June 16, 2017

"Amazon is buying Whole Foods..."

"... for $13.7 billion."

128 comments:

St. George said...

Just yesterday I saw a sign out front of a Whole Foods announcing a sale. I've never understood why anyone would want to shop there for anything other than gifts of food or the occasional item.

When the next recession hits, I wonder how many people will keep up their Starbucks addictions.

David Baker said...

Remember when "Ma Bell" had a similar affair, and spawned the "Baby Bells"?

Amazon is just asking for it; Babyzons, everywhere.

MadisonMan said...

Whole Paycheck. Not sure how that joke translates to Amazon.

cubanbob said...

My wife uses Instacart for Costco shopping so I suppose Amazon will use Whole Foods for a similar service.

Lyle Smith said...

St. George,

Coffee is like gasoline. People will buy it at whatever price.

Drago said...

Can't wait to see the Kindle versions of actual food.

Nonapod said...

Wow, I was just thinking, you know what Amazon is missing? A bunch of brick and mortar locations where you can by bottled water with asparagus stalks in it for $6, or kale-infused versions of just about everything.

rcocean said...

Just what we don't need. Hope DoJ will stop this - Amazon is becoming a retail monopoly.

sy1492 said...

Food + everything else on Amazon = Whole Paycheck. More money for bloggers like Anne

madAsHell said...

I thought Whole Foods was all about signaling your virtue, and spending FAR TOO MUCH on arugula.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

It's great to know that poor people living in food deserts will soon be able to get their camu camu delivered by drone.

Dave from Minnesota said...

The grocery business is incredibly competitive now. If Amazon can find a way to do things cheaper but still nice......

Dave from Minnesota said...

So is Amazon going to sell preachy pretentious bumper stickers for their Whole Foods shoppers?

Michael K said...

The Whole Foods near us in Tucson has good sushi. It's interesting to see the people shopping there. Kind of an interesting collection of Hillary voters. I don't think many are military veterans although Tucson is divided between military retirees and leftist U of A staffers.

mockturtle said...

I was once a food snob. No more. I shop almost exclusively at Walmart. If they don't have it, I don't need it.

Humperdink said...

A perfect opportunity for the Trump administration to begin an anti-trust investigation against Amazon and Bezos (read: Washington Post).

As the commie-pinko libs are wont to say: "I see smoke, we must investigate ..... er .... I think I smell smoke ..... there must be smoke somewhere ....."

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

The Walmart near me sells hot sauce in gallon jugs.

I figure it must be for the Mexicans.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

You know, they spray it on their gardens to repel the deer.

madAsHell said...

Amazon has been experimenting with cashier-free kiosks. They load the kiosk with cameras, and your sub-total is calculated as you take things from the shelf.

Can you imagine a Whole Foods without cashiers?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Nonapod said...Wow, I was just thinking, you know what Amazon is missing? A bunch of brick and mortar locations where you can by bottled water with asparagus stalks in it for $6, or kale-infused versions of just about everything.

In case anyone missed the original: Whole Foods' $6 Asparagus Water

rhhardin said...

Watch out for the $4000 gallons of milk.

Freeman Hunt said...

Whole Foods has a great salad bar and a great bulk dry goods section.

Ficta said...

Sneering at Whole Foods seems to be part of conservative virtue signalling.

I do about half of my shopping there. The produce/meat/coffee freshness and quality is much better than at the "regular" grocery store. They have Goat Milk, which my wife likes. I prefer several of their detergent/soap products because they don't have such strong artificial scents.

I don't really know how much more expensive it is than the traditional grocery. It doesn't seem that bad and I'm lucky enough not to have to worry about every penny. I used to be in that situation, so I don't hold any animus against those who don't shop there, but the level of crankiness it brings out in some is weird.

Big Mike said...

Another Jeff Bezos vanity project, like when he bought the Washington Post.

bagoh20 said...

I love Amazon, but getting too big is always the death of great success, customer satisfaction and value. The size of Amazon is a lot of what makes it work, but I fear it's best days are here right now and soon to pass.

bagoh20 said...

They should have put Amazon in charge of health insurance. That would have kept them busy, and saved us from the disaster that is Obamacare, which has ruined health insurance forever.

Michael K said...

"I don't really know how much more expensive it is than the traditional grocery."

That's why you shop there.

When I lived in California, I shopped at Stater Brothers, which has low prices and excellent meat. No "Club" recording your purchases to do database marketing.

In Tucson, Safeway is almost as expensive as Whole Foods and we shop at Fry's which is cheaper but not as cheap as Stater.

Start keeping track nd you will find out how much you are paying. Of course, I am retired and pay attention to prices now.

Earnest Prole said...

Amazon and Google are modern robber barons.

exiledonmainstreet said...

I shop at WF occasionally. Like Freeman, I like their salad bar and their bulk dry goods section. I don't bake but sometimes a recipe calls for a couple of tablespoons of flour. It's really nice to put a scoop of flour into a small paper bag at WF rather than having to buy a 5 lb. bag that will take me years to use.

I also like the selection of cheeses they offer.

The CEO got into hot water with libersls when he wrote a WSJ op-ed piece opposing Obamacare. There were many outraged comments from leftists swearing they'd never shop there again. Well, that didn't last. Principles are one thing, but they need their organic kale. Didn't hurt their bottom line at all.

