UPDATE (Spring 2019): Well, let’s see what’s new to say about Rainbow since my last update in 2016. The pizza place on their premises that was selling animal products/meat/dead animals closed sometime ago. Have no idea what they will do with that space, if anything. There is zero activism of any kind among the workers that I see or hear about as there was in the store of the Old City (pre-Tech Industrial Complex invasion giving millionaire-billionaire corporations corporate welfare through tax breaks). Rainbow once informed customers about one food corporation taking over another so customers could make informed buying choices, such as when one large chocolate conglomerate takes over a small independent chocolate manufacturer or where the small independent sold-out to corporations. Rainbow doesn’t inform customers about that anymore. The days of the workers boycotting/refusing to carry some products on political or religious principles of the Old City are gone. Despite the Israel/Palestinian problem still existing, Rainbow carries products from Israel and puts out their Hanukkah display at that time of year, although one sort of has to look for it to see the display (it was on the end of an aisle during the Hanukkah season where I last saw it). Today, they carry anything it seems and put all boycott responsibilities on the customer. Lately, I’ve been looking for a couple of food items that I’ve not bought before of a certain brand thinking “Well Rainbow will have it.” They don’t. They don’t carry those particular items (a certain brand of soy chocolate milk), whereas in the Old City there was a saying, “If Rainbow doesn’t have it, nobody will.” That’s a change in the store. In the Old City, their monthly membership meetings had quite the reputation of proudly-radical activism with some disagreements among workers and the like and were said to run well into the night (sometimes 3AM, I think). These days, my source tells me they’re the opposite. Conformity and agreement. Well, these days, none of the workers that come to mind really strike me as being “proudly-radical” as was the case in the store of the Old City before the store’s renovation. At least in their outward appearance, the workers seem more mainstream conformist now (some even wearing corporate sports team shirts), which is a rather major change in the store and the reputation it once had. I sense quite a few workers have left or are leaving based on the turnover of cashiers. Perhaps they got another pay cut and some just can’t afford to work there anymore. The workers have had some pay cuts over the years compared to their being pretty well-paid in the Old City. I think that’s about it. It’s still my favourite place to shop for groceries and the atmosphere of the store is the same as it was, which is a real positive. You’ll hear some hot Latin music there depending upon when you go. But the days of boycott this and boycott that and various activist/religious groups standing outside Rainbow and protesting some decisions they’ve made, well, those days are gone. For safety concerns of their store, I think Rainbow decided it’s best to no longer get involved in boycotts — there are too many nuts out there — and let the customers decide what they want to boycott. I can understand where they’re coming from. I don’t think Rainbow is subject to any “bad PR” these days (not that I see or hear) other than probably from conservative locals who still live in their warped time bubble and think that San Francisco and Rainbow are like they were when they (the conservatives) despised Rainbow and hated on them during the Old City days. I don’t hear anybody hating on Rainbow these days the way the conservatives did in the Old City. The conservatives prefer corporate chain stores. I do think a lot of the workers eat meat now — or maybe they did to begin with! — despite working in a vegetarian-vegan worker-owned grocery store supposedly concerned about the ethical treatment of animals. Also, I rarely see anyone come in on a bicycle anymore and Rainbow ended the discount for cyclists years ago. But, as I said, it’s the best grocery store in San Francisco as far as I’m concerned and I especially like helping the workers by giving them my business. Chau.—el barrio rosa
UPDATE (Spring 2016): What’s this about Meat at Rainbow Grocery Cooperative? WTF?
El 24 de noviembre de 2013. Hola. Rainbow Grocery Cooperative is the best grocery store in San Francisco. The store is owned and operated by the workers using a cooperative structure. There is no “employer” or “employees.” The workers own their store. And what’s especially special about Rainbow is that it’s a vegetarian/vegan store. No dead animals in the place! Not a one!
