Artie T. opens his store in Waltham

Arthur Demoulas at the Waltham Market Basket

Artie T. himself welcomed hundreds of people to the the newest Market Basket, on Main Street in Waltham, just off 128, as our own Dvdoff shows us.

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Well,Ron....!

If you hadn't rejected my friend request, you'd know what I look like!

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Selfie Pole...

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And here I am thinking I'm hip for assuming a "selfie pole" is a Polish person who likes to take pictures of him/herself.

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Nice store but the shopping center leaves a bit to be desired

I like the new Market Basket store in Waltham. However I wish the developers designed the shopping center where it's located better. The city could have zoned the area better too. The trend is now to built walkable shopping centers. However Market Basket's new location is the typical suburban sprawl big box center concept. Big parking lots the size of several football fields with big box stores around the perimeter. Distances between the stores are just enough that a walk would be miserable, especially since pedestrians are pushed in to traffic. The shopping center is also disconnected from the community around it.

This is the old Polaroid campus. It could have been something a lot better.

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Nobody wants to walk to Market Basket.

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People are going to be driving to this store from many surrounding communities to do their weekly shopping. This is not the kind of shopping center where people walk around and look into tiny stores for entertainment. Market Basket Plazas are all like this and they are all very successful. I get why city dwellers don't want a suburban lifestyle to take over urban centers, but most of Waltham is suburban. People from Weston, Newton, Wayland and other towns are not going to ever walk to Market Basket and drag home $300 worth of food.

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Walking to Market Basket

I bet a fair number of people in Somerville, Chelsea, and Lowell *do* walk to the Basket.

Waltham is pretty urban. The mills and Moody Street would not look out of place in Cambridge, Somerville, or JP.

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Chelsea

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I walk to the Chelsea Market Basket all the time. Its not 100% pedestrian friendly but it is walk-able from the center of town.

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Somerville Market Basket

I stop in there from time to time to pick up supplementary items when I'm on my bike. It is a handy stop for the "mommmm, there's no milk left" situation.

For $200 worth of groceries, I use the car and go late on a week night, of course.

I used to go to the one in Lowell for the same reasons, with a bike, on my way to the train.

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Revere Squire Road "Northgate" Market Basket

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IMAGE(http://s3-media4.fl.yelpcdn.com/bphoto/LA9Bm673uihoyGfbDY8O0A/l.jpg)
I sometimes ride my "shopping bike" to the hideous Northgate shopping center on Squire Road in Revere. The Price Rite store has the lowest prices, though its selection is limited. Now that the new Market Basket has finally opened; Price Rite is less crowded and the checkout service is very fast. I hope It'll be able to survive the competition.

Market Basket is unpleasantly congested; the aisles are very narrow, such that getting around the store is real struggle. Yes, I know it's probably a marketing strategy to keep customers in the store longer, but it makes it impractical to go in and buy just a few items. Even the so-called "express" checkout lines take forever!

Though Northgate is within walking distance for many people, this type of shopping plaza is hostile to all but motor vehicle traffic. Instead, I wish they'd build the stores right up against the street, and put the vast parking lots out back.

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Ask them to install bike racks here!

Somerville Market Basket did, and so did Shaw's Star Market in Porter Square (long ago) and Whole Foods in Inman Square (quite recently). All of these racks are well-used.

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Ask them for more...

The Porter Sq racks (all four of them) are almost always used. In the summer you're lucky if you can find a place to lock up. That's 30 or so cars not crowding the streets and parking lot assuming all these people would have otherwise drove.

The Trader Joe's in Cambridgeport is even worse for bike parking. Two racks and they are all in use from 5:30-8pm daily. I've kept going when I've swung by after work only to find there was no place good to lock up.

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Floor Space :P

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I've visited quite a few different market baskets, and I can definitely name a few with some extremely narrow aisles (namely ashland). But by and large, most MB's I've been two (whilmington, hudson, Salem NH) have normal sized aisles. It's not a deliberate scam, some stores just have less floor space.

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I'm Not Suggesting It's A Scam ...

