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High Prices at the Hebden Bridge Co-op

From Christine Rowland

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Being the daughter of man who started his working life as a Co-op bicycle delivery lad and served as a Director of the Co-op in another area I have always had life long loyalty to the Co-op - my address even has Co-operative in the title which my father, no longer with us, found very amusing.

I will cut a long story short. Last Tuesday, a man who I will term "rucksack man" unpacked and re-arranged a huge variety of many identifiable Co-op goods - many joints of pork, steaks, coffee , Emva Cream Sherry, and numerous items - from an enormous rucksack whilst waiting with me at the bus stop by the Koffee Kabin.

He also passed the time by rolling pieces of a substance of some sort into pieces of clingfilm which he stashed in his wallet. Once on the bus he proceeded to loudly make phone calls offering the contents of his rucksack for sale to various "clients" in Halifax.

The bus took 45 minutes, on a very hot day, to reach the lights at Mytholmroyd. During the wait he became agitated as he was "losing business" and made repeated conversations at higher volume interspersed with foul language explaining he would be late. The female bus driver was alerted to this but his foul language persisted. Other passengers became involved and asked him to calm down and stop swearing. Only the threat of the police being called shut him up.

He threatened a young man who remonstrated with him when he referred to me as a Tory bitch. I am, in fact, a known Socialist bitch.

On coming back to Hebden by bus I shopped at the Co-op and mentioned this encounter. This person is known to the Co-op staff as a regular career shoplifter and steals, particularly meat, from the Co-op , and other items to order.

Though one has to admire his spirit of free enterprise this sort of thing is pushing prices up for all legitimate shoppers in the Co-op.

The over stretched very able till staff can do nothing through lack of strong security and management policies and they take so much flak on matters ranging from empty shelves (sometimes it is like shopping in Murmansk) to queues on tills.

One day, a previous manager told me that empty shelves are the product of Hebden being at "the end of the supply arm" - I always have thought Hebden was at the centre of the Universe, not at the end of the spiral arm of the Galaxy. I have written letters to higher than local branch management which have never been replied to.

Swift action is needed. The staff on ground level are not to blame, I have known many for years and they are a great bunch. Upper management have to tackle this.

From Ian M

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

I had to read this post to ensure I understood it correctly!

If I'm correct, you were witness to a man commiting the following crimes: Shop lifting, Handling stolen property, Possession of a controlled substance with intent to supply, Public order offences.

Why on earth did you not contact the Police and report the matter?

And as for admiring his spirit of free enterprise… I'm speechless!

From Christine Rowland

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

I posted on July 8th - just to clarify - I had not witnessed "Rucksack Man" stealing the actual goods ..... I was just waiting at the Bus stop and saw him unloading his goods. The female driver was alerted to the foul language, abuse and our suspicions.

However unless you have travelled by bus and been in this situation you cannot really appreciate the sense of threat which is felt. And as for my comment about the "admiring his spirit of free enterprise " that was an ironic statement made tongue in cheek.

Later I called in at the Co-op and even they can do nothing unless shoplifters are apprehended by their own security outside the store. I hope this makes things clearer Ian m.

From Mark Humphreys

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Not really about high prices this...

I went into the co-op this morning to buy quite a lot of stuff, for use in the kitchen in a long-established local business which brings thousands of pounds per week into the local economy.

On my list was 500g of dried apricots.

On the shelf were a few packs of various dried fruits, from various suppliers, but no apricots.

"Excuse me, do you have any dried apricots?" I asked one of the staff.

"Oh no" he replied; "we stopped having those a couple of weeks ago. We had Whitworths or Co-op ones, but we don't do them now".

Dried apricots.

We don't do them now.

It's OK readers - I managed to get some dried apricots from another of our local suppliers in Hebden.

But you would think the co-op would sell dried apricots...

From Tim M

Friday, 24 July 2015

I once witnessed a customers frustration because they'd run out of passata #hebdenbridgeproblems...

From Allen Keep

Friday, 24 July 2015

I get where Tim is coming from - I once heard a man in the co-op complain to his partner that they only had the apples he was allergic to in store rather than the variety he could eat.

I often find the customers more infuriating than the store but #hebdenbridgeproblems aside, the co-op is truly awful. I buy both dried apricots and passata as it happens - but whatever it is I am after I rarely go there with anything other than a short list and more often than not come away with it sadly incomplete.

From John Rhodes

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Several years ago the better half went in and looked for Budvar, the Czech lager. Not finding any she asked the Manager only to be told very firmly, "There's no call for that in Hebden Bridge". There was a short pause and, obviously feeling chatty, he continued, "Mind you, we've had a lot of people asking for it".

It'll be the same with dried apricots which I see are still absent...but aye up, we can always manage with the dried mango they have.

