Sunday, June 21, 2009

open letter to whole foods

dear whole foods:

i am a long time buyer/first time critic of your market. my family spends about $4000 a year at your stores here in new mexico, however i think our relationship has run its course. i defended you when my friends called you "whole paycheck;" i defended you against claims of not really selling locally produced food and having obscenely overpriced goods; i defended you when everyone i know said, "why the hell are you still shopping there? join the co-op and buy the rest at trader joe's!"

but those days are now over.

i shopped at your store here in albuquerque today--the big one at academy and wyoming--and you overcharged me on three separate items. and they weren't insignificant amounts--it was like $20 in overcharging. so after i checked my receipt whilst sitting in my still-hot car, i trotted myself back in the store, waited in line at customer service (where, coincidentally, the man in front of me had also been overcharged), and i met your valued team member, diablo. now diablo may have had a bad day, she may be hormonal--i don't know--but diablo decided that even though i showed her what i bought, showed her the receipt, and walked her pissed-off ass over to the posted signs for the items i bought that a full refund was not in order. her problem was that i had paid about $70 total for said items and there was no way she was going to refund it. as an aside, you should make her CFO. i begged to differ with diablo's opinion, suffered her aggressiveness, and stood my ground until she acquiesced.

now this wasn't an instance where you rang up one product twice or three times, you had the scanned prices set WAY higher than what was posted for the goods--goods that were regularly priced, not on sale--and diablo wanted to reimburse me the overage. since you fail to post anything on your website or at your stores regarding corporate policy on overcharging, i can only go with what i know from other grocery stores (randall's, kroger, safeway, smith's) and what is found on the texas and new mexico state department of agriculture sites: to wit, if you overcharge for an item, that item should be free. and you shouldn't sell that item until you fix your scanning error. and at the very least, if these are not your policies, you should post them clearly where everyone can see them and make their own decision about whether or not they want to patronize your store.

why? because overcharging is stealing and as a socially-responsible company you should be doing better than that. aside from the fact that it is morally and ethically wrong, what incentive could your corporation possibly have to not overcharge if all your employees do is offer the difference of the prices? that just puts the onus on the customer to make sure their bill is right. after today, i can assure you that i will no longer be inconveniencing your employees with my business (and if you take the time to google "whole foods overcharges," you will see that i am not alone in either this experience or this sentiment). your corporation probably made thousands of dollars off of the mispriced goods that i called to your attention--you just got caught and there should be a penalty.

have a lovely day!


  1. why poor whole foods? (gus wrote the above.) if they consistently overprice their products, and leave it up to the consumers to catch them, they will still make money they didn't earn. even if they have a policy that some stores have--reimburse you for the first item but give you the price difference for the rest--they are still making money they didn't earn because chances are the consumer won't catch everything.

    does that make sense?

  2. I will go there only to eat the free samples and never pay another cent to them again!!!!!

  3. good action plan! that was either gus or rich--i'm guessing gus by the plethora of exclamation points.