Q: I realized I got charged the wrong price on my oatmeal this morning. I was charged the bulk hot bar price of $8.49/lb. I didn’t realize it because I wasn’t sure the cashier gave me the right change for the bill I gave her. I was happy with the solution that was offered that it could be figured out when the drawer was balanced later. So I leave, but realize oatmeal shouldn’t cost 7 bucks for a 3/4 full medium sized container. I’d just like a little more attention paid next time to what is happening during the transaction from the staff.
A: Thank you for taking the time to write—we greatly appreciate it when Owners inform us of issues that occur at the register, as it affords us the opportunity to continually improve our level of customer service.
It’s regrettable that you were charged the incorrect amount for oatmeal, and I would like to offer you a refund on the difference in price. I will have a credit for that difference waiting for you at the Customer Service desk for you to pick up the next time you are in shopping. Again, we are sorry for the inconvenience.
In addition, I will remind Front End staff to be particularly attentive to hot weighed food items from the deli, as some products carry a different price per pound.
Sincerely, Jesse Thurber, Assistant Front End Manager—East
Anyone can shop
Q: I am interested in shopping at one of your locations, however I am not a member of the Co-op. Will I still be able to purchase produce from your establishment? I live an hour away so I’d like to make sure my trip was worthwhile before I drive to Madison! Thank you!!
A: Great question. Anyone can shop, and anyone can join our store. That means you can absolutely purchase produce, and anything else we sell whenever we’re open. Non-owners are charged an additional 5% on purchases, and are not eligible for our Owner Rewards Sales or other benefits of Ownership. Signing up for Ownership is easy and you can enjoy all the benefits right away for as little as a $10 equity payment. Customer Service at Willy West can be contacted at 608-284-7800 if you have further questions. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you! We hope to see you in the store soon. -Kirsten Moore, Director of Cooperative Services
Q: I have been a member of co-op for several years. Whenever a new issue comes out, my family loves sitting down together and reading through “The Reader” at dinner—we especially enjoy all of the customer comments!
Today we have a positive comment for you...this past holiday season I made a decision to make as many gifts as possible myself. I followed the directions in a recent article featuring homemade body butters and lip balm and the results were FANTASTIC! We gave the final product out to teachers, daycare providers and friends. Some love the body butter so much they have begged me to make them more a.s.a.p.
In addition, I made my first-ever holiday turkey. I spoke at length with one of the butchers at Willy Street West about the best way to thaw, prepare, etc. and the outcome was also amazing. My parents said it was the best turkey they had ever eaten (they may be biased, but it was good.). Thank you again for the holiday help!
A: Wow! Thank you so much! I’m so glad you enjoy the Reader and that Megan’s article on DIY Gifts worked so well for you. I’m also glad you were able to make a great turkey with the help of our meat department.
I’ll pass along your comments to everyone involved. Thanks again! You made my week! -Liz Wermcrantz, Editor
Q: Good Morning Willy Street Co-op! I just had a question regarding store produce. I heard from a friend of mine that there are ‘discard bags’ put aside after employees have stripped lettuce heads of their ‘ugly’ outside layer and that individuals might be able to come by and ask for those ‘discard bags’ near the end of a business day. The grocery store by my old house not in Madison used to do this for me—I own rabbits and they happily eat all sorts of veggies to stay healthy. So, my question is, is that true? If I were to come by in the afternoon after the different produce has been put out and scraps collected, would the store have discard bags available? I’d be happy to pay for them if need be. Let me know and have a fabulous day!
A: Thank you for your question! West Produce does sort out all organic produce in a separate refuse container for composting purposes. We do, in fact, allow owners to take these bags of compost at no charge for their rabbits/goats/pigs, etc! We don’t have the space to set the bags aside for long periods of time, but if you called in the morning and picked up early afternoon, we may be able to accomodate that, depending on the workflow of that particular day! You are also welcome to ask a produce staff person if we have any compost when you are in shopping. Hope that helps! Thanks!! Brandy Schroeder, Willy West Produce Manager
Thanks for everything
Q: My family and I want to thank you for how wonderfully helpful the staff at the co-op have been to us. We shop at both locations and at each one people have gone above and beyond to find things and give us ideas for myself who has recently changed to eating vegetarian and my daughter who now eats vegan. This was especially nice around the holidays when I wanted to do something that would have replaced the meat but was festive and one of the co-op staff at Willy East looked for a product she knew of that was a wonderful entree, a vegan holiday entree stuffed with a cranberry bread type stuffing. It was amazing! And a young man at Willy West helped us with some ideas of mixing items from the bulk bins to make munchable snack mixes that can be easily taken on the go including to classes. That is just two things. The best part is that we are all treated well including my husband who still eats meat: we have support finding products that treattheir animals humanely instead of putting animals through hell all of their lives. Our family appreciates this as although we each have made our own choices and agree to disagree, we also love each other and do not like it when one of the others gets abuse for their choice. Thank you so very much from all of us.
A: Thank you so much for sharing your great Co-op experience with us. Stories like yours get to the core of our mission, and we’re so glad we can meet your needs. We appreciate your support and we hope to see you in the store again soon. -Kirsten Moore, Director of Cooperative Services
Q: We’ve noticed over the years that the parsley and cilantro bunches are much larger than needed for any recipe in which we use them. Most of the time half or more of the bunch goes to waste.
It would be nice if the bunches were about half the size they are now or if there was some option that would allow purchasing less.
A: Thanks for writing! I agree—sometimes those bunches get pretty large! Unfortunately we don’t have any control over the sizing of bunches. There are industry standards that farmers (both local and non-local) adhere to. If we were to split the bunches in-house, it would take labor on our part, and then we’d have to charge more for the product to cover that labor.
If you trim the ends of the herb bunches and store them in water in the fridge, you may find that they will last longer and you could use them for a longer period of time.
I hope that’s helpful. I wish I had a better answer for you since I certainly understand the concern. Best, Megan Minnick, Director of Purchasing
Q: Do your eggs or which of your eggs come from free range chickens? Also is there a standard definition of what a free range chicken is and if so what would that be? My idea of free range would include ability to dust bathe, room to flap its wings, room to build a nest and room to run around outside. Thank you.
A: Great questions. There is not a standard definition for what free-range is. The USDA allows the label if chickens have access to the outdoors for at least a part of the day, regardless of whether the chickens decide to take advantage of the opportunity. Free-range is also a requirement for organic certification of eggs. With regard to our eggs, all of our eggs are local and all of the chickens who lay those eggs have access to the outdoors either year-round or seasonally. If you would like to see a snapshot of all of our egg vendors, you can find one at www.willystreet.coop/know-your-food. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you! -Kirsten Moore, Director of Cooperative Services