Member FAQs

The Coop’s Membership Office, staffed by a combination of paid Coop staff coordinators and member workers, can answer your Coop and Membership related questions, take photos for Coop Membership Cards, and assist prospective members with the joining process.

The Membership Office is located on the second floor of the Coop. Reach us in person or by phone at 718-622-0560 during office hours.

The information on this page could help you to answer some of the most commonly asked questions on your own.

Q: What week is this? or Am I supposed to work tonight?

Look at home page, or look at the two-year Coop Rotation Calendar, which is also available in paper format from the racks opposite entrance desk in the Coop. You need to know your work assignment to use these tools. If you know only your committee (Shopping, Receiving, Food Processing, for example) you can use the Committee Schedules, available from the racks opposite entrance desk in the Coop, to find your workslot and next several work dates. Get in the habit of picking up a current Committee Scheduled when you’re in the Coop as they cover only four to five work cycles.

If you do not know your work assignment, you will need to contact the Membership Office for assistance.

Q: I’m suspended. I don’t know why.

The reason(s) you are “Suspended” will be displayed on the entrance desk computer screen when you enter the Coop. Ask the entrance worker to read the information to you, or ask to read the information yourself. If your housemates are “Alert”or “Suspended” the entrance worker can give information about their status as well. Remember, work is not the only reason that a member might be on “Alert” or “Suspended”. If you have questions, please contact the Membership Office for assistance.

Q: I can’t make my next workslot

If you know in advance that you have to miss a shift, we strongly encourage you to try to find someone to cover by scheduling a shift swap. Swapping, or Trading, is the only way to avoid having to do make-ups, and it helps the Coop by ensuring that enough members show up for work. If you have a workslot that requires special training, such as Cashier or Childcare, it is essential that you trade with someone who also has that training.

If you have tried unsuccessfully to find a trade, please let your Squad Leader or staff supervisor know that you attempted to arrange coverage for yourself. Remember, though, that calling in advance of an absence is not a guarantee that you will get only one make-up. This decision is made on a Squad-by-Squad basis.

Leaves of absence are available if you will be gone from the Coop for at least eight weeks. Please contact the Membership Office with as much advance notice as possible. The more notice we have the greater the chance that we will be able to fill the opening with another worker.

Q: How (or when) can I do a make-up?

If you’ve missed a shift and owe make-ups, you should attempt to do the make-ups before your next scheduled workslot. In general, make-ups can be done on any Committee and do not require scheduling in advance. Please review the important exceptions before coming in to do a make-up.

Show up at the start of a scheduled shift and you will be guaranteed a make-up spot somewhere in the building. While showing up on time does guarantee that you can do a make-up, it will not necessarily be on your regular Committee members of regular squads get priority and you will be assigned to the Squad most in need of assistance. Let the Squad Leader know you are there to do a make-up, sign into the attendance book and work. If you show up late to do a make-up, the Squad Leader has the right to turn you away. Check the Committee & Squad Times page for important details about how, where and when to do a make-up.

Most make-ups do not have to be scheduled in advance. The exceptions are Cashiers or Childcare workers: If a Cashier or Childcare worker wants to do make-ups in their normal positions they must sign up in advance through the Membership Office.

Q: Why am I suspended if I only owe one make-up? But I did all my make-ups!

You have owed the make-up for more than four weeks. Being “Suspended” has nothing to do with how many make-ups you owe, but with how long you’ve owed them. Anytime you owe any number of make-ups for longer than four weeks you will get “Suspended” for work unless you request an extension. Whether you need more time to do your make-ups or dispute the number of make-ups you owe, you can request the extension (an action that puts you back onto “Alert” until your next scheduled workslot) from your Squad Leader and/or the Membership Office to restore your shopping privileges.

You were given two make-ups for your absence. Remember the double make-up rule! The Coop’s policy is that if you are absent from your Squad you will get two make-ups. However, individual Squads can make exceptions to this policy and assign only one make-up for an absence. If you don’t know what your Squad’s policy is, inquire at your Squad’s next meeting. If your Squad doesn’t have a policy, request a Squad Meeting at the end of your next shift so that your Squad can set one. And, worry not, adjustments can be made retroactively by your Squad Leader.

Please be aware that calling in advance is not a guarantee of one-make for an absence. If your squad leader agrees to one make-up but forgets to note that fact in the attendance book, you will automatically be assigned two make-ups by the Coop’s attendance workers. (Again, your Squad Leader can make a correction after the fact.) In this case, it is recommended that you attempt to do the number of make-ups you think you owe by the next meeting of your Squad, and then discuss your concerns and/or ask for adjustments of your Squad Leader in person.

