Monday, November 22, 2010

Concord Co-Op and Freedoms


Today's Concord Monitor featured a story concerning the Concord Co-Op and some members who were upset with the new fish counter that went in.
The Co-Op sent out a questionnaire to its members asking various questions to improve the Co-Op.  (They are also part of the Kearsarge Co-OP in New London).
Members voted, the Co-Op responded by adding the fish counter. They outsourced and a reputable fishmonger move in.
Some members, lead by a past director, are upset with the fish choices, claiming they are not as sustainable as they would like.  They also feel that having lobsters & crabs in tanks is a cruel environment.  Additionally, they feel the Co-Op's prices are too high and that the Co-Op has moved from its original mission.

I am a member of the Co-Op.  I think the prices are high.  But, I also think that they sell products that are expensive, hard to find and "organic" etc.  I have not seen the fish counter at the Concord Co-Op, but imagine that selling any fish will upset vegetarians.
I think that this group has a number of issues and are really expecting way too much from the Co-Op.

First off, if the prices are too high, they can chose to shop there or not.  Secondly, if they chose not to shop there, not to buy the fish, they honestly can't expect to dictate what others can purchase, can they?
Lastly, the Co-Op has changed its mission.  It started in the 70's or 80's.  The world has changed.  The Co-Op is no longer a farmers market or a health food store.  It is a grocery store that is trying to pay the bills.

Many people who shop at the Co-Op are willing to to purchase products marked "organic" or "sustainable" and they are willing to pay a small fortune to do so.  That is their choice.  To have these products certified as such costs manpower, time and ultimately money.
Also, NH does not have many stores such as Whole Foods or Trader Joes that specialize in these types of products.  Many grocery stores such as Hannaford, Shaws and Market Basket do have a "health food section" and have added many organic and green products.  They are costly.

You can't have it both ways - top quality products for cheap....

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