Some time in the last decade it was decided that absolutely every company everywhere needed to send every person a Thanksgiving themed email. Gratitude, appreciation, thanks. You’ve all read them and can probably recite the platitudes and tropes by heart. I don’t mean to suggest some are not heartfelt, but I also am not sure I was on pins and needles waiting to hear what thanks means to Budget Rental Cars.
So let me say this in a slightly different way.
A few years back I was shopping for a new pair of pants, an activity I try hard to only do once per decade. I went to the Subway around the corner to get a sandwich. The woman in front of me ordered the ‘Sub of the Day’ on sale for $5. It had three or four meats, and she asked for it without the roast beef. The man behind the counter explained that if he left off the roast beef, it would become their Italian sub, and therefore wouldn’t be the ‘Sub of the Day’ and would cost more.
“But I don’t want the roast beef, can’t you just leave it off?” she pleaded.
“I can’t, that’s a different sub. You can take it off.” he said, gesturing towards the trash can in the back.
Now I’m not upset at him. I’m upset at the corporate franchise system that created these rules, and threatened any workers who don’t comply with writeups and termination. 7 meatballs exactly, 8 is wrong. Go easy on the olives. No changes to the Sub of the Day. He didn’t feel empowered to make an obvious win-win decision to please the customer, and save his company unneeded cost.
Some version of that situation is what brought all of us to the alternative economy of cooperatives. I want to call and have a real person answer the phone. I want to shop somewhere that treats me like an individual. I want to see workers treated with dignity and allowed to make decisions. I want a store that supports our local economy instead of shipping our food dollars out to corporate.
So, yes, I am thankful, appreciative and full of gratitude for our cooperative community. I am thrilled to help lead this Co-op into its 40th year of prioritizing people not profits. This year has been (choose any five adjectives) but we’re still here for all of you and I truly appreciate that you’ve been here for us. Keep in mind our neighbors in need throughout the holidays and give what you can, even if it’s just time. Support local businesses, restaurants and retailers through the winter months, and we can all be collectively thankful that a better year awaits us.