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Old 01 February 2018, 08:41 PM
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Icon06 It’s Reportedly Becoming ‘Normal’ to See Whole Foods Employees Cry at Work

The “militaristic” new inventory system at Whole Foods is still making customers grumpy, but they can be happy that it’s not their job to restock the empty shelves. Employees tell Business Insider that on their end, the situation is bad. The new system reportedly hinges on a framework of “chastisement, punishment, and retribution” to ensure compliance, and they argue that staff morale has been worn to a nub.

http://www.grubstreet.com/2018/02/wh...y-at-work.html
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Old 02 February 2018, 02:02 AM
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This is totally predictable from Amazon buying Whole Foods. I rarely go there anyway but it is kind of nice to have the option.
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Old 02 February 2018, 01:13 PM
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I wonder if this story is a bit exaggerated (I saw employees smiling at Whole Foods yesterday) but am not surprised that such an atmosphere exists.

I hadn't been in a Whole Foods since the takeover, and went to see if anything big had changed, or if the prices had gone down. Everything seemed just as orderly as before - no better or worse - and prices were still much higher on everyday things I could buy elsewhere. The only real change I saw was the font used on their pricing signs.

Like Avril, I am not a regular customer and treat the place as a convenience only. It always gave me a slightly creepy feel, like it was a big corporate organization trying to push out all the smaller but more sincere health food stores that have been around for decades by masquerading as a slightly better one. (Oh wait... maybe that's what they are.) Co-opting a generic term for health foods and making it a brand name just made it a bit slimier.

I don't think I'm going to be going there any more often than I used to; maybe less.
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Old 02 February 2018, 02:55 PM
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The story is clearly being exaggerated, because they are talking about what one supervisor said about one store and extrapolating it to the entire chain. Its even possible that in the particular store in question the issue is more with the management implementing the policy then with policy its-self .

I agree that its not surprising that Amazon is making these type of changes. This kind of 'efficiency' is what Amazon has long been known for.
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Old 03 February 2018, 12:20 AM
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Fortunately, most of what I used to buy at Whole Foods on my twice-yearly trip there I can get from Wegmans or Shop Rite now.
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Old 03 February 2018, 01:25 AM
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Originally Posted by ChasFink View Post
I wonder if this story is a bit exaggerated (I saw employees smiling at Whole Foods yesterday)
The story may well be exaggerated; but the employees may also get in trouble if they don't smile at/around the customers, so I wouldn't make too much out of such smiles.

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Originally Posted by Avril View Post
Fortunately, most of what I used to buy at Whole Foods on my twice-yearly trip there I can get from Wegmans or Shop Rite now.
Wegmans has a reputation for being quite a good place to work.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wegmans
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Wegmans has appeared on Fortune's annual "100 Best Companies to Work For" list since the list first appeared in 1998 and has ranked among the top 10 for eight consecutive years.
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Old 03 February 2018, 02:22 AM
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That, plus Wegmans lets my knitting circle meet there every week and we spend hours in the cafe. It's a pretty cool place, even if I do hate how they rearrange the stock constantly as if the pickles are on the run from the law.
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Old 03 February 2018, 05:54 AM
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they rearrange the stock constantly as if the pickles are on the run from the law.
I am so stealing this.

I've been sad about this. I used to shop at Whole Foods a lot; they're great for vegan stuff, though they're a little out of my way now. I do buy from Amazon more often than I'm comfortable admitting. I know they're the worst. It's just so hard to resist the convenience. I'm hoping living above a Target will give my laziness some competition at least. Thirteen days till we get the keys to our new place!
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Old 03 February 2018, 01:52 PM
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It's a pretty cool place, even if I do hate how they rearrange the stock constantly as if the pickles are on the run from the law.
And even if the stores (around here at least) are designed so that Everything Echoes with the result that, for me at least, the quality of sound in them is actively unpleasant.

The air quality, however, doesn't send me running for the exits to escape the choking stink of outgassing plastics; so they're overall less unpleasant for me to be in than many other large stores.

Unfortunately the closest Wegmans to me is over an hour round trip in a direction I don't often go in. (The nearest Whole Foods is considerably further; so I've got no experience with them at all. And, even before this, little desire to get any; I have an impression rather like ChasFink's of them as a very large operation tending to put smaller independent stores out of business, and much harder than those stores for small-scale farmers to sell to.)
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Old 06 February 2018, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Avril View Post
I do hate how they rearrange the stock constantly as if the pickles are on the run from the law.
You do know the reason for that I trust?

Link: http://theplate.nationalgeographic.c...-supermarkets/
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  #11  
Old 06 February 2018, 05:10 PM
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I think there is also a bit of the "management has to do something so they have something to put on their year end report about what they did that year."
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Old 06 February 2018, 05:21 PM
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The cruel truth is that the produce department is less garden and kitchen than stage set. Lighting is chosen to make fruits and veggies appear at their brightest and best; and – according to Martin Lindstrom, author of Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy—the periodic sprays of fresh water that douse the produce bins are all for show. Though used to give fresh foods a deceptive dewy and fresh-picked look, the water actually has no practical purpose. In fact, it makes vegetables spoil faster than they otherwise would.
Is squirting the produce with water something that's common in the USA? I've never seen that done anywhere.

