Q: Dear Brendon, My first reaction to your response in the June 2011 Co-op Reader was, “Whoa, Brendon, way to complicate a fart.” To me, the only thought that has to go into Bike or Bus or Walking Benefits should be, “Gas-free transport to shop at the Co-op equals 5% discount.” Period. For so long the Co-op relied on the honor system. Is it so hard to employ the same honor system here, and simultaneously reward and encourage shoppers to leave the car behind? For the small amount of misrepresentation, it would seem well worth it to me to keep it as simple as possible. Cheer-i-o.
A: Thanks for e-mailing...and for reading all the way to the end of that customer comment response. I don’t think that we are necessarily prepared to offer a discount to all customers who don’t drive—we couldn’t afford to do it without ultimately raising prices.
We want to reduce congestion in the Willy East lot, and if we’re able to do that by only participating in the national Bicycle Benefits program and not having to create other programs, then it will be money well spent and a benefit to everyone, whether they bike, walk, bus or drive. If Bicycle Benefits is insufficient for this, we’ll have to consider other options, and some kind of pedestrian and/or bus-riding incentive may be instituted.
Have a nice week! -Brendon Smith, Director of Communications
Membership Renewals and Price Increases
Q: Surprised by my membership having expired. No advance notice by Co-op. I was told, “It’s printed on the receipt.” Do you know of anyone who looks for messages on a register receipt?
2. Price increase, again, on salad bar to $7.50. Is the solution to everything at the Tiffany Co-op just to raise prices?
A: 1. Thank you for taking the time to write. I did a little research to see how we’ve historically handled taking equity payments and how we notified Owners in the past. In the 1990s, when we were much smaller, we did send out renewal postcards, but stopped this practice for a number of reasons. Many notices were sent back to us due to the large number of Owners changing residences from year to year and leaving no forward address. Likewise, notices would become lost in the mail or would be mistaken by Owners as a “junk” mailer. These factors, coupled with the fact that we receive renewals and new Ownership sign-ups daily, made this method of notifying Owners costly, wasteful and difficult to monitor effectively.
Currently, when we bring up an Owner’s record at the registers, the cashier can see when the Owner’s next equity payment is due. If the cashier sees that an Owner’s payment is coming due, our usual protocol is to verbally tell them of this a month in advance. My apologies if our staff has failed to do this prior to your payment being due. Going forward, I will remind our cashiers to consistently uphold this practice.
When we instituted our new register system, one of the perks that we found was that we could print an Owner’s next equity due date at the bottom of the receipt. Being that we relied completely on word-of-mouth with our prior register system, we considered this be another way that we could help Owners remember their due dates. I understand that a lot of Owners do not take or go over their receipts to look for messages. We will do our best to make this information more widely publicized, and hopefully this comment will help do just that. Owners also have the option to call Customer Service at any time to find out their next due date, or can pay the balance on their equity any time so that they do not have to be prompted to make annual payments. I hope this helps. Thank you. -Jesse Thurber, Assistant Front End Manager–East
2. Most of our ingredients are organic and local when in season, as we try to keep our prices competitive and fair. We are the only grocer in Madison who offers this option. Thanks! -Gina Jimenez-Lalor, Deli Manager–East
Q: Will you please carry 8 oz. coffee and smoothies in the Juice Bar? Thanks.
A: Thanks so much for the thoughtful suggestion! At this time it is not feasible for the department to provide this option. It involves a significant change to recipes, signs and other areas. However, we will certainly consider this for the future. Again, many thanks. -Erin Bialik, Juice Bar Supervisor–East
Q: I’ve been a faithful member for well over a decade. I always Chip, bring my own bags, ride my bike during busy times to help with traffic/parking and I ask very little other than for you to keep providing great service and products. That’s why I was so surprised and honestly, off-put, when I asked the gentleman behind the deli to slice some cheese for me and he told me it would be “too much work.” I have a lot to say about that, but what I really want to know is why?
A: I apologize. I agree you should have been given a more in-depth answer to your request. As it is very difficult to slice some cheeses to order, it really depends on the kind of cheese and whether or not there is an available slicer that is sanitized and ready to go. “Too much work” is never a good response. -Gina Jimenez-Lalor, Deli Manager–East
Q: Why no more ice cream substitute?
A: Unfortunately, the Oatscream was discontinued by the manufacturer, so we switched to Coconut Bliss. Then.... Coconut Bliss needed to be stored at a warmer temperature than the frozen fruit that we use for our smoothies. We tried adjusting the temperature to find a happy medium but were finding that one product was always suffering. Mushy fruit or unscoopable Coconut Bliss. Since space is always a challenge here we had to discontinue the Coconut Bliss. I spoke to the representative and he said this was a problem he had heard before and that is the #1 reason they can’t sell Coconut Bliss to ice cream retailers. The product remains difficult to scoop when held at ice cream holding temperatures as well. He did give a glimmer of hope and said that the company is working on a softer-serve recipe that can be poured into a machine and dispenses into a cone. Now that would be awesome! Thanks for you comment. -Gina Jimenez-Lalor, Deli Manager–East
Q: Would like to see gluten-free in one area of the store.
A: We’ve been asked this before, however due to the nature of the allergens we’re talking about—ANYTHING in our store is going to come in contact with any number of allergens, and we wouldn’t want anyone to think this section is pristine enough for anyone to assume they couldn’t come in contact with allergens. Also, we have a lot of g-f foods, but prefer to merchandise them with like products. -Lynn Olson, Director of Cooperative Services
|Thanks to Jeanne Gomoll (designer of the winning adult t-shirt) and Liam Kivirist (designer of the winning kids' t-shirt)! Both have won a $100 gift card.|