79 Comments

Comments

Aurora says ...
I came across this site because I was considering working for WF and wanted to check out salaries. Wow, I sure got a more info than I bargained for. I have worked in the industry for 15 years. I have come to realize that there isn't much you can do when you know it's enevitable that your company will someday lose it's position at the top. When that starts happening, it's impossible to make everybody happy. Especially with a system like the one in place where the employees are the last investment on the list. There are many bandaids distributed, but the wounds never heal and like and infection, it just spreads. I agree with Sheryl about how it's hard to make a living wage and that things are 10 times more expensive than they were for our parents. It quite depressing, but what I have come to realize is that we cannot depend on any of these companies to take care of us. As long as they are trading publicly, it's not going to happen. Money and growth are the main goal and the employees and customers are the driving force. If I work for WF, it will not be for the money, but for the education it provides, which is how all started in the first place. How will I survive? I will suplement my income by continuing to take chances (letting go of the "fear") and looking more into what I am longing for just like John started out doing with his own vision. It's easy to get sucked into a company that is so successful at first. You put in all that time and effort in and now you may feel that you are owed something in return. This is the American way. I am so poor, but I know I am responsible for myself. I know that depending on another company to take care of me is like shooting myself in the foot over and over. I have had a direct experience and I have not seen any change and then I feel I have to settle. Yuk! It's a sad truth and if you want to see real change like me, you will fight the bastards at the top in Washington who rule all the strings. Thanks for listening
03/10/2007 12:27:02 PM CST
SP says ...
John, Even us former employees are proud to have been associated with your wonderful organization. I appreciate the opportunity. Bless you. SP
03/11/2007 11:13:02 AM CDT
John Mackey says ...
To Lynn, Ed, & others concerned about the declining stock price, I'm very sorry our stock price dropped. My personal paper net worth declined substantially so I wasn't happy about it either. However, we don't try to manage the short term stock price of the company, which is nearly impossible to do in any case. We manage the company to build value over the long-term. Sometimes that requires patience and the willingness to suffer temporary paper losses. No one who has held our stock for 5 year or longer has ever lost money on their investment. Please click on this URL to better appreciate how well Whole Foods stock has done over the long-term. http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=WFMI&t=my&l=on&z=m&q=l&c= To George, Sorry you've had bad service experiences in our Philadelphia stores. I believe that most of the time our customer service is very good. To Tommy, I expect our salary cap will stay put at 19 times the average pay for several years. However, it may rise again sometime in the future if competitive circumstances warrant another increase. To TM, I don't have a company car or jet. I have the exact same benefits that everyone else has at Whole Foods who works full-time (which is about 90% of all Team Members). There are slight adjustments in paid time off and the amount of money deposited annually in each Team Member's Personal Wellness Account based on service hours to the company. Otherwise benefits are exactly the same for everyone who works at Whole Foods. To Elizabeth, Our stores exist to serve our customers. Closing the stores one day a week would be highly inconvenient for our customers and would upset millions of people. In addition, all our perishable foods--produce, meat, seafood, prepared foods, bakery, etc. would be one day less fresh when the store reopened after the closure. To Alex, We are about to launch an animal welfare rating system for all of the animal products we sell in our stores. We are currently waiting on the USDA's "permission" which hopefully will be coming soon (the USDA apparently believes their regulatory powers trump first amendment rights). In the meantime take a look at the 5 Tier program that we are developing: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/issues/animalwelfare/index.html To Mikeal, Thank you for your suggestion. However, almost all of the top leadership at Whole Foods who are affected by the salary cap increase have many, many years of experience working in our stores. In some cases, such as with Walter Robb, A.C. Gallo, and myself, they have worked more years in natural food stores than the great majority of our Team Members have been alive on this planet. To Sheryl, I'm unclear how donating some of what my salary used to be to the Team Member Emergency Fund hurts you or any other Team Member. It seems like it can only help the Team Members who have the greatest need--those who have suffered through a terrible personal crisis. I'm sorry that your life is currently such a financial struggle. However, Whole Foods pay is actually quite good for a retail food company compared to almost all of our competitors. Hopefully you'll be able to make more money with us over the next few years through an increase in responsibilities and promotion. If not, then I encourage you seek a higher