Geoff’s post last week on the FTC’s move to block the Whole Foods/Wild Oats merger poked fun at a stupid pun appearing in the agency’s press release: “If Whole Foods is allowed to devour Wild Oats, it will mean higher prices, reduced quality, and fewer choices for consumers. That is a deal consumers should not be required to swallow.” Geoff called the remark “very punny.” I, too, thought the remark was a bit too cute when I read it last Wednesday on the FTC’s website. A number of news articles on the FTC’s decision (e.g., here, here, and here) quoted the same pun from the press release. One assumes it was formulated as a soundbite for news stories.
This morning, I began writing a short op-ed on the Whole Foods/Wild Oats affair for the eSapience Center for Competition Policy, and I wanted to quote some language from the FTC’s press release. Lo and behold, the goofy “deal consumers should not be required to swallow” language has been excised! How odd. Did the Commission decide its cutesy language was a bit flippant, suggesting that its analysis might have been as well? Who knows.