The millennials who work there seem to be a cheerful lot. I wonder if that will change at all. I've heard some horror stories about working for Amazon.

John Evans said...

They could have bought a non-organic grocery chain for $9,000,000,000.99

Lyle Smith said...

Ficta,

I like Whole Foods' soap too. So, I shop there on occasion. The products they sell are nice... nice, but expensive. I also shop at Wal-Mart. There is a reason most people who shop at Wal-Mart also don't shop at Whole Foods. It's the prices and the culture/brand that comes from those prices.

Curious George said...

Whole Foods invented gluten intolerance. So they're patrons could have one more thing that make them "special."

Expat(ish) said...

@freeman/@exiled -

I too go to WF for the odd bulk goods (I make a lot of things with beans) and they often have superior brussels sprouts.

Plus I like to see cheerful people with ruined skin as opposed to the sullen ones I usually run into.

But most of my shopping is about basics as we make most food from scratch, so Wal*Mart or Publix. For processed foods we find that you can't beat Trader Joes. Especially their dumplings and those damned dark chocolate mini peanut butter cups. (That's right, I'm talking to you and I've named my left ass cheek after you!)

-XC

chuck said...

I haven't shopped at Whole Foods, but I've visited. I like touring foreign countries when they are nearby.

mockturtle said...

Amazon has been experimenting with cashier-free kiosks. They load the kiosk with cameras, and your sub-total is calculated as you take things from the shelf.

Can you imagine a Whole Foods without cashiers?


I avoid self-checkout lines in stores because I don't want checkers to be put out of work.

Humperdink said...

Stepson and his spouse from Seattle were visiting last week. We decided to have a cookout. The Seattle contingent eat only organic, so off to the market I go to buy organic ground beef. $9.00 per pound. Incredible.

I don't know how they can afford to eat organic at that price back home.

Angel-Dyne said...

mockturtle: I was once a food snob. No more. I shop almost exclusively at Walmart. If they don't have it, I don't need it.

I'm still a food snob, and I buy from anybody who's selling nice stuff that I want to eat. I noticed the other day that my local Walmart had some remarkably nice-looking SWPLy veggie selections (veggies it was once hard to find outside of major metropoleis). They also have the best price on my preferred "everyday" butter.

I'm not one for sodas or most packaged foods, but I'm not one for Asparagus water, either. (Camu camu? Ha, had to look that one up. Is that the latest SWPL wonderfood?) Mainly I like Whole Foods (or its local equivalents) for the fish and cheese counters. Their pastries and bread suck, but in my neck of the woods, most everybody's pastries and bread suck.

Hey, the special-order wahoo is too expensive, but it's nice to know I *can* get it if I want to splurge for a special occasion. And I always enjoy having a nice jaw with the Cheese Guy or Cheese Lady about favorite but lamentably unavailable French cheeses we pine for. Lunch buffet isn't bad, either.

The Cracker Emcee said...

"I avoid self-checkout lines in stores because I don't want checkers to be put out of work."

I use self-checkout lines whenever possible because that's where you'll find shoppers with the least inclination to dick around. Not sure if that's what makes them inherently more efficient, but it seems like a good warning to minimum wage advocates everywhere.

Inga said...

Amazon Fresh delivers in my area now. Same day delivery and prices are comparable to most grocery stores. It's a $15.00 a month add on to Amazon Prime. Peapod has a $7.00 delivery fee, so if you order groceries weekly you save money with Amazon Fresh.

Dave from Minnesota said...

I like self-checkouts because it kind of fun to run the machines. That and I can process my transactions faster than a cashier can. I'd like to think Hank Hill would use a self-checkout.

Original Mike said...

I'm not happy about this. I love Amazon. Anything that harms it financially or degrades its focus is bad, IMO.

madAsHell said...

I use self-checkout lines whenever possible because that's where you'll find shoppers with the least inclination to dick around.

The elderly shopper with a coin purse that insists on paying in exact change. Of course, they haven't the vision to discern a penny from a dime, but they did drive to the store.

Seeing Red said...

Couscous salad!

And the odd item, sometimes fresh pasta. Pretzel bites bread.

Amexpat said...

Another Jeff Bezos vanity project, like when he bought the Washington Post.

I wish it were as I own some Wal-Mart Stock and that's down around 5% on the news.

The reason Amazon bought Whole Foods is that they want to get into the grocery business and they need a network of brick and mortar store to do it. Essentially, WF will serve as a distribution center so that Amazon can do same day grocery delivery to their core customers. The WF will also serve as a place where you can pick up and return products purchased on Amazon.

Wal-Mart has been moving the other way, trying hard to expand their own online shopping presence and buying online companies like Jet.com. Wal-Mart looks like the only company that can compete with Amazon with needed mix of online and brick and mortar shopping that will dominant.

Dave from Minnesota said...

Cub Foods in Twin Cities have Amazon Lockers for delivery/pickup. So I assume Whole Foods will cover this service along with much more.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I have never been to or even have seen a Whole Foods store. The closest one to my location is a little over 300 miles away or about a 5 hour drive, one way. So my likelihood of shopping there is pretty much nil. I can't knock Whole Foods because I have no experience with them.

