Re: Common Meals System Online
From: Tim Mensch (
Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2009 15:56:29 -0700 (PDT)
Lynn Nadeau wrote:
Drupals? Is that sort of like rubles?
No, I see the rough summary. It sounds extremely complicated. Maybe it helps, if you have large numbers of meals or participants or?
Here, it is really simple.
Yup, and at Pleasant Hill, some folks were annoyed that some people ate all the time and didn't cook, or didn't cook enough, or whatever. The existing system (everyone cooks once per rotation) was pretty widely ignored, so they were looking for accountability.
Payment: One member keeps an ongoing spreadsheet with names, payments, and debits. Most people pay ahead, and chip away at it, as he subtracts $4 for when you showed up to eat. Cooks get reimbursed from $3.50 per diner, $.50 goes for pantry staples. Usually about 30 people eat. The blessed meal accountant updates the spreadsheet once a week.
This means that you never have meals that are more expensive than $4/person? Wow. Food must be cheaper there...

Occasionally PHCH would have a steak night, where the cost per person was closer to $8, IIRC. And it was actually the person who managed the spreadsheet who was one of the major proponents of the computer system, since it frankly was a lot of work.
Equality? No. Not everyone cooks, but enough do. We figure it's like anything else around the place: not everyone facilitates, manages finances, or weeds the strawberries. It evens out enough, overall. We don't keep track of anyone's actual work time. We just try to make it easy enough, or rewarding enough, that people show up. With cooking, it's not hard, because you get lots of help and abundant acknowledgement.
I applaud your attitude. But not all communities share it--or at least not all community members can be quite so laid back about it.

In any event, you pretty much made my point: Every system would need its own set of constraints, based on who is comfortable with what at the community in question. Some would certainly be much simpler than the system I wrote.


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