posted by chicago pop
Who is Leon Shernoff? If you don't happen to have your pack of Co-Op baseball cards laid out in front of you, he's the dude who puts together the Evergreen, the "Newspaper of the Hyde Park Cooperative Society." That's right, another astute journalistic organ based right here in Hyde Park.
Up until Vol. 60, #10, December 2007 of the Evergreen, it was a folksy and disarmingly honest little window into the dysfunctionality of a community-run commercial enterprise. (LIES!)
It's how we learned all the Onion-like details of daily management at the Co-Op over the years, like how decades-old POS equipment was aced by a devious squirrel, how various unionized cashiers absconded with untold thousands right under the noses of their altruistic managers, or how various vendors stopped returning phone calls from the Co-Op to service their products. (MORE LIES!)
But all that happy gemütlichkeit seems to have evaporated with this last issue. Because in Volume 60, Number 10 of the Evergreen, Leon Shernoff has gone on a paranoid bender of epic proportions. (A NEW LIE EVERY DAY!)
We can only assume that the paranoia that got into this issue is only a fraction of the paranoia that has seized the rogue faction of the Co-Op Board, a minority that has somehow managed, despite their declared affability and simple interest in rutabagas, to shrewdly seize all outlets of communication from the majority and broadcast their strange and none-too-clear tale of intrigue, "illegitimate fact sheets" (FRAUDULENT RESEARCH!) and, best of all "University-sponsored identity harvesting." (BEWARE!)
What is identity harvesting, you ask? Let's ask Leon.
Identity Harvesting by the University
In their frenzy to smear the Co-Op, the university has even resorted to unethical means of information gathering. At the November 26th Board meeting, university administrator Jo Reizner attended and tried to guilt-trip the Co-Op with stories of how many shoppers were leaving the area to avoid shopping at the Co-Op. She said that an unnamed supermarket at Roosevelt Road keeps track of its customers via an identity card, and has shared that information with the university, leading to the revelation that shoppers from the 60615 and 60637 area codes spend about $100,000 a week at this grocer. She proudly revealed this research at the meeting, apparently unconcerned with the massive privacy and confidentiality violations involved.
Now let's step back a bit. You know that little magnetized fob on people's key chains, the one that says "Dominick's" or "Jewel"? The thing that gets you a discount every time you check out? Guess what? It has your ZIP code on it, information that you freely provided when you applied for the fob at Dominick's and Jewel so you could get the discount. Lots of people have one. Ever notice how the computer at the gas station asks for your ZIP code when you pay? (SPIES!) It's the same thing. Is it linked to your name, your Social, or any other privileged information? No. Is it aggregated and sold to market research firms? Yes. (STILL MORE LIES!) Is it part of how we know that millions of dollars a year are being spent outside of Hyde Park? Yes.
Is this unethical? Not at all. Are individuals' privacy compromised? Not in the least; this information is given with consent.
Is it a conspiracy? You decide. (THE UNIVERSITY IS CLONING OPTION A SUPPORTERS!)
As for the $100,000/week spent at an unnamed Roosevelt Road supermarket, there's no news there, we've been talking about leakage at this blog for some time. And most of what we learned came from the Tribune, and they throw much bigger numbers around ("Delivery is oasis in food 'desert'." April 1, 2007).
Shernoff isn't too concerned about that $100,000 number. Why not? "[T]hat $100,000 is about the amount of business the Co-Op does on a Saturday."
Nice job, Leon, losing one day of revenue a week for 52 weeks of the year. Maybe this kind of indifference to losing money is why the Co-Op is insolvent, with twice pledged collateral, and can't get a loan.
By my calculation, that lost revenue amounts to $5.2 million annually.
And that's just money lost to one store. (DISTORTION!)
And it doesn't include all the money going into all those Peapod vans.
Wouldn't that $5.2 million in lost revenue alone be enough to solve most of the Co-Op's problems?
(WE DON'T HAVE PROBLEMS!)