Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I joined the Coop; Episode 2: Orientation (overstrike), Hazing

Orientation. Hazing.

I get it.  You can't just shop there, it ain't key food.  You can't just pay a fee and shop there, it ain't the Price Club.  You have to join.  You have to work (do a shift).  You have to understand the rules by reading the 48 page Membership Manual.  

It has a chapters called "E. “Banking” FTOPs While on an ABCD Squad ." and "What to Do When You Don’t Have a Squad Leader ."   So they know nobody is gonna read it so we have to have to read to us at  "Orientation".

We were all wearing black, but not like this.
It starts at 10am, I arrive when my watch says 10:00:30.  The door is shut, a curtain is covering the glass  and the door knobs a tied together with recycled twist ties.  (Not the 3rd thing but the door is shut and the sign say Orientation in Progress DO NOT ENTER.).  

They let me in.  I missed the brunch.  Oh, well I was home eating breakfast. My last meal of processed cereal with milk sucked out of the teets of torchered cows.  So the nice lady first asked if there are any questions before we start.  Yea, I have a question.  I don't want to waist everyone's time.  It applies to this rule on Page 2
All adults over the age of 18 who live together in a household are required to join the Coop. The Coop defines a household as two or more people who share all or some domestic responsibility. All family members (parents, siblings, partners, etc.) who live together and are over the age of 18 are required to join the Coop. There are no exceptions to this rule. The Coop sells much more than food, so if you and your roommate(s) share any household items, we consider you to be a household. This rule upholds the Coop's guiding principle: to regularly benefit from our low prices one must contribute labor
Ya see my wife will not work in the Coop, She will not enter the Coop.  There are many reasons, including but not limited to "It smells like cheese".  But really she works long hours and I take care of the house.  That is the deal.

"Yes, I have a question.  Can I do all my wife's shifts?"  "Yes, of course, many members do all the shifts for their partner, but it is important that she do something for you to make up for all the extra work you are doing"

What, WTF, what the fuck, WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU JUST SAY?.  I only know your name because you are wearing it on a sticker on you shirt and you are giving me marital advice.  WTF, I will be married 20 years in June and have been with my wife for much longer than you ave been alive.  ARE YOU TELLING ME HOW TO RUN MY MARRIAGE?

I answer "She goes to work and gets paid, is that an OK trade off".  Everyone smiled and nobody got killed. That was close.

Then we all introduce our selves and have to say what our favorite thing is that comes our of the ground. OK, this is what I signed up for. 

So the talking part ends and the new membership crew walks in to take our paperwork and take our pictures.  They wont take my photo  

"We have to verify you wife's address"  

"But I just showed you my gas bill that has both our names on it."  

"No, we need to see her photo ID.  


"She can come anytime, just walk up to the office and verify her ID"


"then come to any orientation"

;{  ack.

She does.  She walks in the the Coop with her driver's license in hand and guess what?  They yell at her.  We can't look at your ID now TO BUSY, TO BUSY, TO BUSY.  We are closing early for inventory.


So after they close early we go in together.  She proves she lives in same place as me.  We both get our photos taken and I sign up for 2 shifts.  So far so good.  She still has to go to an orientation.  That ain't gonna happen,  But I can shop.


  1. That sounds a bit extreme IMO. I mean I'm all for having rules/guidelines but theirs sound just a bit over the top.

  2. Yeow-za. I'm with GeorgiaSnail... did the orientation have kool-aid?

  3. I would have totally beat a hippy if I'd been your wife!

  4. You should make a documentary of your experience, because being as independent and outspoken as you are, it's probably only a matter of time before the collective starts to turn on you, or you max out on your tolerance for their unique brand of BS. :)

  5. Hey, I told you to not go to orientation late. But would you listen?

    The Food Coop is an easy target. Easy to make fun of - like shooting fish in a barrel. Unforunately, it only works because it has rules. How else could a multi-million $ organization that primarily relies on the labor of 14,000 people who only work 3 hrs a month actually survive for 35 years?

    Try to get on a shift that will not give you 2 make-ups even if you have an excuse for not working. If you can do that, you'll be happy, meet some nice people, eat well, and save some money. Oh, and it's perfectly OK to continue to buy your toilet paper and Pringles at key food.

    I think you'll like it in spite of it all.


You do not have to be nice!

This is not me

This is not me
Not me.

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