We did get a Trader Joe's a few years ago in the 'big city' where we go shopping every other month for 'big shopping trip'. That is only a 90 mile drive one way, of course or about 2 hours on a good day with the winding mountainous roads. Trader Joe's is the bomb! We also hit up Costco, Winco and a few other stops. If we get out of Costco for less than $300 is it s miracle! (Not everyone has the same shopping experiences, needs or lifestyles)

However.....we also do buy food items from Amazon (on line Prime free shipping on most items) quite frequently. Those are things that we cannot get either locally or in "big city". Mostly oriental specialty items: Shichimi Togarashi, rice flour, MSG (not accent), Vietnamese/Thai rice noodles, Nuoc cham, dark Japanese soy sauce, spring roll rice wrappers. Or Italian items that you can't get. Tuna in olive oil.

So....if Amazon starts offering some Whole Foods items, I see no reason I can't shop for those also. When it comes to good food and specialty items.....price is not an option :-D

I see this as a positive thing.

Even if it does enrich Bezos :-(

Original Mike said...

" The WF will also serve as a place where you can pick up and return products purchased on Amazon."

The return ability would be cool.

MadisonMan said...

those damned dark chocolate mini peanut butter cups

...that I bought today!!

I don't buy much at Whole Foods. Last time was some special ice cream that is cheaper at Sentry's, but we had already passed Sentry's when the decision was made to buy it.

Generally, if it's not on sale I won't buy it, regardless of location. The single exception is milk. (1%).

I do go to Farmer's Markets all the time, though. Talk about expensive! But I like to give the grower top dollar. And we're still not spending on Farmers Markets what we used to spend for our CSA share.

Original Mike said...

Blogger Michael K said..."The Whole Foods near us in Tucson has good sushi."

I wish that were true of the Madison Whole Foods. Their sushi is pathetic.

Nonapod said...

Yeah, nothing turns up my (already too high) base level of misanthropy like checkout lines. Excessive coupons users are a scourge upon sanity. And I seem to have the awesome superpower of finding the one checkout line where a person in front of me has picked out a weird item that the price label fell off of, so the cashier has to call for help or send a bag boy on a grail-quest to the far wilds of the frozen foods section.

Yancey Ward said...

This is a purchase that literally makes no sense to me- paying such a high premium for a company in a low margin business which has had declining profits for three years running? Even revenues have been stagnating.

Sure, Amazon might be able to squeeze on the cost side, but that might well undermine one of the attractions WFM has for its demographic. The two companies seem like oil and water to me.

DanTheMan said...

>>I avoid self-checkout lines in stores because I don't want checkers to be put out of work.

Make sure you break the windows on the way out...
You don't want to put glaziers out of work, do you?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I mean price is not a barrier to good unique foods. After all, what else is life about if not good food and being happy.

The downside to shopping at a distance is that frozen items are not easily transported because they tend to partially thaw out, even in an ice chest. We sometimes will have a separate chest for frozen and buy dry ice. But that is really a pain.

We just break up the bulk meat, cheese, butter, bacon etc and vacuum seal in the commercial unit we have left over from when we owned a smoked foods business. Yay for freezers!!!

Michael said...

DBQ
Good tamales at Trader Joes. A hint of cinnamon fir some reason but is overcome with a splash of Tobasco

exiledonmainstreet said...

Trader Joes is good for a few products I can't find elsewhere. They have a mayonnaise-mustard aioli sauce that is good with sweet potato fries and on sandwiches. I used to go there to buy their packaged steamed baby beets because I love beets - but what a mess they are to deal with in the kitchen. Howevever, I'm seeing packaged steamed beets at other stores now.

Their cheeses are not as high quality as WF but still decent and much cheaper.

I can't stand Two (now Three) Buck Chuck, but you can find lots of other decent cheap wines there. A $12 bottle is low end at WF but practically top shelf at Trader Joes.

Lem said...

David Burge tweets.... Breaking: Amazon to buy Whole Foods for $42 per pound.

mockturtle said...

DBQ writes: I'm still a food snob, and I buy from anybody who's selling nice stuff that I want to eat. I noticed the other day that my local Walmart had some remarkably nice-looking SWPLy veggie selections (veggies it was once hard to find outside of major metropoleis). They also have the best price on my preferred "everyday" butter.

Since I am on the road most of the year and tend to avoid metropolitan areas, Walmart is very handy for me. I know what they have and usually where to find it. No problem parking my motorhome in their huge parking lots. I really, really hate to shop so any time I can pick up everything I need at one place, I do. Most of the Supercenters stock my favorite 'live' butter lettuce [Green Giant] now, which keeps very well. Sometimes their produce is crap and I buy frozen instead.

traditionalguy said...

Other than dry boxed stuff, Food delivery by Internet trucks was always a hard starter. This probably means digital orders that you pick up yourself. Drones are not big enough to carry much. Driverless cars maybe coming , but you would have to meet them in the street.

grimson said...

mockturtle said... I avoid self-checkout lines in stores because I don't want checkers to be put out of work.

The Super Target in my neighborhood replaced the single, not-always-open, express lane with 4 self-checkouts. No job was lost because the one person who would have been handling express checkout now oversees the 4 self-checkouts. Plus, it appears better for Target because the self-checkouts have been busier than the express lane--people can get their purchasing done more quickly.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ Exiled: Three Buck Chuck is our camping wine, cuz we are probably going to put ice in it and drink out of coffee mugs. Trader Joe's has a super house brand blended Scotch and their 10 year single malt isn't bad either for the prices.

