"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Green = $Green

Anybody remember John Brunner's precience in creating the Puritan Foods corporation in his early-70s sci-fi masterpiece The Sheep Look Up? Pure food for a polluted world.

Now, here in California, we have the Whole Foods supermarket chain. Morally admirable organic chow. Transgendered rutabagas, economic-equity grown coffee, tofu for the masses. Socially conscious consumerism. It helps if you have a few extra pennies to rub together to assuage your guilt at the need to eat and drink in order to survive. (Banana-carrot-cauliflower smoothies, $4.95. Yum.)

Avowed lefty ("I'm not a lefty!") Bill Moyers left the PBS show he created, Now, but it's still in production, and they paid homage to this neo-capitalist capitalist enterprise the other day. They interviewed one of the top brass, and it turns out that Whole Foods has a salary cap ($400K or so)---execs can make only 14 times what a cashier makes. The exec agreed with the Now reporter that such near-egalitarianism sure helps company (cashier) morale. A cashier captured on video was seen smiling. Brightly.

Man, isn't that cool? Pure foods for the body, sterling business ethics for the soul. If it weren't already so overpriced and tasteless, I'd be willing to pay double for their grub.

Oh yeah, in one of those quick disclosure tags at the end, like in every Erectile Dysfunction drug ad, Now did mention that the executive they interviewed snarfed up $1.8 million in stock options last year. Since Whole Foods is a non-union shop, they made a mint during the great supermarket labor strike here in California.

Cashiers get stock options at Whole Foods, too. Perhaps that's why that cashier was smiling, and damned brightly. ¡Viva la Reagan Revolution! Con tofu.

9 comments:

Pastorius said...

This was a damned funny post, but you've got to be kidding when you say their food isn't tasty. Damn, I like whole foods. And they've got a good Whole Wine selection too.

And, that's what makes me smile.

:)

Tom Van Dyke said...

Cheers, Pastorius. It was actually an economics morality play.

But a half-wine is half as good as a Whole Wine, and often a little better.

Rutabagas are rutabagas, and screw tofu. And God bless Ronald Reagan.

Devang said...

You have to wonder when that cashier is going to read irrational exuberance.

Hunter Baker said...

Let a thousand flowers bloom under the Reagan revolution. It's a beautiful thing. I'm a Whole Foods enthusiast, too. Don't have one in Athens, but it's coming if they're smart. This crowd is pretty organic.

JC said...

Hillarious. Maybe a little harsh, but the point is well-made, especially with my favorite phrase: "neo-capitalist capitalist."

Tlaloc said...

It's amazing the things you'll credit reagan for. Socially conscious is not something anybody who lived through his presidency could honesty put on his resume.

tbmbuzz said...

The easiest thing to do is to make money off suckers. The organic/whole food fad industry illustrates this principle perfectly.

James Elliott said...

If you're in California, you should be showing the Trader Joe's love.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Bourgeois, James. The grocery equivalent of EPCOT.