Exactly what is going on at Whole Foods??

I’ve never seen so many empty shelves at Whole Foods, and I often shop late-night on a Sunday. Are people Covid-19 shopping? Or is the joint just falling apart? I asked a few tellers — they did say they had never seen it as packed as it was on Saturday. There were just four loaves of challah left in the entire bread case.

That was around 8. And then this at 9:


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  1. I noticed this on Friday evening, but it appears to be worse now! Some, like me, were there to pick up a few things for dinner, while others looked to be preparing for an apocalypse and had carts full of water, pasta and other staples. WF has had some supply chain/stocking issues over the years (recently hardly any rice for weeks!) so I query if that is also an issue.

  2. I was at Target this afternoon and the workers were laughing about how customers have bought all the canned foods and soups off the shelves!

  3. I saw people buying VAST amounts of toilet paper at Target.

  4. The dried beans and rice set at WF recently changed vendors/warehouses so that’s why that set was thin/empty for a while. Other items were definitely COVID. My local store was super busy – like holiday times busy – this past weekend because of the virus scare.

  5. Obviously there’s a run on food supplies because everyone is freaked out..but WF has really cut back on the number of cashiers as well as they no longer stock the shelves early in the am before opening..so the aisles are often blocked by people restocking shelves…add in all the strollers and it’s really hard to move around the store.
    My conspiracy theory is that they’re trying to make the shopping experience so unpleasant that people will just have everything delivered.
    I looked around me while shopping there recently and I was the only person shopping for myself, all the other people were fulfilling orders for delivery.

    • It is true that people are being irrational right now because of the virus. However when you comment about trends you’re noticing in the story on a regular basis it’s because of amazon. They’ve cut labor budgets immensely across the board. They raised the minimum wage but then cut the money to actually pay people so there’s no hours. They have also added literal amazon work for WF employees to deal with, not amazon employees. Working there you are basically an amazon employee with a WF name tag. Amazon tech support, an amazon return desk, amazon prime sales person, amazon prime now shopper, etc etc on top of WF responsibilities. Thereby leading to a miserable shopping experience and a less than ideal work environment. The company isn’t what it used to be; amazon is destroying it faster than wild fire.

      • Exactly. Two different employees confirmed that WF has cut hours of part-time workers. Apparently, at least as far as the daily empty shelves of pasta are concerned, an employee remarked that they have plenty of stock but not enough employees to put it on shelves on a daily basis. Also, and this is not directly related to the thread, why doesn’t WF stock whole wheat pasta ? There are numerous non-wheat choices – pasta made with rice, artichokes, quinoa, etc. — but no whole wheat? When whole wheat does appear on the shelves, it is that of an expensive imported niche brand. Why?

      • Whole Foods is now a place for AMAZON Prime. My daughter works for WF and things have changed for the worse. I cannot understand how Amazon thinks that they are going to continue to keep the business running as it. Shelves are empty all the time, employees are pulled from their duties to stock in the mornings, Amazon prime employees barge in front of store customers to get items for home deliveries. Amazon should take a look at being the the food retail industry, WF used to be a store that you could enjoy shopping at.

  6. MAKES me wonder..Flu has killed 18,000 so far in US alone compare that to Coronavirus… 1 billion get flu each year and we have deaths in the hundred thousands.Why are we acting like this??? We are so controlled like pupoets..

  7. 365 the whole foods label company shut down
    They are scrambling to find a new provider!

    • This is untrue. They recently rebranded the 365 line, but the suppliers didn’t “shut down” and they aren’t scrambling to do anything.

  8. As someone who works at Whole Foods. Our orders the past week have been doubled. We don’t have a night crew and our loads are coming in super late. So now we stocking until 7pm when our big rush is. Whole Foods needs a night crew and without it with any problems we are stuck stocking until late in the afternoon. We also have absolutely no room for back stock so it’s suppose to be truck to shelf.

  9. I work inside WF all the time and NEVER see this – I am here on the weekends. No inventory issues in over 5 stores in DFW.

  10. Shame on everyone under 50 who’s buying up food they don’t need and preventing elderly people who are the most susceptible to dying from coronavirus from getting food themselves.


    Sheep. Lemmings. Herd.

  11. All supermarkets seem to be affected. Is this justified precaution or excessive panic about the virus? I suppose we will only know in retrospect.

    Gothamist mentions (and shows photos of) the Whole Foods shelves on Bowery, similarly depleted:


  12. As an Employee of Amazon, this is Everyday & over in the Beauty & Health care area folks done bought out all the items. Technically people are freaking out over the Corona virus ???? & shopping online, this really doesn’t matter, cause what if an employee has it & it’s still coming into your home. Items really has been low at all the stores.

  13. First, yes people are in a panic. The Greatest Generation lived bravely and with dignity through the difficulties of the immigrant experience, the Great Depression, and WW2..and then the Korean War. Forget Covid19, a forcast of a few inches of snow sends our cupcake neighborhood in a buying panic: it’s a disgrace.
    Second, WF incredibly has zero retail competition. Unless you go up to an inconvenient Spring Street Trader Joes there is nothing in FIDI, Tribeca or Soho on the west side other than the less than stellar Gristedes in BPC.
    Third, see Second…zero competition has made them the 800 pound Gorilla in the room, and they flaunt it. After 8am on most mornings they have a handful of registers open, and its not unusual to find 15 to 20 people on line. Go to Trader Joe’s at 8am opening and they have more registers open than customers, plus uncluttered aisles.
    Nothing will change until a TJ, Aldi, or Wegman moves into lower Manhattan.

    • I agree with most of this. I work at a Chicago/Evanston WF . We hadve competition of a trader joes, and a jewel (across the street from each other) 3 block radius. We lost customers for a very short time then gained them back. Plus more even after Amazon integration. To respond to a few other comments. Have lost no cashier’s other than ones who actually wanted to move on and I get a very consistent 40hr work week. Not all WF operations/conditions are as they seem. Some of my customers put more of a spin on things than need to be.

  14. This is bad, and so are the people buying out all the medication in Target. So sick people (maybe not even from COVID 19) have nothing. Takes a screwed-up individual to stockpile like that with only a handful of cases in NYC at the moment.

  15. I went to T.J. this morning (Thursday) and there was plenty of everything on the shelves. A walk, a bit of exercise, a little wheeled carrier for the groceries — what could be better?

  16. Whole Foods seems to be cutting costs by moving all their operations to our sidewalks.