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... but it's certainly in the store's interest to maximize shelf space, and that necessitates minimizing the width of the aisles between them. If the store was never busy, it wouldn't be a problem, but with the volume of shoppers there, it becomes unpleasant to navigate through the store.

Going down the clogged aisles is like driving behind slow moving traffic on a two-lane road with no opportunity for passing. At their ends, the aisles become gridlocked with shopping carts headed in all directions, like a busy highway intersection with broken traffic signals and people trying to jockey for a break to get through.

Of course, the longer shoppers stay inside the store, the more likely it is they'll purchase additional items, perhaps impulsively. That's not a dishonest practice; I'm sure it's been employed by shopkeepers since the beginning of time. The danger for Market Basket is that people have limited patience. There's a balance between slowing shoppers down so they'll buy more, and slowing them down so much that they'll decide it's just not worth their time and trouble to shop there at all.

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Polaroid "campus"

I worked out there on health and safety projects.

It was never a really walkable "campus". This isn't any much different than it was ... strung out along Rt. 128, accessed by a fairly long drive. I did bike out there a couple of times, but the terrain is challenging in that area for building things in a tight grouping that could be called a "campus" in any meaningful way. Poloroid also had buildings on the other side of the highway by the reservoir.

Take a look at the property map by zooming into Google Maps and you can see why things are like this. Also, look at the terrain for reasons why it doesn't connect to much.

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I'm amazed that Market Basket

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I'm amazed that Market Basket is still able to make a brand new store look so dated in the year 2014! Gotta love it. Best of luck to 'em!

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Dated?

What is dated about it - it has people working in it?

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LOL

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Cute.. has people working in it. *chuckle*

But seriously, I do think the anon has a point. I do find their interior a bit 'dated'.. like a throwback to the late 70s/early 80s (think "light and airy" color scheme of 80s Purity, Finast, Edwards, etc). When by comparison to a new Shop & Shop or Whole Foods, where it has natural skylights, lots of use of different materials (brick, metal, drywall, etc), more earthy tones. Big bold statements in architecture. Stuff like that. By comparison Market Basket's interior is very dated.

I mean don't get me wrong. I love Market Basket, but the interior color scheme is a dated. But then again, that's apart of the charm... no frills grocery shopping that is the same no matter which one you go to. The interior of the Somerville MB (circa late 1970s) is the same as this brand new one in Waltham. Sure Waltham has more selection and amenities than Somerville, but the core is the same. I can't say the same for generational differences that Stop & Shop has (i.e. a 1990s era store looks vasty dated compared to a more recently built store.

The odd thing is that, even though their interior is dated, the newer stores exteriors are very sleek and modern looking.

I guess it's just who Market Basket is a company and how they want to portray themselves. No frills groceries.

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Decor

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I was talking about the decor not technology. A store's interior can look 'dated' in terms of color scheme, fixtures, and overall layout.

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Innovative Decor, Stylish As A Bradlees Or W.T. Grants

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IMAGE(https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2561/3976799214_84cab9a190_z.jpg)
I really care very little how a store looks, provided it's clean. For me, it's the checkout process at Market Basket that seems woefully behind-the-times. They have absolutely no automated checkouts at all. Though it seems like there are lots of registers open, their individual lines are painfully slow and terribly long, often backing up into the shopping aisles and compounding the store's miserable overall congestion.

Not everyone is a fan of self-service checkouts, but they should at least give shoppers a choice, especially when their staff of human cashiers can't handle the volume of traffic the store generates. I also prefer the more modern practice used in stores like Jo Anne and Whole Foods, where a single checkout queue for everyone dispatches shoppers to the next available register. That way, you never get stuck in the "slow line".

I'm cheered by the triumph of Market Basket employees over their evil corporate overlords, and I'm sure I'll shop there once in a while for some items. Unfortunately however, the shopping experience is quite unpleasant; it's just not worth the trouble to be my first choice as a source for staple grocery items.

