SANTA MONICA, CA -- Health conscious, liberal, well-to-do food shoppers are showing their displeasure by going conventional.
Jerry Hackleberry, an environmental lawyer, was infuriated by an Op-ed penned by the CEO of Whole Foods on the topic of health care reform that criticized President Obama's plan. So he is showing his displeasure with his black card from American Express.
Typically a thrice-weekly Whole Foods shopper, Hackleberry has vowed to boycott the high-end grocery store known for carrying costly and organic foods until Whole Foods CEO and co-founder John Mackey is fired or recants. After skipping his usual Thursday grocery run, Hackleberry was forced to shop at Ralph's on Friday.
Hackleberry said he was shocked to encounter grapes for $.99 per pound and dismayed that organic grapes -- for which he typically pays $3.99 per pound at Whole Foods -- were not available. "The pesticides will be ruinous, but that's just a sacrifice I have to make," he said. "I'm going to try to compensate with extra yoga, acupuncture and meditation."
Also in Hackleberry's reuseable cloth bag were $.99 per pound peaches and Alta Dena milk, since they were out of his favored organic Horizon brand. Ralph's selection of organic eggs is not as extensive as Whole Foods but he was at least able to get vegetarian, free range brown eggs. But Hackleberry couldn't bring himself to buy non-organic meat. "$2.99 per pound for ground beef?" he noted skeptically, as he loaded his groceries into his Prius. "Something's very wrong with that. I never pay less than $6.99, even on sale."
In addition to engaging in a strident monologue with a Whole Foods checker earlier this week in which he lambasted the bewildered high school senior for Mackey's stance on health care, Hackleberry has also written letters to the editor of the Santa Monica Daily Press and Santa Monica Mirror.
He also intends to donate the approximately $150 in weekly savings from not shopping at Whole Foods to Democracy for America, a progressive group supporting health care reform.