Business & Finance

Maplewood Woman Detained by Whole Foods Receives Apology and Store Ban is Lifted

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MAPLEWOOD, NJ - In an exclusive interview with TAPinto SOMA, Maplewood resident Marge Dooley, age 70, provided details of her meeting with a Whole Foods Market representative, and her wish to now put the incident behind her. 
 
Dooley was detained on Oct. 4 by officials at the Whole Foods Market in Millburn-Union for an accidental theft in which Dooley did not realize there was cheese that had slipped beneath her purse in the front section of her shopping cart. Margaret Nolan, Dooley's daughter, posted an account of what happened to her mother to a local Facebook group "Swap SOMA Lounge," and from there the story spread with many people leaving comments on the Whole Foods Millburn-Union Facebook page in support of Dooley.
 
Comments continue to be posted to the  Millburn-Union Whole Foods Facebook page, including one this morning from Kathy Docimo who wrote, "Whole Foods, what exactly were you thinking?! You attacked Mrs. Dooley's character in a most awful way. Have you no heart at all? An apology will not correct what happened to this dear woman. How dare you treat customers this way! I have no intention going anywhere your stores. I am taking my business elsewhere."
 
 
Dooley met earlier this week with a representative from Whole Foods who, according to Dooley, "apologized profusely that it was a mistake on their part and not handled the way they would have hoped it would be handled. She gave me a bouquet of flowers, offered to prepare my Thanksgiving dinner, and wanted to give me a $500 Whole Foods gift card."
 
While uninterested in dinner or the gift card for herself, Dooley told the Whole Foods representative that the gift card could be donated to Our Lady of Sorrows Food Pantry, which is located in South Orange and serves the surrounding communities.
 
In addition to the apology, Dooley stated that Whole Foods has removed all mention of the incident from their records, and there is no longer a ban on Dooley visiting any Whole Foods properties.
 
Whole Foods spokesperson Michael Sinatra has issued two statements, one acknowledging that it was "an unfortunate incident," and another confirming that the security firm used by the Millburn-Union Whole Foods store has been replaced.

 
Dooley's story has made national headlines. Despite being a story of national interest, Dooley informed TAPinto SOMA that it is the only media outlet she has spoken to regarding the incident.
 
Dooley also noted that she is not interested in further discussions with either the media or Whole Foods.
 
Even though Dooley is now free to shop at any Whole Foods she would like, when asked if she would do so in the future, Dooley responded, "Not right now, I'm leaving it open. But I doubt it."
 
Multiple emails to Whole Foods requesting comment for this story were not returned.

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