by Anura Guruge
On Friday, July 25, 2014, after the Lisa DiMartino award ceremony with Governor Maggie Hassan at the State House (and after a delightful lunch at ‘Olive Garden‘ on Loudon Road with Lisa, friends and family) and before going to see “Planes: Fire & Rescue” we stopped by the “Market Basket” at Fort Eddy Road to show our solidarity with the protesting staff. As I have previously admitted one of my manifold foibles is my inability to be within 5 miles of this store and not get drawn to it — like a bee to honey (a moth to a flame being totally the wrong picture). Deanna and the kids now understand this ‘addiction’ and kind of think it is funny. The kids even start going “Doesn’t Daddy have to go to Market Basket?” So we drove in. The parking lot was basically empty. We actually have a friend who works at the store. She was outside pushing a few cards back. We tried to intercept her but didn’t succeeded. [I spoke with her inside.]
I went, pressed the flesh and chatted with the good folks standing outside holding signs. Some were on their break. The young lady had come into ‘picket’ though it was her day off. They were nice, as Market Basket staff always is. The manager came out. We chatted. I told them that we were 100% behind them. We also talked buyout options. I had, as you can check, already said on July 24 that the only way out of this mess is for one side, ideally the “Arthur T.” side, to buy the other side out. Well the offer got made that morning. Knowing what I know of this family, on principle, they will haggle and be cussed. Arthur T. might want to consider a private buyout — and give employees and customers the chance to buy say 35% of the company. Yes, I will buy shares in an Arthur T. ‘Market Basket’ — and so will a LOT of others. So, I hope Arthur T. considers that. That will make me very happy. It will be cool to be a ‘Market Basket’ shareholder.
It was very sad to go into the nearly empty store. There were maybe 10 customers. Lot of staff milling about. I spoke to a number. Nobody said anything about me taking pictures. I was kind of leaving through the produce section that being our normal route through that store. I was still taking pictures. The manager, very dapper and smart-looking, with whom I had spoken outside stopped by, and asked whether I needed any bananas. Wasn’t sure for a second whether he was being funny! As it happened we needed bananas — and were going to buy some at Walmart since I was NOT going to break the MB boycott. The manager says: ‘Take some. Take a whole bunch”. I say: “No. I don’t want to pay for it and look like I am not supporting you guys”. He laughs, and says: “No. No. Take it for FREE”! I guess they are giving away the perishable goods. Another great gesture. So as I go through the checkout I make a point of telling the girls that I am NOT breaking the boycott that I was told to take the bananas for free. They knew. They laughed. It was a very nice atmosphere.