@ Mockturtle: I haven't shopped for groceries at WalMart in ages. When you have Winco (a PNW company) WalMart pales in comparison. I do see a lot of RV shoppers at both WalMart and Costco. Especially this time of year. Convenient one stop shopping.

Bruce Hayden said...

"In Tucson, Safeway is almost as expensive as Whole Foods and we shop at Fry's which is cheaper but not as cheap as Stater."

Fry's groceries is part of Krogers. Good prices, great selection, and accompanying pharmacies. Until the new house in AZ, we tended to do most of our shopping at Krogers (King Soopers and City Market in CO, Fry's in AZ, Fred Meyers in NV and ID). But now have Walmart 1/4 mile away there, while Fry's is maybe 2 miles (in two different directions). Which means a Fry's trip every other week together, then every other day to Walmart by me alone.

Not quite sure why anyone shops Safeway any more. Higher prices and worse produce. Indeed, I have been forbidden from buying avocados from the one closest to our house in AZ. I brought home a bunch of them last winter and every one was rotten.

"Yeah, nothing turns up my (already too high) base level of misanthropy like checkout lines. Excessive coupons users are a scourge upon sanity. And I seem to have the awesome superpower of finding the one checkout line where a person in front of me has picked out a weird item that the price label fell off of, so the cashier has to call for help or send a bag boy on a grail-quest to the far wilds of the frozen foods section."

One of the things that Krogers pioneered was self-checkout. I remember maybe 15 years ago when my kid and I would work together to power through our cart at the City Market in Dillon, CO. They would feed the items from the basket to me, and I would scan and dump in bags. Great fun, but also fast. And you don't usually have to worry about the old ladies and their coupons slowing you down - they mostly use the checkout lines with real people at the registers.

traditionalguy said...

They can remake the stores into super Amazon stores . Bezos wants to be broken and mortar too.

John said...

Earnest Prole said...
Amazon and Google are modern robber barons.


The EU seems to agree.

Michael K said...

"I seem to have the awesome superpower of finding the one checkout line where a person in front of me has picked out a weird item that the price label fell off of,"

The special at Staters was the old man buying lottery tickets. I always got behind him because the other shoppers were smart enough to see what was going on and avoid that line.

I would always choose the short line before looking at why.

Dave from Minnesota said...

The special at Staters was the old man buying lottery tickets.

If I go into a convenience store to purchase something, I hate getting stuck behind the person buying lottery tickets. I delays my purchase for something that is a waste of money. I don't mind getting behind someone buying smokes as at least they'll get some enjoyment out of their item.

Oso Negro said...

The cheese section of Whole Foods has the seductive sensuality of the red light girls in Amsterdam. But the girls are more affordable.

Michael K said...

Wal-Mart looks like the only company that can compete with Amazon with needed mix of online and brick and mortar shopping that will dominant.

Yeah, Sears committed suicide when they close their catalog business about 1993. Amazon started that year.

I worked for Sears for a couple of years and family had careers there.

They were the worst managed company I have ever seen. What a shame to kill off such a great brand.

Ficta said...

"Three Buck Chuck is our camping wine, cuz we are probably going to put ice in it and drink out of coffee mugs. Trader Joe's has a super house brand blended Scotch and their 10 year single malt isn't bad either for the prices."

@$#$^@!$ Maryland alcohol laws.

Dave from Minnesota said...

Total Wine has selection and price.
In Wisconsin you have Woodman's. GIANT grocery stores. Low service but good prices.

Quaestor said...

Trader Joes is good for a few products I can't find elsewhere.

Ah, the marinated lamb tips... crack cocaine for the taste buds.

Bruce Hayden said...

I used to go to the original Whoe Foods in Austin on occasion. Never could figure out the allure, but went there because it was trendy, and, yes, to meet women. And, indeed, my ultimate girlfriend in Austin did most of her shopping there. But, then, she was a tree hugging liberal with a nice inheritance that allowed her to shop there.

I think that when we first met, most of 20 years ago, my partner might have preferred the fresh produce at Whole Foods. Not the meat though - we get better meat here in MT, and it is mostly free. She has always loved cooking, and been excellent at it. But I don't really appreciate gourmet food, and so the salads that we mostly live on primarily consist of a number of different types of canned beans (which are mostly the same everywhere), plus fresh lettuce and canned meat or fish. She just doesn't have the energy or strength to do the prep necessary for using all fresh veggies, and I don't really care.

John said...

Earnest prole,

"robber baron"?

Who is Amazon robbing and how?

Anybody buying from them does so voluntarily. Generally because they perceive a bezt deal. Price, convenience and so on

Robbers? Hardly. Pretty much the opposite.

John Henry

Paco Wové said...

"Sneering at Whole Foods seems to be part of conservative virtue signalling."

Au contraire. Conservatives don't virtue signal, they disgust signal. "Disgusted? You think you're disgusted? I'll show you what being disgusted is all about!"

Bruce Hayden said...

Why would Bezos buy the WaPo? I would suggest that it was for the same reasons that Google has spent hundreds of millions lobbying Congress. The denizens of D.C., both elected and govt employed, can be counted upon to read two papers: WaPo and NYT. WaPo was a better fit for what he needed (a platform to influence those D.C. Denizens), plus, if I remember right, Carlos Slim already had a big piece of the NYT. WaPo is the home town paper of the legislators and bureaucrats that need to be influenced, if Amazon is going to be able to continue to thrive.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Ah, the marinated lamb tips... crack cocaine for the taste buds.

