HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >


Effect of Market Basket stoppage/boycott on inventory of other chains?

Because I do a big grocery trip only once a month, and have a lot of staples on hand, I have not been affected by the MB job action.
I was wondering if other chain supermarkets are having trouble keeping their stores stocked, with MB shoppers being diverted to other places.

It's probably a boon for the farmers' markets, too.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Hi Grey,

    I had to pick up a couple of things at Stop & Shop in Stoneham yesterday. It was nearly packed when I went in at 7pm and I asked at the checkout if they noticed any difference in the number of people shopping there since the whole MB fiasco. She said "yes, it's been a madhouse".
    But, the shelves were full and I had no trouble finding the items I wanted. As a matter of fact, my Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal was on sale 2 for $6 dollars and my Quaker Oats Rice cakes were 2.19 cents each, which I usually pay 2 for $4 dollars at MB. So it only cost me .38 cents more for having to go to S&S. I buy the rest of my things at Trader Joe's or Calaresso's though. And I agree, I bet most places are seeing more customers because of MB's troubles.


    1. I usually stop by MB for small stuff and can wait till this drama is over. I'm not going to patronize, excuse me get robbed, S&S, Shaw's or Star, Wegman's et al. MB has the best all round, sale or regular, prices.

      1. I was wondering the same thing, we've been using up pantry, freezer and whats growing in our back yard, BUT today I need to hit up a local spot, Crosby's market which is usually quiet at all times, I'll see what today is like. I do miss my MB

        1. Why would the food inventories change? The consumption should not change much, and presumably the supply is the constant. The only difference would be the amount offloaded at each store.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Bigjim68

            I thought i saw on the news a couple days ago that people aren't working in the warehouses and that suppliers are stuck with their produce. They're was some guy talking about how he was still picking his summer squash, but didn't know what to do with it.

            1. re: viperlush

              Still, unless people change their eating habits, the market consumption should remain constant. What market share is lost by one store should be picked up by another.

              Maybe the squash guy should pick up the phone and look for the store that is picking up the slack.

              1. re: Bigjim68

                In an ideal world a market is a fluid frictionless thing... in the real world, not quite so much.

                  1. re: Kris in Beijing

                    Perhaps, but if he does, then no problem. MB would be on the hook for the terms of the contract.

              2. re: Bigjim68

                And if the other chains did not correctly guess how many additional shoppers would come to their stores, they might sell out of inventory of various products.

                I'll be distributing the Cape Ann CSF fish at Calareso's today from 4-6 (hurray, bluefish!). It has not been a busy place that time of day but I won't be surprised if there's more than the usual volume today.

              3. I went to the CHelmsford Stop and shop yesterday (after trying out the MB across the street for a couple of our fave items, walked out empty handed)couple observations: it was packed but since I'm not a regular, not sure if that was uncommon or not for 3pm on a tuesday. they were out of loyalty cards but gave the discounts anyway. Talked to my cashier who was brought in from another store to help.(so I guess the crowd question is anwered)Tried my hardest to stick with sale items but did some spot checking on price, one of my go to items, log of Mozzarella, 3.99 at MB, 8.49 at S&S.(this was the most outrageous!)Parmasiano reggiano, 12.99 at MB, 17.99/lb at S&S . breads were all 4$ or more but some were bogo, produce not looking particularly good but large variety

                2 Replies
                1. re: momoftwo

                  Welcome to S&S, a total rip off.

                  1. re: treb

                    hate it but I was desperate. hiopefully this thing will be resolved and I can return to MB

                2. I was at the Star Market in Twin City Plaza, Somerville, yesterday afternoon. It is not far from the MB in Somerville. The place was packed and the woman who checked me out said it has been totally crazy. She said they do attribute the crowds to the MB issues.

                  1. you will be fine, I think you are over thinking the situation.

                    1. My 84yo mother shops at the Newburyport Shaw's (the MB there is one of the older, non-renovated ones, and she dislikes it). When she went in to Shaw's last Tuesday around 9:15 a.m., she said the store was jammed, as was the parking lot. Lots of people wandering around trying to find things, and some areas of shelves were bare of product. Cashier told her some stores were bringing in employees from other states to try and help out the inundated MA stores.

