Chelsea supermarket out of produce as workers protest ouster of CEO

Empty shelves at Chelsea Market Basket

MPH photographed the produce department at the Chelsea Market Basket, apparently hit by yesterday's walk out by warehouse workers over the ouster of CEO Arthur T. Demoulas by his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas.

Neighborhoods: 

Topics: 

Free tagging: 

Comments

I'm sure some are. I know I

I'm sure some are. I know I am. And it sucks, where else can you buy anything at cheap as MB? I have to search around Shaws to find something with a unit price that is roughly in the same category as MB. Hopefully enough customers and employees are walking out to break the will of the board.

up
Voting is closed. 0

I dunno...

There's what, 200 years worth of hate here? The mere threat of going out of business won't stop them. They'll just hire new employees and sink that way.

I won't shop there until this is settled with NO employee firings. If they play it right, and history says no.

up
Voting is closed. 0

According to most of the

By on

According to most of the commenters here, Whole Foods has comparable prices.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Crack is whack

By on

You're on crack. Whole foods?!? Low Prices? Are you for real?

Sure if its on sale but regular prices. I don't think so.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Depends on what you buy.

By on

Depends on what you buy.

Whole Foods has the reputation of being expensive because they do things like stock an entire aisle full of fancy cheeses. But if you're buying everyday staples, the cost is often cheaper than comparable products at other local chains. E.g. organic milk is usually cheaper at WFM than at Shaws, MB, etc. Likely because they buy and sell it in larger quantities than other stores.

And people often overlook the quality of items when comparing the price. For example, sure, WFM's ground beef may be several dollars more per pound, but it's grass-fed, free-range beef that comes from specific farms that are disclosed in the store. A significant difference from the cheaper meats available at places like MB.

Also, their prepared food is a pretty decent deal. Usually good stuff and far cheaper than a restaurant.

To stay on topic, I went to my local Market Basket today before even seeing this post and didn't notice any shortage of anything. Of course their inventory is terribly inconsistent anyway though.
I did note posters around the store in support of Arthur T.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Comparisons

Sure, if you compare the most expensive products at "normal" supermarkets with normal foods at Whole Foods, WFM can be cheaper.

But if you want staples -- Dried pasta, canned tomatoes, etc -- WFM ends up being much much more expensive. It's frustrating as you can eat far healthier if you cook at home. But WFM ends up being 2x the price for someone who is smart/thrifty enough to know you don't buy prepared foods for daily caloric needs.

You can keep your organic everything. To buy the staples needed to make a reasonable dinner at Shaws cost $10. At WFM it's $15. Nutritionally there is no difference.

up
Voting is closed. 0

whole foods kills me

By on

I've compared prices on key items for me, and MB easily saves me 25% over WF. WF is much closer to me, so sometimes I have to shop at WF, but I make the trek to MB whenever I can. I've been telling people about MB for years. If MB become jerks or their prices go up, I might as well just go to nearby WF, or move to some city that still has decent grocery affordable stores.

up
Voting is closed. 0

why do you think it's so cheap?

By on

"And it sucks, where else can you buy anything at cheap as MB?"

And why do you think it's so cheap?

The grocery industry is one of the lowest-margin industries around. The only place you save money on is labor.

up
Voting is closed. 0

One of the ways Market Basket

By on

One of the ways Market Basket is able to offer the prices that they do is that they own every single shopping plaza they have stores in. They don't pay rent- they actually collect rent from the other stores.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Stop and Shop as well, from

By on

Stop and Shop as well, from years of acquisitions. They block other chains from encroaching on their stores.

up
Voting is closed. 0

That's part of the paradox

Standard logic from cynical life experiences would dictate MB with the lowest prices would mean terrible quality or terrible-under-paid workers. Yet, it's not. As you can see from the news. Customers (including me) have loved the prices and satisfied on the quality of what's being sold with citation that the service was good too. Meanwhile employees have mostly loved working there. The closest to the same fanaticism of the employees I can think of is Apple workers, maybe Costco, though I guess only Apple has been tested.

That's quite a feat. So why have MB manage to be so cheap? I have heard the answers already. You seem to be citing they manage to under-pay their workers more. Then it's a wonder on how they manage to keep the workers quality of service high and so loyal. From my understanding, Wal-mart manage to remain cheap via low labor costs (and quality), but we heard plenty of employer scandals, crap service, and crap merchandise.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Walmart's secret of success

By on

Walmart's secret of success has less to do with labor than with the deals it cuts with suppliers. To put it simply, walmart buys almost everything it sells at a lower price than any of their competitors because it is big enough to demand that their suppliers do so.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Walmart

has done more for the Chinese manufacturing economy than any other single business in the World. That's something conservatives can be proud of.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Walmart secret may be its

Walmart secret may be its supply deals, but it doesn't mean they don't treat their employees as minimally well (or just below minimal) as possible. So to say MB's secret as merely paying labor poorly, well you have to explain why the quality and loyalty is different from Wal Mart. Whom they are quite famous for crap pay and treatment.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Where as cheap

Not in the city, but Hannaford is also in the MB ballpark on prices - cheaper on a few things, slightly more on most. The one I sometimes shop at is clean, with good produce and a pharmacy. Some of their store-brand stuff is better than MB's.

Trader Joe's everyday prices are lower than MB on some items.

This family dispute has been going on for decades, spanning generations, and I can't pretend to completely understand all the details and ramifications. If new management does implement typical market policies, I'm going to wind up going elsewhere, though. They seem to be teaching MBAs a lot of rapacious profit-taking and not much quality-delivery.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Maybe the Basket will be put

By on

Maybe the Basket will be put in Hannaford's shopping cart when all is said and done. You are dealing with the ARROGANCE of management here, self destruction won't deter them. Maybe Cerberus Capital Management will swoop in for their real estate portfolio, which they did in the Shaw Market / Star Market situation. Unless the good cousin can come up with enough dough to buy out his opponents , they won't rest until the whole thing is destroyed .
The Basket is big enough to attract the interests of many. Of interest is what happened to the Rabb family with respect to family ownership of a large supermarket, they founded Stop And Shop , and it was big and local, most distribution from Boston ( meat and produce in South Boston, groceries and more in Readville , bakery at North Station ,). . It got very big , time moved on the original family members, succession was fouled by outside interests, but it changed , and luckily survived.
( See : http://pleasantfamilyshopping.blogspot.com/2008/02/after-hours-of-bradle... ). Just don't see a Kumbaya resolution here. They got plenty of cash , plenty of real estate , plenty of turbulence, not much debt. Toss in greed factor, sprinkled with the arrogance of management, the table is set for getting devoured . What would Maria Bartiromo say....

up
Voting is closed. 0

I need a flow diagram

I wouldn't know who to support. Didn't the brother who was screwing his brother's kids out of money retain control because one stockholder on the screwed kid side keep voting for the screwer side - so the screwer side was the one which just got kicked out in favor of the side which had been getting screwed?

up
Voting is closed. 0

I shop here

By on

and this store is VERY busy on the weekends. I hope management notices.. but I doubt anything will be done except for firing of employees who walked out.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Multiple Angles

The whole MB thing fascinates me. There are multiple angles one can view this fight. The news have been covering the family aspect of the fight, but what I find really interesting is the business management philosophy aspect.

This assumes the rumors are correct and fears are correct. Including this link that I stubbled googling on this topic in NH reddit.

One side seems to completely old school in terms of business management. Focusing on offering the lowest price with minimal frills. Yet it still has some kind of quality feel to service from employees who describe their work experience of something unrivaled (with exception of perhaps Costco). Meanwhile their expansion seem to be fueled by revenue and cash.

The other side seems to be extremely the stereotype of modern business thinking. From the link above, the letter (assuming that it is real) got the "monotone PR speak" down. The typical clean, minimalist logo that many are tying to emulate today. The efforts towards PR (and the new front of PR with social media, though I think MB just made its own website so far - probably al they can do, I doubt making a Facebook page would go well right now). Combined with the rumors they plan the typical modern practices of expanding via debt and minimal benefits/wages.

It seems looking at the former strategy. It has worked quite well. How many other businesses of any type has that level of attachment by customers and employees? Look at how well MB has grown over the years while rivals has scrambled to get their act together?

Yet, correct me if I am wrong. But it seems business schools teaches the to later strategy. Despite it seems the later strategy led to where Shaw's is now meanwhile MB is doing quite well up to this point, it seems we keep looking to go towards the later than the former. The general explanation is "short-term greed" but man, I would like to know how much money is exactly made follow such a short term strategy over the way MB has grown over the years. How the hell did anyone made any money from running something into the ground? I would like to understand how money the new CEO was made by running Radio Shack like that over something more sustainable (or the other CEO with her experience running that grocery store or the former leaders of Shaw's too)

up
Voting is closed. 0

Modern business strategy

By on

Modern business strategy doesn't really care about the products, customers, or employees. As long as the shareholder value is maximized they consider themselves a success. MB is sitting on plenty of assets that can be turned into cash and will be, that money will then enrich the board and no one else. Seems shortsighted and dumb to me too but I'm just a poor working schmuck so what do I know?

up
Voting is closed. 0

See what could happen when

By on

See what could happen when greedy owners and family members fight over billions of dollars, good!!! It's time for like minded investors to put thier money together and open up a similar Supermarket and start competing. Because if Market basket is running out of fresh food from thier shelves , where are people going to shop, there is no more Cerratani's in Revere! People have 3 options Shaws, Stop and Shop or drive to Chestnut hill, or Westboro to Wegmans.....All 3 Supermarkets are quite expensive.

up
Voting is closed. 0

I'm not sure what to do

By on

I sent an email on the "we are market basket" site and asked them if I boycott Market Basket will that help or hurt their cause.
I don't want the employees let go or have their hours cut for lack of customers.
I haven't received an answer yet.
I really respect what the employees are doing. I've never had a CEO who I thought cared one iota about me. Most of them I wouldn't even recognize if I passed them in the hallway.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Are people forgetting the lawsuit that addressed this dispute?

By on

And the facts found in that case? How the sainted" great guy" former CEO and his dad screwed a widow out of hundreds of millions of dollars? Then tried to blackmail the judge's clerk when things didn't go his way?

I have no dog in this fight. Don't shop at the stores and don't know any of the parties personally. But Artie T is a documented scumbag so please let's stop acting like he is Ghandi.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Actually no, I know nothing about it.

By on

Was the widow left to subsist on a mere $50 million or something?

I don't think people care much about if he was a douchebag to anyone. What they want is better prices than the other supermarkets provide. And workers something.

up
Voting is closed. 0

I put it like this.

I put it like this.

If you were an employee, would you choose to see yourself get reduced to Wal Mart level treatment? If you were a customer, would you choose to accept paying more money for less quality?

Maybe Artie T is not Ghandi. But no employee is going to pick "yeah, his dad cheat his wife of money, I'll volunteer to take minimum wage". Same goes for customers.

up
Voting is closed. 0