The Park Slope Food Coop

The Park Slope Food Coop

No stint living in Brooklyn is complete without a membership of the Park Slope Food Coop. If only for the comedy hats.

Est 1973 by a bunch of hippies, it’s a members’ only supermarket, where all members have to work 2 hours and 45 minutes once a month. That means they can keep costs low so the food is cheap, and as you’d imagine, membership has surged massively lately.

It’s simultaneously a total shambles and a brilliant idea. The food is much cheaper and better than most supermarkets here, but no one knows what’s going on because only about 50 people actually work there full time, so your chances of finding what you need where it’s supposed to be are slim. Everything is decided by popular vote, which means that in the 90s, the original hippies’ decision to only stock healthy things was thankfully overturned and they now sell beer and chocolate.

Yes really, you can buy them in bulk

Yes really, you can buy them in bulk

Because of where it is, in one of the nicest neighbourhoods in New York City, the checkout is staffed by off-duty architects, economists, television writers, poets, non-profit policy makers and, well, me. Seriously, that’s just a selection of people I’ve met there. Yesterday, I did a shift in the membership office, and the person sitting next to me was a philosopher.

And every time you go in, there is material galore for stand-up comedians: the noticeboard on the stairs, the bizarre hand-knitted clothing, the five-foot-long conical hats… And then there is the tannoy, used by everyone (because everyone works there). I once heard someone ask whether the pork was on its way up to the shop floor, and the reply, ‘Yep, it’s coming – wait there, I want to see the meat in your hand.’ I looked around, and I was the only one smirking.

From the Park Slope Food Coop noticeboard

From the Park Slope Food Coop noticeboard

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