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Whole Foods Bows to Fundie Bloggers


Alecto

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http://blogs.houstonpress.com/eating/20 ... t_high.php

​Under pressure from right-wing bloggers who blindly associate Ramadan and Muslims with terrorism and burqas, Whole Foods has sent an email to its stores across the United States in which it specifically tells stores not to promote Ramadan this year.

Just last week, Whole Foods began its promotion of Saffron Road's line of halal products throughout the holiday, which ends on August 29, via writer Yvonne Maffei's blog, My Halal Kitchen. That promotion was waylaid by what seems like a very small amount of criticism, according to an internal email that the Houston Press obtained recently.

"It is probably best that we don't specifically call out or 'promote' Ramadan," reads a portion of that email. "We should not highlight Ramadan in signage in our stores as that could be considered 'Celebrating or promoting' Ramadan."

This is a significant departure from years past, when Whole Foods has promoted its halal items during Ramadan with small signs that displayed a crescent moon, the symbol of Islam. It's also a striking difference from the way that the famously tolerant grocery chain promotes other holidays, including signage and in-store promotions for Passover, Easter and Christmas.

"We recently introduced a line of frozen products in Grocery that are Halal certified (meet Muslim dietary laws) called Saffron Road," continues the email. "With the introduction of this line company wide, and the beginning of Ramadan last week, we posted a product giveaway on the Whole Story blog (on July 31) to generate awareness and interest in the products. Some people have misinterpreted the blog post to mean we are celebrating or promoting Ramadan in our stores. The misinterpretation has generated some negative feedback from a small segment of vocal and angry consumers and bloggers."

Whole Foods has never had a problem promoting other holidays in the past.

​This language represents a very different side of Whole Foods than the one it showed to the media when it released this statement on its halal products and Ramadan:

We're always looking for ways to expand our product mix and provide a wide variety of high-quality natural and organic foods for our diverse customer base. We celebrate the many food choices we offer our shoppers throughout the year that satisfy a variety of lifestyles and dietary preferences. Many of our shoppers requested that we carry more halal offerings to meet their needs and we listened. We recently launched frozen entrees from Saffron Road and we are highlighting these new products that are not just halal certified, but that also meet our high quality standards. Just like the other ethnic and special diet foods we carry, we're excited to also offer halal products with this line of quality frozen entrees.

Saffron Road's halal items are still for sale in Whole Foods. Yet partners at the stores are directed to tell customers: "Whole Foods Market is not promoting Ramadan, but rather featuring the great halal offerings our shoppers can find in our stores during this special time."

Despite a statement from the Anti-Defamation League that Whole Foods and its Ramadan promotion aren't vaguely anti-Semitic, the association between a holiday that represents a time of patience, humility and charity for Muslims across the world and Jihadist terrorism is apparently so strong with a small, vocal minority that Whole Foods has capitulated to these people -- who surely can't represent the chain's larger demographic -- and buried its former Ramadan promotions as if they were a dirty secret.

For now, it looks like the embargo will remain in place according to that internal email: "We do need to hold off, however, on displaying any Ramadan signs in our stores at this time."

This makes me angry on so many levels. This is a prime example of why we need to keep doing what we are doing, because this is proof the fundie bloggers do have some sway.

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Fundie bloggers do have sway. But I've said for years that Whole Foods is simply Walmart dressed up to look like a crunchy, liberal, ecofriendly local market. I don't doubt that it attracts lower level employees that fit that description, but I think at the top, the nerve center, if you will, it's pretty much the same attitudes, morals, and goals as WalMart.

So, if Ramadan helps them appeal to the liberal, the crunchy, the eco-friendly, the intelligentsia, then they will play it up to the fullest possible. But if it starts to create controversy that outweights that particular selling point of their image, they will cut it without a thought.

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I hope come December they refrain from Christmas promotions.

Since I know that won't happen, I'll just say that it works out fine for me. The nearest Whole Foods, the only one in the area, is roughly 30 miles away. I will continue to refrain from making the trip to shop at their store. In the year or so they've been there I haven't made the effort. I certainly won't be trying any harder.

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Well, Whole Foods is notoriously anti-union and has been cited several times by the NLRB for union busting activities and been forced to rehire people wrongfully fired for union activities. It's CEO is vocally and vehemently anti-union, calling unions,

"parasites" that "feed on union dues," and compares them to "having herpes. It doesn't kill you , but it's unpleasant and inconvenient and it stops a lot of people from becoming your lover." In a nineteen-page treatise called "Beyond Unions," Mackey lays out a position on organized labor that views everyone -- from Bill Gates

to a single parent on welfare -- as economic equals. Unions are unnecessary, Mackey explains, because "the foundation of a market economy is mutual voluntary exchange" between employees and employers. Translation: If workers don't like their jobs, they're free to go work someplace else. Quoting the economist Milton Friedman, whose free-market

theories formed the basis of Reaganomics, Mackey insists that "competition is the best protection for the largest number of workers that has yet been found.

Source: The Texas Observer, 1998 archived at: http://www.organicconsumers.org/Corp/wholefood.htm

Then CEO Mackey, who is a climate change denier (real environmentally friendly, that one) wrote an anti-universal health care screed in the Op Ed section of the Wall Street Journal, essentially saying that the Whole Foods plan was super awesome and could work everywhere if there were less taxes and health insurance companies weren't required to cover anything if they didn't want to. Of course, this discounts the fact that, although the average Whole Food employee is paid far better than federal minimum wage, he or she, if a single parent of a few kids, would probably still be below the poverty line and that the Whole Foods health care plan includes deductibles of $1,300 dollars for general medical expenses and $700 for prescription drugs and explicitly does NOT cover any mental health treatment or medicine.

