Okay, Clampadres. I’m currently sipping moscato out of a glass that gives me a graph of the Dow-Jones Industrial Average from 1958-1968. Man, when US Steel rescinded the price boost in 1962, shit started sliding downhill. Damn. But anyway, when I’ve got this cup full of the cheapest wine money can buy, I’m in full-on Business Writing Mode. And since there’s more rumblings in the Market Basket world, I’m here to explain what’s going on to you.
Remember last week, when the CEO team of James Gooch and Felicia Thornton decided that ending the two-week boycott of Market Basket would happen by… firing everyone involved and hiring a new workforce?
The deadline was yesterday. But instead of returning to their jobs, workers were still protesting – going from “a couple guys on the corner” to “a couple more guys and an actual tent for shade, and better signs”. Customers were still staying away. The honking was constant in front of the Danvers store, where I stopped to chat up a few of the folks out front. They had heard what others had heard – something was up, and whatever was going to happen, it was going to happen soon.
I asked the young workers, all under the age of 30, if they were worried they’d lose their jobs. They all answered with a resounding “NO!” which I had a hard time hearing, because of all the godforsaken honking. Then the workers pointed out another oddity, a sign of how widespread this protest has become – a customer had been showing up every day and protesting with them. “We ask her to hang out by the road with us, but she’s more comfortable on one of the benches.”
Most major media outlets have been reporting that Arthur T Demoulas has offered to take back the CEO job for the interim, to figure out an option for selling the company. Keep in mind, he wasn’t just the former CEO – he still remains a large stakeholder, although a minority one thanks to the lawsuits of the 90s. The tanking sales because of the boycotts affects his future just like the rest of the board. But, the long-running animosity in the family seems likely too deep-seated to save the company at this point.
Not to mention the obvious embarrassment of failure for Gooch and Thornton and the rest of the board. Bringing Artie T back is just as bad as Gooch’s failures at Radio Shack and Sears. Why did they hire Gooch in the first place? Were they out of white guys that only fucked up one company? Can we talk about how fucking asinine it is that you can fuck up two companies and be hired for a third (that hadn’t yet been fucked up) as a fucking CEO, but if some poor kid flipping burgers fucks up twice society has no goddamn sympathy for him? Oh my god I cannot with this shit. Fuck.
Meanwhile at the Gloucester Crossing Market Basket, one of the remaining bakery workers was told by regional management to expect the return of all employees, managers, and customers within the next few days. The workers I spoke to in Danvers had heard the same rumor. But is it actually at all likely that they’ll just hire back a guy they fired last month?
At this point, what other choice do they have? The boycott is working. And in the end, that’s remarkable enough by itself – has a more effective boycott been carried out in America in recent history? Usually a boycott is a half-assed attempt by a small majority of workers or customers, is forgotten about in two days, and barely gets the point across. This? This is CRIPPLING.
If the board and the management had any goddamn sense, they’d reinstate the guy – for sure, this would be an ego blow because firing Arthur T failed, but it’d save the company, thousands of jobs, their supply chain, and in the end, their own pocketbooks.
Or will they take every economics and business strategy book ever written, put them in a pile on their boardroom table, douse them with Ouzo and their own tears, and light them on fire?
Stay tuned, motherfuckers.
I used to love Market Basket for its good value. I will only go back if the employees get what they want. Power to the people! Right on!
Pingback: Clamsplainer: Market Basket’s Storied History of Crazy | The Clam
That must be some f-ing good moscato ’cause you made it enjoyable to read about this monstrosity of a clusterf&@k that is the Market Basket debacle and the fact that I paid double for the f-ing half-n-half in my coffee….thank you, Shaw’s.
By not shopping at Market Basket you are sending a message to the Board of Directors and Author S. that you do not like the new direction the company is going in. They, we, have a good thing going. The employees, customers, and investors are all being treated well. Good pay and benefits, low prices, and a very good profit. But that is not good enough in the America we live in today. They have to squeeze every cent out of us and the employees to add even more millions into their pockets. Corporate greed. Please help Market Basket out if you can. Stay away and spend you money elsewhere for now. They are all putting their livelihood on the line for a good reason.
I will GLADLY spend a few more dollars elsewhere to show my support for Artie T and employees! If it means the demise of Market Basket…then so be it! Years from now I hope this will be used as a teaching tool to all of those who think that employees and customers don’t matter!!!
Gotta run…I have errands to do and must drive by as many MB stores as I can today to HONK my support!
Why One Local Grocery Store’s Revolt Is Exactly What America Needs Right Now –
Hey, Do you think you could start on COMCAST next?
Yeah! Let’s do it!
The real world may not agree, but IMHO this is first rate journalism! Bernie Madoff and the likes convinced me to give up on humanity. Artie T. and the employees and customers of market basket have given me hope. Thank you all for restoring my faith, and thanks KT for bringing us the real shit!
KT, never stop writing. I am officially addicted.
KT, you are en fuego, do not stop! You are my source for the MB debacle!
(That’s a Winston Churchill-ism, it stands for “Keep Buggering On!” which is how he signed his memos)