Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ownership. More like, slavery

Haha. Soon after my last post, a memo was passed around warning us that any negative writing about Whole Foods online could mean termination. I wonder if they came across this blog. 
I just had a team meeting where, yet again they crack down on us for various things. Part of the company's mission statement is supporting team member happiness and excellence. All I've ever been told is what I can't do. They say they support individuality, but you can't talk about religion, politics, or anything controversial. At the meeting we were also encouraged to tell on each other. That's a great way to promote camaraderie and solidarity. What happened to the idea of confronting your fellow worker when you see them doing something wrong. This place is run like a high school. I wish we were unionized, that way the workers would stick together and protect each other from the asshole management. 
What happened to this society. It reminds me more and more of 1984. We're the beetle-like drones that turn on each other and lay down for the company. No one questions Whole Foods, because it's "one of the best company's to work for." People criticize and fear communism, but do the things they hate, like snitching on your neighbor/co-worker. 
I just read an article that exposed Whole Foods for paying off a certifier to make one of their seafood products appear sea-turtle friendly. I wish I could find it so I could source it. I'll have to come back to that. I also have found products in the store that have artificial ingredients, like FD&C food coloring. We carry conventional corn, that is most likely GMO, because it's nearly imposible to find conventional corn that isn't. Hypocrites.
I may have said this before, but what gets to me the most is the cynicism. They tell us we have "ownership," but in reality it means the burden of working our asses off for barely a living wage, if that. I worked in businesses that gave their workers true ownership. It means autonomy, flexibility, responsibility, and a good wage and benefits. I can't do anything without a supervisors approval. We have security violations for everything. There is no room to take responsibility or have any autonomy. How about they let us do our jobs and if we fuck up, then we can take responsibility for fucking up. No, we get in trouble for just the possibility of maybe fucking up. Bullshit. 
We must have so much flexibility toward our job. We don't have set schedules, we have to take more hours during the holidays ( I'll come back to that one), and pretty much do whatever they want us to do on a whim, but if I make the smallest mistake, it's by the book, no slack. Let's say I switched shifts to accomodate them and came in late because of a misunderstanding. I get written up. The first or second day I was put on the register, I was off at the end of the night. Instead of cutting me slack for being new, I get written up, even though I was over on my register and of course they kept the money. I find all this very cynical, because they're telling me how much ownership I have and how much they help me in succeeding, but cut me down at every chance. I'm a reasonable person. I'll take responsibility for my mistakes and I understand that some mistakes deserve more serious consequences. This company, however, has made it a point to take any humanity out of the equation. They don't allow the supervisor or manager to make disciplinary decisions. Isn't that what managing is all about? Being able to weigh all the factors, including character and intention?  
A good manager/supervisor is a conduit between the company and the workers. They work for the best interest of both parties. Sometimes they have to fight for those under them, that they represent. That does not happen at all in Whole Foods. The supervisors/team leaders/managers are merely the henchmen or enforcers of the Company's will. This is one reason I don't think Whole foods will succeed. It's another paternalistic, hypocritical company that uses double-speak, fear, and clever marketing to make the workers think they have more than they actually have and be subservient. 

There is no such thing as a green product! There are products that are more harmful and others that are less harmful. The simple fact that it is mass produced, packaged, and has marketing behind it invalidates its "green" claim. Take food for example. Compare a potato you buy at a farmers market to a box of frozen fries, that says "Green, eco friendly packaging" or "Made from sustainably grown potatoes.(from Peru)"which one is the best choice? The one without a label at all.  One is straight from the ground and the other has passed many stages and through many hands. Whole Foods is just an empty marketing.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Charity

