the Senate. The key to getting all of these jobs measures enacted is the United States Senate. President Obama should use this opportunity to call on Senate Democrats to immediately give these bipartisan bills the vote they deserve.

“The American people want action on jobs, and the House is listening to the American people.”

Quite frankly, I’ll believe that when I see it.  And I’m not holding my breath for a second over that announcement.  If the House is listening to the American people, then why did Republicans and a few Democrats stonewall the sweeping jobs bill that President Obama came out with a few months ago?

Here’s why: President Obama came out with the sweeping jobs bill, one that included both Democratic AND Republican proposals.  And some people want to see Obama defeated in 2012.  It’s really as simple as that.

And hundreds of thousands upon millions of Americans are feeling the effects.

For a national leader, John Boehner makes a great shoe salesman.

THE SECOND

There’s been a report in the Media section of The Huffington Post of arrests and harassments going on in the Occupy Wall Street movement.

No news there, you say?  Well, what if I told you that the arrests and incidents involving harassment were happening to journalists?

I know some people who would cheer upon seeing and hearing that news.  After all, it’s just the damn liberal media, right?

Think about this: journalists are supposed to represent one of the last bastions of freedom in America.  Why would journalists be facing arrest and harassment at Occupy Wall Street?  And it’s not just in New York either, it’s in Los Angeles.

Are journalists members of the Occupy movement?  Or are they (as many that I’ve seen) still trying to find a clue as to what the Occupy movement really represents?  If they’re shouting to be heard, chances are that it’s not because they’re agreeing with the Occupy protesters.

Be concerned.  Be very concerned.

ONE FINAL NOTE

On Sunday, I plan to launch what I hope will be a growing “movement” of my own.  There are many people I know who are either among the long-term jobless now, or have been without a job on a long-term basis in the not-so-distant past.  People living from the East Coast to the West Coast.  And some of them are finding themselves jobless directly as a result of inaction or political grandstanding on the part of our nation’s leaders.

Beginning Sunday, I hope to give an open forum to people such as these.  I have two profiles lined up already.  These are real people that I know personally enough from interaction on the worldwide web, but they are real people nonetheless.  I know their faces, I know their names, I know their personalities.  And I will give you a chance to get to know a bit about them yourselves.

I can tell you this.  They might believe in a thing like the Occupy movement.  But they’re not lazy.  And they’re denitely not “OccuTARDS.”

I would encourage anyone who knows people in similar circumstances — long-term jobless, aggressively searching in order to turn their lives around — to get in touch with me so I can share their stories as well.  I’ll get into the causes of their unemployment, and — as I’ve shared so intimately in my own posts — the feelings that go on inside of them as they face their individual struggles.

If you know of anyone, look for me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/daddysangbassdude.

This nation needs to start thinking about putting politics aside for good and start solving the problems for real.

THAT is my “proclamation.”  Will you join me?