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Eight Things to Expect Now that Amazon Has Bought Whole Foods

For plastic, click here.  For paper, click here. To use your own bag, go to a real store.
For plastic, click here. For paper, click here. To use your own bag, go to a real store. Andrew Hitchcock at Flickr

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4. Customer Service Is So 20th Century

If you’ve ever had to reach a real live person at Amazon, you know that it’s a huge pain. Amazon goes to great lengths to avoid putting you in contact with a human being: The company offers e-mail options, vast databases of previously asked questions, even those live-chat things where you’re never sure if you’re talking with a person or a very canny retail version of that ELIZA early-AI program that could mimic an actual therapist. In short: With Amazon taking over Whole Foods, good luck getting anyone on the phone.

click to enlarge Somehow, the past is more charming painted on brick. - PORSCHE BROSSEAU AT FLICKR
Somehow, the past is more charming painted on brick.
Porsche Brosseau at Flickr
3. Another Nail in the Coffin of Main Street USA
Downtowns all over America have been suffering for decades now; what used to be bustling streets with busy mom-and-pop storefronts have by and large turned into struggling areas with boarded-up windows, For Lease signs and a lot of broken, small-business dreams. Amazon moving into brick-and-mortar retail isn’t going to help; while Amazon’s Whole Foods is expected to negatively affect the numbers for grocery stores across the board, the small stores will suffer disproportionately. Your own personal Mayberry probably won’t ever be the same, but at least Bruce Springsteen might sing about it sometime.


2. Saving Money...Short-Term

Will Amazon embrace a low-price leader approach in high-end groceries, as it’s carefully courted for nearly every other sort of product on its website for years? Chances are good that attractive (read: lower) pricing is going to be at least a part of its overall strategy, and that might mean cheaper stuff in the short term — especially staples like milk and cereal and eggs and toilet paper. Oh, wait, I’m sorry: almond milk, Organic Puffins cereal, cage-free local eggs, and recycled toilet paper that has the approximate thickness of a shadow on the sidewalk.

click to enlarge How the Lasso of Truth might affect pricing has yet to be determined. - CHARLIE DAVIES AT FLICKR
How the Lasso of Truth might affect pricing has yet to be determined.
Charlie Davies at Flickr
1. Amazonian Foods
If Amazon/Whole Foods could get Wonder Woman as its spokesperson, it would be a retail slam dunk. (And if you can’t get Gal Godot…Lynda Carter is just as perfect.)

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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen