Friday, August 14, 2009

"It's a Business, People"

My friend Ray comments on my previous post:
Recently, I've been getting my gluten-free bread at Penn Dutch [a local market that specializes in meats]. I do so, not because of any political ideology involved in the management, but convenience and distance. Why would someone mistake a supermarket chain for co-op or local farmer's market to begin with anyway? Business is business, people.
He raises an important point: "progressive-minded customers" already have options that align with their ideology. Co-ops and farmer's markets tend to have explicit populist and, yes, progressive core values. These institutions are geared at persons who share their common (leftist) values. (Though anyone is free to patronize, for whatever or no reason.) Some fashion chains also have explicitly liberal core values (Benetton, Kenneth Cole, American Apparel, and even the Gap). If it's important that you buy a politically correct t-shirt, you have your options.

Whole Foods doesn't hide its core values; they're right there on its website:
  • Selling the highest quality natural and organic products available
  • Satisfying and delighting our customers
  • Supporting team member happiness and excellence
  • Creating wealth through profits & growth
  • Caring about our communities & our environment
  • Creating ongoing win-win partnerships with our suppliers
  • Promoting the health of our stakeholders through healthy eating education
Note: none of the above is contradicted by Mackey's WSJ op-ed. Point four even iterates that Whole Foods is committed to "creating wealth through profits & growth." To paraphrase Ray: it's a business, people.