Tech and the Women’s Faculty Club


This is going to sound silly, I know. But I did my first PowerPoint presentation the other week. I was shocked how easy it was.*

women's faculty

I’m not here to do a commercial. My workplace isn’t very tech savvy. Most workers never touch a computer. Anyone can get it, but pretty much only buyers, office workers, and people elected to committees have store email accounts. As a whole, our co-op prioritizes hands-on work and does not really spend money on fancy tech** because we don’t really need it. For most work in the store, things done on computers are an abstraction or distraction. Other people can set the trends on grocery tech. We’ll come by a few years later and pick up what works well.

This is, of course, anathema to many of you reading this and to many people in our community who work in tech. We get asked sometimes – from a variety of sources: customers, students studying co-ops, people who seemingly have a lot of time on their hands to ponder – whether we have things like a complete constantly updated database of in stock products and their distributors.

No, we don’t.

Because it wouldn’t be useful at all and would cost a ton of money to implement and run and it still wouldn’t be as accurate manually checking the shelf if someone calls in to ask whether we have any Estero Gold in stock.

I’m certainly not anti-tech. Do I even need to defend that statement? But –increasingly unusual in this town — we are a business that relies on physical labor. Heck, we could be one of the few places outside of restaurants where tech workers actually interact with people like us. Grocery stores are also places that get by on low margin and high volume. Spending money on things that may turn out to be bug-filled or just a flavor of the month can actually make a difference in our yearly take home pay.

But my point is, at least a decade after it started making its appearance at conferences I attend, I am ready to adopt PowerPoint. Thanks for working out the kinks everyone!
Where I used it for the first time was the annual UC Berkeley Women’s Faculty Club Open House, an event that has been food themed for years. I talked to them about “Cheese in the Food Revolution” a topic I was given by Professor Sally Fairfax, an awesome educator who has written about the fight to save dairy farmland in the North Bay and who has a super exciting new book coming out which I will hype when the time is right.

I tortured the audience for awhile because logistically I had to do my talk before we had a cheese tasting but it was a fun event. Only one person walked out, but I think she had to go pick up her kids.

By the way, I took this photo because every night before I do a big event, this is what I see in my dreams when I get up to speak. Really, at the time this was taken, the attendees were enjoying wine tasting and snacks in the other room.

women's faculty chairs

*I am also, of course, at the age where the person doing the tech at the event was less than half my age and was assuring me that everything would be ok.
**Our register system and point of sale software is fancy and costly enough!

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2 responses to “Tech and the Women’s Faculty Club

  1. Very nice. For my part, I moved into a full-time position at our co-op in February, and broke the PowerPoint barrier last Friday.

  2. It’s what I love/hate about co-ops. But I think the love/hate ratio in this case is about 10:1.

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