Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Customer Letter Brings Pause to the Day


I work on the team in our Global Headquarters that answers customer emails, calls, and letters sent to our office. As I'm sure you can imagine my job can get hectic at times. However, I recently received this letter from one of our customers. When I opened the letter it brought a moment of pause to my day. I found customer Janyne's story so touching. Her letter is a beautiful reminder that the little things we do, even if they seem little to us, can make a big difference to others, and if we treat people with compassion and love it will not go unappreciated. I thought the kindness shown by the Team Members in our Raintree store to Janyne's family was worth sharing. After opening the letter I shared it with many of my fellow Team Members in the office, and now I'd like to share it with you - a little message of love and caring on Valentine's Day.

To whom it may concern:

This letter is being written to acknowledge and thank the employees of the Whole Foods Market in Scottsdale, Arizona. Last fall I traveled to Scottsdale to help care for my 94 year old mother, Myrtle Jenkins, who had been placed under in-home hospice care. While there, I accompanied my father to the Whole Foods Market where he and my mother had shopped for the past five years. I assumed that my elderly parents were well recognized in the store, since few who reach that age are out doing their own shopping, let alone driving themselves to the store! When we began checking out, the cashier asked me about my mother and he was visibly shaken at learning she was nearing death. I was certainly taken back by this show of concern from a store employee!

A week or so later, my father once again returned to the store and as he was checking out, realized that a bouquet of flowers had been placed in his cart. When he told the cashier that the flowers had been mistakenly placed there, he was told that they were for my mother-from the store employees. Though we were extremely grateful for the kindness, we did not think that my mother would even be aware of the flowers, as she had very minimal sight at that point. To our surprise, she became quite animated and asked to touch them, then requested they be placed where she could see them-even asking about them during the days that followed.

It is a tribute to your employees, and I believe corporate vision, that this kindness was shown to my mother and our family. Thank you! My mother died November 4th, and my father has since then relocated to Roseville, California where my brother who lives close by has been sure to help him locate the nearest Whole Foods Market. I am sure the employees there are starting to recognize Kenneth Jenkins, the elderly, bent figure with the ready smile.

Again, thank you for the kindness shown to my family.

Janyne McConnaughey, Ph.D.

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danita says …

On a cold very long winter day, this made me smile, thanks

Margo says …

What a great reminder to each of us to "pay it forward." Thanks to those employees, and a grateful daughter, for their examples!

Wade Larsen says …

Dear Mr. Mackay, I'm writing to you out of concern for Whole Foods Market's new "Health Starts Here" marketing program that promotes a low-fat, vegetarian diet. I think that this new program is misinformed and potentially dangerous to the health of your customers. Animal foods strongly tend to be more nutrient dense than plant foods. Your new Aggregate Nutrient Density Index labels simply emphasize a few phytonutrients to make it seem that plant foods are superior sources of nutrition. Perhaps you are aware that soy-food producers are one of the direct beneficiaries of the low-fat, vegetarian craze. But soy has been linked to malnutrition, gastric distress, thyroid problems, infertility and even cancer. Low-fat diets are low in nutrients. Interestingly, phytonutrients in vegetables cannot be properly absorbed without fat. Prestigious publications such as the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds little evidence to support the theory that eating saturated fat is associated with the increased risk of heart disease. Animal fats contain essential nutrients such as vitamins A, D and K; docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); arachidonic acid (AA); choline; and of course cholesterol and saturated fat. All of these are critical for brain function. On a personal note, about 25 years ago, I once followed the very low-fat, vegetarian diet that your company currently promotes. Within a few months. my weight dropped to as low as 140 pounds. What's wrong with that, you may ask? I am a man who is 6' 6" tall. I am the same height as country singer Trace Adkins and basketball legend Michael Jordan. Sir, I would like you to visualize for a moment what those two gentlemen would look like if they each weighed only 140 pounds. Yes, horrifying. But at the time I weighed 140 pounds, I absolutely believed in the type of diet that Whole Foods now heavily promotes. It was only when I realized that I was starving myself literally to death that I loosened up and began including eggs, butter, and even a little meat. Within weeks of this dietary change, my weight rose to a healthier 170 pounds. I now weigh a reasonable 230. Like many well-meaning organizations, Whole Foods is leading a misguided war against saturated fat and cholesterol. But the theory that these substances are bad for us has been created by the vegetable oil and soy-food industries, who most benefit from consumers' fear of traditional high-fat foods. I respectfully ask that you revise the "Health Starts Here" program to make it more realistic, showing that animal foods of good quality contain abundant levels of important nutrients. Sincerely, Wade Larsen

Robin says …

What a touching post. Thank you for posting it. It's the small simply things we as human beings can do to acknowledge each other. Thank Whole Foods!