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Prefer MB's approach

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The automated checkouts are really fast, provided you can count on the average shopper to have a minimum amount of technological savvy and ability to follow basic instructions. Unfortunately, if those checkouts have taught me one thing, it's that the average shopper is more apt to palm the screen like a caveman and then stare blankly into space waiting for someone to help as the line behind them snakes into the aisles. The Star in Porter already gave up on them and replaced the whole self-checkout area with staffed registers, and I've noticed that happening at other supermarkets in the area as well.

Given the volume of business at MarketBasket (the Union Sq. location, anyway), self-checkouts would be a complete trainwreck and make it even harder to get around in there. I actually think the cashiers there do a really good job given the incredible amount of traffic-- I routinely stand in much longer lines in the Porter Star market that has a fraction of the shoppers.

Definitely on board with the single line thing, though. One of the most glorious shopping experiences I've had was when some asshole skipped the big line at CVS (like none of us had noticed there were no other lines??) and when the person in front of them finished, the cashier was like, "Yeah, the end of the line is over there." I almost burst into applause.

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Move Your ... KALE! ... To The Belt

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Different models of self-checkouts have different personalities, and some work much better than others. Some machines have a mean and angry voice and tend to fight with the customers more than necessary. Other systems (e.g.: the model used in most Shop & Stop stores) can be a pleasure to use!

It saves a lot of time if you know the four-digit code of produce items you buy; it's much faster to punch in the number directly, rather than searching through all the pictures. If you don't remember it by heart, try to make sure the number is easily visible on whatever you're buying. For produce sold by weight, make sure to place it properly on the scale; for items sold by quantity, be ready to enter the count when prompted.

It's important to place items on the belt immediately after scanning. The machine does a verification by weighing and/or measuring items as they travel down the belt. This can be affected when an item falls down, so try to place top-heavy items steadily. Sometimes it'll reject a package of meat that you've placed into a produce bag, but if the bag is wrapped tightly to the package it'll usually work. Occasionally, a barcode will become wrinkled, especially on packages of meat. If the scanner can't read it, you can make it work by manually entering the number printed beneath the barcode.

When an item is rejected after scanning; an alert will sound, the item will be subtracted from your order, and the belt will start running backwards. Immediately remove the item from the belt and try scanning it again. If it still fails; press the "Help" button, but put the item aside and continue. An attendant will eventually come over and fix the problem; meanwhile, you can finish scanning the rest of your order.

If you're paying with plastic, swipe your card as soon as you start to finalize the transaction; if you press the buttons as displayed on both terminals as quickly as they appear, you can jump ahead of the game a bit. You only need to make a quick squiggle on the Jean pad; it doesn't verify your real signature.

Now comes an important feature of self-checkouts that most shoppers overlook: the Order Separator. Note in the picture below, the flat strip of plastic at the back edge of the bagging area. There are metal grooves that it fits into, across the end of the last belt.

If there's another customer waiting behind you, politely deploy the Order Separator as soon as possible; that way, the next person can commence scanning their order while you're still bagging yours. Their items will accumulate on the second belt, and won't get mixed up with your order. When you're done, swing the Order Separator back to its storage position again before leaving, so the next person's accumulated groceries can start flowing through to the bagging area.
     IMAGE(https://elmercatdotorg.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/order-separator.jpg)
Self-checkout with Order Separator in non-deployed position.

With a little practice, you'll get up to speed and will be able to scan items very rapidly. Since you know what you're buying, it's possible to self-checkout your own order faster and more accurately than taking it to a professional cashier. Then, when you do patronize Market Basket and the cashier is bewildered by your bunch of greens, you'll be able to quickly tell her, " It's kale, 4627 ".

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I think your fun

I think your fun was in writing the four-page instruction set required to use that system. Reading it, and contemplating its execution? Not so much.

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Not caring

During the recent Arthur S attack, I shopped at a recently-built S&S, and its layout was crap. There was one spot near the front where some displays were at an angle to the rest, that choked traffic to a standstill every time I was there. I didn't notice the spiffy modern decor, assuming there was such.

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The stores are clean

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the meat and produce are fresh, the dairy products don't have two month old expiration dates on them, and the prices are way better than either S&S or Shaws/Star Market. As long as these things continue to happen, I really could care less about the decor of the place.

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