Open Letter To John Mackey | Amazon's Acquisition of Wholefoods: Is it the end of an era?

Open Letter To John Mackey | Amazon's Acquisition of Wholefoods: Is it the end of an era?

I've personally had a love affair with Wholefoods since 2005 when I moved to Austin, Texas. I loved the city of Austin with all of my heart; it's vibes of unconditional acceptance mixed with Southern, Boho charm was soothing and lovely. Never in my life had I lived in a place that I felt completely at home in. I would rock climb, go to music concerts, run along the Colorado River, eat tacos while hometown celebrities dined nearby, cheer crazily over college football, and of course - wander the aisles of Wholefoods, aimlessly, for hours on end.

I remember they had this beer refrigerator that was in the center of the store. It had automatic doors at either end of it; it was like a grown-up amusement park ride where inside you got to choose from the creme de la creme of micro-brewed beer. It was a heavenly experience for those of us that love good food.

To this day, I still love wandering the aisles of Wholefoods, on a Sunday afternoon, aimlessly searching for new products to try. It is a unique and specific ambiance that has yet to be reproduced by another large grocery chain.

what makes food good?

Food that is good nourishes your cells, gives you clean energy, and doesn't disturb the equilibrium of harmony that the human body is meant to exist in - it doesn't destroy the land, it doesn't squander resources, it doesn't ravage communities. Unfortunately, finding good food is not easy nowadays. The reality is: the utter lack of food-integrity has nothing to do with high prices, the lack of "good food" is due to large scale, systematic problems in the structure of our agri-culture.

working at Wholefoods...

I decided to get a job at the Wholefoods in my town because I wanted to further hone my knowledge base as a personal trainer and wellness coach. When I got the job, I was ecstatic. Not only was I going to get paid to hang out in one of my favorite places, I was going to learn more about the wellness products readily available to my community, I was going to meet vendors and get samples to try, and best of all, I was going to get 20% off of anything that I purchased.

Needless to say, I really liked my job at Wholefoods.

A little less than a month into my position, Wholefoods announced that the company was being sold. First it was Kroger, then it was Albertsons, then it was Amazon. No one officially knew when everything was going down until this past week when John Mackey, Wholefoods CEO and previous owner, sent out a press release and an email to all Wholefoods employees.

Up to a few weeks prior to the first announcement, there were very faint rumblings among a few in the company, those who paid close attention, that big changes were being made internally. Before we knew it, Wholefoods began discontinuing countless items, changing protocols, and creating havoc internally: managers were receiving multiple directives from different divisions that were contradictory. It was causing managers to be unsure of their jobs; the constant changes of internal processes was causing confusion and frustration. The work atmosphere suddenly became stressful and individuals were getting written-up for making mistakes unknowingly and unintentionally.

Just this past week, one of the members from Global Headquarters made us remove all of our cute and girly decorations from our work desk - it sounds unimportant and conspicuously 'corporate', but it seemed unnecessary and depressing given the previous culture of the store where 'Team Members' took figurative ownership over the space. My co-worker, who has been working there for nearly a decade expressed her dismay over the overall situation; acknowledging the changes and their effects on her attachments to the way things were.

here's where John Mackey comes into this...

I don't know John Mackey, but I respect what he created. I believe that Wholefoods has served as a bastion of goodness in a food industry that has been monopolized by companies that do not have the best interest of the greater good in mind or heart. Wholefoods, through its advocacy, has allowed people like me to have access to organic, non-GMO, fair-trade goods and foods.

I don't know Jeff Bezos, but I do know that he has made some questionable (at best) business decisions as of late: Accepting a $600 Million dollar contract from the CIA, acquiring the Washington Post and then hiring former Clinton aid, and alleged child trafficker: John Podesta, to be a contributor for WAPO after it was exposed that he colluded with the DNC, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, and Donna Brazil to fix the Democratic presidential race. These are not 'conspiracy theories'.

This past Saturday, I arrived at work, to a sanitized desk area, and checked my email to find an email, in my inbox, from John Mackey himself. And so I decided to reply to his email.

I have absolutely no idea what will come of all this or what will be the consequence of making this public, but I don't really care. What else do we have to lose? Who else is going to stick up for us?

So, without further ado, here's my Open Letter to John Mackey. Maybe if enough people see this, and share this, he'll actually respond.

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Here cropped screen shot of the email I sent to John Mackey this past Saturday. Below is the internal memo, that John Mackey wrote, that I responded to, as well as a press release regarding the Acquisition taking place on Monday, August 28th, 2017.

Here cropped screen shot of the email I sent to John Mackey this past Saturday. Below is the internal memo, that John Mackey wrote, that I responded to, as well as a press release regarding the Acquisition taking place on Monday, August 28th, 2017.

Dear John Mackey,
I have been a wholefoods customer for many years and finally decided to get a job here last May.
I am writing you because I have a very specific question that only you can answer: now that Amazon has acquired Wholefoods, who will be responsible for advocating for β€˜truth in wellness’ on behalf of a public that is perpetually being poisoned by companies like Monsanto – a company (among many others) who systematically evades best practices and seemingly has no social conscience as it pertains to the health and wellness of human beings?
As an American citizen and a human being, I am very concerned about this; as I and many others have depended upon and trusted Wholefoods as our main advocate. Intuitively and factually, based on my own personal research, I cannot see how Amazon, or Jeff Bezos, will continue the traditions that WF’s is known for: advocating for the true, natural health of human beings by providing access to organic, non-gmo, fair-trade foods and supplements.
Wholefoods built its reputation on integrity, advocacy, and this concept of β€˜truth in wellness’. I’m very worried that this is not only the end of an era, but also the diminishment of one of the largest lights in the advocacy for human wellness.
Mr. Mackey, is there any guarantee that Amazon will continue to passionately fight for our rights as human beings as it pertains to our food resources, or am I right in assuming that this is indeed the end of an era.
Kindest regards,
Jamine Aponte
Wholefoods Team Member – Wholebody Department- Paradise Valley, Arizona
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