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Thread: Locally Owned Co-Operatives Replace Supermarkets

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    Locally Owned Co-Operatives Replace Supermarkets

    Yes, I would like to see this as a headline...

    Supermarkets are too big, too transnational, too wasteful, can never ever ever be environmentally friendly, actually quite expensive for some products, part of an anti-nationalist/anarchist nexus of control, Jewish, Arab, Chinese, East-African, Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi, bIzarrE, too brightly lit, are ruining farming, sell absolute garbage, are full of, and employ garbagey people.

    Can anyone add to this list?

    I am trying to write an article/essay about them, to suggest that both 'corner shops' and supermarkets should be replaced by locally owned buying co-operatives.

    Cheers.

    Also, suggestions why supermarkets are a good idea would be most welcome.

    The only supermarket I vaguely like is the delectable 'Waitrose', which is part of the John Lewis partnership. Nice big broad isles, muted tones, not too brightly lit, no silly music, tiny queues - lots of checkouts.

    By extension, would locally owned buying co-ops not be even better than Waitrose - and a better price too?

    TESCO is now the all-Indian check-out staff company? Rep me if you know what I mean? Cheers.

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    Senior Member SwordOfTheVistula's Avatar
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    It depends on whether you want food which can't be locally grown or not.

    If the food can be locally grown, no reason not to either grow it yourself, or buy it directly from the farmer, or have some kind of co-op where each person grows a certain type of food and or people help take care of eachothers' gardens.

    For foods that can't be locally grown, or are out of season, or require some kinds of processing (grains&cereals for example), the locally owned co-op would need to employ people to go out find these other foods, estimate how much of each food the community would need and when they would need it, arrange for the procurement and transfer of the food, get a place to store it until it can be distributed to the individual community members...and then you're right back where you started with the supermarkets.
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    I've never been to a co-op, so I can't really comment on that, but I am a big fan of farmers markets. One of the best things about being stationed in Hawaii is that we get awesome fresh fruit all year long. Just about everywhere you go there are Bananas, Pineapples, Avocados, Melons, and other fruits and veggies growing. There are tons of small vendors all over the island, which I prefer to a supermarket any day of the week. I just wish that we had a local dairy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SwordOfTheVistula View Post
    It depends on whether you want food which can't be locally grown or not.

    If the food can be locally grown, no reason not to either grow it yourself, or buy it directly from the farmer, or have some kind of co-op where each person grows a certain type of food and or people help take care of eachothers' gardens.
    That is ideal, but not so flexible as as plain buying co-operative. Co-ops could probably undercut farmers' markets with their buying power, but not necessarily.

    For foods that can't be locally grown, or are out of season, or require some kinds of processing (grains&cereals for example), the locally owned co-op would need to employ people to go out find these other foods, estimate how much of each food the community would need and when they would need it, arrange for the procurement and transfer of the food, get a place to store it until it can be distributed to the individual community members...and then you're right back where you started with the supermarkets.
    Yes, the convienience (and buying power) of a supermarket, but owned locally, and perhaps cheaper.

    We used to have a lot of these in the UK, and they were regional and then became more nationalized and then internationalized.

    http://www.plymouth-coop.co.uk/main_...ent=morevalues

    They still have a lot of retail outlets, but I am suggesting that legislation should be passed to allow local government to give interest free loans to groups of workers who wish to co-operativize an existing business.

    I suppose I am thinking about a combination of communuity buying co-operatives, farmers' markets, and just plain old co-ops like we still have the remnants of.

    Actually there are a number of independent co-op grocers around and they are quite good, but there is nothing special about most of the co-op brand co-op shops which we have in the UK, although I bought a flight through the co-op travel company, and it was a really good deal.

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    the co-op has become too big here I can tell you that the Plymouth ones are no better (I lived there for 4 years) It you want the choice we have not you can't manage on a system like you envigage. If your prepared to lose some of the choice ( as SoV stated) then yes it would be a good idea, I sort of think your getting at the old friendly societies, just with a more food orientated outlook, and unfortunatly government legislated them almost out of existance, (interestingly Plymouth has one that still runs and works!)
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    Senior Member SwordOfTheVistula's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fortis_in_Arduis View Post
    That is ideal, but not so flexible as as plain buying co-operative. Co-ops could probably undercut farmers' markets with their buying power, but not necessarily.
    Maybe, for locally grown foods, it might work better than farmers' markets.




    Quote Originally Posted by Fortis_in_Arduis View Post
    http://www.plymouth-coop.co.uk/main_...ent=morevalues

    They still have a lot of retail outlets, but I am suggesting that legislation should be passed to allow local government to give interest free loans to groups of workers who wish to co-operativize an existing business.

