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.