Take a minute and picture the kind of folks who shop at Whole Foods: they love organic and free range everything, they're on special diets for their health, they're environmentally conscious and yes, more than a few are crunchy granola types.
So what's the best way to really piss off those customers?
The headline on the Huffington Post's story says it all: "Whole Foods CEO John Mackey Says [Global] Warming Is 'Not Necessarily Bad'"
Right. That's gonna go over real well with Whole Foods' core customers. "Climate change is perfectly natural and not necessarily bad." Uh huh.
That's telling 'em John! And as a result, a whole lot of folks (including me) won't be shopping at Whole Foods any time soon. Some customers are even putting together petitions to try to convince Mackey to retract his self-destructive opinions.
This isn't the first time Mackey has put his foot in his mouth either. He seems to delight in publicly offending his core customers' most sensitive ethical concerns, like health care and the environment. Previously he attacked Obama and Obamacare ("socialist"), even though most of his customers are probably on, shall we say, the liberal side of things?
From a business point of view, all of this is just plain stupid, of course. A smart CEO of a health food chain would be out there swearing allegiance to environmental and nutritional health causes.
But what about looking at this weird behavior from a psychological point of view? What could be causing this case of foot in mouth disease? As a successful member of the 1 percent, has Mackey let his financial success inflate his ego to the point where he's sure he can convert his customers to his political point of view? Or is he suffering from fear of success and really wants his health conscious customers to flee in droves?
If so, he's doing and saying exactly the right things.