As much as it likes to position itself as a community gathering place where citizens from all walks of life can come together and discuss the relative merits of bee pollen over a quintuple IPA, the fact of the matter is that Whole Foods caters to those on the “haves” side of America’s ever-growing wealth divide. “Haves” like Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who recently oversaw his company’s purchase of the upscale organic retailer for $13.7 billion. And despite President Trump’s promise to use antitrust laws to create big, beautiful problems for the acquisition, The Washington Post reports that the Federal Trade Commission rubber stamped the deal earlier this week with nary a word from Trump, shocking the approximately 14 people left in America who thinks he stands for the “little guy.”
And now that the acquisition is a done deal, Amazon has announced what it intends to do with its shiny new 2 percent of the American grocery-store market. Fortunately for our nation’s folk-punk and alternative circus communities, Amazon does not have any immediate plans to replace Whole Foods cashiers with automated checkouts, as was feared by grocery unions before the merger. In a press release issued today, it even says it plans to open more stores and hire more people to work in them. It also says that, starting this coming Monday, it will lower prices on “select” Whole Foods grocery items like bananas, salmon, eggs, ground beef, rotisserie chicken, almond butter, kale, and that controversial millennial favorite, avocados.
That comes along with the folding of Amazon’s Prime membership system into the Whole Foods customer rewards program, the addition of Amazon lockers to Whole Foods stores, and the availability of Whole Foods’ house brand 365 Everyday on the Amazon site. Given Amazon’s reputation as a punishing place to work, especially for its lower-tier workers, the announcement of tent cities, forced overtime, and punitive measures for employees who cry on the job are presumably forthcoming. But hey, cheap kale!