I've lived here for 10 years and always think about joining it... we haven't yet, because DH won't agree to do work shifts and everyone in the household has to do it. We went to the orientation and still haven't used our passes to shop there.
Part of his reluctance might stem from an experience we had when we first moved here - we wanted to go check out the Co-op (not knowing much about it) and were treated pretty badly by the members working at the front - they told us weren't allowed to look inside at all unless we went to the info session or joined - which is fine if that's the policy, but she was horribly rude and I found out later she should have found someone to show us around quickly and answer our questions. After that DH really got bristly.
DD September 2010, m/c October 2009
|Part of his reluctance might stem from an experience we had when we first moved here - we wanted to go check out the Co-op (not knowing much about it) and were treated pretty badly by the members working at the front - they told us weren't allowed to look inside at all unless we went to the info session or joined - which is fine if that's the policy, but she was horribly rude and I found out later she should have found someone to show us around quickly and answer our questions. After that DH really got bristly.|
Well, we took the plunge and honestly, our experiences thus far have all been pretty positive. True, we each have to work our 2.75 hour shifts per month, but it gives me a chance to meet new people and talk to like-minded folks regarding food, kids, etc. I'm a "walker" so I get a lot of interface with many different types of people. After spending all day in an office, it is cool to simply talk to people about produce.
The drawback to the co-op is that there are 15 thousand members, which means that 1) you get a lot of people with varying attitudes (most pleasant, some not so pleasant) and 2) it is hard to connect to people within the co-op because there are just so many of us. Unfortunately with that many people, there are going to be types who have issues. But, these same people would have issues at their day jobs too. Can't do much to sift out unpleasant personalities. You have to remember too that some people don't handle "power" very well. Instead of seeing the co-op as a place that benefits everyone, there are the types that see it as a way to feel personally empowered at the expense of others. I've taken it upon myself to ignore these types. They exist everywhere, not just the co-op.
Regarding whether it is worth it: to that I say YES. We not only cut our grocery bill in half, but we basically only have to do one-stop shopping. Prior to joining the co-op, we had to go to various stores to get the types of foods we wanted. The produce at the co-op is awesome! Regarding working your shift: honestly, it is only a few hours a month and in my opinion it gives me and DH a chance to connect to other people. My DD is almost four and she love the co-op! She can't wait until she is big enough to help me with my shift!
I'm very sorry that we didn't join much sooner. We are working on establishing a food co-op in our own Brooklyn neighborhood and it has been helpful to use the PSFC as a model.
Thanks for your insight.
DD September 2010, m/c October 2009
I too am a member and i agree with you, CatsCradle! I do food processing (i cut the cheese, if you will!) I have a friendly crew, I save so much $$ on groceries and I have made a few neighborhood friends. I think I would NOT have joined if I had gone on reputation alone, I have a few good friends that encouraged me to join and assured me that the grumpies are few and the friendlies many. I have found that to be true. I always mean to go to the events but I haven't so far...
I have been a member off and on for the past 10 years (currently off).
It honestly ends up being too much of a PITA for me, even when living in Park Slope. I just found the people so annoying and the lines too long (I work so I can't go off hours). But yes it cut my bill in half and the food, esp the meat and produce, is amazing. I'm not a member now because we live in Chelsea and don't have time to go to Park Slope.