Often, the Isla Vista Co-op has been a lifesaver for the occasions I feel the need to purchase an emergency carton of blueberries, spend more money on a beverage than I ever have in my life or witness so many reusable bags that the whole “overconsumption” thing relating to plastic bags seems overblown. The Co-op combines the thrill of grocery shopping with the risk of bankruptcy; it’s like a rollercoaster that makes you want to go back for seconds. It’s the only store in America where the organic chocolate section is bigger than the one for bread, and let’s not forget about the comprehensive beverage fridges where, last minute, you can pick up a treat because “you deserve it.” And it’s all conveniently located in the heart of Isla Vista, where, just nearby, you can even pick up a dusty history book someone was desperate to get rid of from the Little Lending Library.
But there’s just one glaring problem. As much as I love seeing its homeopathic cures and shampoos that the all-natural population will go crazy for, the probiotics that will cause you to take out a loan or the random books and calendars on display, there is absolutely zero useful toothpaste available in the shop.
Dr. Bronner’s has enough words on the packaging to constitute a novel, but will any leave me with a feeling of cleanliness as I drift off to sleep? Nope! JĀSÖN and Auromère have enough random markings in their names to put Los Angeles’ brunch shops out of business, but the feeling that I just rubbed my teeth against a tree is enough to forgo the chicness of purchasing $7 toothpaste. Crest, Colgate, Sensodyne — I’ll take anything, even if only 8/10 doctors recommend it!
From the smattering of signs outside that makes customers go, “Okay, sure!” to the sitting area that I’ve only seen moms at, their business is clearly a thought-out one. I mean, really. Though it seems like half of Isla Vista’s population thinks shoes are optional, I hope that the Co-op doesn’t take that as a sign that everyone’s hygiene isn’t a priority. All I’m asking is for them to forgo improving the bagel station (that only ever has one bagel) and introduce the citizens of Isla Vista to a toothpaste brand whose CEO might not pay their taxes.
Sam Franzini believes it’s possible to support sustainability and toothpaste all at once.