Despite lies and misinformation from shills and hacks for the mega-corporate chain grocery stores (their initials: WF, TJ and other corporate chains), Rainbow keeps their prices as low as possible and I know that for a fact. I’ve shopped at Rainbow every week since the early 1990s. These days, nearly everything I buy is always the same price at Rainbow and my receipt each week is roughly in the same price range, unless of course I buy more chocolate than usual (I don’t feel one should be deprived of chocolate) and then the bill is higher of course. The organic produce can vary in price and that’s based on the local supplier. One example of the prices staying as low as possible that comes to mind: Rainbow carries the bionaturae organic pastas from Italia. I used to buy the bionaturae organic whole wheat pasta and that pasta has been $2.79 for several years now. The Guittard Milk Chocolate Chips in the Bulk Department’s gravity bins were over $5.00/pound there for awhile. Then I was surprised to see they went down in price to $4.70/pound and they have been at that price for (I would guess) over a year now. Other than items “On Sale,” how often does an item go down in price on a long-term basis at a corporate chain store? Also, Rainbow sometimes has a lengthy period of time for products to be “On Sale.” The pasta I currently buy (the organic Quinoa/Corn pasta) has been “On Sale” for I’d say about 2-3 months now continuously. How often does one see that in your corporate chain store? When the prices go up at Rainbow it’s because their supplier has raised the price—not because of greed on Rainbow’s part—and/or they can’t find another supplier locally. Rainbow is not about greed. Corporate chain stores are about greed. And even if a product were higher (which I don’t believe) at Rainbow than at one’s mega-corporate chain store, wouldn’t one prefer to give that extra dinero/money to Rainbow’s workers who live in our community instead of a faceless mega-corporation? Rainbow focuses on local organically-grown produce and suppliers, and non-GMO organically-grown/environmentally-sustainably-grown food.
Rainbow needs your business and I’m sure they will appreciate your business. I sense the store is not doing well by all indications that I’ve seen as a longtime customer. It concerns me, which is why I’m writing this. Why is the store not doing well? The store is not doing well because San Francisco is not the city it was when I moved here, unfortunately. I’ll explain what I mean by that in the next paragraph. Also, Rainbow’s competition these days is primarily a predatory, parasitic mega-corporate store (their initials: WF) which seems to want one of their stores on every city block. They seem to want to saturate San Francisco with their stores full of GMO products from what I’ve read about them (see links below). Interestingly, this mega-corporate grocery chain store gets very bad reviews online which you can read here.
Some personal history: I moved to San Francisco in 1979. The city I moved to existed until approximately 2009 I would say or a little before (that’s my rough estimate). Since that time, the San Francisco (meaning the residents) that I moved to is gone. There have been many reasons for this: the high cost of living in San Francisco, the rampant gentrification encouraged by parasitic corporatist conservative politicians, escalating evictions of longtime tenants (including Rainbow customers and some Rainbow workers, I believe) and many people have left because they do not like the “new San Francisco.”
The Conservative Corporatists Have Taken Over San Francisco
The Bohemian, radical and rebellious city that I moved to in 1979 and for which San Francisco became nationally and internationally known for is gone, and some conservative corporatists are doing all they can to completely erase that from history and sanitize San Francisco to make this a boring city for the wealthy and/or one-percent. Because of the tech industry’s predatory and parasitic intrusion into San Francisco, San Francisco has already become a suburb/bedroom community of San José and Silicon Valley with thousands of techbots (tech employees) commuting via 2-story tall tech shuttles to the Peninsula and South Bay while “luxuriating” in their “Luxury Design Condos” Dahling in San Francisco at night. (The green concept of living close to where one works completely escapes the techbots). So everyone remember: when you’re on that gadget you’re obsessed with day and night and staring at that screen you’re helping the data-mining and state-surveillance tech industry (although I suspect that goes right over most people’s head). I see glimpses of the San Francisco of the past on rare occasions such as a recent Critical Mass bicycle ride (whom the conservatives/right-wing despise/hate) through the Castro one recent Friday evening. Seeing that reminded me of the San Francisco I moved to. Just little unexpected events like that on the odd occasion remind me of the San Francisco of the past.