6/16/17, 12:13 PM

Never had those. Thanks for the tip!

Bruce Hayden said...

""Sneering at Whole Foods seems to be part of conservative virtue signalling."

Au contraire. Conservatives don't virtue signal, they disgust signal. "Disgusted? You think you're disgusted? I'll show you what being disgusted is all about!""

Well maybe virtue signaling through disgust at liberal virtue signaling. I find most of their foodie elitism quite ridiculous.

Dave from Minnesota said...

"Sneering at Whole Foods seems to be part of conservative virtue signalling."

Well, that was my joke for a while. "People of Walmart" books and web sites.....I was going to create "People of Whole Foods". Show pretentious arrogant white people coming up in their Subarus and Priuses with 15 bumper stickers on them.

Carter Wood said...

Bruce Hayden said:

I would suggest that it was for the same reasons that Google has spent hundreds of millions lobbying Congress

A quick check of the House clerk's lobbying disclosure base reveals that in Google spent $15,430,000 in lobbying Congress. Even over 10 years at that pace, the "hundreds of millions" claim is an exaggeration.

But it is a lot.

Unknown said...

Seen on twitter today.

"I once bought a bag of Apples at Kroger and returned them to Whole Foods. I made $78!"

hilarious.

Big Mike said...

We used to live near a Whole Foods but found the prices high and the quality used than advertised. If your bread and produce are getting butt-whipped by Harris Teeter, then the only value proposition for shopping at Whole Foods is if you hunger for exotic ingredients. Or virtue signaling.

Big Mike said...

"quality less than advertised"

Someday I'll learn how to properly proofread my own stuff.

Big Mike said...

@ Carter, you did think to include campaign contributions?

Etienne said...

25 years ago, a dollar was worth twice what it does today.

It's all relative. $13 billion is like $6.5 billion without the national debt tax.

Cheap at half the price. They should also buy 7-11 and sell gasoline by drones.

stever said...

Whole Foods is elitist, they aren't in my town, we aren't wealthy enough and buy things like corn tortillas and beer. They may be racists come to think of it.

traditionalguy said...

The question of the day is how many gourmet cheeses will become Amazonian. The Buckhead Store has about 50 types sold by the pound off the big cheese. I was buying there for a Christmas party once, and the cheeses cost more than the wine that day. The Presbyterians eat way more cheese than they drink wine.

Etienne said...

In other news, it looks like Google News has been hacked.

Google News is nothing more than a link list. So, when you click on a link, they add information shows they are the referrer.

So spammers have hacked news sites and modified their web pages to check if Google News was the referrer, and if so, redirect them to their spam page.

Google News Hacked

Bob Ellison said...

Whole Foods stores seem to vary in quality in some departments. They mostly have good wines and cheeses, but not always good produce. The one I have shopped in most (maybe six times), in Scottsdale, AZ, had just about the best beef and seafood I've ever seen in Arizona. When it opened, I told the seafood guy who served me some fantastic salmon that I used to get it in Seattle, and he said yeah, that's where they him hired him from.

It seems Whole Foods doesn't have perfect quality control across all stores...but maybe they know their local markets well enough to know how to cheat a bit.

Francisco D said...

@Michael K,

The last time I was in Tucson, I found three Whole Paycheck (I mean Foods) stores, mostly in the Oro Valley area. They are good for specialty items (like sushi for me, exotic cheeses for my girlfriend). Their wine selection seemed pretty good, not as much value as Trader Joe's but pretty good.

I claim title to having the worst luck in checkout lines. I invariably pick the slowest. My favorite is when the bill is totaled and the customer spends 5 minutes looking for his/her credit card or checkbook. I tell people who get in line behind me that they may be making a mistake.

Birches said...

My wife uses Instacart for Costco shopping so I suppose Amazon will use Whole Foods for a similar service.

Bingo. I just learned you can pay for Walmart grocery delivery as a gift. My friend bought it for just widowed woman with small children for a year as a way to help out. This was the greatest news I ever learned.

Rob said...

Bezos: "Alexa, buy something from Whole Foods."

Alexa: "Buying Whole Foods."

mockturtle said...

DBQ writes: @ Mockturtle: I haven't shopped for groceries at WalMart in ages. When you have Winco (a PNW company) WalMart pales in comparison. I do see a lot of RV shoppers at both WalMart and Costco. Especially this time of year. Convenient one stop shopping.

We used to shop at Costco. Excellent meats and fish. But with just one person to cook for and limited [very limited!] storage it doesn't pay for me now. I don't think we have Winco out west.

Quaestor said...

The cheese section of Whole Foods has the seductive sensuality of the red light girls in Amsterdam. But the girls are more affordable.

And like those Amsterdam women of ill repute, cheese can also be disappointing, heartbreaking... Cheese disillusionment is almost as traumatic as the Santa Claus Discovery. For every Buff Stilton, there's a Double Gloucester. And there's far more Wensleydale with fucking fruit embedded in it than without. Jeebus H. Crisp, if you ever read of a crazed gunman letting loose with an AR in the cheese department of Whole Foods it'll be Quaestor expressing his final righteous wrath at finding bits of mango floating in his fromage.

