I know Jim Dowd usually does a smashing job with No Snark Sunday, but I asked him if he was still up to do it after a long week and weekend full of work, and he just had that thousand-yard stare of a man nowhere close to achieving his to-do list. I decided to try my hand at it so he didn’t end up freaking out and pacing the end of the fish pier at midnight, mumbling to himself about school supplies and lag bolts.
I racked my brain about No Snark possibilities (School? Schooner fest that I missed because I’m always working?) and then Marty DelVecchio posted this simple picture on Facebook and I was like “bingo, fuckers, that’s what I’m doing.”
He took this Friday, when shoppers were returning to Market Basket after the successful takeover by Artie T Demoulas.
We are a better community by having Market Basket here. It sounds completely odd for me to say that – despite being a business major and running my own LLC, I’m a super liberal anti-big-corporation kind of hippie punk mom. But, it’s true. Market Basket helps the middle and lower classes survive. End of story.
– They provide reasonably priced fresh produce. The huge problems so many inner cities face is lack of fresh produce for cheap (look up Food Desert), and that’s one of the huge causes of obesity and health problems. Locally, we have other amazing resources like Backyard Growers, Open Door, and the Farmer’s Market that filled the gap, but not every city is as lucky as ours. I don’t want to crap on other local supermarket chains, but in most cases you end up paying more for worse-looking fruit and veggies.
– Cheap Staples, too. Produce is only a small part – having cheap necessities like milk, eggs, cheese, pasta (their own in-house whole grain stuff is great), and sugar/flour literally changes the budget for folks without a ton of discretionary income. We all felt the pinch. The nuclear Clamfamily’s 2 adults and 2 kids usually means about $100-$120 in groceries per week, but outside Market Basket, this shoots up to nearly $200, unless you have the time to meticulously research loss leaders and sales and make several trips (spoiler alert: we don’t). Our pantry was laughingly bare this week. We even ran out of canned beans. We’re terrible Doomsday Preppers, apparently.
– Jobs. This is a weird one, because it’s always been reported by major media that the Basket pays well and is a loyal employer, but I have heard firsthand from employees what their starting pay and benefits were, and they weren’t really remarkable. Also, a lot of the Gloucester Crossing employees who started the place up got moved to part time a few months in when the work load fell off and had to wait a long time to go back to full time. I am remiss to give accolades to anyone who doesn’t provide a living wage to living people and fosters underemployment. But, they do provide a good opportunity for teenagers to get a first job, and the company does do a great job of promoting from within. Folks do stay on for years, and apparently do move up in pay and benefits, and that’s far better than others.
The Market Basket fiasco was also notable for giving my my first actual opportunity to write something kind of serious that got major hits – with swears, of course, but serious nonetheless. It was insane how quickly the whole Clam thing spread. A little bit of humor and gratuitous swearing is apparently how 200,000+ people like their news-related articles. It’s been absolutely fucking crazy. People I don’t know stop me in the street. People left dozens of comments, and emailed me personally, to tell me I was a great writer. Dudes, I just started writing in May when we started this thing. That’s crazytalk!
I was happy to get back into The Basket yesterday. The employees seemed pretty happy, too. The kids working there were all decidedly cheery, and I (I am not making this up) one of the boys from a laughing group of them skipped down the milk aisle.
One of the managers then made an announcement thanking the customers for standing by them, welcoming us back, and generally sound pretty damned proud and happy.
So I bought more than I was planning to.
I did think it was disingenuous of various newspapers/people that Market Basket’s pay and benefits and bonuses were so great. They are… for full-time employees, of which there are very few in the actual stores, and which they make every effort to have you not be.
“A little bit of humor and gratuitous swearing is apparently how 200,000+ people like their news-related articles.” It’s certainly how I like mine. Just read your entire series on Market Basket, and it started my Labor Day off with a bang. Thank you, KT Toomey!
“A little bit of humor and gratuitous swearing is apparently how 200,000+ people like their news-related articles.” It’s certainly how I like mine. Just read your whole Market Basket series. Thanks for starting my Labor Day off with a bang!
Love your articles on the Market Basket fiasco. I have to admit, I never heard of you, until someone who doesn’t even live anywhere near New England. had posted it on her Facebook page. I asked her if she was following the story about the Basket, she said no, and her reply was, her friend was searching for biggest asshole and your First Story about the Basket came up. This woman lives in Phoenix, AZ by the way, So you were read all over the place. Keep up the wonderful work!
Yes, an FB friend introduced you regarding Market Basket. I live in VT. There’s one in Keene, 20 miles away. And I used to deal with them as a newspaper vendor. But I write to say I too like your style and then find some little oddnesses, like; “remiss” means negligent in my American Heritage Dictionary. But I don’t think you feel negligent in providing accolades to those who don’t pay a living wage. “Shy” maybe, or -another sort of remiss synonym- “slack.” In an earlier writing here (my friend liked your back to school stories. Me too. You talk about time “and memorial”,which sort of led up to Memorial Day, but the expression is generally “time immemorial,” meaning beyond memory, whereas “time and memorial” is sort of like ending in an adjective describing [? ] or maybe a tombstone. I miss the ocean!