Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Memo 2008: 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' - FTC v. Whole Foods Market, Inc. Version

Pictured above: Whole Foods Market, Inc.'s corporate headquarters in Austin, Texas, on a day without snow.

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house of Whole Foods, not an employee was stirring, not even the CFO's organic whole grain-fed mouse;

The organic cotton fair trade stockings were hung all along the receptionist's counter with care, In hopes that St. Judge Paul Friedman soon would be there;

CEO John Mackey and co-president Walter Robb were nestled all snug in their corner offices, while visions of full dismissal of the FTC case danced in their heads;

And head legal counsel Lanny Davis in his high thread-count artisan hand-made kerchief and co-counsel Paul Denis in his Whole Foods store brand knit cap; had just settled their brains in the conference room from a week-long cold legal snap;

When out in the office complex parking lot arose such a clatter, I (John Mackey) sprang from my locally-made sustainable bamboo desk chair to see what was the matter.

Away to the office lobby window I flew like a flash, tore open the recycled-wood shutters and threw up the green-certified sash.

The moon on the beast of the new fallen snow (snow in Texas, what global warming?) gave a luster of midday to objects below;

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But a miniature sleigh and two grown men and a woman dressed as reindeer;

With a serious-faced driver, so determined looking and slick, I knew in a minute it must be ... FTC Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch. [Click here.]

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, and he whistled and shouted and called them by name;

'Now Commissioner Kovacic!, now Commissioner Jones Harbour!, and Commissioner Leibowitz! all.

To the top of the Austin corporate headquarters building, to the top of the wall! Now dash away, dash away, dash away all!'

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;

So up to the building-top the coursers they flew, with the sleigh full of injunctions, subpoenas and writs, And a bound and blindfolded Judge Paul Friedman too.

And then in a twinkling I heard on the roof The prancing and pawing of each Gucci-clad hoof.

As I drew in my head and was turning around, Down the lobby chimney (made of 100% reclaimed brick) FTC Commissioner Rosch came, holding Judge Friedman who was blindfolded and bound;

Rosch was dressed all in non-sustainable fur from his head to his foot, and his non-organic cotton and wool clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

A bundle of legal injunctions, subpoenas and more he had flung on his back, And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! His look was so steely, his nose like a cherry;

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the synthetic fake beard (no doubt made in China) on his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke it encircled his swell head like a wreath.

He had a broad face and a bit of a belly (no organic eater he) That shook, when he strutted, like a bowl full of discount supermarket store brand jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old FTC Commissioner, and I laughed when I saw him (remembering we asked Judge Friedman for Rosch's e-mails), in spite of myself -- Rahodeb.

The steel in his eyes and the turn of his head Soon gave me know I had much to dread.

He said not a word, but went straight to work, and filled the stocking marked John Mackey with injunctions, supoenas and writ after writ; then turned with a jerk.

And laying his finger aside his nose, And giving a nod, he grabbed blindfolded and bound Judge Friedman, and up the LEED Platinum-certified lobby chimney they rose.

Commissioner Rosch sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, and away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight, 'Happy Christmas to all, except to the other side in this fight!'"

-With apologies to Clement C. Moore

[Copyright, December 24, 2008: Natural~Specialty Foods Memo-NSFM]

[Click here for a bibliography of recent coverage in NSFM of the FTC-Whole Foods issue. Scroll to the bottom at the linked page. For readers not familar with FTC v. Whole Foods, the posts in the linked bibliography offer a roadmap.]

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