The Eerie and Intangible Benefits of Co-op Membership

Yesterday, my household decided to take our dogs to a local dog park.  As soon as we arrived, it started raining and we decided to pack it up and return home.  The scattered rain was not falling on our neighborhood, so we took the pups for a jaunt around the block and were settling back in for the evening when I realized my wallet was missing.  I searched my clothes, I hunted under furniture, and with the daylight dwindling, I rushed back to the park to see if I had dropped it out of my pocket during our brief outing with the dogs. 
No such luck.
What happened next was one of those moments where you must stop and ask, “Am I on the f*cking Truman Show??”
After realizing that my wallet was no where to be found in our house, I started waiting on hold with our police department to report it lost, and imagining the hassle it would take to replace everything inside… My Driver’s License, my courthouse ID allowing me to bypass security checkpoints, debit/credit cards, and my owner’s card for our local Co-op grocery store, Outpost Natural Foods.  I even commented to my significant other at the time, “Damn, I have to replace my Outpost card, too.”
Somewhere between 60 and 180 seconds after that exact comment, a young couple showed up on our doorstep.  While we had been waiting for a delivery of chinese food, these folks certainly did not appear to be carrying 40 dollars worth of dumplings and sweet and sour.  Instead, they were carrying my wallet.
I was happy, but I was also a bit stupefied, since my DL still had an old address on it, and I had nothing with my current address in my wallet.  Confused, I asked how they had found me. 
Their answer? They work at the local co-op grocery, and a good samaritan had turned it in to them after they saw my owner’s card inside.  Rather than calling me to let me know it had been turned in, they instead brought my wallet directly to me, understanding the urgency and recognizing that I lived doors down from their own family.  I offered a cash reward, but they wouldn’t have it, because “we didn’t find it, someone brought it to us.”  Instead, I shook their hands, thanked them profusely, and basked in the relief of knowing they had saved me from an immense hassle, and saved me a good amount of money. 
Whatever the cost of my yearly ownership fees and higher prices for purchasing responsibly sourced items, the thoughtfulness and courtesy of those owner-employees eclipsed those costs exponentially.    
And as for restoring my fragile and fickle faith in my fellow human beings? Priceless.
Had I not been an owner of that co-op, I would like to think that I would still have recovered my wallet, but most likely not as quickly as I did.  After posting this story to a local Facebook group, it received a popular response, and others even commented about how they too had recovered lost wallets after being tracked down by their Outpost membership. 
There are likely several lessons and morals here, but I am no Aesop.  However, I will not deny that by becoming part of a co-op and having a vested interest in the continued success of a community which respects responsible sourcing, healthy lifestyles, and promotes wellbeing of both person and planet, the benefits are immeasurable.  
So, if you have a local co-op grocery in your area, join up.  You can be secure in knowing that, while it may be more expensive to shop there than the local mega-grocer or, God forbid, Super Wal-Mart, your dollars are going toward promoting and supporting a mission which does far more than provide you with fresh organic produce, non-GMO foods, and fair trade practices.  It is an investment in a community which should serve as the model for our society.  Where we recognize that the bottom-line is not the rock-bottom price, but how strongly we can keep each other from hitting rock-bottom.
Yesterday, I learned that there is still some good left in the world, no matter how much the media may compel us to think otherwise.  And co-ops create much of that good.
I wonder what I will learn today. 
By user avatar justiceformost Daily Kos Wednesday May 25, 2016

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