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Jul 21, 2014 07:02 AM

To the new Market Basket management team.

I hope you listen to your employees and customers soon, because I'm not impressed by the actions and direction being taken these past few weeks.

So much for acting in the best interest of the customer and employees.

This new management team turned a great grocery store chain to one of the worst places to shop in less than a week.

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  1. i have not noticed anything that would keep me from shopping there. post some examples

    6 Replies
    1. re: Locutus

      When and where was the last MB you shopped at?

      How about no produce, and previously frozen meat with expectation dates a day or two out.

      1. re: Infomaniac

        MB chelsea ma every 2 weeks or so. i don't buy meat or produce from them for the reasons you stated. BUT those reasons have been there since the beginning so thats a moot point

      2. re: Locutus

        I read a story today about a manager who had 40 years with the company was fired via courier. That's pretty shameful.

        1. re: LeoLioness

          It's not business. It's strictly personal.

          1. re: LeoLioness

            8 people got canned yesterday and 7 were notified via courier.

        2. Given the other choices, stop & shop, shaws, star, should I let myself be robbed for stuff that is worse than MB. Maybe a better approach would be to write a letter to MB mgt. No good solution at present, except to purchase the minimum and state your opinion..

          1. Uh, not to mention their policies of firing anyone who disagrees with their recent activity, and hiring "goon squads" to harass protesters. This is why unions were created in the first place. It's not all about the state of the produce and expiring meat.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Dinsdale45

              The state of produce and expiring meats were examples.
              The issue I have is when management stops listening to customers and employees, and acts on their own personal interest.
              When a well oiled machine is running, and someone decides to change the motor knowing the motor has a problem.

            2. I have had no issues with MB and shop there every week. I couldnt care less who the ceo is, i will continue to shop there until there is a better store nearby. For now there isnt.. #firstworldproblems

              18 Replies
              1. re: hargau

                Dude everything discussed on this board is a 'first world problem' (no hashtag needed). Some people are bummed by long time employees possibly getting treated badly. You're not, we get it.

                1. re: hargau

                  So there's nothing they could do that would cause you to think twice about shopping there, so long as you are happy with the product and the price?

                  1. re: hargau

                    Although when the new CEOs strip the company of its assets, close the stores and cash out -- which is clearly their game plan -- that leaves everyone without a place to shop.

                    1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                      Can you source that they are planning on cashing out and closing stores as an endgame? Has that been documented?

                      1. re: Bellachefa

                        As in have they come right out and said that's what they're going to do? No, of course they haven't. But the steps they've taken so far, most notably hiring co-CEOs Jim Gooch (whose CV includes CEO and CFO stints at Radio Shack, Sears and KMart, all of whom racked up crippling debt and closed multiple stores during his tenure, while he personally cashed in) and Felicia Thornton (who was in management at Albertsons during the period that they owned and severely mismanaged Star/Shaws), strongly suggest that that's the direction they prefer.

                        Or course, there's also this: lining the pockets of shareholders with $300 million (60% of the company's cash on hand) rather than putting it into opening new stores already under construction and in at least one case, completely built: That alone proves the current board has no interest in actually running a supermarket chain, doesn't it?

                        1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                          Thanks. Do you have any valuable links to help me and the chowhound community understand, because, I am truly trying to, but see mostly fluff pieces with little content. Clearly it is important enough for longtime employees and new employees to rally in mass. I just don't think the general public is getting the details needed to decide to boycott or not.

                          1. re: Bellachefa

                            The Globe piece I linked to above contains the root of the problem. Basically, Arthur T's business philosophy involves carrying no corporate debt while building new stores. The work history of the new CEOs is built on running up massive corporate debt while paying out huge dividends and bonuses to shareholders, including themselves. It's a short-term windfall for the shareholders that leaves the companies themselves crippled. The likely endgame is that either the company folds entirely and liquidates its property holdings or a diminished shell of the company is sold off to another owner. In either of those situations, the people who end up getting screwed are the employees and customers.

                            1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                              Thanks. I appreciate you spelling it out for me. I didn't bother trying the Globe link, as I don't have an online account with them. Or maybe it was on the other thread.

                              1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                "The likely endgame is that either the company folds entirely and liquidates its property holdings or a diminished shell of the company is sold off to another owner."

