Whole Foods Market building with sign and parking lot

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‘Prepping for the Great Reset’: Conspiracy theorists think Whole Foods’ QR code checkout is ushering in the new world order



Claire Goforth


Posted on Dec 28, 2022

Whole Foods has been rolling out a new system wherein customers scan a QR code upon entry. While shopping, they scan items on their device, thus removing the necessity of going through a checkout to pay. This technology is well behind that of Amazon One, Whole Foods’ parent company’s system that uses biometrics (palm scanning) to accomplish the same without the necessity of opening an app on one’s phone to pull up the QR code.

Conspiracy theorists are fixated on the QR code system. They believe that Whole Foods is implementing a precursor to a social credit system and potentially even the Great Reset.

The Great Reset is an obsession of conspiracy theorists who believe there’s a global plot to create a new world order.

Social credit systems use various metrics ranging from financial solvency and criminal history to more invasive data, such as friendships and behavior, to come up with each individual’s score. China has been developing a social credit system for years.

There are legitimate privacy concerns with technology that tracks shoppers and stores information about their purchases. Data brokerage is big business and growing bigger all the time.

This isn’t the same thing as creating a social credit system or new world order, however. But where others see a technological advance with some privacy concerns, conspiracy theorists see a nefarious plot to remake civilization.

A video posted on Twitter appears to have sparked the baseless rumor that Whole Foods’ use of QR codes is a step toward implementing a social credit system in the United States.

Last week, a Twitter account posted a video of a woman at the entryway of a Whole Foods in Washington, D.C. The video shows several digital turnstiles where customers can scan their QR code to enter and one entrance for those who prefer to pay at the register.

“This is very strange,” she said in the video. “So you can’t even walk into Whole Foods unless you go through this machine? I need my own QR code? How do I get my own QR code?”

She seemed blown away by an employee’s explanation of how the system functions. “Whoa,” she responded. “This is the future of grocery stores. Whoa.”

The tweet is captioned, “Whatever gimmick they try to sell this with, it is nothing short of a draconian surveillance system.”

This video and a second version that appears to have been filmed by the same person took off. They’re all over platforms and websites popular with conspiracy theorists.

“Social credit scoring will look like this. Rationing you, deciding for you and controlling you. For profit,” wrote a conspiratorial Twitter account with 170,000 followers.

Over a dozen tweets about the videos include this caption: “Whole Foods prepping for the Great Reset with people barred from entry without QR codes.” (The video shows a lane for people who don’t have or want to use a QR code.) The most popular of these tweets has been viewed nearly a half-million times.

A blog post about the video claims, “Buying groceries can be linked to a social credit score similar to China’s system.”

A Rumble user wrote of Whole Foods’ QR code system, “Satanic slaves only.”

“Whole Foods has gone straight New World Order. Look at the sheep following cabal commands,” a Twitter user commented.

These comments are an apparent nod to the QAnon conspiracy theory that a cabal of Satanists who molest and eat children control the world.

A Telegram channel with 57,000 subscribers similarly warned people to stop shopping at “satanic companies” like Whole Foods, Amazon, and Walmart based on their use of QR codes and technology that tracks shoppers.

“It’s time patriots put these fuckers out of business & make them struggle just like these communist bastards have been making us struggle,” the channel wrote.

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*First Published: Dec 28, 2022, 11:20 am CST