“Unprecedented Show of Support” – The Market Basket Effect

Market Basket, aka DeMoules Supermarkets Inc., is our supermarket.

Current news on the Market Basket story.

If you live almost anywhere outside of New England, you may not know about this fast moving news story about the grocery stores known as “Market Basket.” We have been affected by this story as have many thousands if not millions of New Englanders and this is just one family’s little story about what’s going on.

Our Salem Market Basket

You can read about the history of this story above by clicking on the links above. I will just give you our small side of the story here.

We used to do our food shopping at Stop & Shop. That store is located just 2 minutes up the street from us at a local shopping center called Vinnin Square. For probably 26 of the 28 years we’ve been married and have lived in this spot, we’ve done all our food shopping there. I never knew that the prices at S&S were so high until the last few years when people we know started saying that we might want to try shopping at Market Basket instead, for lower prices.

When I became unable to physically walk the aisles of S&S any longer, I looked into their service of delivery of groceries called PeaPod. I joined up and for about two years I used this service. I’d go online and pull up their website of all foods and products they offer and check whatever I needed for that week. It is a very well-run service, I have to admit, and it was super easy doing the shopping this way. I’d specify what time I wanted my groceries delivered and I had nothing but good things to report about this – except for one thing – the cost! I was giving the delivery man a $5 tip on top of the delivery fee the store charged. I also noticed that when I would order things like meats, I always got the BEST cuts of meat I’ve ever bought, probably because they got to choose them and why would they choose the cut-rate cuts of meat when they could sell me the most expensive ones?

After a while I started to calculate that I was spending way too much on groceries and I was nearing retirement age and didn’t want that huge bill every week. Paul suggested we try shopping at Market Basket in Salem, about a mile or two by car from here. He also said that HE would do the shopping there if it meant we’d be saving money! I finally agreed to this plan.

The first step was to do a week’s worth of shopping at Stop & Shop and then to buy the same list of groceries the following week at Market Basket. Needless to say, the comparison in prices was staggering and eye-opening. My bill from Stop & Stop was almost twice as much as my bill from Market Basket! For the same foods!

We switched then and there to Market Basket. I used to spend upwards of (and sometimes more than) $200 a week on my food bill from S&S, and now, shopping at MB, I will have a bill of anywhere between about $65 and $120 tops. Usually my tally is about $85 for a week’s worth of groceries. Wow. I was so impressed, and we quickly started telling everyone we knew about this place.

We also get 4% off our already-low total every week!

I, personally, only shopped there a few times so didn’t get too familiar with the store. Paul goes once a week now for us and he has had quite a learning curve in the art of food shopping. It was quite difficult for him at first just because he never did food shopping at all before in his life. Just little things he’d pick up when necessary, like milk or Cheerios or something small. Now he does the whole shopping trip in under an hour from door-to-door. He is amazing.

I did not know the history behind all the family feuding that had been going on in the DeMoules family until the last week or two. All I knew was that we would be Market Basket customers forever.

Then, in the last couple of weeks, the CEO of MB, Arthur T. DeMoules, who is credited with making this chain of family-owned stores into the food-mecca that it has become, was fired by the Board!

As you can see by reading the story I linked to above, the employees, of which there are approximately 25,000 around New England but mostly in Massachusetts, were stunned and horrified. Apparently, this store, as run by Arthur T. DeMoules, has been the best place to work all these years and the employees can’t say enough good things about it and Mr. DeMoules.

As of now, several people have been fired and the stores are emptying out. The employees are protesting all over the place – it’s on the news on TV right now. Today is a big day, the Board is meeting to decide whether Arthur T. will be able to buy out the Board’s just over 50% shares of this store and become the CEO once again.

The vendors have boycotted – the shelves are all empty in the stores…

This news has even crossed the pond and was featured HERE in the Daily Mail in England.

… the employees are outside in the parking lots rallying and protesting this take-over by the “other” side of this family who only want to sell off the company to the highest bidder, pocket their big profits, and turn it into just another grocery chain – like the ones we all had abandoned for Market Basket in the first place. This Board that is the “villain” in this story has not been involved in the actual stores at all, they all have their own separate lives and don’t even know the customer base or the employees at all! They are clueless greedy low-lives, in my humble opinion.

When Arthur T. DeMoules was asked once if he worked for a supermarket, he said “No, I work for people,” and he meant it. He has been amazing all these years, and employees in the many thousands and his customers in the millions all agree…

“We want Arthur T. back in the driver’s seat at Market Basket.”

So today we are waiting to hear how this big Board meeting goes. We want our store back. We don’t want our food prices to double again.

