Co-ops Shape the Future. And the Future is Coming Soon.
Co-ops are progressive by nature in practically every sense of the word. In particular, “New Wave” grocery co-ops that started popping up in the 60s and 70s (such as the Davis Food Co-op) brought about an immense amount of change to the grocery landscape. It was the desire for change, whether it be economic, social, environmental, or all of the above, that fueled the causes of these small organizations as they looked to coexist with the grocery giants that they saw in their towns. As we are in our 50th year and have already examined some of the changes the Co-op has seen over that span, we are also looking forward to the changes that are still yet to come. We are currently wrapping up some customer Focus Groups to help facilitate this process as we lay down some concrete plans to continue bringing positive changes to our co-op and community…
…But while we undertake that process, we (and when I say we, I really mean ‘I’, the author of this blog) thought it would be appropriate to balance out the serious, common sense improvements we will be making with the ludicrous, off-the-wall ideas that float around out there too. In this blog we invite you to take a journey into the future as we think about some completely ridiculous ideas regarding what the future of the Co-op holds.
Disclaimer #1: Do not take this blog seriously (except for the parts where you should take it seriously). This is a Marketing Manager’s best attempt at creative comedy (or whatever you might call it after reading it).
Disclaimer #2: I have not consulted with anybody else on this blog. All of your questions, comments or completely rational concerns can be directly addressed to me (Hi, I’m Vince).
Disclaimer #3: If you want to make the argument that Twins is our former governor’s best film, I will not argue against that. See #2 on this list for more context.
Now, for a Moment, Let’s Imagine the Future of our Co-op…
1) Curbside Pickup Turns into Curbless Pickup because there are no curbs in the sky
A lot of television shows and movies have promised us flying cars by now. However, The Jetsons have me still holding out hope since we are 40 years away from reaching their time period. Once we inevitably decide that our natural resource consuming hunks of metal are too good to even touch the ground, the Co-op will adapt to be the best sky service you’ve ever seen. At your designated time and sky zone, all you will have to do is hover with your trunk open and we, from the ground, will perfectly cannon shoot your groceries into your trunk. We will not be responsible for any potentially broken eggs.
2) Robot Staff – They may be our Overlords, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still be friends!
Nostalgic media is probably going to influence this entire blog so here I am with reference number two: The Terminator. I, for one, think that our rapid foray into the world of artificial intelligence and robotics (à la Skynet in our former governor’s best film) is destined for success with absolutely no hiccups or unintended consequences. We, of course, will jump on the bandwagon and let robots take over staffing at the Co-op because in all honesty, they probably will not leave us with much of a choice. Oh, and they will also take over Ownership of the store, naturally.
Edit: After further consideration, Kindergarten Cop is probably our former governor’s best film.
3) “Sorry sir, your cash is no longer accepted here. We only take Crypto, bro.”
I have no idea how cryptocurrency works. This is one thing that me and most people that claim that they do know how cryptocurrency works have in common. But I do know that real people have put real money into it and some people have gotten real rich because of it. And other people tried to emulate that success only to watch their “investment” plummet into the void. But I suppose if our money is not actually going to be backed by anything physical anymore, it makes sense to instead generate enough electricity to power thousands of computers stacked on top of each other in a Costco-sized warehouse to create the 0.00222703 Bitcoin you will need to pay for your groceries.
4) Now Selling 100% Real Meat!**
**Real Meat, but legally we have to tell you that it was grown in a lab
All jokes aside, this is already happening and closer to being consumer-ready than you might think. What is “this” I speak of? Meat. The animal kind. You know the kind, right? Beef, pork, poultry, all that jazz. But you won’t have to slaughter an animal to get this meat. It will be made with muscle cells in a state of the art lab through a process that I would probably understand better if I didn’t choose to disappoint my mother by electing to study Marketing in college. And technically it will be local since that lab is more than likely in Silicon Valley. Now for the question of the safety, morality, cost, etc of it all and whether the Co-op would actually carry this as a product… That’s a good question!! And I don’t currently have an answer!!!
Don’t believe lab grown meat is on the horizon? You can learn a little bit more about the subject here.
5) A true innovation of the Future – a line with a register where customers can scan and pay for groceries themselves. (It’s still in its conceptual phase and we don’t know what to call it yet)
Ok I did some reading just now and apparently this already exists at other grocery stores. This one may be too real to include as it is probably the most feasible thing amongst the rest of this nonsense (except for maybe the meat too?). Let’s stir the pot just a bit though. Some would say we are already behind the times and doing our introvertive customers a disservice by not having a self check-out line while others would threaten to boycott the Co-op if we actually ever introduced them. So who knows what the future holds, that’s the fun of this blog!
6) We become a CEO-op
The year is (insert future year here). The amount of mega-corporations that own everything on our planet can be counted on one hand. One independent grocery store (us) remains. Will they (we) continue to stay true to their (our) cooperative roots knowing that it will ultimately lead to their demise? Or will they cave in and sell out to one of these Godzilla-corps? OR (plot twist, there is a third option) will they take matters into their own hands and join the fray in their own search for global dominance? TIME TO GO CORPORATE BABY… YOU CAN’T SPELL COOPERATE WITHOUT THE SAME LETTERS THAT YOU FIND IN CORPORATE.