I mean, yes. It's better than working at WalMart. But I don't think Whole Foods deserves any praise for how its employees are treated. The mental health thing just bugs me.

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I think if you are going to celebrate one holiday at a corporation, you should celebrate them all. All or nothing. Because otherwise you are alienating one group and saying you don't want them to shop there.

So WF does not want Muslims to shop there, or anyone who is sympathetic to Muslims? Duly noted.

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Well, Whole Foods is notoriously anti-union and has been cited several times by the NLRB for union busting activities and been forced to rehire people wrongfully fired for union activities. It's CEO is vocally and vehemently anti-union, calling unions,

Source: The Texas Observer, 1998 archived at: http://www.organicconsumers.org/Corp/wholefood.htm

Then CEO Mackey, who is a climate change denier (real environmentally friendly, that one) wrote an anti-universal health care screed in the Op Ed section of the Wall Street Journal, essentially saying that the Whole Foods plan was super awesome and could work everywhere if there were less taxes and health insurance companies weren't required to cover anything if they didn't want to. Of course, this discounts the fact that, although the average Whole Food employee is paid far better than federal minimum wage, he or she, if a single parent of a few kids, would probably still be below the poverty line and that the Whole Foods health care plan includes deductibles of $1,300 dollars for general medical expenses and $700 for prescription drugs and explicitly does NOT cover any mental health treatment or medicine.

I mean, yes. It's better than working at WalMart. But I don't think Whole Foods deserves any praise for how its employees are treated. The mental health thing just bugs me.

I agree with you. Whole Foods makes a big show of appealing to liberal, crunchy granola types, but I had a friend who worked there for a while and the way they treated employees was really awful. After seeing what she went through there, it really changed my view of the store. Well that, and reading some of their CEO's more colorful emanations.

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I think if you are going to celebrate one holiday at a corporation, you should celebrate them all. All or nothing. Because otherwise you are alienating one group and saying you don't want them to shop there.

So WF does not want Muslims to shop there, or anyone who is sympathetic to Muslims? Duly noted.

You would think, huh? Especially a company that sells food, and food is such a large part of holidays and celebrations. If they are going to sell specific types of food for specific types of people (the Muslim particulars, Jewish/kosher, etc...) you would think they'd want to promote that they have the products so that, you know, people will come to their store to buy it.

Then again, they do cater to a very specific demographic and I guess get enough business that way.

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You mean "Whole Paycheck"? We have one in our town and I've checked it out a couple of times but was not impressed.

I prefer using organic produce & similar products, so I get mine from the locally owned & operated food coop that I joined several years ago or from the local farmers' markets in town.

The local coop may not have the product selection that Whole Paycheck does, but I like the people who run it a lot better - they're also always willing to order or try new product lines. Not only that, their prices are better than Whole Paycheck's.

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Ugh, I have spent the last hour trying to find somewhere else in town that sells Gluten Free soy sauce.

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I agree with you. Whole Foods makes a big show of appealing to liberal, crunchy granola types, but I had a friend who worked there for a while and the way they treated employees was really awful. After seeing what she went through there, it really changed my view of the store. Well that, and reading some of their CEO's more colorful emanations.

Really?? I had no idea about any of this. I have two friends who work there - one in a store as a manager and one in corporate - and neither have complaints. I'm also a regular shopper. I wish I could boycott them over this but it is literally the only place I can shop for my son (without spending 6 hours running all over town to different stores) because he has so many food allergies and intolerances.

Very sad. I used to love whole foods. I will cut down my spending there and buy only the necessities.

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Well it's all Trader Joes for me now. I used to go to Whole Foods, but I always spent way too much money. There's a farmer's market that happens every week right outside Whole Foods, and they have good produce prices. I'll hit them and the other Farmers Market before I go into Whole Paycheck. And there's Bristol FArms too.

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The blog mentioned in the article? That is one angry Jewish lady. HOLY CRAP

I wouldn't call DS fundie. She's a right wing islamophobic ultra nationalist.

Like hoipolloi, when I buy natural, I try to visit local coops and farmer's markets. I'm a bit torn here, as I'd like to support Saffron Roads, but in the end they'd probably be too pricey to me anyways :(

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Here's an update via HP - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/0 ... 22354.html - bunch o crap me thinks

UPDATE:

Shortly after the publication of this story, Whole Foods publicly responded to the controversy on their Twitter feed, indicating the instruction to de-emphasize Ramadan was an isolated response by one of the company's 12 operating regions and not indicative of company-wide policy.

We are still carrying and promoting halal products for those that are celebrating Ramadan this month. We never sent a communication from our headquarters requesting stores take down signs or remove parts from this promotion. We have 12 different operating regions and unfortunately, one region reacted by sending out directions to promote halal and not specifically Ramadan after some negative online comments.

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A Jewish girl caused the fuss about Ramadan? We have only 1 Whole Foods(paycheck) and it is located right next to the Jewish section of the city and it totally has Jewish stuff because I buy some of it. I just saw the Ramadan stuff last week, it was its own display. They cater to all holidays, I buy those chocolate truffles only out at x-mas.

I have a friend(a lawyer who works with refugees) that said some of the workers at our Whole Foods are "lost boys" from Somolia and I have always liked that about them.

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There's one not that far from me, but I wasn't really that impressed. In fact, the only time I'm near that Whole Paycheck, I'm at the farmer's market across the street in the marina parking lot on Sundays.

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My friends and I only go to Whole Foods to have a sample lunch. Delicious free samples.

We're terrible people. :lol:

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Let me ask the obvious: how to Fundie bloggers afford to shop at Whole Foods?

The linked blogger doesn't appear to be fundie, just insane. Ann Coulter style.

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