                      1. Prices are going up in theMethuen Stop & Shop on at least a couple of items. I buy the Great Value big bottle of basic Italian dressing as a marinade base...it was nowhere to be found. No shelfs voids, just extra Newmans (fine, but more costly). And in an unmistakeable markup, a hygiene product I purchase regularly at 2.49 had an .80cents price increase...same product, same size. I'll not be visiting there against, no matter how handy it is. BTW, the place was freakishly crowded...as if twelve Nor'easters were coming.

                        1. My son-in-law works for S&S and is getting as much overtime as he can handle. Come in early, stay late...no questions asked and they are feeding them meals also.

                          I have been shopping at a different S&S and hate every minute of it. Only buying what we truly need and moving on. My husband wanted a block of swiss cheese (I buy it at MB) every few weeks. Well, nine ounces of swiss cheese at S&S was $7.69 whereas I generally pay $3-4 at MB depending on the size I buy. Needless to say, no swiss cheese entered this house.

                          I don't know where this whole mess is going to land, but if MB is bought out by a big company I would guess we would see major prices increases. Fingers crossed that it's resolved soon for all affected.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: marilu

                            Absolutely...I feel for the cashiers and staff at S&S. They're all hopping from opening to close, even on what must have been "slow" days. The aisles are messier by an influx of folks who are pawing over things to find products and prices, plus they seem to have hired brand new staff to fill needs, and they look like deer in headlights.

                            From here in, apart from my H's prescriptions, I'm only going to small, local markets. For my meat, Thwaites in Methuen, for Veggies, Laschi farmstand, and for deli, Borelli's.

                          2. went to the Chelmsford Hannafords earlier this week, very busy in the aisles, lots of cashier help so that was good. empty shelves in places, people loading perishables (meat, dairy) as fast as it was loaded, it was going into shopper's carts. I talked with a guy loading sausages, he said its been crazy, they should just park the dollies in the aisles as product is being snapped up as its being put on shelves. One of the rumors I heard was that hannaford's is a potential suitor.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: momoftwo

                              I routinely go to Hannaford at 9pm on Wednesday nights, as my schedule has me in that vicinity most Wednesday evenings. Typically, the customer count is in the single digits. Last week there were dozens of MB refugees, including lots of young children whose bedtimes should have been earlier. They were restocking dairy and produce as customers held out their hands for the carrots and milk.

                              Two weeks ago the 'fugees were obvious at Calareso's Farm Stand in Reading but not yesterday. I suspect they came in to check out the products and prices, but have since decided to settle for Shaw's and Stop&Dhop. By the way, Calareso's has signs that they are hiring for afternoons and weekends.

                            2. Out in Nashua, where the primary non-MB options are Hannaford and Shaws, Hannaford has been a mess, with people filling up the movie theater parking lot next door. I went first thing this morning and even at 8am the parking lot was ~80% full and the lines at the checkout were long enough that people were getting in each others' way. (I'm sure today was worse than most days - that many people realized, as I did, that if they didn't get their bread and milk today, they'd have to deal with weekend crowds.)

                              In this case the crowding is exacerbated by the fact that Hannaford began a reorganization of the aisles the same week the MB labor action began, so not only do none of the aisle signs accurately describe what's in the aisles - confounding the MB diaspora - but nothing's where it used to be, either.

                              I've been to Hannaford three times during all this, though once was just for the pharmacy, and can't tell which inventory oddities were the result of the reorganization, and which the result of the increased crowds. First time I went, mid-day not realizing how awful it would be, they were completely out of a number of things - ground beef in anything but a three-pound family pack, any roast under $30, big gaps in the dairy and egg cases, big gap in the peanut butter section. Even this morning they were out of, of all things, Velveeta in all but the jumbo size. (I like it in mac and cheese!)

                              Definitely missing MB, the only place around here I can buy pig tails or pork belly, Herr's chips, Sun Drop, culantro, curry leaves, tindora, bitter melon, and on and on.