Saturday, August 16, 2014

Mass Extinctions: Market Basket?

There are a few things that may be extinct by the time my children are grown: pay phones, newspapers, neighborhoods-where feral children play until after dusk and Market Basket.  

Yeah, I went there. Oh for the love of Pete! End. This Shit.

Look, every family has their drama.  However, most families eventually resolve their issues and achieve a delicate equilibrium of existance.  

For those who are not from the New England area....

The Board of Directors at Market Basket (amaze balls cheap supermarket) fired their CEO: Arthur T Demoulas and replaced him with his cousin: Arthur S Demoulas....annnnnnd then people went bananas.  B-A-N-A-N-A-S. Arthur T is so adored by the Market Basket community that his workers and customers alike are pouting, protesting and petitioning.  Some of them feel so strongly that they have not been to work since "T" was fired. Some workers were wasting an inexcusable amount of food by walking off the job… THAT made me furious in a head-spinning-exorcist-vomit sort of way.

Indulge me, while I compare this whole Market Basket fiasco to the education system:

The hierarchy of education isn't really much different than a corporation. You have the superintendent of schools and then the principals and vice-principals and sometimes department heads.  You also have a school board with a lot of power.  Anyways.... When a great building principal is removed/retired/reassigned.  You go through a “good leadership hangover.”  Morale ebbs and flows and it takes a while to recover.  Things are NEVER quite the same and that's life. 

I have had a truly great building principal before.  He was so adored that I believe he "retired" and came back as the principal several times.  He supported his teachers.  He cherished his students.  He was honest and reasonable and fun.  At the end of each marking quarter he would have a get together.  There teachers and administrators alike would exhale, together.  When crazy shit went down (like a student abduction on the way to school) he gathered all the girls in the auditorium and made them program the schools number into their devices.  He was charismatic, he kept his promises and he was kind of a hard ass.  

Good leadership matters.  I have no doubt that Arthur T Demoulas was as adored as this building principal was. However, you don’t see teachers threaten to walk off the job if a good principal was replaced.

(Ahem.  Clears throat, climbs up on my soapbox and uses my best teacher voice.)

Market Basket Workers:  I think that instead of pouting over the speculation of what may happen to working conditions and instead of putting all of your eggs into Arthur T’s should have unionized.  Participating in a union is a choice.  Just like pouting.  Now, I know that many people think unions are rigid and demanding....but in my experience as a teacher in a teachers union, that has never been the case. 

 Are you worried about your benefits disappearing, hours decreasing or salaries diminishing? Quit spinning your wheels.  Grow up. You want a collective voice to protect your benefits? Unionize.  I'll tell you what, even with a union there have been a handful of years when my salary was frozen because our contract did not pass and I live to blog about it. If Arthur T is as good of a guy as everyone says, I bet he would be happy to work along side a union.

Even if someone waves a magic wand and this childish squabble ends tomorrow at 9 am,.. Things will never be the same if we don’t return soon.

For that reason, I suggest that we begin to employ some simple, tenth grade economics.  GO to Market Basket.  Get more for your Dollar. Increase demand. Stock up on random stuff: Tampons, paper products, brown sugar, etc.  FYI Arthur S has not done away the 4% off your entire order promotion. When I was in there about a month ago, a loaf of wheat bread was 99 cents.  Um, I bought 4.  I froze them.  Please follow suit. Stockpile.  Graham Crackers and Diapers for everyone!

I think what the Market Basket Community is trying to preserve is family.  Obviously not the blood relationship between Arthur T and Arthur S, but the family-experience that is Market Basket. When I went into my local store this week, I overheard the store manager chatting at the check out, he said, “I just want my customers back in my store.” New England Market Basket Goers: we are family in a weird, discount craving, pj-pant-sporting sort of way.  

So go back to Market Basket.  Make up with your family.  They haven't changed (only one man has).  Honor him by not decimating his company.  It's still there for you.  Diapers this past week were 4.99/pack (Um, I bought 3)!  Boxes of MB Brand Mac and Cheese were 5 for 3$ (I bought 10).  Go to your local store.  Increase demand and they will have to increase supply.  Do it for the Market Basket Family you love and your own families who are growing and living on a budget.

DO it for the family.