The most wearisome washout among the cheeses is Limburger. I first tried it on a student trip to Nördlingen, the famous city in a meteor crater. I asked for Limburger expecting something that could chase Uncle George back to Borneo, but what I got was... I dunno, a big costly nothing. I told the serving wench (all the Nördlingen Fraulein are wenches) I didn't want the "tourist" cheese. Bring on the real stuff, I said. All I got was a look of confusion. (My German was and remains pretty crappy.) Much later I bought some at Whole Foods, by weight one of their most expensive curds. It was the same shit. I think I began to understand women's frustration at the male's reluctant form of commitment at that moment. If Limburger were any more of a fence sitter it would have a picket stuck up its ass.

mockturtle said...

Bruce Hayden confesses: I find most of their foodie elitism quite ridiculous.

Me, too. A lot of trends that trendy people jump on. How many people actually have celiac Disease? A whopping 1%. And yet everywhere you look, 'Gluten Free'! And health food stores make billions selling the latest compound that will cure cancer, dementia and impotence. Just like the old snake oil salesmen.

My favorite meal: Copper River salmon when in season, asparagus, brown rice and salad with key lime pie for dessert.

mockturtle said...

Quaestor brings up Wensleydale. Wow, my husband's and my favorite cheese. I used to buy it at Seattle's Pike Place Market. Emmantaler Swiss is good, too. The best for broiled topping on onion soup.

Bruce Hayden said...

"We used to shop at Costco. Excellent meats and fish. But with just one person to cook for and limited [very limited!] storage it doesn't pay for me now. I don't think we have Winco out west."

We still do. They and Sams Club have consistently some of the best tuna and canned chicken, plus we can buy some of our other routine canned goods in larger quantities.

Original Mike said...

Blogger Bruce Hayden said..."I think that when we first met, most of 20 years ago, my partner might have preferred the fresh produce at Whole Foods. Not the meat though - we get better meat here in MT, and it is mostly free."

Careful. I hear they hang rustlers in Montana.

Angel-Dyne said...

Quaestor: And there's far more Wensleydale with fucking fruit embedded in it than without.

Preach it, brother. Your wrath is righteous. Though I mourn the lack of Saint-Felicien at the cheese counter, I can bear it. But putting fruit in fine and innocent cheeses is just an abomination.

(Behead those who insult Double Gloucester.)

MadisonMan said...

I just learned you can pay for Walmart grocery delivery as a gift.

We investigated this for Dad for the weeks before he made the decision to move out of the house. His driving was terrible yet he would go to the grocery store! But he did limit himself to making only right turns, so at least he knew he had become a bad driver.

Marc Puckett said...

2I'm sure there have been variations of this comment already but I think I can hear the shrill cries of pain emitted by Eugene's progressive lot as they get this news today. The natural foods &c stores already established here pre-Whole Feed are doubtless shouting 'told you so' to anyone who'll listen. Will add that to my knowledge none of the local competitors have gone out of business because WF but of course I'm not privy to their profit/loss ledgers.

Comanche Voter said...

Ah I can see improved delivery. Maybe 15 years ago my LA suburb got the largest Whole Foods market west of the Mississippi. A couple of years later it was eclipsed by an even bigger one in Pasadena. Some of their stuff is good; some of it is bad (the cheese counter and wine areas in my local Whole Foods and the staffing in both has slipped way down).

But for people who are still working improved delivery of fresh veggies and such from an Amazon Whole Foods combo looks like a winner.

Richard Dillman said...

I like whole foods bakeries, but their appeal is diminishing. Most standard supermarkets now have expanded health food sections that offer
many of the same products that whole foods does. I can get the same products by driving 5 miles instead of 50 to my nearest Whole Foods." Their. offerings are not really unique anymore. Plus new chains of health food stories are opening that follow a business model similar to that of Whole Foods. In Minnesota we have a chain called Fresh Thyme that stresses "health foods" and is rapidly opening new stores. Another health foods chain in Minnesota Is Natural Grocers, which I saw in Rochester.


I don't think Whole Foods can compete with Wegmans which Consumer Reports just named the top grocery chain in the U.S.
'

Freeman Hunt said...

Amazon is probably jealous of Walmart Grocery Pickup, which is fantastic.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ Bruce They [Costco] and Sams Club have consistently some of the best tuna and canned chicken, plus we can buy some of our other routine canned goods in larger quantities.

Yes. Mass quantities, like the Coneheads. Because we are really a bit far from the main stores and shopping, it is worth our while to buy things by the case lot. Canned chopped tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, corn, beans of many kinds, dried pasta, evaporated milk, flour by the 10 pound sack (which we freeze), all sorts of staples. Not to mention TUNA!!!! Costco has very good meat.

Winco is an employee owned store chain in Oregon and northern Calif...maybe southern Wash. They have huge selection, great prices, don't have to buy in bulk and really really good meat and produce.

All in all, in our pump house and freezer, we probably have enough food, for when the Zombie apocalypse occurs to live for a year or more. Not necessarily gourmet. Just food. Plus what we can hunt and harvest locally. Not really FOR the Zombie apocalypse though. Just so we don't have to go to the store in the winter, in the snow and ice. Pop out to the pumphouse and get a can of olives, canned tomatoes, some pasta, cheese and italian sausages from the freezer, dehydrated onions and garlic, spices and we are good to go! Take that Zombies.

exiledonmainstreet said...


