Wednesday 4 January 2012

Stop and Shop at the Co-op Shop

Reading Denise’s post here reminded me of the Gracie Fields song.

      • There's a shop called the co-op (cwop) on the high street
        By gum it's a great idea
        For out of what you spend
        You get a dividend
        Three times every year
        When Ma takes two shillins for a share
        She shouts feelin like a millionaire!
        (She does)
      • Stop an shop at the cwop the Co-op shop
        What the shop! It's the Cwop - the Co-op shop!
        You can buy from a chop to a prop or a mop
        Or a bottle of ginger pop at the Co-op shop!
        As the pop shop is next to the Cwop shop
        When you've done your popping in the pop shop
        You hop out of the pop shop and hop into the Cwop shop
        And promise you'll go shopping in the pop shop
      • They have tripe, nice and ripe at the Co-op shop
        Pink pills, powder puffs pork pies
        Paraffin and jam, carbolic soap and ham
        ?loads per pan pink pies? (not sure about this line)
        And pigs heads all grinning in a row!
        Wont you join in this chorus sweet and low
        Sweet and low, Sweet and low!

From Wikipedia:
A Co-operative Wholesale Society, or CWS, is a form of Co-operative Federation (that is, a Co-operative in which all the members are Co-operatives), in this case, the members are usually Consumers' Co-operatives. According to Co-operative economist Charles Gide, the aim of a Co-operative Wholesale Society is to arrange “bulk purchases, and, if possible, organise production.” In other words, a Co-operative Wholesale Society is a form of Federal Co-operative through which Consumers' Co-operatives can collectively purchase goods at wholesale prices, and in some cases collectively own factories or farms.
The best historical examples of this are the (English) CWS and the Scottish CWS, which are the predecessors of the 21st century Co-operative Group. Indeed, in Britain, the terms Co-operative Wholesale Society or CWS are used to refer to this specific organisation rather than the organisational form. However, the English CWS has inspired many imitations around the world (including, for example, the New South Wales Co-operative Wholesale Society who have also described themselves as Co-operative Wholesale Societies or 'CWS'.
The Co-op is still going strong but has to contend with other supermarket chains that offer ‘rewards’ to faithful customers.


  1. Very interesting-and I didn't know there was a Gracie Fields song about it! I am going to listen to it now!

  2. Brilliant! I shall be singing it in my head as I drive past the cwop shop in the morning!

  3. I love love love this one. I'm still reciting it.

  4. When I was little, we shopped at the Andover Co-op in Andover, MA. I didn't understand what a co-op was, it was just a grocery store to me. I love the idea of co-ops, and all small, local, community type operations. Plus, you gotta love the song!!!

  5. When I lived in Calgary, Alberta I shopped at the Co-op grocery store. We don't have any here, although we have a Co-op bank where you get dividends. I think Co-ops are a great idea.

  6. Good Heavens! it's centuries since I heard Gracie Fields. The co-op shop is still at Flamborough, or at least it was last time I was there. I remember Gracie best singing about the greatest aspedestra in the world!

  7. I remember at one time there were co-op stores in most every town. Now I rarely see them anymore. There is a small one here but it does not have a variety of items, mostly locally grown produce.

  8. The Gracie Field song made me smile! They just don't write songs like they used to! HA!

  9. They've just opened a co-op round the corner from us. Must pop along, see how it compares! Entertaining post.

  10. Never heard of Gracie Fields. But enjoyed the post!

  11. My mom had a 78 recording of this song! I think the line you're not sure about is "clothespins and glass eyes." :)


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