paying job with another company. Fortunately there are many job alternatives in the San Ramon area. Take care. To Mike, Nothing changed on our guidance. We are currently giving annual, but not quarterly guidance. Check the press release and the conference call script--nothing changed. To Bry and Jafar, I'm sorry that you feel like 19X the average pay is too much to pay for our top executives. However, contrary to your assertion, none of them received a 35% wage increase. The cap went up, but their salaries did not. I think if you look at what other Fortune 500 companies pay their executives you'll find Whole Foods to be in the lowest 1% of these companies in total compensation. In addition, I'm not aware of any other Fortune 500 companies even having any kind of salary cap. If you know of any who do, please point them out. Are there people willing to work for 14 times the salary cap as top executives at Whole Foods? No doubt there are. However, I'm highly doubtful that any of them are as talented as the executive leadership team that exists at Whole Foods. To Dave Arnold, Whole Foods has already helped make several substantial changes in eating in the United States. Whether we can help create larger cultural changes--time will tell. To Bill Stewart, Our salary cap is in fact a real salary cap. Compensation gets cut off at that level and extra money for bonuses that has been earned is not paid out to the executives if it exceeds the salary cap. It has happened to me personally in the past several times. The fact that the salary cap has been raised over time to reflect the changing competitive market conditions does not negate this truth. The salary cap is real and it does limit executive compensation at Whole Foods. To Paul, You would need to give more detail on where and what equipment isn't working in order to answer that question. Regarding health care--that is a very complex question and I don't want to spend the time explaining our program in detail on our blog. I would urge you to ask your friends to share with you the printed materials they have received explaining our health care plan. To Peter, I don't usually answer hostile leading questions such as the one you posed. I don't consider Whole Foods "anti-union." We are, however, "non-union" at this time, since in the United States employees still have the choice of whether to have union representation or not. Are you opposed to employees having this right? Do you believe workers should be forced into joining unions against their will? Non-union and anti-union aren't synonyms. That being said I'm personally no big fan of labor unions as they currently exist in the United States, which tend to be very adversarial, creating an "us versus them" mentality which is very harmful to the business. Sometime in the next 3 or 4 months I'll be posting a lengthy blog article about labor unions where my personal views will be articulated at length. This will be a chapter in the book I'm working on. To Sally, I'm sorry you dislike Yuppies so much, who seem to me as deserving of good food as anyone else. We do delivery at only a few of our stores, such as in Manhattan. Delivery is an expensive service, and in our experience, most customers aren't willing to pay these high costs--even Yuppies.
03/16/2007 11:22:02 AM CDT
Chris Viado says ...
Dear John, As a former Team Member of WFM in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Office, I would like to say THANK YOU for everything that you've done for the company, not only for the shareholders but most especially for the Team Members. I have worked for WFM for about 8 years and in all those years, I've been blessed to work with such smart, talented and great mentors such as Ken Meyers, Julia Obici, and Chris Taylor, just to name a few. I left WFM in late 2005 to pursue my dream of having my own business and fortunately, I have been very successful since. I credit most of my success to you, as I've always followed your example not only as a LEADER but as well as a HUMAN BEING who passionately cares about making a difference in the world, rather than earning a quick BUCK. Thanks to you and WFM, the money I received from my stock options when I left the company helped me through my tough times when I first started my business. Now as a business owner, I, too, experience occasional turbulence with my company's cash flow. However, I'm very optimistic about the future and I look for ways to solve such crises with very minimal effect on the business operation. That said, I commend you for your recent action in taking a pay cut and increasing the salary cap. Recently, I have done the same thing to my company, through your example and the results were amazing! My employees morale increased tremendously and I gained more RESPECT than what they are already giving me! As I watch CNBC everyday, it makes me SO ILL to hear CEO's making 7 figures in salary, stock options and bonuses, while their work environment are in shambles...IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE!!! THANKS TO YOU, it's great to know that future successful enterpreneurs like myself can always count on successful leaders like yourself as our mentor, idol and a hero. John, thanks again for everything, congratulations on your acquisition of Wild Oats and I wish you all the luck and courage to continue leading WFM as the world's largest health food supermarket! And please, ignore ADVERSITIES and keep doing a great job on what you do best! Best regards, Chris
03/19/2007 11:43:20 AM CDT
John Mackey says ...