"My favorite meal: Copper River salmon when in season, asparagus, brown rice and salad with key lime pie for dessert. "

Now that's a good meal, although I'd sub small red skinned potatoes for the rice.

exiledonmainstreet said...

"The most wearisome washout among the cheeses is Limburger."

My dad loved it and used to buy his imported Limburger at a small, long gone Polish grocery store. I swear you could smell it 2 blocks away.

My mother also got czarnina (Polish duck's blood soup) there. I would at least try it now, since I’m an adventurous eater as an adult, but when I was a kid, the sight of it made me sick. “Blood soup, mom, how gross!”

Richard Dillman said...

Lunds and Byerlys has great Copper River salmon in season and usually better seafood than Whole Foods.

Sam L. said...

Two-day shipping with Amazon Prime!

BN said...

Whole Foods and Alex Jones are both Austin natives.

Coincidence? I think not.

Ray said...

Amazon is so big, that this is a test to see what happens. It may succeed, or Amazon may spin it off. The scary part of Amazon is a culture where they are willing to fail. If you see their competition as Target, Costco, Walmart, this makes sense. Since a lot of their business is groceries. Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods is a direct attack against their brick and mortar Food Business. Their is also probably a 100% overlap between Whole Foods Customers and Amazon.

Speaking of low margins, that is Amazon's business model. The beauty of Amazon is at this time, they don't need to make a profit due to the stock markets love of them. But, they need to keep on growing. And with their super duper automated warehouses (if you can, get a tour) that are spreading with the goal of same day delivery, this addition makes more sense. Whole Foods has challenges with their back end, and Amazon is basically a logistics business that happens to sell stuff.

Amazon has opened up a couple of test brick and mortar locations for books. I see this as another test that may succeed, or may fail spectacularly.

I shop at Stater Brothers with Chinese markets as required, the local Albertsons, Ralphs, and Vons have been chased out of the area by Chinese markets. Along with Target and Walmart. The last grocer's union strike IMHO really hurt union based markets, where people found alternatives and stayed with them.

Aldi is a neat market, that is expanding rapidly. It's aimed at the lower end of the market. I expect this will hurt the traditional super markets. Lidl is another German grocer that is expected to cause more turmoil in the US market. Trader Joes is also German owned, niche market on the high end, and I wish there was one closer to me. Costco is stocking a lot more organic grocery products.

Amexpat said...

Amazon is probably jealous of Walmart Grocery Pickup, which is fantastic.

I think there's something to that. Amazon views Wal-Mart as their main competitor and they have to react to Wal-Mart's increasing synergy between physical and digital shopping. Amazon recently offered to give free Prime memberships to those that are on govt. assistance in a move to go after the low income customers that shop at Wal-Mart. And Wal-Mart is moving upscale. Today they bought Bonabo, a millennial yuppie online clothing brand for over $300,000,000.

Richard Dillman said...

Aldis owns Trader Joe's. Trader Joe's is a German owned company.

Michael K said...

Trader Joes began as Pronto Market in South Pasadena in Mission Road. The family that owned it had originally lived above the market and there was a nice apartment there with the entrance at the back of the store. When I was a resident at LA County, the family rented that apartment to an OBGYN resident at County. I don't how it started but that was a tradition for OB residents that went on for years.

The son used to do radio commercials for the chain.

madAsHell said...

Amazon has opened up a couple of test brick and mortar locations for books. I see this as another test that may succeed, or may fail spectacularly.

I visited one of Amazon's brick-n-mortar book stores. It is not a Barnes and Noble affair. The aisles are narrow, and cramped. There is no place to sit, and enjoy a book. I did not enjoy the experience, and haven't gone back.

tcrosse said...

Aldi opened a store in one of the less fashionable neighborhoods of St Paul. Shopping there was like visiting someone in jail. There was a security guard packing heat right by the carts. Meanwhile, at my local Trader Joe's you had to get there before 10 AM to be sure of a place to park.

mockturtle said...

When I was doing Japanese cooking I shopped at Uwajimaya in Seattle. Great store! If you like Japanese food, that's the place to shop. I took a cooking course there, too.

When we left Seattle there were no good sources for ingredients. My husband wasn't crazy about it, anyway. He liked traditional English food and I learned to make quite a few dishes. Steak and kidney pie isn't as bad as it sounds and pork pie is pretty good, too. He always liked crust and I'm not a crust/pastry person.

William said...

I live in NYC, home of Zabar's. Whole Foods is practically a discount store compared to Eli's and Zabar's. You don't see many fat people shopping at Whole Foods. I wonder if that has anything to do with the price. When you live on 900.calories a day, you want the very highest quality lettuce leaf to wrap around your sushi particle......I have the vague sense that this is going to change my life in some basic and radical way that I don't have the imagination to comprehend.

etbass said...

Amazon lost me when they began to voluntarily collect sales tax in my state. Up until then, they were my low cost provider of a wide variety of stuff. Since then, I look for another source, that won't make me pay 9% sales tax.

jeff kuebler said...

People who bought whole foods also bought ....

Ann Althouse said...

We do virtually all our food shopping at Whole Foods. Do a price comparison. It depends on what you buy, but the idea that it's more expensive than the other nice supermarket might be wrong. That's what we found. But I like it because it's compact and everything there is good. It's not alienating like the normal supermarkets here, and you don't have to walk as far to get to things. (I often go to the store when I need milk, and supermarkets put the milk all the way in the back.)