You forgot to sign the attendance book when you worked and got marked absent or an error was made that needs to be adjusted. If you forgot to sign in and were marked absent request an extension from the Membership Office and discuss the issue with your Squad Leader the next time your Squad meets. If you think the error originated in the Office (a data entry error for example) contact the Office directly.

All notes from your Squad Leader must be written in the “Squad Leader’s notes to the attendance workers” section of your Squad’s attendance page. Notes must be specific, clearly stating the problem and the request. If there are dates, please include those. (For example, “Please record that Ms. Minneola Tangelo was present during our squad’s meeting two months ago on 2/15/04. She forgot to sign in and was marked absent, but she was here.)

Your make-ups have not been recorded yet. Make-ups should be recorded one to two days after they are done. For example, if you do a make-up on Monday, it should be written onto your card on Tuesday or Wednesday. The data entry necessary to change your status, if that is warranted, will be done after 5 p.m. on the day your make-up was recorded. Due to the absence of workers who do the make-up recording, it came sometimes take an additional day or two. If make-ups that you have done were not recorded, please have the dates of those make-ups available when you contact the Membership Office to investigate.

Q: How do I make my member payments?

See Member payments. If you plan to pay by debit card at the Checkout, tell the checkout worker about your payment before the transaction is completed. If you pay at the cashier, tell the cashier about your payment after they resume your transaction. Please do not send any payments to the Coop (or try to pay in the office). You need to be prepared to tell the checkout worker/cashier what you are paying and for whom (e.g., fee for you, member investment for spouse). If you are paying for another member, have that person’s member number available. You can pay fees and member investments with a personal check. And, save your receipt! If you need to call about a payment discrepancy, please have your receipt handy.

Q: But I’ve paid my member payments, why am I on “Alert” or “Suspended” for fees?

Remember, there are several types of member payments, and the possibility for payment plans. If you are on a payment plan you will go on “Alert” (for Fee or Investment) every month when the next installment is due, unless you are paid in advance. Other charges you might incur include a $3.50 “card” charge for replacing your membership card and a $15 “bank” charge if you bounce a check.

Q: How do I let you know that I’ve changed my address and/or phone number?

Ask the entrance worker to record it in the “Changes” book at the entrance desk or contact the Membership Office.

Q: How do I place a classified ad in the Gazette? When is the next deadline?

There are forms available on the wall by the exit door and in every issue of the Gazette. Follow the instructions on the form. The deadlines and publication dates are posted where forms are distributed and are listed in every Gazette. The Gazette comes out every two weeks; the deadline for classified submissions is eight days prior to the issue date.

The current charge for ads in the Gazette is $10 per ad, per issue for classified ads (non-commercial merchandise ads are free); $20 for camera-ready business card-size ads. There is a maximum of 315 characters (including spaces). The Coop cannot give credit or refunds unless we have mistyped your phone number.

The Gazette is produced by members doing workslots. If there was a misprint or other problem with a classified ad, place a copy of the ad with a note of explanation in the same pocket where you placed your ad originally. You cannot contact the Gazette Committee by calling the office.

Q: How much is…? Do we have…?

We request that members do not call to pre-check the availability or prices of the items on their shopping lists. We simply cannot respond to these queries for all of our approximately 16,700 members.

Q: I saw this great product when I was in Ohio. Can we get it?

Please note all new item requests in the Product Suggestion Book located at entrance desk. The more detailed you can be the easier it will be for us to check if we can get the product. Note that this book is read, but the Coordinators cannot always respond directly to all entries. And, when they do respond it can take several weeks. So, check back to your entry after several weeks to see if you got a response. There are many considerations that go into whether we can carry a product so please do not expect to see your suggestions on the shelf right away.

Q: “When does the store open? or on holidays? Is the Coop open today?

The Coop is open 364 days a year. Shopping hours are listed in every Gazette and a flyer with all the Coop’s hours (Shopping, Office and Childcare) is available in various places in the Building. This flyer would post nicely on your refrigerator!

On and immediately around four holidays during the year (New Year’s Day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas) the Coop may have special shopping hours. Please check the Linewaiter’s Gazette and the signs posted around the Coop in the weeks leading up to those four holidays for special holiday hours. Any member who has a workslot that is affected by holiday hours will receive a letter in advance of the affected work date.

Q: For the times when you DO need to contact the office

There are times when contacting the Membership Office is necessary. Feel free to drop in or call during our office hours if you have questions or need information. You will need to contact the office if you lost your membership card, choose to request an extended member payment option, want to change your squad, want to go on leave or leave the Coop permanently, etc.

When you contact the office with discrepancies, please have specific dates or receipts at hand whenever possible. The more information you can provide the office, the more chance that we can quickly and accurately answer your questions. Please be patient! The person you are talking to is a Coop member, just like you, doing their workslot. They may or may not be experienced, but they will do the best they can to help you.