Hopefully History In The Making...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

I'm not sure how wide spread the news of what was going on over here in New England was, but I am happy to report today that the Market Basket debacle has been resolved!

A quick recap for those who don't know:

Market Basket is a local, family own grocery chain based in New England.  It was known for having the lowest prices, but also paying their employees well with good benefits and bonuses and yet still turning a high profit.  Two months ago the Board of Directors ousted the CEO who is generally given credit for the all around success of the company. 

The employees rebelled.  Deliveries stopped, shelves were not stock, and employees spent their shifts on the sidewalks holding signs instead of working in the stores.

It wasn't just the employees, though. Knowing that the change in management would lead to higher prices, and knowing that it was their friends and families that would lose their benefits and good pay, the customers rebelled, too.  They stopped going.  We've gone through an eerie two months where the parking lots of almost all Market Baskets were completely empty. 

It's finally over now.  After two months of losing profits, laying off all part time workers, and essentially running their own business into the ground, the Board of Directors has finally and officially agreed to sell the company back to the previously outsted CEO.

I'm happy to be able to finally go grocery shopping again, but more importantly I think this is an awesome little piece of history that I hope we will hear about for years to come.

This situation was basically the little people standing up to the man and winning.  I've heard it compared to the Boston Tea Party on more than on occasion.

I've been hearing on the news and on the radio about the economic recovery and how (on paper) everything is doing great.  The stock market hit a record high yesterday, unemployment is creeping down, and yet ask any average American and they'll tell you they don't know what recovery you're talking about.  I mean I for one (at the age of 26) am living in my parents basement because I simply can't afford to live on my own.

So there is more money around, but not in people's pockets.  Why?  Because of people like the MB Board of Directors.  They see places where they can cut back from their employees and put a few more pennies in their own pocket.  I'm hesitant to throw out the phrase "corporate greed" because I feel like it has been used so often it is almost meaningless now, but I really think that is the best way to describe it.

There have been talks about raising the minimum wage, and many companies have come out and said that, should the minimum wage go up, they would have to cut employees loose and unemployment would go back up and people would become poor and the world would fall apart... more or less.

When in reality what would most likely actually happen would be minimum wage goes up, corporations stomp their feet and fire a bunch of people, then their deliveries are delayed, shelves don't get stocked as regularly, customers get pissed off for having to shop in unkempt stores so they start going else where, corporations start losing money and decided to hire more employees to clean up and better maintain the stores.  Yes, this would require them to lower their expected profits a bit but if they want any profits at all they have to start recognizing that they are dependent on their employees and their customers, not the other way around.

There are too many people out there who are more focused on buying their second yacht than to give their employees enough money to making a living wage.

I do not necessarily have high hopes that the movement started by Market Basket will spread, but I think if it did, we'd suddenly have a lot of hugely wealthy companies realizing that with a little reprioritization they could actually find a middle ground that would keep them, their employees, and their customers happy.  And what do happy well off people do?  Spend money!

This is, of course, just my unprofessional opinion and I have no qualifications whatsoever to comment on the economy but to me this just kind of seems common sense.  Maybe that's just me though.

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