At Whole Foods, the produce, the deli, the meat and many other things are just reliably good, and the people who work there are very well trained to be friendly and helpful. It makes the task of shopping — which I don't particularly like generally — nicely pleasant. We save time, it's aesthetically pleasing, and we're encouraged to make healthful, wholesome choices.

If I had a big family or wanted to eat mass quantities or needed to watch the budget closely, I'd probably go somewhere else, but for me and Meade, it's just great.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...We do virtually all our food shopping at Whole Foods. Do a price comparison. It depends on what you buy, but the idea that it's more expensive than the other nice supermarket might be wrong.

They have a smartphone app with frequent good coupons, so anyone who shops at WF regularly should check that out. I have a couple of very good farmer's markets near me but before I went to those regularly I'd get high-quality meat and fish at WF.
Their cheese selection is good but I don't buy much there anymore--the last few times I did I got old stuff and my impression is that they don't have a ton of turnover. Trader Joe's has better prices on cheese and most produce (although the TJ is a bit of a drive and the farmer's market destroys everywhere else on produce prices). WF's grains and bulk nut prices are usually pretty good, too. They carry lots of wine but I haven't compared prices.

Just because a place is favored by annoying hipsters doesn't mean that place has no redeeming qualities. It's a good reason to be suspicious! Courage.

mandrewa said...

Amazon has a gotten way to large. This is a huge mistake for our economy.

These excessively large companies should be broken up. To function properly a market needs choice, lots and lots of choice. There is any hardly in industry where we wouldn't be better off with at least 20 companies competing.

I can imagine two approaches. Either we find some metric that truly is appropriate where once a company exceeds that metric is automatically split. There should also be a substantial monetary award coming from the government to the ownership of any company that splits for this reason. We want to encourage growth.

Or we should have the number of competitors managed by the government. If it isn't possible to come up with a good metric that serve as an automatic signal, then we need to decide for each industry the minimum number of competitors that we want, and derive from that the maximum size of any one of them within that industry. As in the first approach the government should pay out a large monetary award to companies that are split for this reason. It should be considered a good thing for the ownership of a company that succeeds so well that it has to be split.

mockturtle said...

mandrewa proposes: Or we should have the number of competitors managed by the government.

Yikes! With all due respect, what a terrible idea!

Rene Saunce said...

The corruptocrat STalinist party would love to control the distribution of food in this nation.

otherwise "it's not faaaaiiirrrr"

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Earnest Prole said...

Robber barons.

stlcdr said...

"Amazon has a gotten way to large. This is a huge mistake for our economy. "

With no evidence to support this except that this is what people believed in the past, and continue to believe. The only basis is that monopolies are bad.

Rusty said...

mandrewa said...
Amazon has a gotten way to large. This is a huge mistake for our economy.

No it's not. They are, without interference, making the most efficient use of the resources at hand. Amazon will continue until someone has a better idea.

"Or we should have the number of competitors managed by the government"

Like the current healthcare system?
Foe decisions on how people could spend their money government is not the answer. In fact unless you need a policeman , a judge , or a military government is almost never the answer.

You have not asked yourself this basic question; Why is amazon so successful?
Because they give their customers what they want at an affordable price. If you seek for the government to regulate them you have just about guaranteed a monopoly unresponsive to consumers. Right now there is nothing preventing anyone from competing with them.

mandrewa said...

Rusty, our healthcare system is in considerable part a product of our government.

The regulation and control of what healthcare providers do is so complete that the government determines much of what happens. This has actually been true for a long time and predated Obamacare. Obamacare was just another very expensive layer of regulation and restriction added on what people can do to an industry that was already partly controlled by the government.

I'm not advocating anything like that. All that I am advocating here is that for all industries we maintain a minimum number of players. I could give a number of reasons why this is good idea, but skip the why, regardless this is minimally intrusive compared to what is going on in the healthcare industry.

Amazon's success is mostly due to two factors. First it was one of the first companies to do this. As you probably know they started as an online book retailer. They succeeded abundantly and then moved on to selling everything. It should be a big clue that either the first company or close to the first company to try to do online retailing is now so incredibly dominant.

Being the first in this area was a huge advantage. As long as Amazon doesn't seriously screw up, it's even an insurmountable advantage. The second factor is the size of Amazon now. People don't have tens of billions to invest in what would be essentially a duplicate of something else. Amazon was able to start small and grow because it was the first or almost the first, and any other online retailer existing at the same time was of similar small size.

No one has that opportunity now, or ever will again. Actually there is an exception and I can forecast with confidence that this is going to happen.

China is going along duplicating every business in the United States. And they are going to put regulatory barriers to Amazon in China, if they probably have already done so, and then build something similar to Amazon except it will be Chinese. It will be very successful in China and at the same time it will expand oversees and probably compete everywhere including the United States. So after a few decades Amazon will be no longer significant and our retail industry will be run from China with heavy influence behind the scenes from the Chinese government.

That's our future if we keep on going on like we are now.

But that's another story. Getting back to the way things are right now, we are fortunate that Amazon is as good as it is. But that might be an illusion, since actually we don't know what we might be missing. There is no competition. This is a natural monopoly. The only way you can get retailing choices in a situation like this is to force it. To compel the industry to split and split and split again. Then once you have choices, you might discover that it is possible to have something better than the current Amazon. But otherwise you will never find out.