While our personal efforts to avoid buying on Amazon.com altogether are successful, it’s been more of a challenge achieving the same score at Amazon’s Whole Foods stores, particularly where independent natural food stores are an anomaly (thanks to Whole Foods).
One of the reasons we put out a call to boycott the behemoth when Amazon’s take-over was official, was that Amazon’s goal of delivering lower and lower prices would result in a watering-down of already thinning USDA organic standards. While Whole foods has been a leader in the craft of greenwashing, which, according to Wikipedia is, “disinformation disseminated by an organization so as to present an environmentally responsible public image,” the concern that the practice is likely to accelerate under Amazon’s ownership was on display at a South Florida Amazon Whole Foods location.
Appropriately adorned for the holiday season, I was surprised to find a display of children’s toys displayed at the entrance way of the Pompano Beach, Florida Amazon Whole Foods store. Perhaps coincidentally, the items were stacked beneath a sign proclaiming the store’s green-conscious mission. One problem, the toys, many constructed of plastic, we’re made in China, where manufacturers go to minimize environmental and labor regulations.
The toys in question are made by a company called Melissa and Doug, which, upon research, I learned is a very popular brand, trumpeting a laudable mission to “provide a launch pad to ignite imagination and a sense of wonder in all children so they can discover themselves, their passions, and their purpose.” Hey, who’d argue with that? But the mission stops short of producing their toys in America, short-changing the workplace and environmental demands domestic rules demand. One also wonders why Melissa and Doug don’t see fit to bring their manufacturing opportunities to the parents expected to shell out the cash for their products. It’s pretty obvious why.
In a time when Amazon is destroying storefront retail businesses, from chains to mom and pop stores in large cities and small towns across the country, the need to boycott them is most urgent. With their takeover of Whole Foods, they bring their scorched earth mentality to the natural foods industry, who’ve already done a job on independent natural food stores. With Whole Foods now tucked firmly in Amazon’s back pocket, look for that dynamic to accelerate. Let’s avoid this beast as much as possible.