Mom Banned From Whole Foods For Inadvertent Shoplifting

A woman in Chicago who purchased $40 in groceries at Whole Foods but was later snagged by security with a purloined bottle of kids vitamins in her bag is now persona non grata at the overpriced grocery chain.

According to the banned shopper, she had just wrapped up a bit of food shopping with her two kids at her local Whole Foods when she remembered that she had forgotten to get some chewable vitamins. And amid all the distraction — kid needing to pee, husband texting her, etc — she says she didn’t realize she’d put the vitamins in her bag until after security flagged her down in the parking lot.

When confronted, she expressed her embarrassment and offered to pay, but the guard escorted her inside where a manager photographed her and officially exiled her from Whole Foods forever.

Displeased with being labeled a shoplifter, the woman escalated her complaint to Whole Foods management. She received a response from that store’s team leader, in which he defended both the store’s policy and the actions of the guard.

And though he told her he would reinstate her, allowing her to shop at Whole Foods once again, he did bring up a good question: “Would you want me in your home if you found me leaving your home with property of yours?”

Things then went from bad to strange for the woman, who subsequently received a demand from a collection agency for $250 on behalf of Whole Foods. A rep for the grocery chain now says that was a mistake and the woman is not expected to pay.

It’s all left her with a bad taste in her mouth:

Protocol or no protocol, Whole Foods projects an environment of community and friendliness, and it’s not real… They didn’t leave the slightest margin for human error. I’m just a frazzled mom.

Where do you come down on Whole Foods’ zero-tolerance policy? Should they have just let her pay for the vitamins since she’d already purchased $40 worth of groceries? Or is it better that they show their policy will be enforced regardless of the situation?

Whole Foods Versus Shoplifters: The Conundrum []

Thanks to Gene for the tip!