To Chris Viado, Thanks so much for sharing. I'm very happy to hear that you have gone into business yourself and that your business is flourishing. I wish you the very best going forward. Take care.
03/20/2007 3:11:33 PM CDT
John M. says ...
Hi John- Was just reading through your blog and thought I would go back and really read your "Declaration of Interdependence" a little more closely. Wow! I really understand now why Whole Foods is different and does not have a plain vanilla mission statement, like so many companies have. I found it (the Declaration of Interdependance) to be even more interesting and I really have a new found appreciation for Whole Foods Market. John, I have a few questions about employment at WFM and maybe you can answer them for me, or at least point me in the right direction. John, if someone already has experience in the grocery business, but sees the light, so to speak, and really really wanted to work for Whole Foods Market, what is the best process to go about doing this? I know there is the online process, but I also know sometimes one does not get to see the "whole" person by just looking at a form on the computer screen. I remember watching you in an interview with Evan Smith on the show "Texas Monthly Talks" and you saying something to the effect that Whole Foods Market was always looking for people who excelled in customer service friendliness.....but I also understand that Whole Foods does a lot of hiring from within, which I perfectly understand. I know that Whole Foods continues to grow and is always looking for quality Team Members. John, does Whole Foods hire from the outside and what is the best way to get one's foot in the door? I know your time is very valuable so I really appreciate any feedback you can give me today. Thanks again! Sincerely, John Maxwell
03/26/2007 2:46:16 PM CDT
gil schieber says ...
The reason a company becomes public-traded is to help the company grow with the increased investment, right? At what point could you move substaintially forward in your already progressive ethics and share profits with employees directly as in a true cooperative? There must be some hurdles to getting back the ownership to be spread amonst your talent. I'm sure you could come up with a hybrid cooperative-monopoly business structure that suggests a member/employee-owned setup: with dividends; term-investments; or...I'm no business person, but I see a lot of healthy, happy cooperatives and member-owned businesses around Seattle that don't have- as one Stock Holder put it- "THIS SWARM OF LITTLE FEARFUL MINDS TAKING IT DOWN". There are problems with public trading, and that is the game of "winning" or 'of taking more than your share'. Someone always loses--That would be the 'artificially'-low-paid employees and the higher consumer prices needed to makeup the losses of profit-taking. One last thing...Grass-fed beef has been in Trader Joes over three years and in our local Puget Consumers Coop for many more. Prices are better there too. There is one reason why I don't shop at WFC-except for convenience--but now after reading this whole blog, your business ethics deserve my "dollar vote". hmmm, I think i'll look into Trader Joes Business ethics-like why are their prices so low and their employees (at least in Seattle) so happy and prompt with helpfulness?--maybe someone out there can help. Thank you John for your leadership in business modeling. It made me cry for humanity. gil schieber
03/26/2007 3:21:28 PM CDT
Ron Nutz says ...
Hi John I am a Team Member in our PRV (West Vancouver) location. I was and are thrilled to learn of your decision to cap your salary. Our location is doing very well and it could have not been done without your vision and core values. Every competior will try to jump on our bandwagon but I know they will not be as successful as we are. If they do even a part of want we are achieving they will also help their guests to become aware of OUR core values. John ,the entire grocery "industry" is in a huge shift and it will help the entire populations of this planet to be exposed to our core values. I have been in the Industry for 30 years and joined the PRV Team last July and I wondered why other companies just say but do not walk the talk. P.S Peter please read our core values and that will answer your question you posted on February 22, 2007. Best Regards Ron
04/02/2007 11:31:29 AM CDT
John Mackey says ...
To John Maxwell, 100% of all the people hired at Whole Foods come from outside the company. Everyone who works for Whole Foods, including myself and the other co-founders, once worked outside the company. This is just common sense if you think about it. I think what you must be talking about is that a very high percentage of people in leadership positions at Whole Foods were promoted from within the company to the higher leadership positions. This is true. We seldom hire people from outside the company into high leadership positions. People must first become part of our company, embrace our culture, and prove themselves worthy of higher leadership positions. Regarding working at Whole Foods: I encourage you to read our "career" section that you can find on our home page. You can also apply for a job at any of our stores. Thanks for your interest. To Gil Shreiber, Your post has a number of misconceptions in it. Let me deconstruct it to clear things up: You say: "The reason a company becomes public-traded is to help the company grow with the increased investment, right?" Answer: Companies sell their stock to the public for 2 primary reasons--to raise capital to grow the business and to provide the opportunity for existing shareholders to sell some or all of their ownership stakes (since most people don't want to own their investments forever). You ask: "At what point could you move substantially forward in your already progressive ethics and share profits with employees directly as in a true cooperative?" Answer: In 2006 Whole Foods paid out approximately 24% of all sales to the Team Members in wages and benefits equal to about $1.3 billion. The company earned slightly above $200 million in profits. The Team Members therefore received about 7 times more money than the investors earned in profits. If 100% of all the profits were taken from the investors and given to the Team Members it would only raise the average pay from a little bit above $15 an hour to about $17 an hour plus additional benefit costs. The simple truth is that the Team Members at Whole Foods receive several times more money than the investors do. Nor is there anything unethical or wrong about the money the investors earn through their investment in Whole Foods. Customers, Team Members, suppliers, and investors all freely trade with the company out of their own self-interest. No one is forced to trade against their free will. The profits for the investors are justly earned. Before the $200 million in profits were earned most of the 42,000+ Team Members at Whole Foods Market were paid during the year various "gainsharing" bonuses based on the labor productivity of their teams. Almost everyone at Whole Foods is eligible for some kind of incentive bonus compensation. Whole Foods Market is a "true cooperative." It is an "investors' cooperative"--owned and ultimately controlled by public investors (anyone can own Whole Foods Market). I see no reason to believe that an "investors' cooperative" is any less ethical or good than a "consumers' cooperative," or a "producers' cooperative" or a "workers' cooperative." All of these various types of cooperatives have the same stakeholders that they need to create value for--customers, employees, suppliers, investors, communities, and environment. Whichever organizational form does the best job of creating the most value will be the most successful in the competitive marketplace. The least successful at meeting stakeholders' needs and desires, particularly customers' needs and desires (since they are the most important stakeholder in a market economy), will fail and go out of business. You say: "There must be some hurdles to getting back the ownership to be spread amongst your talent. I'm sure you could come up with a hybrid cooperative-monopoly business structure that suggests a member/employee-owned setup: with dividends; term-investments; or...I'm no business person, but I see a lot of healthy, happy cooperatives and member-owned businesses around Seattle that don't have- as one Stock Holder put it- 'THIS SWARM OF LITTLE FEARFUL MINDS TAKING IT DOWN'." Answer: I'm very happy to be leading a publicly traded company. I like being an "investors cooperative." In my youth I belonged to 3 different food "consumer cooperatives" and I lived for 2 years in a housing cooperative. They were forever squabbling internally about what political stands to take on everything and what products to boycott. They didn't seem that interested in just selling quality food and taking care of their customers. Life is too short to spend one's valuable time in constant political debates. I started Whole Foods as an investors cooperative because I believed then and still believe that this form of business organization has the fewest internal conflicts of interest. I've got nothing against other types of cooperatives. All of them have the potential to be successful, but all will need to take care of their customers, employees, suppliers, investors, communities, and environment to fully optimize their potential. I certainly don't believe that other types of cooperatives are ethically superior to investors cooperatives (corporations). Many people believe that other types of cooperatives are ethically superior to investors cooperatives. I don't agree with this point of view. The simple truth is that investors cooperatives have consistently outcompeted other types of cooperatives in the marketplace. I'm happy that alternative cooperative forms are flourishing in the Seattle area. However, I suspect that they aren't flourishing nearly as well as investors' cooperatives are. I know that Whole Foods is doing very well in the Seattle marketplace. More and more customers are voting for our stores everyday. You say: "There are problems with public trading, and that is the game of "winning" or 'of taking more than your share.' Someone always loses--That would be the 'artificially'-low-paid employees and the higher consumer prices needed to makeup the losses of profit-taking." Answer: Who is to determine what the "fair share" is to be for everyone? Will you make this decision Gil? Will some governmental bureaucracy, highly manipulated through politics, make these decisions as they do in socialistic/communistic economies? Yuk! I prefer competitive market processes to make the allocation decisions of who gets what. You seem to believe that competitive market processes create a zero sum game--with a winner and a loser. Nothing could be further from the truth. Market economies have increased the standard of living for billions and billions of people around the world. Capitalism is in the process of ending poverty on the planet earth. Current trendlines indicate that poverty will be eliminated before the 21st century is over and probably much sooner than that. I refer you to my blog on Conscious Capitalism for more detail on this (including the comment section). Not only do profits not cause lower employee wages and higher consumer prices as you indicate, but the exact opposite is true. Profits are the savings, the "fuel" that the economy needs to innovate, create, and evolve. Without profits there is no progress in the world. Without profits employee wages don't rise (and they have been steadily rising across this planet for 300 years now) and consumer prices don't drop (on an inflation adjusted basis they have been dropping for 300 years now). Profits are the "golden goose" that is laying the "golden eggs" of progress. You say: "One last thing...Grass-fed beef has been in Trader Joes over three years and in our local Puget Consumers Coop for many more. Prices are better there too. There is one reason why I don't shop at WFC-except for convenience--but now after reading this whole blog, your business ethics deserve my "dollar vote". hmmm, I think i'll look into Trader Joes Business ethics-like why are their prices so low and their employees (at least in Seattle) so happy and prompt with helpfulness?--maybe someone out there can help. Thank you John for your leadership in business modeling. It made me cry for humanity." Answer: Whole Foods matches Trader Joe's prices with our 365 private label line and on all exact brands. Where we are more expensive it is either an accident by store leadership or we are buying a higher quality product at a higher cost. I cannot speak to Trader Joe's ethics. I do know that they don't sell very much local food or have much of a commitment to animal welfare (they still sell caged eggs for example). I also know that they are 100% owned by the Albrecht brothers from Germany. Karl is worth $20 billion making him the 15th richest person in the world (according to Forbes magazine) and Theo is worth $17 billion making him the 20th richest person in the world. While Whole Foods Market is owned by tens of thousands of investors and anyone can buy our stock, Trader Joe's is 100% owned by just 2 of the richest men in the world. As a privately owned company Trader Joe's has zero transparency regarding their sales or profits. As a public company Whole Foods discloses sales, comp store sales, gross margins, profits, growth, strategy--virtually everything. I don't think there is anything wrong or unethical about being privately owned or rich for that matter. I'm not happy, however, of the constant criticism Whole Foods takes in the media and in blogs about being a successful public company constantly having to defend its actions while Trader Joe's completely flies under the radar on things like local foods, animal welfare, labor unions, profits, and ownership.
04/03/2007 10:02:06 AM CDT
elaine says ...
hmmmm ... not a good solution to a problem that won't stop until the game stops getting played ... conscious capitalism cannot be played the way "competitive capitalism" is played. increasing the margin between the upper strata and the lower strata is anything but conscious capitalism ... its "more of the same" capitalism. but then again, i stopped shopping at whole foods years ago. but, i actually went into one of your stores for the first time in about 2 years to see if i could spend my money there once again, and, nope. then, i see a link on the zaadz site to your store and this blog ... obviously, you are still using 'consciousness' as a marketing tool rather than a way of being ... lots of talk, very little of it in the walk. i am watching you though, i used to shop at whole foods exclusively, and well, i miss it. peace & harmony, elaine 'freedom must be exercised to stay in shape!'
04/03/2007 1:09:31 PM CDT
Lord Westfall says ...
As a WFMI shareholder, I wanted to touch on a few comments I read. I noticed several people are complaining about the stock price decline. All too often I feel people inapproperately blame management for a stock's decline, when what they really need to do is look into a mirror. No matter how effective a company's management is or how dedicated its employees are, they cannot protect an investor from overpaying for its stock. I am an investor in WFMI, and in my opinion, management is doing an extraordinary job. I expect shareholders who purchase WFMI's stock at reasonable levels to be greatly rewarded via growing revenue & expanding margins. To anyone complaining about the 19x salary cap: I don't think you know much about industry standards or average executive pay. I actually think the salary cap may be too low and could result in the loss of key employees to competitors willing to pay more...and given the preformance of WFMI management, I'd say many of them are being paid less than what they could get elsewhere. Of course Mackey has done a great job creating a company culture that rewards employees in non-monitary ways. The fact that many executives have not left despite being approached with better offers is testament to how great of a company WFMI is to work for. I am pleased with the salary cap and would also be pleased if the board of directors raised it further. There are some companies I invest in that I wish had a salary cap equal to 100x avg employee pay.
