by Alex Gyori
In all the time that Food for Thought has carried my column, I probably have never mentioned how much I enjoy it when shareholders comment on what I have written. Having mulled over current concerns, I always feel affirmed to hear reactions or challenges or acknowledgements, which indicate subjects that resonate. For instance, on several occasions soon after last month’s Food for Thought came out, shareholders, responding to the call to help us in our loss prevention efforts (a.k.a. shoplifting deterrence), alerted our staff to suspicious activity. We all felt greatly supported—yet another manifestation of the cooperative spirit.
Thank you for reading!
And Now for Something Somewhat Different
In ten months, at the end of this fiscal year, I will be moving on to another phase of life after 33 years of service to the Co-op. This phase is often referred to as retirement, but I am hoping it will be a lot more than that—I still have plenty of energy and enthusiasm! Nevertheless, the Co-op will benefit from new directions and fresh eyes, so to speak.
A couple of years ago someone asked me when I was going to retire, and I replied that that was “a mean-spirited, ageist comment”! I was only half serious, of course, as in fact I had been thinking about the prospect for a number of years. The redevelopment project kept me energized, and I wanted to see the Co-op through to firm ground.
I will also take this occasion to let you all know that Dick Ernst, our Store Manager, operations expert extraordinaire, and a whole list of other attributes, is planning to take retirement next March, after 22 years at the Co-op. I will have a lot more to say in regard to all the good things Dick has accomplished for us, but for now suffice it to say that he has been very much appreciated here!
Faster Than Cash
We have periodically reminded shareholders that a way to help save the Co-op operating costs is by decreasing the use of credit and debit cards. There is an additional way to contribute, especially if you are a frequent shopper: gift cards. By filling a gift card with an amount of your choice, checking out becomes a matter of slipping the card through the card reader, and you are good to go! The balance appears on your receipt. When it runs out, you can refill the card.
How does it save the Co-op money? Having purchased the blank cards in bulk for $1.19 each, the Co-op provides one to you at no extra charge when you fill it. There are no further fees to you or the Co-op, no matter how many times you use it. This procedure avoids the debit and credit card fees. The average charge to the Co-op for credit/debit card usage, excluding AMEX, is 1.4% per transaction. According to our finance manager, Ken McGee, usage of plastic at the Co-op has risen to over 80% of transactions. That adds up fast! Using a gift card helps the Co-op and it speeds up your checkout time—two great reasons to take part!
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