I notice they have plenty of firelighters in… you wait until November when you go in with firelighters on a list.

From Tim M

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Mind you, its not always their fault - the recent failure of the ice-cream freezer on the hottest day if the year was typical. But, there's no excuse for running out of bread.

From Julie C

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Please stop moaning about the Co-op, or are you just trying to be clever/ironic… ?!

I find most things I need in there, they deliver my big shops for free, most other stuff I can go to the Market, or Valley Organics just down the street (it's run by a co-op). The bus runs from just outside on Market Street.

It works for me.

From Allen Keep

Sunday, 26 July 2015

No Tim there isn't. I don't even bother complaining these days. The excuses are always the same. We didn't get the delivery… there's been a lot of people buying dried apricots/ bread/ non-allergic apples.

The thing is I go into other Co-ops, near where I work, and they are so much better. I'd say our Co-op has raised itself from its nadir a couple of years ago or so but it just appears to be very badly managed.

From John Rhodes

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Actually, Julie, as a Co-op member I have no plans to stop moaning. I'm pleased the Co-op works for you. Unfortunately, it clearly doesn't for many in the town which is a) why they shop elsewhere and b) supported the building of a much larger supermarket on Brown's field.

So, joking aside, the fact that the Co-op is so badly run and is so expensive has ramifications far beyond the availability of dried apricots, passata or Budvar lager.

But despite that I go there with a spring in my step, hope in my heart, sense of humour at the ready and a shortish list desperate it won't come to the plaintive cry for the dreaded 'void key'.

From Jenny B

Monday, 27 July 2015

I actually can't remember the last time I went in the coop. Certainly not within 12 months. I believe that the last 'mass moan' led to some improvement, but I didn't want to waste my precious time chancing it.
I hear from friends that it is almost back to its 'normal state' empty shelves and all.

Personally I am very disappointed with our choice of grocery stores, especially for those of us who work out of the town. The One-Stop is uninspiring and since Oasis sold out to the Nisa brand it has become lacklustre and expensive.

So, I think we have a right to moan and to press for a proper supermarket in our town. The coop may well 'do' for you Julie but I want better. Our town deserves better too.

From Walter Dawson

Monday, 27 July 2015

The issue with the Co-Op is long running, and despite of this the campaigning of a supermarket that would bring jobs and a cheaper shopping bill has been a big noise in the town.

I moaned for months, but in then end I voted with my feet and for years I have now used the endless choice of supermarkets within 8 miles of my front door, or get it delivered for a relatively small fee. Despite this I still shop locally for the odds and ends, including the Co-Op.

Be careful what you wish for…

From Lizzie W

Monday, 27 July 2015

Let's hear it for a Booths. If you've not tried one yet, you're in for a treat! Ilkley & Settle are our nearest. Supermarkets with a conscience and a family owned northern heart. The one in Lytham even has an exhibition gallery for local artists. That's how totally locally they are committed.

Ticks (virtually) all boxes.

Perfect for the Browns site.

From Adrian Riley

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

For the nearest Booths, I think you will find the new store at Barrowford is closer than the ones Lizzie W mentions.

From Myra James

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Many people have said they would like to see Booth's at Brown's site. The site has had planning permission for a supermarket for 18 months - I assume that for whatever reason they do not wish to open there.
I think we should be careful what we wish for - a Booth's would be a bigger threat to our independent specialist food shops, such as Valley Organics, Pennine Provisions and Saker, than it is to the Co-op.

From Phil M

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

I think Booths would indeed place more competition on our small independent shops.

I'm no expert at all but to my mind, Co-op should move to the Browns site, bigger, better store with masses of carparking. The current Co-op site should be demolished and a purpose built all-week market site put there. Leaving the current market carpark to be used as a carpark all week long and giving a purpose built home for the weekend farmers and craft markets (thus freeing up more weekend carpark spaces).

From Suzanne Jeffries

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

I think the Co op is fab.

As for empty shelves and not stocking certain products I really don't see what the fuss is all about as I very rarely find this is the case except maybe on Bank Holidays when they are incredibly busy anyway. I often find amazing reductions in the reduced chilled section and they always have great special offers on other goods. The staff are friendly, polite and knowledgeable.

The Co op is an asset to Hebden Bridge and long may it continue !

From Paul D

Thursday, 6 August 2015

There is a very nice bakery across the road, a shop that sells organic local veg yards away. You can preserve (if you give a damn) local agriculture by having untreated milk deliveries that include (wow) bottles you return. Meat eaters can buy half a lamb for not much cash not far away. Fresh fish minus the co-op cling film and plastic packaging can be sourced at the market.

Basically if you want a flat screen TV or to be mistaken for a stupid day tripper use the co-op. It's OK, nice people work there, but really? For food? A weekly shop?