Oh, and by the way, Paul did our shopping at Stop & Shop the other day, in solidarity with the employees of Market Basket (and also because the shelves up there are becoming bare), and he got only about six or seven plastic bags of groceries for a total cost of about $87. This is about half of what we normally buy for the same price at Market Basket. We usually get about 12 bags of groceries for about the same price!

That’s our story. Wish us luck.

Cheers for the good guys of this world, and jeers for the greedy b’stards who only care about their profits.

Bex-a-Market-Basket-Lover

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13 Responses to “Unprecedented Show of Support” – The Market Basket Effect

  1. nina says:

    It made the national news last night (with some serious allegations and accusations flying from both sides). Give us an update when you can!

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  2. Christos G. Makrypoulias says:

    The Demoulas family are of 100% Greek extraction and have been active in trade since the first decades of the 20th century. I bet if my great-grandfather had stayed in Boston, instead of returning to Greece to fight in World War I, he would have been in the same line of business! Sounds like a tale of immigrant success and corporate greed – not to mention family feud. Just like a Greek tragedy!

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  3. Bex says:

    Just to clarify, Bonnie… Stop & Shop is about the farthest thing from a “convenience store” – it’s huge and is the largest grocery store around here… humongous in fact.

    And yes, S&S must be loving this. We still haven’t heard what’s happening yet, but the “villainous” side of this family are “considering seriously the offer to buy out” their portion of the shares, to the tune of some $2.3 billion (as reported). I hope he does buy them out… and get our store back!

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  4. beanie says:

    Stop N Shop must be loving this! Think of all the business they have due to Market Basket having empty shelves.

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  5. Eric Mayer says:

    By the way there’s an article and a lot of comments about the situation here:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/07/25/1316693/-Grocery-chain-CEO-s-ouster-sparks-massive-worker-protest

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  6. Eric Mayer says:

    Mary called my attention to this story this morning. So you are part of it! (As a customer) The idea that a businessman should make a nice profit by offering great service and acting responsibly towards workers and customers has become outmoded. Now the idea is to make as much money as possible (there’s never ever enough money for these guys) by cheating customers and workers both. I hope the good guys win this one.

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  7. Bonnie says:

    We call our corner stores ‘shop and rob’ and they are like the one you have called stop and shop. The proper title for them is ‘convenience stores’ for those not wanting to travel to the big groceries. They are by every apartment complex it seems. Of course the name rob really came because that is where most hold ups are.

    Good luck and I hope he regains the company and writes those family members out of his Will.

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  8. sandy freel says:

    Hope all gets back to normal for you..we have a few stores that are way over priced..

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  9. Smartiplants says:

    It sounds like Arthur DeMoules is one of the wise entrepreneurs that realizes if you want to be in business for the long haul you emphasize the customer and keep the profit margin small but something he can live with, rather than what that board apparently wants, which is they want it all and they want it now. I hope it works out for they New England states so that Market Basket can serve the area for many years to come.

    Like

  10. Irene Bean says:

    WOW! I saw this story on the Internet but didn’t read it. Thanks for the overview.

    Groceries cost me a bundle. There’s only one store on the mountain and it’s frightfully expensive and very much over-priced. The upside to my numerous trips to Vanderbilt is that I can shop off the mountain. Harris Teeter is considered high end, but costs less than the store that has my mountain community hostage.

    Hope your story has a happy ending. I suspect it will considering the outpouring of support.

    Like

  11. TopsyTurvy says:

    I remember DeMoulas very well from when I lived in MA. I think they changed names to Market Basket just before I moved away the last time, around 1978.

    I know what you mean about the difference in prices being so important. We do our shooping at a place called FreshCo because the majority of their prices are so much lower than the other 2 chains that are nearby. We only buy specialty items and discounted sale items at the other 2 stores.

    That’s quite the story, with the huge grassroots loyalty that Arthur T has gotten. I hope the people will win and be ablevto keep their people-person boss.

    Like

  12. Fingers crossed Bex, that the such a great business continues to thrive! Please keep us posted!

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  13. l'empress says:

    Well, Market Basket isn’t in the New Haven area. I started shopping at Stop & Shop about fifty years ago, when I was living in Willimantic.

    When I had transportation and time, I shopped other stores and compared prices. When I can get a ride to Trader Joe’s, there’s some good buys there.

    In the end, S&S has: good produce, and I choose the amount; nice meat; the products I want if I can’t get out to a store that has better prices; the pharmacy that covers my prescriptions. I shall be able to get to S&S from my new apartment, and I will damned well take whatever I can get.

    I’m glad Market Basket is there for you. I did love Peapod.

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