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The Epic Saga of Market Basket
h/t to folks over in DSLJ for the pointers to the two-part account in the Gloucester Clam about the incredibly messed-up history of the past century of the Demoulas family, and why Market Basket currently doesn't have any produce on the shelves. Here are part one, and part two.

It's worth reading, but here's the summary, as best I understand it: the once-"bad" side of the family wound up producing an unusually decent CEO, who has just been ousted by the formerly-screwed side of the family (who appear to resent the fact that he has been putting employees' interests over their recently-won profits). The employees are quite seriously up in arms, and the result is, ironically, that the most dramatic labor action in recent local memory is happening in a non-union shop...

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And, inversely, they are protesting and losing jobs over MANAGEMENT.

Frankly, I can't see anything but a full retreat for the owners. The primary customer for Market Basket is close to the same demographic as the fired workers. They can only lose customers.

Meanwhile, Wegmans is just finishing their new store in Burlington, and clapping their hands over the problems at MB.

The story is 3-generations tragic.

Generation 1: a family builds a good business. The owner passes away and leaves it to his two sons.

Generation 2: One son of the owner screws the family of his deceased brother. When the losing family sues, we get hookers and corruption and disbarred lawyers, and the screwed over part of the family is victorious. (It's a SICK cool story.)

Generation 3: As you said: the grandson on the "bad side" is a great CEO and makes MB one of the more profitable and fastest growing private businesses in MA. But, he works FOR the other half of the family, who would rather see money in their pockets than low prices and good wages/benefits.

Grandsons fire Grandson, and war has commenced. The workers are protesting and being fired to protect the boss they love, and the majority owners are probably starting to feel cornered.

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In addition to blowing potential profits on things like profit-sharing and employee-benefits, another of the reasons the George side of the family ousted Arthur T. was that they felt that he wasn't raising Market Basket's prices enough compared to their competitors (e.g. S&S, Shaw's, Hannaford, etc.) and was therefore losing yet more potential profits.

Of course, almost everyone I know who shops at MB, does so specifically because MB's prices are lower than nearby competitors. Given the ill will that all this is causing, the current lack of food on MB shelves, and the potential that MB will screw over its employees _and_ raise its prices, all of which could drive a fair chunk of their customers away, I can't really see a scenario in which the current management wins this battle.

Thanks for summing it up. I'd been seeing the commotion but didn't understand what was going on.

And now Good Guy has offered to buy the company from Bad Guys.

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