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RIP Majestic


It’s been £40/£20 for a long time. Any reason for that?

Does there have to be a membership fee at all?


I assume the membership fee is a ‘share’ as required by being a Coop. When you join your local Coop you buy a share…often £1.


The £40 joining fee is also a sort of ‘investment’ in my opinion. If anyone can just join - where is the commitment, and what differentiate it from any old wine merchant?


No reason for the ethos of the Society to change even with a nominal or non-existent joining fee.


That’s very true - nevertheless, a joining fee symbolises, if nothing else, a sort of commitment to the ethos as a shareholder, rather than a mere ‘customer’. You could argue that if it’s only symbolic it could be reduced to a smaller fee, but for me it seems immaterial. A £40 for a lifetime of joy is well worth it.


Fair enough but if the joining fee is an impediment to membership growth it should be reviewed.

And there are lots of very good wine merchants out there who provide a lifetime of joy without asking for a joining fee.


Absolutely! Though from a research of one - the only impediment was the worry that it’ll entail a regular need to purchase, which turned out not to be the case upon reading the info on the website.

It’s true, but there’s something in a Coop ethos - with a real commitment to the best prices and no pressure to purchase - that really appeals. Plenty of excellent merchants out there for sure (and I use a couple of them regularly), but something nice about being a member, not just a customer. Maybe I’m missing something in my life.


Completely agree. If we are to be shareholders in a cooperative, we need to purchase a share. Otherwise you might as well just give them all out free at birth and make the whole country The Wine Society


Indeed! And a share is a sort of symbolic connection and investment in the ethos.

To go on a bit of a tangent from my counselling work- many a research showed that clients who pay for their counselling - even a small fee, say £5, get much more out of the counselling process, as they are more invested in it. It seems counterintuitive, but been proven time and time again to be the case. Having worked with many clients in the past who paid nothing towards the service, due to various reasons, it was definitely my own experience.


Yes, we need to purchase a share. But we do not need to jump through additional hoops, with paying in £40, then filling in a credit on an order form to get half of this back. Just pay the £20, then normal ordering. I would also reconsider the complicated provisions about new members not getting voting rights for the first 6 months and encourage new members to look at the membership rules.


I’m no expert on how coops work but as I understand it I personally own a £40 share in TWS. If the new members joined for just £20 instead of the £40 plus £20 credit, would they not then be somehow second class members of the society with only half the ‘holding’ of older members? Would this then have impact on voting rights or maybe the ‘weighting’ of those rights. I don’t know the answers to these questions but I suspect changing the ‘price’ of the shares you own would be a fairly significant change to the coop structure.


One for TWS to answer, but as they seemed confused at the last AGM over what ‘non-active members’ meant, perhaps a general review of membership rules is needed.


I believe @MikeFranklin has the main point. Your share has a particular value. There are going to be rules concerning the valuation of shares, either in the society’s memorandum of association (or whatever it is called) - which might be changeable - or in company law - which can’t. Or both. The society has a list which details the current value of your share, according to when it was originally bought. I seem to recall that the originally issued shares, when the society was founded, are now worth a tidy sum. Presumably a small proportion of retained accounting profits accrue to the shareholders.

It would take somebody from the society to confirm all this. But in any event, my point is that the “joining fee” - as we members see it - has to be understood as a share under company law, and handled accordingly.

Secondly, @Inbar’s point about valuing things you pay for has a huge amount of confirmatory evidence behind it. So I’m happy with matters as they are at present so far as share purchase/cashback goes.


Yes, there are rules, and they are not difficult to find on the website. But that even members of the community haven’t looked at them recently, that rather confirms the point that they need to be better publicised and understood.


I personally do not look at it as a share, but as the one off price of access to a wide range of wines at reasonable prices. The membership element does not matter to me. I am not saying this is the right way of looking at it, just trying to show a different point of view that may be shared by others. I like the community element though.


I agree they need to be better understood for those - such us us! - who want to consider and talk about such things. I’m less sure the society needs to increase its coverage to the average member who just wants to buy wine and has no immediate interest in company management. Provided the information remains as being easy to access - as you say - I personally think that should do the job.

Though I have to say that reading the Annual Report is a good discipline.


Looking at the Rules, eg para 8.1 it seems there are already two classes of share.


Oh, I just placed an order online, with the credit automatically applied. Hadn’t considered postal ordering, but it does sound a little awkward.


I kept trying on line, kept getting the £20 added on, and finally rang. Not a good start to my membership.


Agree about the community experience - their promotional bumpf manages to imply a vicarious relationship between customer and winemaker/vineyard. Almost like you own a few rows of vines…A friend is a subscriber and regularly gifts me “interesting” wines. Maybe it’s me, but I have found them pretty average - nothing outright poor, but nothing to grab me. TWS it is for me…