Yo, we've got ourselves a real-life, ginuine, Park Slope Food Coop spy, and we're pretty fuckin stoked about it. In this brand new ongoing series, FIPS is gonna go deep into the heart of the belly of the most talked about/made fun of/loved/hated/debated Food Coop in the history of the universe. Needless to say, our spy is gonna keep things stealth anon (so as to avoid getting a hit taken out on her and/or having her membership status suspended).
As far is nieghborhood institutions go, I think the Park Slope Food Coop is sort of like our own Lyndon Johnson: lots of good intentions, some good actions, and a whole mess of terrible (and I'm a member).
In order to ease into things, I thought I'd start off with some FAQ's that I get asked again and again when I reveal to people that I'm a real-life member of "the motherfucking coop," as I like to call it.
Ready? Set. Go:
How long have you been a member?
About 7 months.
How often do you have to work there?
Most shifts are 2 hours and 45 minutes (yeah, it's that effing precise) every 4 weeks (not every month, mind you, every four weeks.)
What do you do when you work there?
I either check people out (which I'm kinda not so good at because I do it so rarely and, uhm...always forget how to use the computer system), or I put produce and items on shelves. Sometimes I restock things, and sometimes I get told to go ask so and so if they have anything for me to do (they don't). Or sometimes I'm told to go look for so and so to see if they need help doing whatever the they do (they don't). At which point I might find another box to unpack. Or maybe I'll sweep or something. Then I'll check and see what time it is (CANNOT. LEAVE. YET). Then maybe I'll check in the freezer to see if they need any help restocking (they don't). Then I'll check and see what time it is again (45 mins left...kill me now). Repeat.
Is the Coop filled with tons of hippie socialist bullshit and people who take themselves way to seriously (i.e. Coopretards)?
YES. I will get into this in detail in future posts.
Is the food at the Coop really that much cheaper?
Yes, it really is astoundingly cheap. Avocados that are delish all year round =. 90 cents each. The most amazing fresh Spanish goat cheese = $1.82. The tastiest store bought pesto I've ever had = $3.21. Really great local produce = all cheaper than any grocery or farmer's market. Gourmet 80% cacao chocolate bars = $2. $7 for a pound of shade grown, fair trade coffee. I could go on. These are the things that make me bend my will to the Coop authority and say: "Thank you sir, may I have another."
Is it worth it overall?
Like S&M, compromising with Republicans, and anonymous blogging, there are pros and cons. I'm really into food, so the bounty I've listed above is a huge pro. However, whenever I go to shop on a weekend, it is so crowded and hellacious that it nearly cancels out my euphoria about all the cheap treats I'm getting. You can't move your cart. People ram into you. There are babies crying. They are often out of what you want. The line snakes through two aisles, and it seems like everyone in front of you has filled up TWO whole shopping carts of cheap Coop deliciousness. Once my mother called me while I was waiting in line and I said to her, "I don't know what I did in a past life to deserve the Coop on a Saturday afternoon." When you finally get home, you feel like you've survived a war zone. So, uhm...TBD.
In the next post, I'll go into some of the insane rules the motherfucking Coop has, along with details of a recent fight I had with one of the full time employees.
[ed note: Holy shit, I literally CANNOT wait. Yay for our Coop Spy!].