The Coop

Park Slope Food Coop

Here’s a link to the recent New York Times article on the Park Slope Food Coop. My colleague and fellow coop member thought the piece was whiny and forced, but there were also some accuracies. During my monthly maintenance shift, I too hang out in spotless bathrooms and wonder what the hell I should be doing to keep myself busy. I can drag out stair sweeping for a good 10-15 minutes, not counting the time I take to read all the posters tacked to the wall for various classes, meet-up groups, stuff for sale. Believe it or not, this shift goes by faster than when I used to deliver groceries during snowstorms.

However, I disagree with the so-called “community” at the coop. I’ve been a member and have served on various squads for a few years, and while I love the coop’s prices and food judgment, I don’t feel like I’m part of any particular tribe. Though I do enjoy the sometimes bizarre interactions I see there, including one I was involved with tonight. 

Leaving the subway station, I saw an old white woman in a white turban with some sort of medallion pinned at its center. I wished there was a way to discretely snap her picture to share this site, but I just walked by. I stopped at the coop, grabbed some ingredients for lentil soup and got in the checkout line. The woman, who magically transported herself there at lightening speed, ended up being my cashier. Still wearing her turban, she looked at me and said, “Are you from another world?” I said, “No.” I couldn’t tell if she was crazy, whimsical or pissed that I had my headphones on (volume off). Then she said, “Well is there something I can do for you?” as if I was some canvasser who just knocked on her door. I said, “Well, I’d like to purchase these groceries.”

The rest of our exchange continued in this fashion and I could feel the man next to me stifling laughter. I held a straight face to add to his amusement and then lost it when I went outside.

Sarah Mikutel