English-Only at Whole Foods?

Ruben Navarrette, CNN, June 12, 2013


Bryan Baldizan and Lupe Gonzales–two employees of a Whole Foods Market in Albuquerque, New Mexico–say that they were suspended for speaking Spanish on the job and complaining to a manager who told them, in a staff meeting, that a company policy required them to speak English.

Who would have thought? Hispanics make up a staggering 46.7% of New Mexico’s population, and many of those folks have roots that run deep in the Land of Enchantment.

New Mexicans do not play games when it comes to preserving language and culture. They take their right to speak Spanish seriously. New Mexico’s state constitution does not declare an official language, and it protects Spanish and American Indian languages. So you can’t have English-only policies there.


Now, Baldizan and Gonzales got in trouble. Granted, their suspension at Whole Foods only lasted a day, and it was with pay.

So the individual employees didn’t suffer much harm. But there are those who believe that the cultural traditions of the state of New Mexico took a slap in the face. This isn’t the end of this. Not even close.

How did the company respond? Take your pick. It’s multiple choice.

At first, Whole Foods spokeswoman Libba Letton told the Associated Press that the employees misunderstood the reason they were disciplined and that they were actually suspended for being “rude and disrespectful.” In the context of employees talking to their boss, it’s pretty clear that what she really meant to say was that they were “insubordinate.”

Letton also told AP that the employees were never told they couldn’t speak Spanish, and that there is no policy in place at the company that prohibits people from speaking a foreign language.


Ben Friedland, executive marketing coordinator for Whole Foods Market Rocky Mountain Region, issued a statement acknowledging that the company believes that “having a uniform form of communication is essential to a safe and efficient working environment.”

Therefore, the statement said, “our policy states that all English speaking Team Members must speak English to customers and other Team Members while on the clock.”


It went on: “Team Members are free to speak any language they would like during their breaks, meal periods and before and after work.”


And what if a Spanish-speaking customer wants to come in and pay too much for an organic apple? They thought of that, too.

The statement continues: “Additionally, this policy does not apply to conversations among Team Members and customers if all parties present agree that a different language is their preferred form of communication.”

Then, of course, there was the PR sprinkled with PC.

“At Whole Foods Market, we take pride in the diversity of our Team Member and customer base. We recognize with this diversity comes the challenge of different languages spoken.”

See, there’s the problem right there. The fact that an employee speaks more than one language isn’t a challenge to be overcome. It’s a valuable asset that provides one’s company with limitless opportunities.

And, after all that effort and all those words, the folks responsible for communicating for Whole Foods still weren’t sure they were communicating well enough.

So Letton circled back around and tried to edit Friedland’s statement, telling USA Today in an e-mail that saying employees “must speak English” was “an overstatement.”

The final word is that the company now says that it would review the policy. {snip}


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  • Jefferson

    Hispanics make up 16 percent of the U.S population, yet I doubt very much that Hispanics make up 16 percent or higher of customers who shop at Whole Foods.

    And that is because most people who shop at Whole Foods are higher income earners, a class bracket which Hispanics are underrepresented in.

    • The__Bobster

      Their clientele are the SWPL types.

      • exLibtard

        In other words, they’re the type who would clutch their pearls at the thought of such “bigotry” and “racism” on the part of Whole Foods, yet live in neighborhoods with virtually no hispanics.

        • NordicHeritage

          Or your typical suburban yuppies.

      • Jefferson

        SWPL types with lots of disposable income. Your average squat monster can not afford to shop at Whole Foods.

      • Morris LeChat

        yep, the DWL’s are showing the “D”ness. This is one store that I hate, the sanctimoniousness that permeates the air is so thick one can cut it with a knife. It hits one in the face when one walks in and comes from the customers and the staff. I have never seen people who are so sure that their BLANK doesn’t stink! I have been in this store a couple of times to see if they had something for a “gluten free” relative.I am haunted by the specter of this sanctimonious white lib lady carrying this sickly ,scrawny, weak looking little blonde boy of about 8, ordering some “vegetarian” pizza slice for him. It was clear she fed him only vegetarian food and it was also clear that he was seriously malnourished. What incredible cruelty. I also noticed that all of their prepared food looked and smelled really awful. I think if one took cardboard, soaked it in water and vegetable oil with some sauce added, you’d have the same product. The amazing thing though is that the people who shop there act like they are doing the world a favor and experience some sort of religious feeling about what they eat.