04/03/2007 2:37:30 PM CDT
Lord Westfall says ...
Elaine wrote: "conscious capitalism cannot be played the way "competitive capitalism" is played." and "obviously, you are still using 'consciousness' as a marketing tool rather than a way of being ... lots of talk, very little of it in the walk." --In your above comment you seem to imply that "conscious capitalism" cannot compete with "competitive capitalism"--where profit is the sole goal. I disgree with this premise & feel that WFMI is an example of how conscious company can outpreform one with the sole goal of profit. Clearly it can be done. Later in your comment, you critize WFMI for using "consiousness" as a marketing tool... If a company is being socially responsible should it not be allowed to market it's social responsiblity so that customers who wish to shop at social responsiblity companies? In my opinion being socially responsible produces a public image that gives "consious" companies a competitive advantage over the corperations you seem to think are evil--those that only seek profit, why wouldn't you want this advantage to be marketed so that other companies are also encouraged to be responsible? It seems to me as though people from the "green Meme" have difficulty using logic, and draw absurd conslusions that have no basis in reality. You people just hate capitalism because you don't understand it--you see it as some big conspiricy among the "haves" to screw over the "have-nots". In reality, capitalism has greatly benifited both the "haves" & "have-nots"...consider the standard of living of a have-not now to a have-not 100 years ago... Regards, Lord Westfall
04/05/2007 10:18:36 AM CDT
Dennis says ...
Hello everyone, I am working on a project for Penn State involving Whole Foods Market and I must say that I'm very impressed with the business model it has created and Mr. Mackey's ideas on the free market. I'm an economics major and a Libertarian of the Austrian school of economics. I do understand Elaine's pessimism, even if I think it is exaggerated. I think that competitiveness has become so fierce in our culture (not just in business) that ethics and social responsibility are often tossed by the wayside in our mad dash for the top of the junk heap. We can see this evident even in sports. As a father of four boys, I simply refuse to take my children to any sports games. The people playing today are often the worst models any child could follow and, regretably, I think the same can be said of businessmen in general. On the otherhand, Elaine, I think you fail to give credit to Mr. Mackey and Whole Foods for pursuing a very risky strategy to reinject ethics, social responsibility and compassion into this great economic game. Many critics have been calling for the demise of "conscious" business models for a long time now and brave people like those at Whole Foods faced that challenged and are succeeding. It is easy to spot those companies that pay homage to "consciousness" but don't practice what they preach or have not internalized it as an institutional culture. They're obvious frauds and their schemes simply don't work in the long-run. Contrary to some economists' views, consumers are not blind sheep led to the slaughter by creative marketers. Most people will fall for creative marketing in the short-run, but most catch on in the long-run and get back to maximizing their utility. Like sports games, business enterprises can be run competitively, ethically, responsibly, compassionately, etc and we would all be much better off for it. In fact, also like sports, the very game of business itself can serve to build strong character, dignity, and honor...if only it is played by the higher set of principles companies like Whole Foods are trying to establish. I do not work for Whole Foods. I have never even been inside of a Whole Foods store, but I have a friend who has and he assures me that it was an experience he didn't otherwise believe he could get from any large company. From what I've researched about the company, it seems to me that he didn't exaggerate. Attempts by zealots to destroy corporations as human institutions will fail. They serve a role in modern society that is indispensible, and anyone who believes otherwise should take their heads out of the clouds and get a hard look at the horrors of deprivation that engulf the majority of the world where such institutions are underdeveloped. We think the lives of so called "Third World" people is so very romantic. I'm quite certain THEY don't think so! It is the material success of this country that enables us to concern ourselves with such lofty ideals as, say, humane treatment of animals, because the overwhelming majority of us here don't have starving children to provide for. Indeed, a large portion of the world's population could live off of what we Americans waste every year, but this is not an excuse to brow-beat corporate boogiemen. It's a calling for us to use those institutions that have served our needs so well to uplift those less fortunate rather than to simply further feed our wasteful gluttony. Consumers in the United States love to leave all of the blame for environmental pollution, social side-effects of business enterprise, etc to the human institutions of business, but we neglect to acknowledge the role we play in it. If we refuse to consume wastefully, corporations would have no choice but to change their tactics. It's about time there are some companies like Whole Foods that cater to the higher standards of a growing number of consumers these days, rather than to the vanity of the masses. With that thought in mind, I would also like to say that I empathize with issues such as Whole Food's opposition to the mistreatment of animals in large production farms, but, I have to ask, could businesses like Whole Foods match the levels of production of those sorts of firms to serve an ever growing population? I think that is a very noble challenge and I look forward to seeing how your company handles it. With Regards, Dennis
04/23/2007 12:15:20 AM CDT
Malissa says ...
