How ’bout them apples?

The following fictional dialogue was inspired by real life events. This dialogue contains narrative roots connected firmly to the social epidemic every college student experiences as they scroll through their Facebook and Instagram feed during the Autumnal Equinox. Reader discretion advised.

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Michael Rozyne of Red Tomato picks up his phone and dials John Mackey at Whole Foods. He’s put on hold by John’s assistant for twenty minutes, all of which he tries to figure out a Rubik’s Cube as he slouches back in his chair. Michael almost finishes his last façade, green, when John picks up. 

John: Hello?

Michael: Hey John! How have you been? You’re always so hard to get ahold of.

John: Yeah, I don’t really have a lot of time. What’s up?

Michael: Ok, I’ll make this short and sweet. I have a couple supply chain interns here that go to Harvard and they were telling me about your two Whole Foods that are only a couple blocks from each other in downtown Cambridge. What did they say…River and Prospect? Well anyway, someone caught them on their phones on the job, and almost fired them on the spot. But then they overheard them talk about something that could be an idea. I guess they were looking through Instagram of Facebook or something, and they were talking about how so many of these “basics” love apples and the Look Out Farm in Natick. I guess it’s trendy to go apple picking or something on the weekend. Well anyway, they were sent to my office. So I asked them what “basics” were, and I didn’t really get a straight answer, but I understand it as a description that serves as an umbrella for a large group of younger people. Then I realized, Belkin Family Lookout Farm is one of Red Tomato’s largest and oldest apple distributors and we don’t distribute their apples to Whole Foods! I’m not trying to substitute the actual experience of apple picking, and Lookout’s apples aren’t certified organic, but I think if you offered Lookout apples in your Cambridge stores, you’d get a positive response. I would love to figure a way to bring Lookout apples and apple cider to your stores…I think they even have apple cider donuts!

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John: Ok, that was not short or sweet. Right now, we’re only interested in buying organic produce from you, and from my understanding, Red Tomato does not have any organic apple suppliers. I’m sorry.

Michael: Where are your apple suppliers located?

John: Most of our suppliers are from down South for most of our US Whole Foods stores.

Michael: We could provide cheaper apples to these two stores in downtown Cambridge, with an immensely lower carbon footprint. Look Out isn’t certified organic, but their practices are very sustainable. This year is a great apple year, and all orchards in the northeast are producing abundant product, so I could get you a great price. You know we ship our produce in less than 24 hours, so everything would be fresh. Even the donuts!

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John: We’re only interested in organic, sorry. Harvard students are smart and educated. They are interested in ethical food production and demand organic food.

Michael: I’m sure they would appreciate apples that weren’t prematurely picked and weren’t shipped thousands of mile. Offering apples from Look Out Farm would contribute to an ethical and sustainable food system that supports local farmers. I think just some clear labeling would help. If there was a sign next to the apples that said “Lookout Farm in Natick”, Harvard students would immediately be drawn to those apples.

John: This is literally a waste of my time. These are two stores out of almost 1,200 I have in the US. You’re stressing me out and I’m late for my yoga.  Bye.

Michael: Align your cha-

John hangs up on Michael. Michael stares blankly at his Rubik’s cube, the green façade still unfinished.

Michael: Chakra for me.

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4 thoughts on “How ’bout them apples?”

  1. Unique comparison, yet I think it worked very well. Although Red Tomato and Whole Foods seem to be trying to achieve the same goal in moving away from the quintessential products at a grocery store (Whole Foods in being the actual store and Red Tomato being the distributor), I think that the scale and difference in business organizations would definitely provide for some friction in a conversation.


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