        • I only go there because their seeds (sunflower, walnut, cashew) are actually cheap compared to other retailers.

    • Greg Thomas

      And look how much of a problem they are at 16%.

  • Because it’s Whole Paycheck, not Wal-Martinez.

    • Jefferson

      Where I live, Whole Foods mostly looks like a Whitopia with a sizable minority of Asians sprinkled in.

      While the Walmart and Target in my area racially looks like Guatemala.

      • The one in my area always has a few uppity entitled black women with vulgar manners in it which makes shopping in a store that has way too much merchandise in it very unpleasant.

      • Whole Paycheck is the official grocer of the SWPL set. Methinks the mangler of that particular location didn’t want it to become too vibrant and comprehensive.

      • MBlanc46

        I think that probably characterizes those establishments in most parts of the US.

        • Morris LeChat

          Interesting thing where I live. There are several Walmarts. The one where I live used to get the Third worlders and the blacks, but another one opened up much closer to a nearby city, and now mine is all white. The number of extremely obese people has dwindled to the point that it is a rarity.

          • MBlanc46

            An all-white Wal-Mart. That is an oddity.

          • Morris LeChat

            Is it?

  • T_Losan

    This guy speaks in cliches, mangles English, demonstrates marginal critical skills, but is a syndicated journalist. People like him are the reason non-whites think that the gravy train will last forever.

    • Xerxes22

      Rueben Navarrette is one of those angary Latinos who is always screaming about White racism. He also pretends to be a conservative. The kind that Lindsey Graham, John McCain and the Bush brothers just can’t get enough of.

      • mobilebay

        Senor Navarette was born here, probably second or third generation, but he threw his lot in with the invaders a long time ago. Seems it’s okay by him for our southern borders to continue to be a sieve for anyone who wants to come in. Pro-illegals like Ruben never give a thought to what this is doing to our country. They have a single-mined agenda…get as many Hispanics in here as possible and make them the ruling class. Guess we’ll be as economically solvent as Mexico then. I have yet to hear any of the amnesty gang suggesting that the countries south of our border get their corrupt leaders out and start taking care of their own instead of urging their people to destroy us. As Rep. King said, “We don’t owe them anything!”

      • Formerly_Known_as_Whiteplight

        I’ve been writing critical replies to his CNN posts for years.

  • MekongDelta69

    According to Ruben Navarrette, Mexico is the “Land of Enchantment.”

    Enchantment‘ = Narco-terrorists, drug warlords, illiteracy, beheadings, kidnappings, rapes, torture, border-jumping, muslim infiltrators, super-high unemployment, white(i.e. ‘gringo’)-hating, destroyed infrastructure, 2nd to 3rd world status, etc., etc., ad infinitum.

    Damn Ruben – you’ve sure nailed it ‘ese.’

    • Xerxes22

      No, New Mexico is called the “Land of Enchantment”. Once the state become predominately Mexican it becomes the “Land of Poverty and Drug Gangs”.

    • mobilebay

      June 8, 2013, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram –
      “DFW now a ‘command and control’ center for Mexican Drug Cartels.”
      Guess that’s where they sign up for citizenship…

  • ncpride

    New Mexicans do not play games when it comes to preserving language and culture. They take their right to speak Spanish seriously.
    Too bad the European people who built this country don’t take their language and culture just as seriously, and demand these ‘mexicans’ speak the language whose country they are in. If Spanish is so important to them, the border is just a ‘jump’ away.

    • NordicHeritage

      It seems like all I see in the stores in my area as of late are latinos with about 6 kids in tow a new suv and on the dole.

      • ncpride

        We haven’t seen a full invasion in this rural area yet, but they are slowly creeping in. It’s only a matter of time before I’ll be making statements like yours, I’m sure.

  • The__Bobster

    Now, Baldizan and Gonzales got in trouble. Granted, their suspension at Whole Foods only lasted a day, and it was with pay.

    Isn’t there another name for that? Isn’t it called VACATION?

