Whole Foods boss John Mackey said he literally had a dream that the upscale supermarket merged with Amazon — a year and a half before the $13.7 billion deal was announced last week.
“I woke up, and I told my wife about it. And she said, ‘That’s crazy.’” Mackey said, drawing guffaws from employees at a town hall meeting on Friday. “I said, ‘I know. That’s really weird, isn’t it?’”
Now that the companies have announced their tie-up, Mackey went on to say he is completely over the moon about Amazon.
“It’s been a whirlwind courtship,” Mackey said at the Friday meeting, a transcript of which was disclosed in a Monday securities filing.
Mackey explained that he and his top execs first “flew up to Seattle” to talk with Amazon about a possible merger a little over six weeks ago.
“We just fell in love. It was truly love at first sight,” Mackey added. “This is not — this is not a Tinder relationship.”
At the all-hands meeting, Mackey said that Amazon may launch other supermarket brands with lower standards and prices once the companies complete their merger.
Amazon plans to keep the high standards at Whole Foods, Mackey said, adding, “They’re not stupid enough to go change that.”
But Mackey also said that “Over time, there could be other formats that evolve that — that might — wouldn’t be branded Whole Foods Market, potentially, wouldn’t be our standards.”
The Whole Foods chief said Amazon’s technology will help the grocer transform from “class dunce” into “valedictorian.” Amazon, which made a splash last year with a checkout-free grocery store, has denied reports that it plans to automate the jobs of Whole Foods cashiers.
Amazon’s focus on frugality contrasts with Whole Foods, known to have higher costs than peer grocers.
“It’s too early to talk about how benefits and compensation may synch up,” Mackey said of the topic, after jesting that Whole Foods employees will get free Amazon…