Generally speaking, corporatists support/shop at corporate stores because they’ve been brainwashed to do so by television and targeted advertising. If targeted advertising wasn’t effective it wouldn’t be used. Corporatists generally don’t shop at a worker-owned and operated store such as Rainbow Grocery, nor do they want anything to do with such a store. From my observations with online message forums, corporatists hate on a store like Rainbow Grocery because, in part, Rainbow workers look like individuals. Rainbow workers don’t look like corporate cookie-cutter mannequins in silly clone uniforms sent to them from “Corporate Headquarters,” and because Rainbow is not a corporate store and fortunately it does not feel like a corporate store. On the rare occasion on message forums when I’ve interacted with shills, trolls and hacks for WF (and presented the links at the bottom of this page to them about WF), they completely ignored the links and would not watch these videos, even the video from the corporate media. Then they began to hate on organic food which Rainbow specializes in. I then said to them: Well if none of that matters to you and organic food doesn’t matter to you, why are you shopping at WF that touts itself as “organic?” They shop there for status purposes only. (I have a relative who shops at WF and she too is a corporatist and dismisses the concept of organic food and says, “it doesn’t matter what you eat.” With someone who thinks like that, one is not about to change the person’s mind so don’t bother trying. Realising I was wasting my time with the trolls for WF, to them it did not matter what WF sold as long as it’s a corporate chain and corporate was the most important thing to them. This experience really reminded me of partisan Democrats (where that useless corporatist right-wing party can do anything and the messiahbots will still support the parasitic politicians with a D next to their name regardless of what they do). Then mi amiga/my friend said to me as I was writing this article: Well look at you, you’re objective. No one can call you a hack or a shill for a business or for Rainbow because you’re writing this article about Rainbow and you also recently wrote an article of criticism about Rainbow, which included my input. True. And you can read that here. Yes, whenever the topic of Rainbow Grocery comes up online, the comments directed at Rainbow from the conservatives and their shill trolls are consistently nasty, hateful, vengeful and willfully-ignorant about Rainbow. Clearly, most people who hate on Rainbow have never shopped at Rainbow. Until Rainbow becomes a corporate chain store like the corporate stores that the haters support, the haters will continue to hate on Rainbow no matter what the store does. So it’s just best to ignore the haters and fortunately they—with their nasty disposition—don’t shop at Rainbow and I’m glad they don’t.
The Tech Industry’s Corporate Welfare from San Francisco
I touched on this earlier. The predatory tech industry is taking over San Francisco. The tech industry receives corporate welfare—a generous, cushy gift of as much as $56 MILLION—from the City and County of San Francisco through payroll and stock-option tax breaks. Who’s responsible for this corporate welfare to tech? Mostly conservative political parasites in San Francisco City Hall whose real owners are venture capitalists. But tech gives very little back to San Francisco in return. And because of the parasitic tech industry’s predatory encroachment into San Francisco, the average monthly apartment rental rate is now approximately $3,400.00. But the techbots (who seem to try to isolate themselves from the average San Franciscan whenever possible) are not shopping at Rainbow, even though from what I read recently there are over 40 tech companies en el distrito de la Misión where Rainbow Grocery is located. If the techbots shop at all for groceries—instead of ordering them on their gadget and having groceries delivered to their “Luxury Designer Condo” Dahling—the techbots would likely not go to Rainbow but rather Rainbow’s competition (their initials: WF). Why would they shop at WF? It’s all about “Keeping Up with the Jones-ses” Dahling. Or as mi amiga/my friend says: Just shallow, superficial and pretentious young people trying to keep up appearances by putting on snooty airs and trying to impress others by being seen shopping at WF. I would like to point out that people who are secure themselves don’t feel the (insecure) need to try to impress anyone and “keep up with” others for status purposes. And they don’t concern themselves with “being seen” somewhere for status purposes. People who need therapy do that sort of thing.
