With more than 500 stores across the country, Whole Foods – purchased by Amazon for $ 13.7 billion in 2017 – has become synonymous with vigilant eating habits and slimming. Before you make your next stop to select the perfect mango, take a look at these 16 facts about the company and some of its more unusual guidelines.
. 1 The co-founders of Whole Foods lived in their first store …
When John Mackey and Renee Lawson Hardy opened their first health food store in downtown Austin, Texas, in 1978, they did not care if it was a storefront or a storefront a residence – though Mackey thought it would be "fun" to operate from home. After finding a commercial home, the two converted the first floor into a retail space selling groceries, products, and refrigerators. On the second floor was a café, and on the third floor was an office and sleeping area where Mackey and Hardy spent their nights. (They were evicted from their homes for storing food there.)
2. … which means that they had to bathe in the dishwasher.
Since the property was not approved for use as a home, there were no shower facilities. When Mackey and Lawson could not take a shower elsewhere, they cleaned themselves with the dishwasher hose for their crockery.
. 3 The first "official" Whole Foods store was flooded.
. 4 Whole Foods acquired a food and toy store.
As part of the expansion plan for Whole Foods in the 1980s and 1990s, a number of natural food stores were acquired. Most unusual was the Massachusetts Bread & Circus chain, which combined a selection of healthy foods with a stock of wooden toys.
. 5 Whole Foods employees can see what everyone else is doing.
Mackey, now CEO of Whole Foods, enforces so-called no-secrets management. There is a general ledger in each store, where the annual salaries of all employees – including executives – are visible to every employee.
. 6 At Whole Foods, an employee's cholesterol level affects their discount.
To prevent employees from falling over, Whole Foods ranks the percentage of employee rebates on a graduated scale. If you are smoker, overweight, or otherwise affected, you will receive the usual 20 percent. If your lungs are clear, your cholesterol is in range, and your BMI is in check, you'll get a discount of up to 30 percent.
. 7 Whole Foods employees are "chosen" by other employees.
Most Whole Foods stores are divided into different industries: front-end, products, meat, etc. If an employee wants to join a particular team, he or she will be given a trial period of 45 to 90 days. In the end, existing team members can vote on whether a person should stay permanently. Because business bonuses are tied to performance, it's not really a popularity contest: the teams want people who can increase profitability.
. 8 Only two Whole Foods stores sell live lobster.
Only the Whole Foods stores in Portland, Maine and Hyannis, Massachusetts, offer their customers living lobsters. Each is stored in its own tank to avoid overcrowding. After purchase, the crustaceans are killed by a light electric shock (from a device called Crustastun), which means they do not have to endure the inevitable boiling pot of water.
. 9 Many Whole Food locations sell rabbit meat.
Rabbits: Adorable pets or satisfying high-protein meals? If you are interested in the latter, several Whole Foods locations offer rabbit meat because they allegedly had "repeated customer requests". In 2014, rabble activists unleashed a series of "hopping mad" headlines by protesting the decision.
10th Whole Foods employees can not stop shoplifters. (Unless they want to be fired.)
Whole Foods takes a hard line with heroes: No employees are allowed physical contact with customers, and so are shoplifters. In 2007, the employee (and former Marine) was released from John Schultz after he had tracked and detained a shoplifter in front of a shop in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
. 11 Whole Foods does not sell aspirin.
Whole Foods considers the painkillers aspirin and ibuprofen to be artificial and does not sell aspirin. Instead, the chain offers customers "natural" remedies for cold or flu symptoms, which led columnist Steven Salzberg to criticize the company for selling nutritional supplements that have no FDA commitment to prove any of their claims.
] 12. In the past, only the English language was valid for whole foods.
Prior to 2013, speaking a language other than English in business was a violation of corporate policy for employees. When two employees from Albuquerque, New Mexico complained about the edict, they were suspended. According to the New York Daily News (19459006) (19459007), Whole Foods claimed that employees had been punished for other reasons. Regardless, the directive has been revised.
. 13 There is an ice rink at the Whole Foods headquarters.
The company's flagship store in Austin has become a tourist destination. On the roof of the building is a vaulted rink, which is open during the winter months.
14. Some of the Whole Foods dairy products were milked by prisoners.
Which workforce is more sustainable than the penal system of our country? In 2014, Fortune discovered that cheese maker Haystack Mountain had entered into an agreement with Colorado Corrections Industries to allow prisoners to milk goats for $ 300 to $ 400 a month. The resulting cheese was sold to Whole Foods and other retailers. In 2015, the company announced that it would stop buying prison products.
15th Whole Foods once confessed overloading customers.
The eternal joke over Whole Paycheck's renaming of their expensive inventory became a little more real after the New York Department of Consumer Affairs discovered that space stores outperformed prepackaged goods, sometimes over $ 15. In a YouTube video released in July 2015, Mackey and co-CEO Walter Robb admitted that the company made mistakes but did not intend to mislead consumers.
sixteenth Whole Foods can help prevent "veranda pirates" from stealing their belongings.
Thanks to their acquisition by Amazon, some Whole Foods sites offer Amazon lockers where customers can have their parcels sent. Although this has the advantage that the thieves can steal fewer packets, but is not exactly altruistic. The company hopes people who drop by to pick up their supplies will stay shopping. It works: Whole Foods locker stores have seen their micro pickup visits increase by 11 percent from three to five minutes.
This story was updated for 2019.