  • The__Bobster

    At first, Whole Foods spokeswoman Libba Letton told the Associated Press that the employees misunderstood the reason they were disciplined and that they were actually suspended for being “rude and disrespectful.” In the context of employees talking to their boss, it’s pretty clear that what she really meant to say was that they were “insubordinate.”

    Now that sounds about right. I’ve found these squatty little ball-like peons to be very pushy in imposing their inferior culture upon us.

    • NordicHeritage

      And they do that because they have leaned from blacks that all they need to do is claim racism or some other AA bs and they will get their way.

  • Talltrees

    Yes, the Spaniards become really angry.


  • puffdaddy

    When New Mexico becomes 100% Hispanic/Mexican I wonder where the CNN “contributor” will move? He’s gonna hate it. http://freefabulousgirl.com/2013/06/13/one-more-reason-to-shop-at-whole-foods/

  • mobilebay

    Be careful when you speak English in your own country – it insults the invaders.

  • Lop_Eared_Galoot

    Reconquista folks. The Hispanics will soon own the Southwest and Western U.S. When they have the numeric majority, they will be able to dictate that there areas of occupation be Spanish-speaking and it will be whites who understand what it is to be strangers in a strange land. We know this because that is the way it already is in places like LA where, no matter which party is the non-white, in mixed households, the home language is Spanish.
    Of course bohemian (that’s 19th century speak for multicult ‘anti-establishmentarianists’ btw.) SWPL can probably afford the time and certainly have the cultural contempt to make the language switch as cultural betrayal easy.
    But they won’t. Because they will be long gone to greener ($$$) as whiter pastures where they will exercise their divisive liberalism all over again.
    And this is where you need to make a stand because Mexico is the way it is as a 10% white ruled ‘color continuum’ racist oligarchy running the monopolies of telecoms, industry, oil and tourism in a society of runaway poverty BECAUSE 60% of the population remain indigene Indian, their social immobility resulting from an absence of IQ to do better.
    And when ‘New’ Mexicans stand alone in the empty shells of their workplaces because none of the remaining population one can afford to pay their whole paycheck for food, they too will attempt to leave the desolation of their genes to find another rich land to squat in. They will take the Reconquista deeper. Like locusts.
    This is why it is best to acknowledge the reality of life and let the aftermath of Mexican occupation of everywhere south of Colorado and Utah be it’s own lesson in who we are vs. what they are.
    Give the Hispanics the West. Give at least part of the East to the Blacks and other people of color deemed ‘not Casta enough’ to be part of the Hispanic state. And understand what the cost of resettling the 1.83 TFR White nation to a mid-continental state between the Rockies and Mississippi is going to be in terms of trading agro for industry and housing across a much reduced territorial range. Plan for it. And make sure you create startup rules which are about sustaining the wealth of whites as the central ‘core value’ by which we make racism a matter of pragmatic survival necessity. As most assuredly the Hispanics and Blacks already do with their racist notions.
    We have lost this country. But not yet our nation as our genes. That is the last violation which we are not /yet/ destined to endure.

  • Morris LeChat

    Can one REALLY have a spanish speaking person stocking the shelves with “fair trade” products?

  • Morris LeChat

    I guess one can’t say “fair trade product” in spanish at “whole Foods”

  • John Smith

    I’ve never understood the liberal mantra that being unable to communicate with each other somehow makes us all stronger.

    • Morris LeChat

      i thought it was when we “come together” that we are stronger

  • ms_anthro

    I agree. Whole Foods is a product of wholesome White culture. High prices aside, the shopping experience there is similar to what I imagine it was like in most grocery stores in America 30 years ago: safe, clean, well-organized, reasonably friendly, with almost all White customers and staff. Trader Joe’s has a similar feel to it.

    • Formerly_Known_as_Whiteplight

      It’s also a direct product of the hippie, health food, organic culture, with all the health trends and charletanism that this implies. When it began, the point was to make healthy food affordable to people on low incomes that didn’t want to eat corporate farm mash. But by the end of the 1970s, Whole Foods, a Texas based corporation (at least then) was buying up struggling natural food stores and old co-ops (like the one I belonged to). These stores then became boutiques with boutique/novelty prices. Soon, even your old feed store became a boutique and you couldn’t buy commodities anywhere. (I’ve got a few chickens now, but the feed prices is not “chicken feed.” It hardly makes having chickens worthwhile. The trick is that you’ve got to grow your own feed (worms, larvae).

