The main issue that I have is that the loss prevention company has created a climate of discomfort, and that feeling is widely held by the local public. When I go out to load the groceries in the car I can bet there's a fellow with his hands on his hips and a stern look staring down on me from the upstairs office. I can be certain that I'm a suspected thief the minute I walk in that store even when I've never stolen anything. I can't solely blame the store. There is rampant thievery going on, and this is what has created such a hostile environment, but what happened to innocent until proven guilty?
When I took the coop's hand basket out to my car to unload its contents I had permission from the register clerk. I had the feeling I was being watched, looked up to see mr mean eyes looking down. The next week I walked up to the register with the coop basket in hand, unloaded the basket at the register, mr mean eyes walked up to me and took the basket! Cut me off at the pass! He wasn't going to let me take my basket to the car again. This is how I was informed that I was not allowed to take the basket to the car.
This is just a very uncomfortable environment to shop in. The register clerk looked uncomfortable too.
Sanity's Overated: actually in regards to the mislabeling I was told by a friend that she mislabeled an inexpensive chile paste packet with a bin number that was next to it, resulting in shorting the store fifty cents. This lead to the same character in the above photos pointing his finger in her face in front of the entire store, in affect acusing her of stealing. It was very humiliating and frustrating to be called a thief in front of a crowded store, and frustrating since it was not intentional. Public accusations like that can be very traumatizing and damaging to one's character and reputation. I think it would be better for the Coop to just correct the mistake and go on, and I think that's what most Coop employees do, but in this case it was blown out of proportion.
I've lived in Humboldt County long enough to know that the thievery at the Arcata Coop branch is quite rampant, and so it's easy to understand the level of frustration the Coop has to endure in regards to the high cost of loss. I also appreciate the quality of the food they provide, and their efforts to improve the quality of life in the local area. However the Coop is putting all their well intentioned efforts to waste by throwing out the baby with the bath water with respect to some of their best and most loyal customers, some of which spend thousands per year there, but now feel extremely unwelcome by the extreme actions taken by their loss prevention company, which is motivated and rewarded by the number of apprehensions they make, and even perhaps the extremity of their actions to apprehend customers, many of whom are accidentally mislabeling a product, or unknowingly breaking a rule, which in my case was taking a hand basket out to the car to unload my groceries so I wouldn't waste a bag. I had no intention of stealing the basket. With my dedication to eating natural and healthy, it's with a heavy heart that I recomend, especially to smaller women, that the Coop be avoided since these misunderstandings do seem to happen, and they have very definitely led to public humiliation, and there's the possibility of injury as well. This was also recommended to me by a friend who also happens to be a former parole officer, and is all too aware of the motivations behind these loss prevention companies, which tend to take more extreme action toward the more more vulnerable so as to mitigate injury to themselves. I find this very sad, and look forward to the Coop finding peace with its customers and community because I would like to shop there if and when it becomes safe for my family to do so.
In Print This Week:
Dec 5, 2013
vol XXIV issue 49
The North Coast Journal Weekly
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