I work for Whole Foods and don't make alot of money, but I make alot more than I ever have before and certainly alot more than my mom did at my age. I wake up every day for the last seven years excited to go to work. My kids are in the store almost everyday of their lives, and we are happy. I feel I am paid more than fairly, and I appreciate my benefits, bonuses, paid time off, and stock options. Any team member that has a complaint about anything, also has a voice at WFM. Or they should find employment elswhere if they aren't happy. Anyone who doesn't work for WFM and has a complaint STILL has a voice and people that will listen, but they continue to critisize one of the best things this earth has going for it. Whole Foods Market is the best thing that has happened to me. Thank you John Mackey, for changing my and my children's lives for the better! You are awesome!
05/07/2007 12:40:29 PM CDT
Malissa says ...
Oh and I forgot for a minute what this blog was all about! Thank you, John for the cap increase. The top exects deserve it. And as for you only receiving $1 a year....wow. You are truly an amazing human being. I will always remember how selfless you are and try to mimic this behavior in my own life. Thank you.
05/07/2007 12:49:13 PM CDT
M. Patrick says ...
$19 FOR EVERY $1 A TEAM MEMBER MAKES? $14 FOR EVERY $1 A TEAM MEMBER MAKES WASN'T ENOUGH? JEEZE! WHAT IS WRONG WITH AMERICA? THAT MEANS THAT WHILE THE CHECKOUT GIRL AT WHOLE FOODS IS MAKING $8 AN HOUR (WHICH I WOULD BE SURPRISED IF SHE WAS MAKING THAT MUCH!).... THE CEO'S ARE BRINGING HOME $152 HOUR? $300K A YEAR? PLEASE!!! THAT CHECKOUT GIRL PROBABLY WORKS HARDER!!! GIVE ME A BREAK. MOST OF THE TEAM MEMBER HAVE FAMILIES TO SUPPORT, ARE YOU GIVING THEM A $38 PER HOUR RAISE??? BTW, I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH WHOLE FOODS, I AM JUST A CONSUMER....BUT I WILL NEVER SET FOOT IN ONE AGAIN, THAT'S FOR SURE.
05/10/2007 3:56:08 PM CDT
Laura says ...
While I do not work at Whole Foods, as a customer I have noticed a difference in the friendliness of your employees over the past year or so - maybe some of the compensation changes are to blame. I understand that it is a delicate balance to continue to grow a more mature company, while retaining your corporate culture and values - but your focus on executives rather than the front line is an unfortunate trend. As a customer, I used to love the chicken/feta/kalamata sausage. When I asked at the deli, they told me that it is too expensive to make anymore. When I said I would be willing to pay more (it isn't really a cost conscious shopping experience after all) - the nice man at the counter said that corporate wouldn't listen to their requests and said that all of the chicken sausages had to be the same price. Maybe it wouldn't hurt if some of your executives left, and you promoted some people out of the stores to replace them. Just a thought. Regards, Laura
05/11/2007 3:23:57 PM CDT
Ed says ...
