I worked at a two Whole Foods locations in Manhattan about ten years ago.
I wrote about it here. I think even then Whole Foods "team" culture had become lip service. They tried to see themselves as the upstart still taking on Big Grocery, failing to realize they had become Big Grocery.
Much of the leadership were young, ambitious & not terribly experienced. They believed in WF exceptionalism because they had very little basis for comparison.
Of course, from the customers' pov it provided a vast array of worthwhile, if costly, products. Having a 20% discount certainly helped:)
Well written & insightful. Thank you.