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Nanny scandal at iconic food co-op

The work obligation is less than 3 hours a month, but that's too much for some members, who send the help to do their work.

By doubleace Feb 21, 2011 1:50PM

This post comes from Lynn Mucken of MSN Money.

 

There's trouble in a little slice of paradise called Park Slope Food Coop: Instead of working their required 2.75 hours a month at the Brooklyn icon, better-off members are sending their nannies and other hired help to do the heavy lifting.

 

Now, this isn't a moral offense on the level of paying a stand-in $600 to do your fighting -- and dying -- during the Civil War, but even in the neighborhood New York Magazine rates as No. 1 in New York City, it apparently is considered bad form.

 

So, when The New York Times exposed the scandal, nasty things were said.

 

"Rich people think they can buy anything. It's worked with politicians, why not co-ops? These people are never going to do or pay (via taxes) their fair share to the larger community," said one comment on the NYT site. "P.S. Wonder how many of these scofflaws don't pay their nannies' Social Security tax?"

 

"Co-op members who pay somebody to work their shifts are La-Z-Boy socialists who would live in luxuriously renovated tenement-style apartments wearing punk fashion and driving energy-efficient sport utility vehicles," wrote another.

 

"The co-op was supposed to accomplish more for its members than merely great food on a nonprofit basis," said a poster. "It was supposed to foster conversation and community, albeit with some passionate differences therein. If people send a nanny to do their shifts, they are contemptuous of the mission and shopping there solely for selfish reasons."

 

And one last one:

Ugh, my wife worked as a nanny to put herself through college. Those people were seriously psycho. To them, nanny=catchall servant, doer of all sorts of menial labor, and especially, the person to blame for all problems in the house -- whether it be the bratty 2-year-old's screaming or their failing marriage. I can totally see them pulling something like this. (And not paying her extra for it.)

Of course, there were many who defended sending a substitute -- one referred to it as "allowing the nanny to take a break" -- and a lot more who attacked The New York Times for even stooping to report what they considered meaningless drivel.

 

Come on, isn't this just another co-op? Apparently not. It has 15,000 members, including many who seem to equate shopping there -- low prices, great produce, organic! -- with the Rapture.

 

"The food is amazing and dirt cheap," wrote one poster on yelp.com. "The best part about the co-op are the absolutely INSANE people who shop there. Seriously, everyone's a little nuts. Even the people who are REALLY nuts think everyone else is nuts.
BTW, the food is amazing, did I mention that?"

 

"Prices are amazing, usually 20-30% less than other stores," wrote another fan. "It isn't always perfectly convenient, but I save enough (perhaps $20 on a $100 shopping?) that I can afford to take a car service home."

 

There are, of course, people who would find fault with paradise. A couple complaints: The membership is large and the building is small, making even the best days seem like a Saturday at Costco. And, apparently, those volunteer workers can often be both incompetent and rude. "The best place to turn socialism into fascism," wrote one poster.

 

Wonder if the surly workers are the put-upon members or the conscripted nannies?

     

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