Whole Foods, known to many as Whole Paycheck, is expensive. We all know that, but their sea of produce alone is a sea of magnificent beauty. And where else does one go when one wants to binge on junk food while maintaining the illusion of eating healthy?
Market Watch did some comparison shopping between Whole Foods, Safeway, Target and Trader Joe’s, and while each store was cheaper for some things, Whole Foods was often the most expensive. What the survey didn’t take into account, though, is that Whole Foods has been lying about how much people are paying for in some instances – at least if the customers live in New York.
According to New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs, Whole Foods has been overstating weight and overcharging customers on prepackaged goods.
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.”
Not surprisingly from the libertarian run company, the problem at least according to one employee who is remaining anonymous, is that the store isn’t staffed well enough to keep up with things like this:
‘So they replace these people who actually know what the fuck they are doing by making the position a part time one with cheaper employees under the umbrella of a different department,’ the employee told us. Team leaders were instructed to take special care in advance of this DCA investigation going public. ‘Except [the part time employees] are still barely trained and have almost no idea what the fuck they are doing.’
It kind of sounds like how libertarians run the government, doesn’t it?
The fine hasn’t yet been determined, but it will be substantial.
Whole Foods reacted, saying:
We disagree with the DCA’s overreaching allegations and we are vigorously defending ourselves. We cooperated fully with the DCA from the beginning until we disagreed with their grossly excessive monetary demands. Despite our requests to the DCA, they have not provided evidence to back up their demands nor have they requested any additional information from us, but instead have taken this to the media to coerce us. Our customers are our number one stakeholder and we highly value their trust in us.
A year ago, Whole Foods in California was fined $800,000 for overcharging by failing to subtract the weight of the container at their salad and hot bars. They also charged more than the advertised price on many items.
Featured image via GlynLowe.com on Flickr.