                                That's an absurdly broad overstatement. Having some amount of debt is fundamental to accepted (and desirable) corporate finance practices. The vast majority of U.S. corporations operate with some permanent level of debt. Of course, too much debt can be crippling, but that doesn't mean that all debt is bad. And having debt can have an extremely positive impact on the value of an equity investment in a company. The fact that the board wants to add some debt and pay dividends to equity holders is not necessarily a bad strategy. Moreover, as a customer, I am indifferent to it, so long as it doesn't impact my experience as a customer. Of course if it does, I'll make a decision at that point whether or not to continue shopping there, but this type of decision is hardly they type of moral or ethical matter that would cause me to boycott a store.

                                1. re: Blumie

                                  You're absolutely right that holding some debt is a completely viable strategy, especially if you're actively expanding the company. But the actions of the current CEOs and board of directors suggest that they have little interest in expanding the company (see the suspended work on the Waltham, etc. stores) and, as I said, just paid themselves and the shareholders sixty percent of the company's total cash on hand, which seems an absurdly excessive amount.

                                  I think everybody should be acting according to their own principles and beliefs, customers and employees alike. But this kind of spontaneous revolt against the board of directors -- and I don't use that term lightly, there are reports that the managers of the Haverhill store and possibly others have posted signs *in the store* asking that customers stop shopping there until Arthur T. Demoulas is reinstated (EDIT: and it's being reported on Twitter that every single employee of the Methuen store has walked out in protest) -- is fascinating to me. I've had a personal interest in retail economics my entire life (my dad was in management of a retail chain when I was growing up), and I don't think I've ever seen anything like that this happen before!

                                  1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                    Speaking of unexpected actions, I was rather surprised by this report yesterday, also in the Globe:

                                    "Seventeen elected Massachusetts officials on Saturday called for an immediate boycott of Market Basket supermarkets and announced support for employees and members of the public who have protested the ousting of Arthur T. Demoulas as president."


                                    1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                      Yes, this is amazing. I wish the employees luck and will do them the small favor of not shopping there while it plays out.

                                      1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                        I agree with you that the actions of the employees suggests there's more going on here than we really know, and that's of interest to me. That said, I have no interest in second guessing the actions of the board in terms of their capitalization and dividend policy. I'll make my determination of whether to shop there based on their products and prices, and on other business practices to the extent that they conflict with my moral or ethical beliefs, but not because I think they're poorly capitalized. (And on that front, the fact that they've paid out 60% of cash is irrelevant. The only question is whether they are left with enough cash to continue to operate their business.)

                                    2. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                      The best scenario is that Arthur T. can team up with investors to buy the majority out. The majority stock holders, all family members, have made it clear over the years of fighting that they want to sell.

                                    3. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                      The entire Demoulas clash was always around one side of the family WANTING CASH NOW and Arthur T wanting to build something.

                                      The prospect of the new management team is terrifying. I assure you this is not a team in it for growing the business over the long haul.

                                      I am sure the investment bankers are drooling. Wait until they set up the $600 Million bond offering that will go NOT to building stores and growing the business, but cashing out the family and lining the pockets of the new management team.

                                      It was nice to know you Market Basket. I give it 4 months until DRASTIC changes are seen throughout the stores.

                                      You could not pick a yuckier management duo than those two.

                                      Bottom line for me is that the stores were generally VERY well run, the prices and food were great. The employees were always very nice AND clearly liked working there.

                                      Getting rid of a CEO who managed to accomplish all of that while creating an amazing empire is problematic at best.

                                      Though clearly there were issues on all sides of the Demoulas family in this long-running feud.

                                      1. re: StriperGuy

                                        Arthur S. and his allies are clearly setting up for something like the Mitt Romney / Bain Capital play: load it with debt, suck it dry, slash labor to the bone, claim a great optimization, sell the smoking rubble off. It's the white-collar version of a mob bust-out. Perfectly legal, just morally bankrupt, and it's loyal customers and employees that will end up getting screwed as a result.


                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                          yup.. its original mission statement included bringing grocery stores to under-served areas, which is why fletcher st. in lowell was the first location. that neighborhood remains quite rough. set your watch til they start closing down the stores who serve the customers mostly buying food with wic and snap benefits.