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.