Corporate Skeptics: Whole Foods is Fined $800k for Overpricing in California

543px-Whole_Foods_Market_logo.svgWhole Foods, the Austin based corporation that fuels health nuts and hipsters alike, was caught overcharging consumers in California.

Whole Foods Market is paying $800,000 in penalties after an investigation found the supermarket chain overcharged customers throughout California.

Problems included failing to deduct the weight of containers when ringing up fresh food, putting smaller amounts into packages than the weight stated on the label, and selling items by the piece instead of by the pound, as required by law, the statement said.

Santa Monica Deputy City Atty. Adam Radinsky said that shoppers have a right to transparent pricing.

‘By adding the weight of containers and packaging, especially on higher-priced, per-pound items like seafood and meats and even prepared food, the extra charges can add up fast, and yet be hidden from consumers,’ he said in the statement.

Whole Foods responded with:

‘Based on a review of our own records and a sampling of inspection reports …. our pricing on weighed and measured items was accurate 98% of the time,’ the company said in a Tuesday statement. ‘We will continue to refine and implement additional processes to minimize such errors going forward.’

In addition to the fine, Whole Foods will be faced with periodic audits and must “appoint employees to oversee pricing accuracy statewide and also within each store in California.”

Seems like a slap on the wrist for a company that promotes the moralistic well-being of its customers and planet. According to their mission statement:

Our motto—Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet — emphasizes that our vision reaches beyond food retailing. In fact, our deepest purpose as an organization is helping support the health, well-being, and healing of both people — customers, Team Members, and business organizations in general — and the planet.

19 Comments on "Corporate Skeptics: Whole Foods is Fined $800k for Overpricing in California"

  1. Anarchy Pony | Jun 26, 2014 at 12:47 pm |

    Whole Foods=Green washing poseurs for liberal yuppies.

    /Purity trolling.

  2. “Whole Paycheck” sucks.
    Also, apparently the owner is a right-wing douche.

    • I believe he’d object to that characterization and spout off some gibberish about liberty and the free market.

      So, “American Libertarian douche” would seem to be the right answer (however, I would note that the former makes the latter redundant).

    • his company is better than the man when it comes to benefits on top of rather low paying jobs. far from the worst employer around i hate to admit.

  3. Whole Foods Paycheck has always operated on the notion that if you have sticker shock, you shouldn’t be shopping there.
    ⸘Let’s monetize “quality” “food”‽
    Great business model for them and the average nose-upturned, stick-up-the-ass douchetard that shops there.

    But when it’s the only nearby grocery store, by necessity you learn very quickly to read the various cons this stealth American Libertarian Front runs on their customer base. From the “fresh flower” priming up front, to the bland, overpriced, overripe “prepared foods” grudgingly doled out in the back, I feel it compares well to the Museum of Creation and Earth History in Santee, CA. Very Merica™.

    Weights and measures is nothing. To this day, sometimes I’m distracted while watching the register as things are scanned, only to find a mischarge on a receipt later on. Sometimes things are just out of place in the produce section, other times the cashiers only remember the code for the more expensive organic version of the same fucking avocado. Mind you, I don’t place sole responsibility on the cashier–it’s seems like an awful place to work, and I can sympathize, knowing how that triggers the IDGAF response when confronting a complex code-based system. On the plus side, if you’re cool to the cashiers, sometimes the bounces work in your favor.

    Also, the quality of most everything in their stores has taken a serious dive. Ten years ago, they had a produce section that was at the time par excellence for a chain (in hindsight, other chains just really blew chunks). Now I can get better versions of almost anything at Trader Moe’s for cheaper. Even Safeway measures favorably these days. And the rest of the Dog Damned store is so full of fnords now, it’s exhausting to shop.

    The one thing this company does well though is keep its desired customer base loyal. I am thrilled they look down at Farmer’s Markets and Co-Op Groceries as “poor people’s food”, and so avoid them.

    • Jin The Ninja | Jun 26, 2014 at 3:28 pm |

      totally agree. parallels my own experiences. i very selectively shop at the big carrot (which has comparable prices to WH, but way more local and more specialised things- and is a workers co op for smug feelings afterwards)- but i find the deals are to be found at the smaller co op and kensington market. we don’t have trader joes, but when i visit my mum in the us, it’s a fun place to check out for price comparisons. i still can’t believe what a liter of organic milk sells for vs. here.

      • Well, organic milk, that’s understandable!

        In Merica™, we remove add ??? remove Satanic Influences℗ at an added cost.

        • Jin The Ninja | Jun 26, 2014 at 4:19 pm |

          lol. it’s 3.99 per liter for a paper carton, or 6.99 for the glass liter with a 2 dollar refundable. one thing i am grateful for is that i never have to drink milk stored in a plastic jug. ‘conventional milk’ here is a bit cheaper (i’ve never purchased it so i don’t know exactly), and has no growth hormones, and strict rules about use of antibiotics (6 months before bottling or something like that).

          now that you mention it, my first time visiting S.O’s family in the south, i definitely felt a looming satanic presence at kroger’s/ralph’s. all that pork probably;).

          i really have fortified myself in a health food bubble, or maybe i am a snob (or both) but those places both horrified and terrified me.

          • I empathize about the health food bubble. I started on this path for health reasons, and found that not only was it a better way to eat, but it increased my enjoyment of food.

            It’s insane to me how uneducated/confused/careless the average person is about food and nutrition. Perhaps that attitude worked as recently as 60 years ago, but we don’t live in those times anymore. Food is such an integral component to the human experience, and it’s fair to say most people of means choose to fail every day. Indigestion? Take a pill®.

            As for cow’s milk, I stopped drinking it years ago. I still have dairy from time to time (how can I avoid cheese and ice cream???), but I found that almond milk and/or hazelnut milk are both cheaper and better alternatives in my diet. And at the end of the day, I just got tired of milk going bad randomly.

            But that’s typical Merica™–even purification from Satanic Influences℗ has a surprise expiration date.

          • Number1Framer | Jun 26, 2014 at 7:00 pm |

            I’m with you on the experience of food and have come a long way since my days of slogging down Lonely Man TV dinners (ugh). What I’ve found even more is that taking the time to cook my own (sometimes very elaborate) dinners using healthy ingredients has decreased my desire to eat out. Any restaurant that serves up a decent meal is prohibitively priced and it’s not that hard to do it better than them anyway if you just jump in and go for it.

  4. Well it’s nothing new that WF fudges on the pricing… even at the salad bar you’re paying top dollar extra for that cardboard salad container, as well as its contents..

    • ⸘There’s fiber in them thar cardboard‽

      ÿ believe that’s a new part of the Paleo Diet™

  5. InfvoCuernos | Jun 26, 2014 at 8:39 pm |

    And so they refunded the consumers with the fine revenue, right? Of course not. The government kept it because their a bunch of greedy asswholes.

  6. AManCalledDa-da | Jun 26, 2014 at 11:27 pm |

    Hole Fuds. Great.

  7. Overpriced? You pay for the atmosphere. Now if you other plebes will pardon me, I shall go take an artisanal shit.

  8. Woobniggurath | Jun 27, 2014 at 2:22 am |

    Whole foods was very different at the beginning. It was a small store owned by partners, maybe a collective? Then a small chain which genuinely afforded people the chance to evade the commercial food rackets. As it is now it merely demonstrates

    the Bullworthian truism that money turns everything to shit.

  9. the best thing about whole foods is that trader joe’s is next door.

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