    ...but there is nothing special about most of the co-op brand co-op shops which we have in the UK

    http://www.plymouth-coop.co.uk/main_...nt=whatisacoop

    What is a Co-op?

    A co-operative is a jointly owned enterprise formed to meet the common economic, social and cultural needs of its members.

    How do they work?
    Being democratically controlled by its members means all major decisions are voted on by members at each members meeting. This will include the use of any surplus profit available for distribution amongst members, in local communities and for reinvestment into the business.


    What is the difference between a Co-op and a Plc?
    In a co-op members can invest a limited amount of share capital and take part in a "one member, one vote system". Each member has an equal vote regardless of their share capital. This does not happen in a plc.

    Where do the profits go?
    Surplus profit is both reinvested in the business and distributed amongst our members.


    Yeah, browsing through the site, there really doesn't seem to be any substantial difference between this and supermarket chains and warehouse clubs in the US, which are afaik know similar to British chains like Tesco and Sainsbury's, with the 'membership benefits' and so on. The only difference seems to be that each member/shareholder gets one vote, as opposed to proportioning votes out based on the amount of money one has invested.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fortis_in_Arduis View Post
    Yes, the convienience (and buying power) of a supermarket, but owned locally, and perhaps cheaper.

    We used to have a lot of these in the UK, and they were regional and then became more nationalized and then internationalized.
    Well yes, when it comes to procuring and shipping food from across the country, or internationally, there are economies of scale, meaning that money is saved (and food is thus provided cheaper) by consolidating 'pencil pusher' jobs, and thus having fewer middlemen to pay off in the whole food distribution network. For example, Tesco and Sainsbury's probably each only have one person or a small staff in charge of procuring salmon from Norway, and another person or small staff in charge of procuring fruit from latin america and the Caribbean; whereas if you had a bunch of smaller co-ops and local supermarkets they'd each have to have their own person or staff, or buy from an importer/distributor, either way it's more middlemen to pay off.
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    Senior Member Pino's Avatar
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    The main flaw I see is you said Supermarkets are exspensive, this is un-true, Big chain supermarkets prices tend to be cheaper than those of smaller businesses.

    I try to avoid supermarkets where possible but it is virtually impossible, I go to my local farmers market when I can.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pino View Post
    The main flaw I see is you said Supermarkets are exspensive, this is un-true, Big chain supermarkets prices tend to be cheaper than those of smaller businesses.

    I try to avoid supermarkets where possible but it is virtually impossible, I go to my local farmers market when I can.
    No, I did not say that, I said that they were 'actually quite expensive for some products.' Did you misunderstand that?

    They are often very cheap for a few products but they can be very expensive. Compare the prices and quality of their fruit to those of a market stall.

    Do you not remember recently that a few big chains were found guilty of having an 'artificial price war', which was really price fixing? I think that it was ASDA/Walmart and Sainsbury's.

    They agreed not to undercut each other. Now, it is a *lovely hairstyle*, and it is a fabulous way to punch a fat hook-nosed supermarket magnate, but co-operation in forming monopolies is the sort of co-operation we really do not need, and it surely reveals to us the truth about our current system:

    After a while, these hypercapitalist entities become Stalinistic, if you getta ma drifta. They now own farms, they have formed huge monopolies, they fix prices, they lower wages, they are a powerful 'lobbying' group.

    I daresay that the cheapest Turkey Twizzler can be found in a supermarket, along with its human counterpart, the Turkey Twizzler Eater, but supermarkets have sometimes shown to be unfavourable compared to local grocers on basic products such as apples and potatos, which must mean that they are making an absolute fortune, as their enormous buying power enables supermarkets to buy very cheap.

    I think that it can be shown that despite the buying power of supermarkets, co-operative ventures can still give them a run for their money, since they too have buying power, and although their profit motive is extant, it is not directed towards the investment market or dominating ze verld, like TESCO.

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    Senior Member SwordOfTheVistula's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fortis_in_Arduis View Post
    They are often very cheap for a few products but they can be very expensive. Compare the prices and quality of their fruit to those of a market stall.

    I daresay that the cheapest Turkey Twizzler can be found in a supermarket, along with its human counterpart, the Turkey Twizzler Eater, but supermarkets have sometimes shown to be unfavourable compared to local grocers on basic products such as apples and potatos
    So just buy fruit&potatoes at the market stalls and buy Turkey Twizzlers etc at the supermarkets?
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    This is where having the Amish around comes in handy. I'll pass three or four Amish farms on my way to town and they all have some sort of produce or crafts for sale. Only problem is wintertime, unless you can your produce.

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