M Patrick: What's wrong with America? Every team member at Whole Foods has the opportunity to advance. It is, afterall, the land of opportunity. Team members are given the opportunity to innovate and grow with the company. John Mackey didn't open Whole Foods making $152 an hour neither did other successful and wealthy team members. Steve Jobs said: “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” There is no shortcut to excellence. You will have to make the commitment to make excellence your priority. Use your talents, abilities, and skills in the best way possible and get ahead of others by giving that little extra. Live by a higher standard and pay attention to the details that really do make the difference. Excellence is not difficult - simply decide right now to give it your best shot - and you will be amazed with what life gives you back. I don't even work there full-time, yet I show up for work every day just as enthusiastic as the last day I worked.....for $10/hour. It isn't always about money, it's about having a passion and a purpose. I volunteer for committees and use my lunch hour from my full-time job to attend. I believe in the mission of the company and I am thankful to be a small part of a company that has already changed the face of business in this country. I know many people who have chosen a modest lifestyle over a certain "standard" of living and they are loving life--it's not always about money.
05/15/2007 4:56:41 PM CDT
Zoe says ...
Just wanted to join the chorus of thanks to John Mackey for his honesty, integrity and consciousness. There's always room for improvement and debate about the details of feta sausages or health plans. But we shouldn't forget the bottom line, which is that John has both superb business talent and a heart that's in the right place. His open-mindedness and willingness to engage with critics are inspiring. I used to live in Washington DC and I have very fond memories of shopping at all the different WF stores there. Besides the better quality, the atmosphere was just better. The conventional grocery stores were dirty, they had neon lighting, the workers in them all seemed tired and depressed. Just shopping at Giant I felt as though I was complicit in an exploitative system. WF by contrast had huge soaring ceilings, natural light, and employees that for the most part seemed positive and relaxed - not a fake Walmart happiness, but people who were genuinely glad to be where they were. I definitely don't think that WF should be the only food choice for 'conscious' eaters, and I tried to buy most of my produce from local farmers' markets (cheaper and fresher), but WF fills a great niche and really can be good value if you shop smart. Bulk whole grain quinoa for $2/lb for example.... I live in Australia now, and you can't find quinoa anywhere for less than triple that price. Open some stores in Australia, John!!! :)
05/16/2007 7:59:38 PM CDT
Paul says ...
Stock hits a 52 week low. Ouch. Someone said back in Nov. to buy MORE WFMI..?! This wasn't too hard to see coming. WF is just not hot anymore. Growth has slowed and the P/E ratio is coming back down to earth. In the end, it's just a grocery store. I applaud your decisions though Mr. Mackey.
05/18/2007 3:01:41 AM CDT
John M. says ...
Ed: What you posted says a lot to me and how you feel about working at WFM!! I was very impressed!! What you wrote really got my attention and made me think. I am sure John Mackey would love to have many more employee's like you!! Your post is an inspiration!!
05/18/2007 10:13:35 AM CDT
Elizabeth Soliday says ...
Hi John Mackey, I picked Whole Foods Market for an ethics essay assignment at Marylhurst University. I was told to pick and organization that is "doing it right" and I sure have. I have learned so much about business from reading about you and the company. Whole Foods Market is truly an example what an ethical business looks like. Thank you for the wealth of knowledge, I am sure to get a good grade!
06/15/2007 11:04:17 PM CDT
Zachary says ...
John, I am curious to know if you receive income from any other sources, especially sources that are in ANY way affiliated with Whole Foods (i.e. the Whole Planet Foundation or the Animal Compassion Foundation)? If so, has your salary recently increased, or if you were receiving zero to little income, are you now receiving a substantial income? At an executive level I am sure that you play many roles in many organizations where a move such as this could be spun to appear benevelonet in order to better (yours) or the companies image for whatever reason. Your response will be appreiated, Zachary
06/24/2007 2:53:34 PM CDT
برامج جوال says ...
What you posted says a lot to me and how you feel about working at WFM!! I was very impressed!! What you wrote really got my attention and made me think. I am sure John Mackey would love to have many more employee’s like you!! Your post is an inspiration!!
07/07/2008 7:38:13 PM CDT
JOHN PEREIRA says ...
HELLO JOHN MACKEY WE DESPERATLY NEED YOUR VISION IN AFRICA. KIND REGARDS JOHN PEREIRA SOUTH AFRICA
09/13/2008 5:51:02 AM CDT

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