Write Us!
We welcome your comments and give each one attention and serious consideration. Send them to or fill out a Customer Comment form in the Owner Resources area. Each month a small selection is printed in the Reader. The rest can be found in the commons or in the binder near Customer Service. Thank you!

Raves for Rachel
Q: We just want to say that Rachel is always a very polite cashier and she does a good job! A raise is in order!

A: Thank you for writing and sharing your experience! I will certainly pass your feeback along to Rachel. -Jesse Thursber, Asst. Front End Manager

Watch what you heat
Q: Kathy Humiston’s article, “Building a Better Breakfast” in your November, 2009 issue of The Willy Street Co-op Reader contained a lot of really good information on a variety of healthful ideas for breakfasts. Unfortunately, it also contained a MAJOR bit of dangerously bad advice in terms of safety. In the section on cooking hot cereal, Humiston recommends placing cereal on the stove to cook, and “while the cereal is cooking, you can jump in the shower, walk the dog or do some reading...” Never, never, NEVER leave the kitchen—/let alone leave the house to walk the dog!—/while food is cooking on the stove! Unattended cooking continues to be the leading cause of fires in the City of Madison, and national fire statistics show that the kitchen is the room in which the most fire injuries and fire origins occur. If you cannot tend to cooking cereal for the entire 10-20 minutes to cook whole grains, then stick with instant cereal and/or microwave preparation. While whole-grain cereal IS good for you, not only should you watch what you eat, but you should watch what you HEAT!

A: Thank you for the reminder to stick around and pay attention when cooking. This is/should be one of the first kitchen safety rules we learn as children. In addition when making breakfast, or any meal, be sure to keep loose clothing and long hair away from the stove. -Kathy Humiston, Newsletter Writer

Both sides
Q: I would just like to express my support for Kathy Humiston after reading the acerbic customer comments she received in the last newsletter (which was very gracious of you to publish). I shop at Willy Street to get foods that boost my immune system and over-all health, I am very glad to hear a voice with healthy skepticism regarding the vaccine. Keep presenting all sides and keep publishing articles that help us to expand our thinking beyond the mainstream!

A: Thanks for your words of support! -Liz Wermcrantz, Editor

I certainly know “crabby” when I see it
Q: I’ve been shopping at Willy Street Coop as a member and non-member for 20 plus years. As the coop has grown, lots of things have changed; some things have stayed the same, however, such as the coop’s commitment to sustainability and locally grown, organic products. As I was browsing through this month’s Reader, I noticed something else that hasn’t changed, and that’s the number of what I consider to be petty, personal complaints leveled at the coop and staff. This month it was “Sick to Death” of asking for a 10 cent bag credit and accusations of “Ossification and Pseudo-corporatization” because someone didn’t receive a refund on a broken bottle. There are at least one or two of these complaints printed each month.
The Coop’s mission statement, as printed on page 2 of the Reader states that the coop’s mission is, in part, to “serve the needs of its Owners and employees.” Perhaps I’m mistaken, but does serving Owner’s needs mean catering to every whim and responding to every mean-spirited and self-centered lambast? In this reader’s opinion, commitment to the cooperative ideal means catering to the larger needs and concerns of the community of owners, including health, the environment, supporting locally grown, sustainable agriculture and providing a variety of products; objectives which the coop does a superlative job of meeting.
I shop at the coop almost every day, and every time I come in I feel an immense sense of gratitude that a place like this exists; a place where I can procure the very best local products available and savor the satisfaction of supporting sustainable products from around the globe. I’m in awe, and aware of how very, very fortunate we are. I’m more interested in hearing about people’s positive experiences at the coop, or learning what they’ve done about particular products, or experiences they’ve had cooking with local produce. I’m much less interested in hearing someone’s personal gripe of the week. Why not consider printing comments with a more useful, less adversarial focus, and if not having them to print is part of the problem, then consider this a call for commentary that’s more about sharing, and less about finger-pointing.
Q: Regarding the letter “Sick to Death” in the November 2009 issue of the Willy Street Reader:
I can’t help but wonder why, given all the problems in the world today, people can’t find better things to do with their time and energy than complain about having to ask for a bag credit....or if someone does in fact have that much extra time and energy on their hands why they aren’t out making sandwiches for homeless people or advocating for their chronically ill neighbors who have no health insurance. I have to admit, sometimes I find myself avoiding Willy St. Coop simply because of the crabby, sour customers who invariably stand in front of me in line and scowl when I smile at them. Let me also mention that I moved here from NY, so I certainly know “crabby” when I see it. How about we all just keep things in perspective? And anyway, this is supposed to be a “co-op”—meaning that everyone should be willing to pitch in a little. Crikey! Be happy you can AFFORD to buy groceries in the first place!

A: Thank you for taking the time to write. Each month, we try to choose a balance of Customer Comments to print. Due to the length and importance of the comments in November, we weren’t able to provide the same balance. We try to balance positive comments with complaints, simple requests with more complex requests.  -Liz Wermcrantz, Editor

Sauerkraut success
Q: A huge shout out and thank you to Katie for her wonderful article in last month’s (October’s) newsletter about making homemade sauerkraut. Finally, after years of wanting to try making it but not wanting to invest in a crock, I finally had the guts and additional knowledge to make some in a reused gallon jar. I’m happy to report it was completely successful and I’ll probably need to make more soon.

A: Thank you so much! We are very excited to have Katie contributing more regularly to the Reader. Her article also inspired me to plan some sauerkrautin’! -Liz Wermcrantz, Editor

Beware: healthy food ahead!
Q: Need warning label on salad bar: “Regular users of this salad bar may become addicted. Addicts are at risk for health and long life.” The public must be warned!

A: I completely agree. I’ll get that warning sign up pronto! -Megan Blodgett, Deli Manager

Stroller shopping
Q: I am discouraged by your new sign that shoppers only use a basket or cart. I have a small infant in a car seat and it is difficult to remove her and place her in your cart’s bucket seat. It is very nice for me to put groceries in the bottom of the stroller. What is wrong with this?

A: We understand that it’s not as easy for some to support our request. Please use your stroller until your little one can enjoy a ride in one of our carts. -Wynston Estis, Assistant Store Manager-Operations

Perfect lunch
Q: I just had the perfect lunch, courtesy of the deli. Fresh, healthy ingredients, inventive, yummy recipes. Delicious! Thank you.

A: It’s not often that we can bask in such a generous compliment. We really appreciate it. Keep coming back! -Josh Perkins, Production Kitchen Manager

Thanks for the service
Q: We recently moved a bit away from Willy and used a couple of different grocery stores. But we must say your customer service—cashiers are always nice and have smiles—are the best!! Although it takes us a bit longer to get here, we love to come for our grocery shopping. Thank you very very much!

A: Thanks for writing! We truly appreciate the feedback and are glad that your experiences with us have been positive. We continuously strive to improve our level of customer service and it always feels good to hear that we are able to please those we serve. Thanks again. -Jesse Thurber, Asst. Front End Manager