After a late night and an early Mass I headed down to the closest Market Basket to see what people were saying and to pick up some of the groceries that I’ve done without for the past month.
I hit the parking lot at 8:10 AM and noticed several signs on the wall thanking the customers and welcoming them back. These were professional printed which implies that they had these ready for at least a day for this moment suggesting part of the delay in finalizing the deal might have been to get things ready for their opening.
The Milk Egg and cheese aisle was pretty well stocked but people were making it a point to check the dates on the eggs and perishable items. While fresh meat, veggies and the cheapest cereals were gone there was enough stock to cover most needs. You could actually tell the shopping patterns of the people who ignored the boycott by what was left on the shelves and what was not.
I talked to several customers who came just to see what was there, a woman expressed disappointment that there were no PopTarts but that of course is to be expected as the supply chain has not been re-established
Employees I spoke to were absolutely thrilled, some looked exhausted having been up all night others had got the news early this morning. A few said their personally couldn’t have held out much longer and were full of relief but all were rushing to stock the shelves with whatever they had ready to put out.
They had incredibly high praise for the customers who stood by them. One young lady told me about a homeless man who lived out of a shopping cart who would come in regularly (Since you can buy a whole cooked chicken for just $4 it’s not unusual for the homeless to stop in when they have a few dollars). He hadn’t been in the store the entire time of the strike.
One day when she was shopping at the Hannafords for her basics she happened to look up and saw him walking by in Leominster she noticed him there.
She was surprised after all “strike” or no Market Basket was open and while they didn’t have many fresh meats they did have preserved meats that a homeless man could have picked up and eaten, yet he walked all the way to the next town to respect the action of the Market basket workers. She’ll not forget that.
Around 8:30 Arthur T. was getting ready to speak and some of the meat & deli folk gathered around some smart phones to see what he had to say, by then I had just about finished my shopping and headed for the registers.
Even with the smaller selection I found myself spending over $70 (I was short on Olive Oil) but I still paid .61 cents less for a loaf of bread and .29 cents less for the nacho chips I buy, and a full .50 less a package for an inexpensive brand of flavored water that was not available at Hannafords and I could go on and on.
I got to the checkout at about 8:35 by that time a 2nd register had been opened up and there was a small wait. I talked to the women running the checkout they had just been called in because traffic had already increased. I would not be surprised if the number of registered doubled by the time this piece went up.
Finally as I left the store around 8:40 I noticed that there were more cars in the lot at that moment early in the morning than I had seen any day during the last 30 days.
Things are not quite back to normal, but they’re getting there and in two weeks when the shelves and stocked and the people are there shopping like nothing had ever happened I’ll remember the times I walked though those empty store and thought of the people who were willing to risk everything for what they believed in.
We won’t see the like again.
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