I have stand at a register, fake a smile, and pretend I am so interested in the assholes that shop at Whole Foods. Yes, some of the people that go there are cool, like anywhere else, but I don't want to be forced to engage every fucking customer. Most customers don't want to engage me either. In fact, a lot of them ignore me or give me a fake response. Good interactions are spontaneous and unforced. I have great conversations sometimes, but they happen on there own with people I can relate to. How am I supposed to relate to a woman with fake boobs, collagen lips, buying a People magazine and the latest exotic, weight-loss, super-food. 
"I like your tits, where's you get them? What reality shows do you watch?"
Fuck off.
I also believe the customer is usually wrong. The person working at whatever place is there 20 to 40 hours a week. It's their job. I'm sure there are well informed customers that know more, but they are not the norm and should not be the foundation of customer service. A customer tells me something completely idiotic or yells at me because we ran out of anal douches and I'm supposed to say, I'm sorry? 
I highly recommend the documentary, "I like Killing Flies." It's about a diner in New York that is run by a Soup-Nazish owner. He'll kick you out for breaking any rule, like asking for a table for 5. I believe that's how businesses should be run. Maybe not as extreme, but with the same philosophy of equality and balance. Pretend you're not at work, act accordingly. The owner/manager should always take the side of reality, not the customer's or the employee's. If the customer is an idiot, let them know they are wrong. None of this stupid comping shit for a whiny asshole. If a worker is being treated like shit, they should have the right to defend themselves, even kick that bastard out. Now, if the worker abuses this right, than they should have consequences too. It's so obvious and simple.
I remember going to businesses in Venezuela and refused service because my bill was too large and they had no change. Annoyed, I was told to get out. I appreciate that genuine interaction. Sure, it wasn't very business savvy and kind of dumb to keep so little change, but that's not the point. They didn't give me an empty fake smile, like I get here. How many times can a person say "hi, how are you today?" before their soul shrivels away? The customer should have the burden of proof. Prove to me, with sound, logical, facts and I'll agree.
I don't go shopping or even out to eat to have my asshole licked by some over-worked and miserable employee. I especially detest the one's that are all bubbly and over-eager to please me and their managers. Have you no fucking dignity.
I do the best I can to do a good job. I am reliable and fulfill my duties. I help a customer to the best of my abilities when treated respectfully.  Why should I act like an idiot as well? 
Consumer culture, that's why. Everyone is so desperate to bleed every last fucking penny out of every last person that they do anything to please the customer. One day we'll be getting free blowjobs with every purchase. It's pathetic. 

So on top of standing at a fucking register for 8 hours, my team-leader (how pseudo-non-hierarchical) wants, no, needs me to ask every customer to donate to put salad bars in schools. So now I have to ask for fucking charity as well? She wants us to win some stupid competition with other stores to raise the most money. "It'll raise moral." Raise moral, by doing something I detest, for something I don't even believe in? Right. 

I hate charity. It's a stupid cop-out and band-aid for a shitty system. How about using tax money to put good food in schools and kicking out private companies that sell junk food and advertise in public schools? We spend billions, if not trillions on war, greedy corporations, and corrupt politicians. Oh yes, capitalism is working so fucking well.

Let's fucking make as much useless crap as we can and sell it to each other Make it so we need to replace it for nice new model, so everyone knows we can afford to be up top date and in fashion. Then base our entire economy on it. Great idea. Those socialists and their ideas of working together for the greater good of society are such assholes. 


Friday, September 17, 2010

Whole Foods

It's been awhile, but I have the need to do a little writing. My life has been so creatively lacking. I just work , eat, and sleep for the most part. The work part is what's getting to me. I fucking hate my job. It's the most cynical company I've ever worked for. I hate corporate jobs no matter what, but this one is especially horrible. So, let's see if this comes back to me and I get fired. Any bet's?  I hear about people posting blogs, youtube videos, etc and getting canned for badmouthing their company. This one would be especially ironic because I work for Whole Foods Market. They have carefully shaped their image to convey a liberal, open, and compassionate image. Of course, I do understand the right of any employer to fire an employee for saying bad things about them. It can hurt the image of the company and ultimately the bottom line.
That's just the thing, Whole Foods is just like every other big company. A soulless enterprise in pursuit of money. We do live in a capitalist country and capital is what matters. Since Whole Foods has investors, it needs to make as much money as possible to keep them happy. When I was hired they said that their priorities were the customer, the workers, then the investor, in that order. I think that's bullshit and all my experiences point to it being the investors first and then the customer only because they buy stuff.
I believe that just like so many other "green" and "socially responsible" companies, Whole Foods is just selling an image. They are selling people a lifestyle. It's an easy, albeit expensive way to feel like you're doing the right thing. They are taking advantage of a marketing niche. They see us as a demographic on a chart. They fool the workers and possibly themselves into buying into this crap, in a kind of Orwellian double-think manner. It's so creepy how much I feel like I'm in 1984 at this job. The job sucks and we're constantly exposed to the hypocrisy and shallowness of this place, yet everyone acts or believes it's so great. I think it may have to o with the fact that where I am there isn't much better around. I live in a cultural void, where strip-malls, Walmarts, and money rules. I moved out of SF, by the way.

I'm having such a hard time organizing my thoughts here. I haven't written in so long and There is so much to say about this job. I waited too long.

