Faith Gardner / Daily Kos
If you’ve ever shopped at Whole Foods you’ve probably been shocked at the prices. But a recent investigation shows that not only are its products overpriced, it’s also dishonest—and its shady practices when it comes to weighing and mislabeling may be illegal.
The investigation looked at products that are weighed and labeled and found a “systematic problem” whereby customers were routinely overcharged for things like nuts, snack foods, poultry and other grocery products. Eight packages of chicken tenders—priced at $9.99 per pound—were inaccurately priced and labeled to the tune of a $4.13 overcharge to the customer per package, a store profit of $33.04 for the set. DCA says one package was overpriced as much as $4.85. “Additionally, 89 percent of the packages tested did not meet the federal standard for the maximum amount that an individual package can deviate from the actual weight, which is set by the U.S. Department of Commerce.”
Should we be surprised?
Last year, the company was fined nearly $800,000 in California for not deducting tare weight, selling less than the weight on products sold by the pound and other violations. Not to be outdone by our neighbors to the West, “our inspectors tell me this is the worst case of mislabeling they have seen in their careers, which DCA and New Yorkers will not tolerate,” according to DCA Commissioner Julie Menin.
I guess this kind of dishonesty is just par for the course when your CEO is a libertarian who thinks Obamacare is fascism and climate change is A-OK.
No announcement yet from the DCA on how big a fine Whole Foods will be slapped with. Let’s hope it’s significant.
Ed. note: article updated 7/18/15 to correct formatting issues.
bob dorn says
Whole foods makes money off stupid rich people and their wannabes. That its parking lot
is full seems to indicate that many people have too few skills and too much money.
Will Chandler says
Gee, Bob, who pulled your tail? I shop at Whole Foods, and I know I’m not anything resembling rich, and also just possibly not as stupid as you seem to assume.
The only thing I wannabe when I buy food is not in my car, if I can help it, and their Hillcrest store is the only grocery within quick walking distance from my kitchen. And, their fresh veggies and fruits are consistently more varied and of better quality as the ones I often see in the other organic stores in my area, all of which I have to drive to, assuming I can find parking when I get to them.
As for Whole Foods’s alleged dishonesty in labeling, if they’ve been playing that game, I hope they get nailed hard and fast for it. But I was taught to check the prices on the shelves and pay attention at the register. And, for most of the products I buy, their prices aren’t all that different from other chain food stores I shop at. If the price of something at Whole Foods offends me, I don’t buy it there, and that thing goes on my list to buy somewhere else when I am in my car.
I agree totally that their CEO’s politics are odious to me, but I don’t happen to imagine that the politics and management practices of the CEOs and stockholders of any of the food companies I shop at are all that much more in line with my own views. I suspect that if you insist on buying food only from stores in San Diego County whose owners support your own political and business ideals, you’ll soon be pretty hungry and/or pretty bored with your new diet.
Suggest you try Sprouts Market instead, especially for produce and meat, and Trader Joe’s for packaged goods. Both stores are comparable quality and much better prices than Whole Foods.
Don’t mind Bob Dorn. He’s a wannabe himself.
bob dorn says
Yeah, I can see stoopid in that remark I made. I still think it’s even more stoopid to
pay Whole Food prices.
Will Chandler says
Thanks Bob, and, as I said, the stuff they sell that’s overpriced I don’t buy, and instead look for comparable goods in any of six or seven other stores out of my neighborhood when I’m in those locales. If you did shop at WFs/Great Satan’s, not that I’m suggesting you try it, you’d find that their prices for the stuff I buy there are reasonably competitive with Von’s, Ralphs, Sprouts and other markets, and sometimes I do shop at Sprouts when I’m in Chula Vista, but their selection for veggies is usually much more limited than at WFs/GS’s. If you want to see some seriously higher prices for staple goods, try the new Haggen stores that recently replaced most of San Diego’s Albertsons and some of the Vons.
You do know this has nothing to do with the California stores, right?
Scott David Anderson says
Pardon me, but this “article” seems to be lacking in weight as well. Can you expand upon this report at all? Who is DCA? Was it just the chicken tenders,(which I would be surprised that anyone shopping at Whole Foods would even purchase)? Where’s the meat to this story? I was anticipating so much more.
Dolores Demp says
I looked up DCA just to be sure, yes, it is Department of Consumer Affairs.
So are we talking about California? It would be nice to have the reference given as to the statements made, which lead to this report. Please give the references, otherwise, it reads like hearsay
Most people I know who shop at WF buy select items and don’t do the bulk for their grocery shopping there. This article for the most part is nothing more than blah blah blah. Heaven forbid a CEO is not a progressive and that reason alone is why he is so dishonest.
Lori Saldaña says
People’s Food co-op in OB is a great choice for many reasons: local, quality organic produce, member owned, ethical sourcing, care for AG workers to name just a few. Also pure vegetarian for those so inclined. And a good employer who values workers and provides benefits.
Perhaps not as convenient as WF, but for those who can plan the trip, worth going out of your way.