Consumers' co-operation was an integral part of working-class community life early in the 20th century. The Co-op store was a familiar landmark in most neighbourhoods, particularly in the industrial North, while millions knew their "divi" number off by heart. The author of this text contends that the co-operative movement has usually been regarded as a way of making ends meet for the majority of members, and sometimes as a vehicle for the inculcation of middle-class norms and values. This book contests those views, presenting a critique of the co-operative alternative to emerging capitalist forms of mass consumption in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The book examines the ways in which the movement was read or appropriated by middle-class reformers and state socialists, and how the challenge represented by consumers' co-operation was finally contained by private capital and the state after 1918. The author argues that the dominant "mode of consumption" which emerged was not inevitable, but was the outcome of complex social and econmomic struggles only now being investigated.