Let me go back to my orientation. That was two days of eight hour reconditioning and brainwashing. Most of what we were told was of how great Whole Foods was or some really bad misinformation on health, ecology, and social responsibility. I used to work in a cooperative grocery store that sold organic, etc... products. I've spent years learning and trying to live in a responsible, unselfish manner. I can safely say I know about this "lifestyle" and the science behind it. I won't go into detail about all the shit that spewed for our trainer's mouth, but a few things did stand out.
One was they're anti-unioness. They always start with a disclaimer that they're not anti-union, then start bashing them. I can understand it's a matter of opinion, but the way they do it is so fucked up. They remind me of anti-(fill in the blank) propaganda, "The evils of marijuana" videos or Mccarthyism. "If you see a union representative don't sign anything. They are trying to take your soul. Just run the other way." I'm exaggerating just a tiny bit.
In my opinion unions are great. Even Whole Foods admits that they made some important accomplishments for workers rights. Then they continue to say that they are obsolete in this new age of enlightenment. Says who? Do they have social scientists working away at understanding labor history and the present state of the effectiveness of unions in an impartial way? I doubt it. I think it's mostly a buch of MBAs and a few lifers who managed to make it to the top. I wonder what the ratio is?
If you look at working conditions, pay and benefits over the years, you see that in fact that back when unions ruled, workers had it great. It's not their fault that slowly over the years companies have been ruthlessly fighting to get rid of them and as a consequence diminished they're effectiveness. Look at my job. I barely get payed a living wage as a cashier, when they used to make a decent living. My benifits are laughable. I'd have to pay $182 a month to pay my own medical bills. The deductible is so fucking large. Maybe if I was hospitalized and dying I'd save a little money. I get two ten minute breaks on the clock and one unpaid thirty minute lunch. That's shit. God forbid I forget to bring a lunch, because then I'd be taking up ten of those minutes in line and forget having the time to eat out. They say they want employee health and happiness, yet we don't even get enough time to partially digest our food. I wonder how long the corporate execs get for their luches. How long does Mr. Healthcare only for the rich Mackey for lunch. Sometimes I want to get a coffee for my ten minute break. By the time I actually sit down to enjoy it I only have five minutes. And Whole Foods tells me that I have it so much better without a union. Bull shit. It's also bullshit that they're not anti-union. I remember they fired a couple people in San Francisco for trying to unionize.

I have such an urge to continue, but I'll stop myself here for now. Let's see if they track me down and fire me. They tell me that it's such a great place to work because I'm free to be who I am and express my individuality, unless it has anything to do with politics, religion, or anything controversial. Well, I'm expressing myself. Let's see how much freedom of expression I really have.  That's one thing I never understood about America the Great. We have so much freedom, like the freedom of expression, except in our workplaces, schools, public places (unless you have a permit), etc. I guess I'm free to lose my job and starve. Damn, what a freedom.

Monday, December 3, 2007

I had more pictures, but these assholes threatened me, so I had to erase them.

This time I kept a safe distance.

A more peaceful and positive crowd

This is a tiny crowd compared to what I saw in Caracas. Fuck the 3 million Chavistas that didn't vote. Cowards



I've been witness to a lot of events covered by the news. I've been to student opposition "protests," which were nothing but small gangs of morons that wanted to throw rocks and bottles. The cops were the ones to be harassed. I saw it. I've been to Chavista marches and saw Chavez speak, twice, not to mention the dozens of hours I've heard on TV. Everything I read online or saw on TV was lies. I listened to Chavez in person, so I know that his words were twisted. You can see all the great things that are happening because of Chavez. They never mention that. The economy is stronger, there is less crime, free medicine, real freedom, unlike back in the U.S. I know. I'm fucking here.
As for you dumbasses who are here and still don't believe it. I've talked to so many anti-chavistas. They talk so much crap. I check up on what they say. I go see things they tell me about. They are full of crap. They are so full of fear from news organizations that make Fox News look fair and balanced. I could tell you things that I've heard that would make you roll on the floor laughing. The simple truth is that they are afraid of losing their amassed wealth, most of it made by stealing land and opressing the poor. That Pipo guy I said was so nice is sitting on tons of stolen land if not from indigenous people, then his own family. The government protects private property, that is legitimate. No one can take your home no matter how much money you owe banks or the government. However, if you are sitting on tons of fucking land with no deed or without putting it to any use, than it shouldn't be yours.
A lot of my frustration comes from the sheer quantity of information I want to share with everyone. I could write a book about it. In the end no one really cares about Venezuela or will argue with dumb shit they hear on TV. Being human sucks. Bunch of dumb assholes. You're all fucking doomed to be slaves.
My plan. Take all you dumb, superficial, consumerist, selfish, uncaring assholes and put you on one side of the planet. Then take everyone else and put them on the other side and keep them seperated. I suggest We keep the Americas and either Africa or Asia. They can have the rest. Wait, the poor are 90% of the world. The asshole only get Europe, not including Eastern Europe.