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Oct 3, 2011 12:50 PM

Anyone else FED UP with Bountiful Baskets?

I after my second to last purchase from them, I vowed to not participate again but we LOVE 9 grain bread I went ahead and participated two weeks ago. Again, I was so disappointed in (low) level of quality of the produce they offered. The lettuce had was completely brown inside and went directly into the trash. The nectarines were very, very hard so I left them to ripen a bit but they rotted within four days (and were still hard! how does that happen??). The other items were meh...

I started having a lot of questions that could not be answered as Bountiful Baskets do not answer emails (I've tried).

With the abundance of local produce available, why was everything from California, Mexico and places other than Arizona?

Why are there grocery stickers on some of the items?

Being a slightly suspicious sort, I wondered was this "co-op" legit and began doing some research. I found Articles of Incorporation filed with Arizona for Bountiful Baskets with Sally & Tanya being the owners. Thing's a FOR PROFIT company.

Wth? Can anyone add to this?

Oh, and if I could just buy their bread somewhere's amazing but not identifiable as the bags are unmarked. Can anyone enlighten as to the bread maker? I would be in your debt ;)

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  1. I pretty much gave up on them last year as well- I was spending too much for subpar stuff, half of which I didn't really want. Between the other farmer's markets around, and Whole Foods, I can get local stuff cheaper and without the hassle of bountiful baskets.

    3 Replies
    1. re: cactuschowdah

      I just really regret not being able to get the bread they sell. It's in unmarked bags for a reason, I guess.

      1. re: fluffitude

        I get the Nine-Grain from BB frequently. There is always an Alpine Valley sticker on the outside bag. I'm not sure about other kinds of bread they offer.

        1. re: apl222

          great! will check it out.

          but what is weird is I just checked the outside bag (got some stashed in our freezer) and no sticker.

          Thank you so much for your response!

    2. A relative used to do this and their bread was "Alpine" too. I get it at the Christown/Spectrum Costco. It is delicious!

      1. Yes, I agree. I stopped using Bountiful Baskets, also because of ‘subpar’ produce, and also because it is NOT local.
        I tried coutless times to talk to the organizers of the group about my concerns with no response.
        One of the organizer at the park told me i had to tell them right then and there. Sometimes that was difficult because we were standing outside in a park in cold winter weather and sometimes it was not even light out. I so prefer the ‘farmers markets’ where you have your choices and can also chat with the local growers.
        Not happy at all with the opeeration or the quality that Boutiful Baskets brings......

          Same address as Kodiak produce a distribution company. To me it appears that they are not an International Cooperative Alliance principled organization. No Board of Directors, no election process as Co-ops are one member one vote, no equity investment process, no ownership for the people making orders. They don't have a process to share profits with their members.

          They are a distribution company marketing a buying club and trading on the good reputation of how "Food Co-op" is perceived by the public. The only way to counter this is to better educate people on what a Co-op is and does.

          Of course with just a couple of bucks of profit per order at the hundreds of sites per week, the owners are reaping probably thousands of dollars a week with their model of operation. Why pay staff or sales people when you can get "volunteers" to work for a produce credit.

          5 Replies
          1. re: doobydub

            <<They don't have a process to share profits with their members. >>

            Hint: They don't need one, it's a non-profit outfit; by definition there can't be profits! In this day and age to declare oneself as non-profit and be profit not only goes against state law, but federal (IRS), and interstate commerce as well. So, if you really think they're risking jail time to sting you, why not complain to the officials? Speaking for myself I'm not looking for "local" produce. I'm looking for quality and value, and local is not always a good thing, for example Colorado and Georgia have great peaches. Another location that's not one of those two might be local, but it also wont be as good. While the produce may not always be local the BB Coop is local, I haven't read any extensive bragging that the produce is exclusively local. I know I'm getting consistently better quality and price than Fry's, Basha's, and Safeway. What the coop does is bind together enough purchasing power to have an equal footing with those large markets, and the distribution from farm to you is also shorter than through those outlets. In more than 2 years of participation with BB my only complaint is they're hard to reach, but they get the job done, even refunds, and there's no need for you to walk away from your local pickup with a product you are not happy with it, just refuse it and that will put the refund wheels in motion. As for getting your produce ripe that's what the brown paper sack is for, and there are chemicals to slow ripening, and those two user interventions apply just as well to the produce bought from big chain markets. Any business has some sour apples (and I'm not talking about produce), the fact is if the sour apples were the rule instead of the exception then Bountiful Baskets would go away overnight because customers vote with their dollars not with blogs. There's nothing inherently wrong with blogs except like other similar tools the majority is silent and the minority is outspoken; so readers should be inquisitive, but they should also look deeper than a forum thread that's addressing one side of the coin.

