I Wrote An Article About Stealing From Whole Foods, And Whole Foods Found Out

Kurtis Garbutt
Kurtis Garbutt

On Friday, I wrote an article about how to steal from Whole Foods. I mainly wrote it to be playful – there were jokes in there… but I also wrote it because I just love talking about Whole Foods. Whole Foods is my religion [1] – I have eaten pretty much every single one of my meals there [2] since I got my first law school financial aid check [3]. I am always tweeting about Whole Foods.

As I said in the article, expensing Whole Foods was my first order of business when Genius was accepted into Y Combinator.

The first response to my article that threw me out of my chair was when Whole Foods responded to my article!

I’ve had convos with the Whole Foods tweeter before, and, I gotta say, their tweeter sucks. If I was in control of the Whole Foods Twitter… oh man… I could double their business in a week [4].

But still – Whole Foods tweeting a reply to my Whole Foods article – I was honored [5].

When I wrote the article, I didn’t even think anyone would read it. I definitely didn’t think Whole Foods would read it… I guess that’s my main problem. The reason I get into so much trouble is I treat the internet as my personal diary, I never think anyone else will bother to read what I write [6].

First time I went to my Mothership Whole Foods after releasing the article was super weird…all the employees had read the article! They were all smirking and giving me funny looks. The security guard stood next to me at the hot bar whistling… it was pretty funny. I was ashamed, I didn’t even change the sticker on my apples, but the cashier still rang them up with the cheaper code! He gave me a wink, I felt like we were in Fight Club.

Then, there was a gaggle of plebeians who got pissed at me. A lot of trolls told me I’m going to hell… what hurt particularly was all the commenters who were like “I’m a Whole Foods employee! You are stealing from us!” – how has Whole Foods managed to brainwash these employees? If I worked at Whole Foods, I would do everything in my power to help the customers steal. It is bad enough we gotta live under Capitalism guys, no need to willingly transform it into Fascism…

Amidst all the fallout, there is one comment I’ve seen repeatedly which particularly rankles me: “IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD WHOLE FOODS, WHY NOT GO TO TRADER JOE’S??” Who was the inventor of this stupid Whole Foods / Trader Joe’s dichotomy? It is as erroneous as you can get! Trader Joe’s doesn’t have a salad bar or a hot bar – they have a handful of ready-made foods that totally suck.

Everyone thinks of Trader Joe’s as “cheap” – but if you compare their crappy produce to ethnic markets, it is actually still a rip-off. Meanwhile, the appropriate comparison to Whole Foods’ salad bar is restaurants, which are obviously way more expensive [7].

Also – maybe this should be another article – but allow me a mini-screed against Trader Joe’s: pretty much all Trader Joe’s packaged foods have unnecessary sugar and other disgusting ingredients. The “Trader Joe’s smell” [8] that hits you in the face when you enter TJ’s makes me want to throw up. [9]

The third group that got mad at me are the illustrious “Tech Illuminati” – there’s this dude “Jason” on Twitter – I guess he invested in Uber or something – he seems like a fat booger. He got the ball rolling:


Now… I am all for challenging gender norms… but is it appropriate for a grown man to threaten to spank another grown man?

Luckily, there are some smart, non-Aspergers people in tech, too. Blogger Stephen Corwin contended tech people offended by my article are “goobers” [10].

Now, I don’t really give shit what “Jason” thinks [11]. But when the Whole Foods article caused the man whom I call “Daddy” to disown me, that’s when my heart really broke into a million pieces:


What really hurt me was that Ben used a dangling preposition in his diss of me. Dangling prepositions really rankle me. It is not a grammar issue, it is a style issue. When you let that preposition dangle… it makes your writing cumbrous and unclear [12].

Whole Foods Corporate. Whole Foods Westwood employees. The Tech Illuminati. They all read my article, and it feels really weird.

The good news is: they haven’t banned me from Whole Foods (yet). I don’t think Whole Foods Westwood will ever ban me – they love me! – if a ban happens, it is going to get handed down from the Corporate Mothership in Austin. The press will ask them for a statement, and they may wish to make an example of me…

And so, I end this article with a message to Corporate Whole Foods HQ: I love you guys! Please don’t ban me. Hire me to do social media for you! If you ban me, I am going to have to learn to cook… if you think about it, #stealfromwholefoods could be a sick viral media campaign, it could be like the Whole Foods version of “Jared From Target”… Thought Catalog Logo Mark

p.s. ONE MORE HUSTLE one of the commenters taught me [13]: the coffee bags are opaque and coffee is $5.99/lb, so you can put bulk bin shit in there if they don’t check [14].

[1] I feel like an apostate now! I can’t wait for Yom Kippur…
[2] If I have a choice, anyway…
[3] It was the first time in my life when I felt like “holy shit! I have a lot of money!” – you get fat financial aid checks for law school… it’s not ghetto like grad school…
[4] I am the master of social media marketing – look at this tweet I did about Whole Foods, how viral could this be if it came from their corporate twitter?
[5] There is no thrill in marketing equal to that of getting a reply from a brand that you love. I know…I used to be Rap Genius Twitter… I brought so much joy to so many people… it was great.
[6] Then again, I don’t feel like anything I say is really that bad! But apparently a lot of people feel differently…oh well LOL…
[7] (even crappy restaurants)
[8] Reminiscent of a stale caramel apple – you know what I’m talking about right?
[9] It is almost as bad as the “McDonald’s smell.”
[10] (which is true)
[11] He’s probably just “KIDDing” anyways (get it?)
[12] The appropriate phrasing for Ben’s tweet would have been: “or your co-founders, your lifelong friends” – that sounds a lot more crisp, no?
[13] Although, to be quite frank, I think this one is too risky/dangerous (I had never thought of it because I don’t drink coffee…I’m allergic!)
[14] It would look weird to go to the register with a lumpy coffee bag tho…

About the author

Mahbod Moghadam

Mahbod Moghadam is a co-founder of Genius. Mahbod graduated from Stanford Law School and worked as an attorney for the firm of Dewey & Leboeuf in New York before beginning work on (Rap) Genius. Mahbod is Iranian and studied the history of Iran as an undergraduate. Before law school, Mahbod was a Fulbright scholar to France; he speaks Persian, French, some Arabic and English too. Mahbod has played piano since age 15 – alongside hip-hop, his musical passions include Bach, Beethoven and Schubert.

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