In many ways, I would be a natural demographic for Whole Foods, grocers to crunchy yuppie mums everywhere, to market to. I like high quality fruit and vegetables. I'm fairly price insensitive. I live in an area where they are located fairly close by. I could be upsold on a bunch of other random interesting food items.
But I don't go there very often, except for certain specialty items. I certainly don't do my regular shopping there.
And why not?
Because they don't sell any Coca-Cola products.
Now, I'm not saying this means I boycott them on principle.
But rather, it means that if I want a regular supply of Coke Zero and want to buy their fruit and vegetables, I now have to visit two stores per shopping cycle*, instead of one.
And you know what? There are closer substitutes to Whole Foods high quality fruit and veg at the povvo supermarket than their are substitutes for Coke Zero among the gourmet artisan Mexican soft drinks, or whatever junk it is they have instead.
The thing I find so funny is that there is no chance that a small amount of shelf space devoted to Coke wouldn't shift some product. Hell, they'll devote entire aisles to ridiculous placebo pills and potions for every conceivable ailment, real or imagined. You're telling me that the fifth brand of echinacea sells more than Diet Coke would in the same shelf space? Don't make me laugh.
So why do they do it?
Simple. Because Whole Foods knows that they're marketing themselves to the demographic of wankers. These people pride themselves in part on not buying soft drinks because they're "bad for you", but clearly that's not enough. Not only do they not want to buy it themselves, they also don't want you to be able to buy it there either. They think that the presence of Coke would somehow taint their wholesome organic good-for-you vibe. With all of the puritan fury they can muster, they're eschewing patronising anyone who sells Coke products because ... well, frankly I've got no idea why. Insert crappy modish cause here.
The people running Whole Foods are no fools, of course. They seem to have estimated that there's far more money to be made appealing to the Anti-Coke puritan crowd than there is to be made appealing to me.
That's fine. It's a free country, they're a free company, and I wish them the best of luck.
But I'll take my low brow dollars somewhere that isn't too pompous to sell me a Coke Zero, and avoid the professional shopping-cart busybodies.
Which is a shame, because they have really good fruit. So it goes.
*The phrase 'shopping cycle' is used under advisement. The original draft read 'week', but then a fit of honesty compelled me to admit that the actual frequency is less than that.