      I don’t go to the Whole Foods in my area where I live today. I tried it a few times and caught them several times pricing my fish and meat a dollar higher than the prices on the items in the refrigerated display notated. Once, I found a one pound piece of ham (just regular ham) in a refrigerated bin for $47.00!

      • Morris LeChat

        YEP! This chain is a total rip off, it is just liberals buying their “indulgences”. They pay twice as much for something “LABELED” ‘fair trade’ or “organic”. I have seen outrageous prices there myself, I have also seen dirt. I bought some figs there once and they were full of little worms. They sell every health craze fad nonsense there is and charge hefty prices for it.

        • MBlanc46

          I wonder how many of the folks with the European luxury cars who shop at the Whole Foods nearest me could be called “liberal” by any stretch of the imagination.

      • MBlanc46

        Nothing hippyish or countercultural about it. It was founded in about 1980 by an Austrian-School-Ayn-Rand-influenced libertarian.

        • Formerly_Known_as_Whiteplight

          I didn’t know that “libertarians” even existed then. But I believe that a “profits for me only” type founded it. What they did at least in my neighborhood was perform “hostile takeovers” by buying out locals, whether they wanted to or not. But they bought the “counterculture” cache’ and marketed it, no one can convince me otherwise because I witnessed it personally since 1973. Without that counterculture cache’ made hip, they would have sold one jar of organic peanut butter to hip wannabe for twice its value. (Twice? More like four to ten timies).

          • MBlanc46

            The Libertarian Party dates to the early 1970s. I don’t know exactly when term “libertarian” was appropriated by free market radicals, but free market radicals were on the scene in the late 1940s. So far as the founder of Whole Foods taking over neighborhood shops in 1973, I rather doubt it, because he was only 20 then. But the important point is that what you frame as countercultural is much better construed as upscale, upmarket, or luxury branding. The folks who pull up to Whole Foods in their Audis, Beamers, and Lexuses, which cost twice as much as the Chevys and Fords down at the Jewel, want to pay twice as much for their peanut butter. It’s a marker of status. It shows that they’ve arrived. It’s what Thorstein Veblen called “conspicuous consumption”. It’s almost the exact opposite of the counterculture of the 1960s and early 1970s. In the counterculture, free food was the ideal, although certainly vegetarian and unprocessed food was also highly regarded.

          • saxonsun

            It’s the trends and assumptions of the counterculture becoming mainstream hip then being elevated to status-consciousness.

    • MBlanc46

      I’m a regular at Trader Joe’s. There are definitely no Mexicans in the stores around me. But I saw an article in a local publication that said that they contract illegals for their distribution centers. That was disappointing.

    • saxonsun

      Agreed. Trader Joe’s is much the same…or was. Last Saturday, at a T J’s in a well-off Long Island neighborhood, we saw lots of blacks. Not what I expected and not what I want.

  • joesolargenius

    After reading this I now wish more than ever that I could afford to buy groceries at Whole Foods !

  • Fr. John+

    The language of the majority is the language of the CONQUERING RACE.

    That the largest advocacy group is called, ‘La Raza’ should make things ‘perfectly clear.’
    I asked the organization ‘U.S. English’ back in the 1980’s, why they wouldn’t get behind a law mandating that English be the ‘official language’ of the entire USA- their response.


    Comprende, amigo?

  • rebellisMMXII

    Me too, the store closest to me is a bit out of my way so it doesn’t get the attention it deserves. I don’t get the anger shown on the thread at Whole Foods for catering to upper class whites with a bit of extra to spend on themselves. I find it a very nice shopping experience without the diversity. The owner of Whole Foods took a lot of flak for vocally opposing Obama Care…compared it to fascism. IMO: Whole Foods isn’t an enemy.

    • saxonsun

      Agreed–good post.

  • saxonsun

    And that is the proper/realistic distinction.

  • Paleoconn

    A few ‘maricons’ and ‘putas’ in front ofbthe boss or customers is likely what brought discipline to these professional victims. Nothing to do with language, but everything to do with language, if you get my drift.