From Veronica Roberts

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Paul D, if it wasn't for the "stupid day trippers" this town would shrivel, a lot of the small independent shops would find it hard to function. I only hope your comment was tongue in cheek. As for the Co-op I think it's stocked fairly well. I don't do my weekly shop there, but use it, like I use One Stop and Oasis, for top up shopping.

From Paul D

Saturday, 8 August 2015

I wonder Veronica if a lot of people would see any 'shrivel' as actually a good thing? Shops that primarily turn their face away from the town they're in, just to make money on some sort of cultural value that town adds to their enterprise, are they really healthy? Sure for the owners, for the part time seasonal staff on minimum wages even, but is that it? A retail landscape that could graft onto any crappy seasonal clone town? I think more shrivel. Let them fail and wither and die. Because they're short term, parasitic and just wrong.

From Richard Woodcock

Sunday, 9 August 2015

I remember when Market Street was full of empty or run-down, drab shops (apart from Lord-Dales of course!) Now it's full of life. I know which I prefer, and it's not the Market Street of the '70s.

From Mark H

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

I'd guess there are only a few people who want to see Hebden shrivel.

Most of the businesses are here for the long term and make positive contributions to the cultural value of the town they're in. It's generally accepted that it's a two-way arrangement

I've only been here 52 years so probably not yet fit to judge, but if you can find a better town to live in let me know, I'll consider moving there.

Cheer up, everyone - it'll soon be summer…

From Phil M

Friday, 14 August 2015

Anyone who wants to see Hebden shrivel should do abit of shrivelling themselves and move somewhere else.

I think the town could take a bigger co-op [Browns site!!] but I for one would still shop where I can in the smaller shops, the quality is excellent and every one has a valued place in the town. Local meat in our 2 butchers is of an excellent quality and beats supermarkets hands down. Local veg and local eggs all taste better and won't break the bank..
Really wish we had a market more available to us wage-slaves who have to work through the week..

From Michael M Elder

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Rather than telling us what is wrong with Hebden Bridge & its shops/ visitors/ employment etc, perhaps Paul D might share with us his vision of how the town ought to be. It should be fascinating & I await to read it with great anticipation.

From R Prince

Sunday, 23 August 2015

It will soon be September… time for the co-op to start getting its Christmas stock on the shelves. Come Boxing Day, the Easter eggs will go on display.

Perhaps if the co-op used its limited shelf space for stuff that people want to buy today, rather than in two or three months, they might be able to keep dried mango, non-allergenic apples etc in stock.

I have suggested postponing Christmas to their manager many a time, and have always been met by the response, "It's head office that tells us what to stock".

Given the disarray that the Coop group in general has been in in recent years, I suspect that this is probably true. What our Co-op really needs is autonomy and a local manager who has a good sense of what the community needs.

From Adrian Riley

Sunday, 23 August 2015

R. Prince would like the Co-op to sell non-allergenic apples. This may be difficult as they do not exist.

There are apples that are naturally low-allergenic but there are no plans yet to produce genetically modified apples by switching off the gene responsible for allergies. There is also concern about the effect on the plant's health if this was to be done.

This web-link is useful.

But this Dali Mail article is more readable

From Paul D

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Interesting that anyone not buying into the current vision of HB, based largely on unecessary consumtion should move on. What like Gypsy families in Kent? Like 'offcumdens'? Like there's only one view, if you don't share it leave? Don't disturb that ring of cash registers now.

Disregarding the intolerance that most of the kids I grew up with here don't share, I really shouldn't have to move out, I can point to the negative and corrosive impacts of consumption for it's own sake, of tourism and to its social and cultural impacts on residents.

Look at Saturdays and Sundays, groups of drinkers pouring into town, horrible behaviour and language. Is this what we really want? This is culture? And the co-op. A camping store. Televisions and no lentils. Grateful we should be they say. For what? Drunks and flat screen TVs we don't need. Please. Soap shaped into cake. Cakes that taste like soap. Stuff nobody actually really needs. Hurrah! A post industrial Nirvana!


HebWeb Forum: Can you count on the Co-op? (Jan-Feb 2013)

BBC Radio Four: Hebden Bridge and its Co-op featured in this programme - about 11 minutes in (21 Dec 2012)

HebWeb Forum: Co-op Hebden Bridge (May 2012)

HebWeb Forum: Co-op Hebden Bridge (Jan 2011)

HebWeb Forum - Co-op supermarket (Sept-Nov 2010)

HebWeb News - report of the meeting sent to HebWeb by the Co-op

HebWeb News - report of meeting called by Coop on 2nd November

HebWeb News - report of previous meeting, April 2008

HebWeb Forum - October 2009

HebWeb Forum - December 2009

HebWeb News - 2010 Clone Town report