Rainbow’s customer base has largely been forced out of San Francisco, unfortunately. And today what remains of San Francisco’s GLBTQ populace, they too are now mostly corporatised/gadgetised sheep—having abandoned and erased their radical/rebellious/alternative/”progressive” past—and from what I see most GLBTQs think nothing of supporting corporate chain and big box stores. It’s so much easier to be one of the pro-Establishment sheep rather than a thinking, socially-aware and non-Establishment person—as GLBTQs were in the former San Francisco and challenging the corporatist status quo.
What I would have done differently than Rainbow?
Remember Rainbow’s 20% off coupon days? Rainbow’s coupon days were not that long ago and they were extremely successful in bringing in a lot of people to the store to the point where the store was often packed with lines to the registers going all the way back to the Produce Department. I once saw a muchacha with two shopping carts piled high on a coupon day. I think the workers lost dinero/money despite the volume of products being sold so I think that’s why the store ended the coupons. If I were Rainbow, I may have kept the “coupon days” but in a different way: give 10% off to all customers at the register (no yellow page coupons needed) on certain days of a month announced ahead of time. That would have been a compromise of sorts, if they couldn’t afford 20% off to all customers. Some people think that Rainbow should have expanded their business by adding another store in the Haight or Castro districts of San Francisco. Some say that Rainbow should have taken the store in the Haight where WF is. They also say that Rainbow should have taken the old Tower Records store (that’s a two story building) which was “For Lease” for years on Market Street and has now been leased to yet another corporate chain drug store. I don’t know that either location in the Haight or Castro would have done anything for Rainbow’s business because again corporatists and a corporatist city only support corporate chain and big box stores which corporatists often drive to in their SUV. Even corporate chains expand and add stores but end up closing them later. Also, fortunately Rainbow owns their current building so they can’t be kicked out for any reason. Due to outrageous and greed-based real estate prices today, I suspect they cannot afford to buy another building in The Haight or Castro (for example) to expand to and I would guess they would oppose leasing (understandably in this instance) because they could be kicked out at any time or subject to whatever ludicrous demands some asshole landlord or management company required of them. Well screw that! In the Castro, there are two independent/non-corporate “health food stores” (similar to Rainbow but on a much, much smaller scale) and at this point I really don’t know how either store stays open. Neither of them seem to do much business no matter when I walk by them.
As a longtime Rainbow customer, I would hate to see Rainbow Grocery Cooperative become extinct, so that’s why I’ve decided to write this endorsement and advertisement for them (which I’ve never done before for any business) in that this might help their business. So if you live in San Francisco or someplace close in the Bay Area or plan to move here, please support Rainbow Grocery Cooperative at 1745 Folsom Street in San Francisco (and take your own bags with you for your groceries or buy the store’s cloth bags there…you’ll get a bag credit at the register each visit). Why would people support a corporate chain store to begin with? I don’t understand that, other than it’s the sheep thing to do. Do people really enjoy and get off on supporting corporations? WHY?
Vote with your dinero/money
People should vote with their dinero/money. Voting with one’s dinero is the best way to vote and one knows that one’s vote is counted by that vote. Wouldn’t people prefer that their dinero/money go to the workers-owners of a local store rather than a faceless mega-corporation? The Earth needs more cooperatives, not more corporations. In case no one has noticed, corporations are ruining the planet. Muchísimas gracias for supporting Rainbow Grocery Cooperative. Rainbow is open 9am to 9pm every day. The phone number is 415.863.0620 and their address again is:
1745 Folsom Steet
San Francisco CA
Chau.—el barrio rosa
For those who just love spending their dinero at corporate WF, that mega corporate chain store is not what you think it is. Check out this video from a corporate news source:
Regardless of what you think about Infowars, this particular information is credible: