What Happened to the Co-Op Discount?

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

The familiar Swarthmore grocery or Co-op in the Ville has temporarily eliminated the 10% discount given to Swarthmore students. Gerry Greway, general manager of the Co-op, explained that the main reason for this decision was based on the opinions of the shop’s board members, who believed that it was unfair that the discount went to certain Co-op customers (Swarthmore College students), but not to others.

Greway said that at the meeting, the board members agreed that the Co-op, as a cooperative market, needed to “treat everyone equally.” Greway had viewed the discount as an “operational issue,” but the board portrayed it as a “policy issue.”

He elaborated, “The board has to decide what their policy is going to be and how it will affect its rural members.” Greway, therefore, decided to postpone the discount for the time being.

Many Swarthmore students were upset, and claimed that the Co-op was already too expensive. Callie Feingold ’12 said, “It’s just disappointing. I mean [the discount] was kind of a staple and something that I expected. Having the 10% discount gives the incentive to buy something there instead of at the new Target.”

Mattie Gregor ’10 believes eliminating the discount was a “dumb business decision.” Some Swarthmore students interviewed, however, didn’t even know the discount existed.

Greway had initiated the discount because he “felt that we needed to connect more with the students at the College; we wanted them to be able to come to the Co-op and see the Co-op as a resource.” He viewed the discount as “very successful.” As of now, Greway is still in favor of the 10% markdown. He said he is working with the board in order to come to a resolution, and is hoping to reinstate the discount by January of next semester.

In terms of the Co-op being too pricey, Greway said, “that’s not the perception that we want to keep lingering.” He added, “When students come, it brightens the whole place up.”

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