            1. re: dwpenn

              You are getting the exact same produce as the stores. and they are NOT a nonprofit.

              1. re: dwpenn

                Just because they call themselves a non-profit doesn't make it so. Can you third party verify their non-profit status? A principled Food Co-op can have its Cooperative enterprise status easily third party verified by the National Cooperative Business Association or the National Cooperative Business Association.

                1. re: dwpenn

                  My complaint is they are hard to reach too, but refunds are not that easy as you say, just refuse it. Refusing may give you a credit (2-3 months later) on your BB account, but not $dollars back in your bank account. You must order again to get the credit on your next order (remember 2-3 months after the credit is applied in your BB account) and in my case the credit was claimed to be used, but they still charged my cc for the full cost of my order, yet they depleted my BB credit. They are tricky Sally and Tanya. I tried calling the phone number (480-279-5019) that appears on my bank statement and it goes to voicemail box that has not been set up yet. The recording says try again later and click hangs up. Of course they brag about not being able to read all the emails they get too. I will never order from them again.

                2. re: doobydub

                  Yeah, "no good deed goes unpunished". They set up a co-op with lower cost produce using the large-scale buying power of thousands of consumers because they were tired of paying retail prices for organic and non-organic produce. And, of course, there are always skeptics that look gift horses in the mouth, so we end up with all this non-profit, not-for-profit, I-want-to-see-the-books kind of diatribe.

                  Participate, don't participate. It's pretty simple. If it is not a good value for your $15, save the money and buy where it is a good value. Trying to convince people that BB is corrupt or somehow a really bad deal is pointless. If BB is a bad deal, it will disappear like all bad deals in a capitalist system (unless we're talking about gov't subsidized bad deals, of course ;-) ).

                3. BB will refund for any product not acceptable to the customer. I've never had a problem in 2 years of participation. I've never ordered their bread, but then I'll never have a need for 10 loaves.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: dwpenn

                    Really? I've been waiting for a refund on a product they could not deliver since the end of May. It's now the middle of August. I have contacted them no fewer then 10 times and have been ignored each time.

                    We have started uusing local farm stores and getting much nicer and cheaper product and yes locally grown. Goodbye BB and keep your lousy $12.50.

                    Ken in Roswell, NM

                    1. re: Roswell2

                      In full disclosure I waited a couple of cycles for my local rep (who said I'd get a credit) to make it manifest itself, and I followed up once with them (to no avail). My refund came when I documented in a letter (using U.S. postal, don't trust email) to the Enterprise HQ. Eventually it showed up, not on my credit card, but applied as a credit to a new week's purchase. It also just appeared, that was my only acknowledgment. They pretty much declare themselves as not having time for individual contacts, and when you think of how many of those there could be, many of them ludicrous, petty, and silly, then you can appreciate (a little) why it's slow, and why I chose a completely different form factor to get their attention. It only happened the once, but I'd go straight to HQ again and skip letting the local rep try to handle it. Odds are the local rep only gets slightly better access to HQ than we do. If a person can find better I'd suggest they do so, and I'd measure "better" by "value" not merely by quality and certainly not by cost. I'd change to where I could get better value in a heartbeat, but such a place doesn't exist here in my small community, and it didn't exist in Tucson when I lived there. If you are suggesting they could improve their "customer care" you get a resounding yes from me, it just doesn't seem to be on their priority list. They're not running a business, they're running a co-op and probably without much business experience, but then with volunteers you don't always get the best, take our politicians for example (any party, congress or senate). Anyway, given your specific locale you may have been exposed to a problem I don't have: One of your volunteers might be one of them aliens running around and if they were say 20 at the time they landed they'd be 87 now, and slowing. Try the Vulcan salute.