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Monday, December 31, 2007

The only thing they'll touch is your wallet

Here's an interesting Whole Foods story.

Comments (21)

Gee, this corporate policy must be what drives the price of groceries at WF...

"Shultz said he would do the same thing again."

Shultz is a pretty slow learner.

Shultz is a pretty slow learner.

Either that or a man of principle.

By the way, a more complete version of the story is here.

Thanks for that. I think I'll change the link. (The old one was here.)

The bag contained $346 worth of food and other products.

Let's see, at Whole Foods that's two bottles of wine, a pound of tuna, four Meyer lemons and a loofa sponge.

Jack, you forgot the one ounce of whole raw milk, organic (incert fancy name here)cheese. It is now served with the loofa.

I bet Shultz would still have his job if he'd given the shoplifter a little shiatsu massage...

kinda reminds me of the Starbucks fiasco in Portland and the manager who got fired for racism because of a chalk drawing of a white co-worker with red afro hairdo....talk about going overboard.....yet another reason not to shop at Whole Paycheck.

Why would anyone fire this guy? What about rewarding him for stopping crime.

This corporation's policy is why people want criminals in prison. There someone might put there hands on them, and they won't get fired.

I don't think Shultz should want to work for someone with such a stupid policy.

No good deed shall go unpunished?

How about a "payment optional" line next to the 15 items or less checkstand?

If they aren't willing to detain a shoplifter until a police officer responds, they might as well give their honest and law abiding customers a chance to share in the savings.

I'm selling my WFMI on Wednesday.

Whole Foods' policy--and I'd bet a lot of companies have the same policy--is meant to ward off lawsuits from litigious scammers who will fall down and claim injury at the slightest touch from a company employee (the retail versions of Bill Laimbeer). Of course, it also keeps employees from actually causing injury to customers or other people on company property, whether accidentally or intentionally.

On the other hand, Whole Foods' absolutist approach may result in a lawsuit by Shultz, as the comments after the story indicate. For one thing, he was on a clocked-out break and therefore not an employee at the time of the incident, but acting solely as a private citizen.

I'm pretty sure the same thing happened at a Home Depot [or something like that] somewhere last year. Worker stops shoplifter, worker gets fired, big public outcry, corporate supports management. (As usual, google delivers.)

I have wondered what I would do if I ever encountered someone stealing food. Hope I never find out.


It must have been food and medicine for his starving kids, right? Because shoplifters always steal out of necessity.

And the Oregon Food Bank doesn't stock organic shade grown decaf. Or heroin. Not for him, mind you, but for his wife who was suffering from an incurable disease. Naturally.

Because nobody does anything bad unless society forces them to do it. Because we're all victims.


A lawsuit for *what*? The company has a stated policy, and if people want to work there, then they have to abide by the policy. The fact that he was clocked out is immaterial; he's still an employee of WF, regardless of whether he is on the clock or not. WF has the right to fire him for violating company policy, period. If WF finds it more economically efficient to let shoplifters rob them blind than deal with lawsuits from scamsters who have been touched by an employee, then that's *their* call to make, not the employees.

okay, let's assume that the shoplifter in this story is a drug addict.

if that's the case, the immorality of this policy lies more in how it would enable the drug addict lifestyle than it is in how it sides with the thief and robber over a hard working, upstanding citizen.

trust me, drug addicts know all the stores that have lax policies, and they exploit them completely f-ing dry. nordstrom's has something similiar, as well as fred meyer's, and they both get robbed blind as a result.

Next time he should taser the shoplifter. That would allow him to remain in compliance with company policy as well as punish the criminal in a theatrical display of intense physical pain, both of which enjoy greater cultural support than does any sort of disobedient worker.


I agree he's still a WF employee whether he's on his break or not. That said, the article says the supervisor yelled for HELP!

If that information is correct, then he was merely responding to a direct plea for assistance from his supervisor.

If the supervisor didn't say, PLEASE HELP ME WITHOUT TOUCHING THE SHOPLIFTER, then it sounds like a great lawsuit to me.

Why? Now ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the plaintiff merely responded to the desperate plea for help from his supervisor. He didn't engage in vigilantism or use unnecessary force. To the contrary, he merely responded as necessary to assist his supervisor in detaining the apparent thief until the police department could respond.

His supervisor asked for HELP, without providing any additional instructions.

OK...a little off topic but was interested...in the Home Depot case that Alan posted about I tried to see if that resulted in legal action against Home Depot. I found federal docket information here


I can't seem to find anything else though. So for all you legal minded folks who know more about this stuff than I, is there more to this story available out there based on the docket info or will it have to be resolved before more info?

Maybe Shultz's termination was justified, maybe it wasn't. But one things for certain: If you're the CEO of WFMI, the consequences of breaking the rules certainly don't apply to you.

All & Mr. Tea:

Here's a comment from the newspaper post in Ann Arbor:

John Schultz, buddy, you have an excellent case for a lawsuit against Whole Foods Market. Please go get a lawyer, ASAP. Why? Every place I've ever worked in Wisconsin or in Illinois has told me that when I'm "punched out" for any reason, i.e., a break, lunch, whatever, and "off the company clock," it's as if I'm not working there that day. You had just punched out for a break and were on your own time. Legally, your company can't fire you as an "employee" when you're on your own time.

Now the laws in Michigan may be different than in Illinois and Wisconsin, though I doubt it and Michigan is a big labor state. So Schultz has some standing in a suit. Not that it would prevail, but he has a good arugment.

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