Market Basket and the state of the world…

I’m cautiously optimistic in my small corner of the world tonight. The news today brought another horrific death by beheading of an American journalist. CNN was all over it with photos and video that I declined to watch. A mother’s anguish at her son’s horrifying end of life was more than I could stomach.

Yet I am optimistic and proud. A small miracle occurred in New England that will never make the international media scene never mind the national news. It was brought home to me by a conversation I had with two elderly women as I cashed them out today. They were commenting on the recent win by our local grocery store. The employees went on strike because the board of directors wanted to replace the CEO. The company was a family owned business. The employees were not unionized and they believed whole-heartedly in the man at the helm.

All told it was costing this small grocery store chain something in the neighborhood of Ten Million dollars a week in lost sales during the strike. As shoppers, we all had to find alternative venues. Prices were higher, service was lower and this corner of the world watched in awe as the people stood up and said a collective, “NO” to corporate tactics.

Other businesses benefited. Farmer’s markets, farm stands, local butchers all saw a jump in traffic and sales. We consumers rethought where our food comes from. It was a good thing in many ways for the local economy. What struck me most was the face of strangers. When I went to the newly reopened Market Basket for the first time, I was struck by the happiness. Employees were giving high-fives to customers. Everyone was smiling and saying, “It’s so good to be back!”

The elderly ladies today brought it all home when they commented it was so reminiscent of the ’60s when people believed that if they stood up and said, “We’re not going to take it!” that change could actually be made. The belief that yes, one or two or twenty-two or a hundred and two people really can make a difference.

Julia, who grew up in Montana and hates the fact that New England has too many trees, said it best tonight. ” Who but New England, where the houses date back to the days when the founding fathers said ‘NO” to England, could have the backbone to stand firm for what is right?” Tonight, I am proud to be me. I am proud to be from New England. I am proud to be an American, because I have lived for many years in places where that was the first thing people saw about me.

18 thoughts on “Market Basket and the state of the world…”

  1. How can there be too many trees!!! Ironic though that you say “No” to England and stick to the name “New England” Though I have nothing against standing up to England either….:-)

  2. I, for one more, am very glad they have re-opened. I had to buy my groceries at another store and it really drove home MB’s slogan – More for your dollar. I was happy to see employees and customers stand their ground,but the fact it was all over a long time family squabble did not escape me.

  3. Terrific post!

    The ‘too many trees’ comment also had me figuratively scratching my head. Reminds me of a conversation my husband told me about when he and his dad (a heads-down, practical-to-a-fault kind of guy; think grouchy but with a good heart!) had driving down the interstate past a huge expanse of forest. My husband commented on how there were so many trees there. Darrell, in his dead-pan voice: “Yeah, but what are they good for?”

    Oh my! 🙂

    1. My poor friend is from Montana and she is almost claustrophobic about trees. We have a lot in New Hampshire. She always breathes a sigh of relief when she goes over the border to Vermont which is so much more open and green with fields.

      As to what they are good for, they do keep me warm all winter when I burn them!

  4. Too many trees? Surely that’s impossible? The news here is equally depressing, not only are we seeing the same footage about the beheadings but we have one of our own. An elderly lady was beheaded in a London garden by a crazed neighbour, a young man in his mid twenties who obviously had mental health issues. I can hardly bear to turn the TV on. Your story is heartening. It’s good when the little man stands up and change happens. There should be more of it.

  5. Martha, what an uplifting, heartwarming story. I love it when people stand up for their beliefs – even if I hold different beliefs. There are so many people in this world who do not have this privilege. Thanks for he beautiful reminder. ~Terri

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