This past Wednesday, April 24th, we had a spectacular sale: everything in the entire Bulk department was discounted by 25%. One of our morning cashiers told Emily it was like the opening day of Star Wars; Sue compared to Black Friday. People were practically camped out overnight, waiting for our doors to crack open at 7am.
For most of the day, swarms of people politely waited for their turn at the scales to label their containers, scooped flour into bags, and funneled oils into bottles. It was reminiscent of a holiday madness, except that it was so concentrated in the one department. Over by the frozen sausage, it felt like any normal Wednesday, but in the Bulk department and at the cash registers, it was like Thanksgiving all over again.
As I scurried around trying to be helpful, I was impressed by the level of planning and dedication this sale seemed to bring out in a certain sector of our Co-op population. Numerous large carts brimming with giant Ball jars of rice, beans, quinoa and nuts, spice containers with every seasoning imaginable, 5-pound bags of coffee beans, 50-pound sacks of flour, bulging bags of custom-packed dried fruits, granola galore…the Bulk way of life lives on! I personally had a warm, fuzzy feeling about the whole thing, both as an anti-packaging crusader and lifelong co-op shopper. It felt like a truly powerful expression of support for this special department, which symbolizes so much for so many of us. It carries the torch of the Co-op’s original spirit, gives us hope for a better brand of consumerism, and bears the weight of the high standards of those of us struggling to live on this planet without harming it or our fellow humans. Oy vey.
I couldn’t help but bring in a few jars of my own: I loaded up on tahini, tried a new nut (garlic herb cashews by Tierra Farms?! Holy smokes.), and threw some money at Equal Exchange, which is one of my favorite cooperative pastimes. If you haven’t tried their pecans grown in the southern U.S., I encourage you to do so…they’re so perfect it’s as though each individual nut was lovingly tended to and doted upon until it reached its perfect maturation, and then was wrapped in tissue paper, packed in Styrofoam peanuts, and hand delivered to my mouth on a cloud. They’re the fattest, sweetest, blondest pecans I’ve ever seen. They’re better than rum cake. It’s almost like they’re farming butter cookies down there. Mother Earth is a great baker, especially when she’s working with farmers who are treating her well, and being treated well. Worth every penny, 25% discount or no!
Anyhoo, I digress. Let’s talk numbers. When all was said and done, Bulk sales on 4/24/2019 were over five times that of the previous Wednesday, and accounted for 34.53% of the entire store’s sales that day. Jeezum crow. And perhaps more importantly, it was fun. I daresay it was an adventure. Much kudos and kindness are in order for the incredible Bulk staff – Dan, Sue, Guthrie, Prema, Robby, and Susan, who worked so incredibly hard! And thanks to the several wonderful Shareholder workers who were deeply helpful throughout the day, not to mention other staff members who also lent their hands.
Here’s to a future with less packaging, more goodness in our world, and damn fine food.
-Ruth in Shareholder Services