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Hey, Stranger, let's make it a point now to talk more to Dan Arnett than some of the other Important Local Owners who've dominated this conversation.
It works, provided that consumers also have the means, and exercise the will, to by-pass merchants selling the same good or service for less.
The reason that all these minimum wage jobs exist is because consumers have a price ceiling for each good and service. If I can get a breakfast sandwich for $1.99, McD's can have my $1.99. If McD's charges $2.99, because labor, and other costs require it, then I'll go to Burger King, who's cost don't demand it. If both their cost structures demand $2.99, then I'll eat at home.
Without any government regulation, all workers could be paid $30 an hour, if people would vote for a $30/hr wage with their money, the same way they vote for a government imposed wage at the ballot box. Consumers don't, which raises questions about their sincerity when they choose one way in the ballot box, but choose inconsistently with that when the choose where and how to spend their money.
What does this mean? Are you referring to profit?
It's not technically profit, since it's a co-op, but yes. And that is quite in line with chain grocery stores. Grocery is a notoriously low margin business.
If you are comparing apples to apples, it's right about the same. You can't get a lot of the items Central Co-op carries at Safeway, since Safeway shelves are crowded with crap. One of the best things about shopping at the co-op is that they pre-vet their food. You don't spend as much time worrying about ingredients, whether food is organic, etc. It's not perfect, but pretty close. So if you are trying to compare a shitty, factory produced turkey on sale at Safeway with the heritage, local, humanely raised bird at Central co-op, Safeway will be cheaper. If you are comparing organic milk to organic milk, it's pretty similar.
That said, I have no problem with people choosing organic and paying the huge price premium at PCC and Whole Food for doing so, if they can afford to and choose to. But the government does not take away the right of people to choose more inexpensive goods by regulating the cost of production either, absent some harm to consumers. I also have no problem with Safeway getting driven out of business if consumers are so set on organic that they won't buy non-organic goods.
I also choose not to shop at Wal-Mart because I think better labor policies and pay are important enough to pay more at other retailers. But the fact that Wal-Mart is the largest retailer in the world and the largest employer in the U.S. tells me that the vast majority of my fellow citizens don't agree with my point of view. If they did, Wal-Mart would tank and only retailers like Costco, that pay workers well, would exist.
@8: Choosing to buy milk at PCC is not just about nutritional value, it's also about factory farming, fair labor standards and buying local (both dairy and grocery).
Also, fuck Whole Foods. They do not belong in the same sentence as PCC and Central Co-op.
Historically, it seems like many of the people who work at the CC believe that part of their compensation is the right to be self-righteous with their customers. After a particularly bad interaction at the deli counter 8-10 years ago, I stopped going there entirely for the next 5-6 years. Since then, I go there as little as possible.
I miss the Rainbow Grocery.
Only people who h8 AMERICA and want us weak and indentured servants to their Chinese & Saudi masters would oppose this.
@11 Seeing as the co-op is a union shop, they had to wait out the remaining contract before negotiating a wage increase.
This is a good thing that is happening for good hard-working people. Try not to shot all over it.
One dollar, one vote. Plutocracy! Why didn't we think of trying that first?