Now I occasionally make the foray there for specialty items or when a friend is in town. They do have a better selection of quality goods, a more extensive wine section, the best pre-prepared food of any supermarket and a better milieu in general. That is until today, when I read a rather troubling article about price gouging by the popular upscale market (WP). Apparently, they are being investigated by the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs for “systematic overcharging for pre-packaged foods.” This includes testing 80 different kinds of prepackaged products at the nine New York Whole Foods outlets and finding ALL had mislabeled weights. The U.S. Department of Commerce says a package can deviate from its stated weight by only so much, according to DCA, and 89 percent of the packages DCA tested did not meet this standard.
DCA Commissioner Julie Menin claimed, “Our inspectors tell me this is the worst case of mislabeling they have seen in their careers, which DCA and New Yorkers will not tolerate.” Corporate malfeasance has become so normal we rarely give it the careful critical analysis it deserves. In this case, a popular upscale store is not only ripping off willing customers to keep out the riffraff, but illegally by providing less than the promised amount (by overstating what is included). It’s not surprising, but it is yet another example of a company putting profits above the interests of the customers it purports to serve. Maybe it is time to do something about the culture of greed currently plaguing us before we all end up on the bread lines again, hoping a corporate sponsor isn’t skimming the cake.