How does it work? Does an employee come round with a spray gun, or is there a system of hoses set up?
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Old 06 February 2018, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmy101_again View Post
I think there is also a bit of the "management has to do something so they have something to put on their year end report about what they did that year."
A lot of politics works the exact same way.

ETA: The squirting is more of a fine mist than a stream of water. Around here it is typically hoses above the produce that periodically spray a mist (one store plays the sound of thunder just before spraying so customers don't get wet).
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Old 06 February 2018, 05:43 PM
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Exactly. No one walks around the produce department with a squirt gun.

ETA: A photo of produce being misted

Does anybody else ever see that much produce out at once?
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Old 06 February 2018, 05:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
Is squirting the produce with water something that's common in the USA? I've never seen that done anywhere.

How does it work? Does an employee come round with a spray gun, or is there a system of hoses set up?
Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
ETA: The squirting is more of a fine mist than a stream of water. Around here it is typically hoses above the produce that periodically spray a mist (one store plays the sound of thunder just before spraying so customers don't get wet).
Somehow I noticed and didn't notice this. I'm sure I would be quite surprised if I walked into a store here and the produce was freshly spritzed, and I would maybe notice in the U.S. if it wasn't.

But after almost 2 decades in Switzerland I am always a bit overwhelmed when I go into a U.S. grocery store and I am sure there are many other things I haven't really noticed.
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Old 06 February 2018, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
Does anybody else ever see that much produce out at once?
I went into Sainsbury's once at exactly the time they'd just finished restocking the whole produce section (which wasn't first thing in the morning, as I'd have expected) and although the layout isn't usually the same as that photo in UK supermarkets, it was quite surprisingly full.

I've not seen them restock the entire place at once like that often, though - usually they just put out a new tray or two when one item gets low. Maybe I just never hit that time slot, or maybe there was some sort of event happening that meant they wanted it to be fully stocked.
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Old 06 February 2018, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
Exactly. No one walks around the produce department with a squirt gun.
Did they ever do it that way, though, I mean like several decades ago? It seems like I can vaguely remember as a kid seeing an employee in the produce department walking around with a hose spraying the vegetables. Or maybe I saw it on TV rather than in person in the store.

Quote:
In fact, it makes vegetables spoil faster than they otherwise would.
Ironically, the usually explanation for why they spray the produce is that it "keeps it fresh". And it has a certain truthiness to it, because it seems like it would be like watering a plant. But now that I think about it, of course excess moisture would make it rot faster. It just makes it look fresh.
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Old 06 February 2018, 06:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avril View Post
... It's a pretty cool place, even if I do hate how they rearrange the stock constantly as if the pickles are on the run from the law.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnStorm View Post
Reminds me of something a Gap employee told me once. The merchandise is rotated around once a week so visitors have a chance to see something "new" if they tend to hit the same area all the time. Once a month the palette of colors is changed so the older stuff (the items that are marked down and the things you bought last month) look old and out of place, making you want the new things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
Exactly. No one walks around the produce department with a squirt gun. ...
There is a supermarket I go to that has a big squirt gun, like a garden hose nozzle, hooked up to the misting system. I guess it's to make new stock extra wet.

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Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
... Does anybody else ever see that much produce out at once?
Whole Foods near me does tend to stock up like that. A few other stores do as well. But it's often an illusion, with items stacked in front of and on top of a big cubic shape.
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Old 06 February 2018, 06:25 PM
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I don't remember if they used to do it manually or not.
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  #20  
Old 06 February 2018, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChasFink View Post
it's often an illusion, with items stacked in front of and on top of a big cubic shape.
I get a catalog from a company that supplies such places; mostly because every couple of years I buy a batch of twisties from them that say "Organically Grown", which I can't seem to find anywhere else. It's kind of fun to read the thing, though.

In the produce displays section they include a batch of produce risers meant for that purpose: to make it look as if there's a lot more out there than there is. This actually makes sense. Produce keeps a whole lot better in the back, under better controlled temperature and not being handled by customers (some of whom have been told to squeeze or jam their thumbs into things to check freshness,* and some of whom are just careless); but it sells better if it looks like there's a lot there. I think the display in the picture posted takes that principle too far; the quantities there actually look rather off-putting. But it's true enough to a point. Anybody selling fresh produce knows about what I call "last pint syndrome": when there's only a little left of something, many customers seem to think there must be something wrong with it, as the last pint or two often just sit on the stand for the rest of the market after the rest of the full flat(s) all sold in the first hour or two.

(It seems to work that way more for common produce than for unusual items. I once had several people all trying to buy the same Last Bunch of cilantro; but the Last Pint of green beans often comes back home with me. Where I eat it.)


*ETA: please don't! There are better ways (which vary by the type of produce) to check for freshness and for ripeness; and, while it may not be immediately evident, that eggplant you pushed your thumb into will have a thumb-shaped bruise apparent some hours later; and then nobody else will want to buy it, either.
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