Suggestion Box: COVID-19 Updates, and Where Are All the Suggestions?

Norman Weiss, Weavers Way Purchasing Manager

Greetings and thanks for writing. As usual, suggestions and responses may have been edited for brevity, clarity, and or comedy. In addition, no idea, concept, issue, remark, phrase, description of event, word, or word string should be taken seriously. This also applies to the previous sentence.

News from the COVID-19 product world: there’s a new reported shortage in pump spray bottles, meaning many of the cleaners typically sold with spray pumps will be transitioning to squeeze or screw top bottles. Apparently, there are only a few manufacturers of these devices (all in China, of course), and they can’t keep up with demand.

Paper products continue to be hit and miss. Now napkins are in short supply, with other paper products short on a week-to-week basis.. What no longer seems to be short is personal protective equipment. I receive a few solicitations a day from new PPE suppliers. Most are from the United States, but some are from China and other countries.

I recently got a cold call from a sales rep who acted like it was important for me to know she was calling from Canada. She had inside information that there were going to be upcoming PPE shortages (typically sanitizer, masks, and gloves). I congratulated her on breaking new ground on cold, high pressure sales calls and suggested she look for a job that didn’t involve lying to strangers for money.

Not many suggestions in the Suggestion Book lately; it seems to be kind of dying out, perhaps a remnant of a bygone age? I prefer some of our old and fairly sustainable technology stays alive. While I embrace tech as do most people, it does occur to me that it all depends on cheap and abundant electricity, which may not always be cheap and abundant.

suggestions and responses:

s: “Could I add items from Blue Marble to my home delivery orders?”

r: (Norman) Not yet, but we are looking at ways to expand home delivery and maybe we can figure out a way to include products from neighboring businesses. It’s our goal to become the Amazon of the Northwest.

s: “Sometimes when I buy milk, I forget it in the backseat of my car and find that it’s spoiled just a couple days later. Is this a known issue with Merrymead? Can the Co-op do something about it?”

r: (Norman) We asked Merrymead and they blamed cows. Apparently cows evolved for their milk to be consumed fairly quickly after being sucked out by their calves, so the cows have no ability to add preservatives or create temperatures that would render the milk stable over long periods. Sorry to disappoint.

s: “Would it be possible for the produce department to carry less spicy ginger?”

r: (Matt, MA) Yes. Just like you frequently see spiciness symbols on ethnic restaurant menus with spicy food, ask your server for less spice in our fresh ginger.

s: “As an ecologically friendly and chemical-free solution to common household pests, could the Co-op bring in anteaters or echidnas?”

r: (Matt, MA) These are stocked in our pet store. You do need a United States Department of Agriculture permit to purchase them due to COVID and the ability of viruses to jump species by shapeshifting.

s: “Can we stock Wonton wraps?”

r: (Matt MA) We carried them for quite a while a few years ago. Demand was never consistent enough to maintain fresh stock and resulted in many packages of wrappers being disposed of upon expiration. We do stock them in Chestnut Hill, where they sell better.

s: “Fresh salsa?”

r: (Norman) Our Prepared Foods department makes a couple in all three stores.

s: “Liking the La Colombe Oatmilk Iced Coffee.”

r: (Matt MA) Thanks for the feedback.

s: “I am tired of walking through the store and bumping into people. I think a reasonable solution to this problem would be to introduce bumper carts to Weavers Way. Think about it: each shopper walks into the store and sits in their own bumper cart. There are tracks along the floor that direct the carts. This would greatly improve our current shopping experience here in Mt. Airy.”

r: (Norman) Sorry, but there isn’t room for bumper carts. But with COVID-19, people shouldn’t be getting close enough to bump, anyway. There is a kind of half-moon hula hoop contraption we’re looking at that might help solve the problem of bumping into people and maintaining social distance while shopping. Force fields are another option, but their batteries are kind of heavy.