To the current leadership of Market Basket, its public relations firm, and its owners:
I am writing to confirm and reinforce your awareness that much of the population of Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire wakes each morning eager to hear the news that you have decided to accept Arthur T. Demoulas’ offer and that you have agreed to sell the operation to him.
My personal hopes were dashed this morning when I read that Mr. Gooch and Ms. Thornton have released a statement that threatens to terminate employees that do not return to their jobs by August 4. It is becoming apparent that you, the leadership of Market Basket, are committed to adopting the traditional hard-line management posture we see time and time again in labor conflicts, and by doing so you are willing to risk the negative consequences of short term personnel decisions. Why? Probably because the longer view might be that once this dispute settles down, the revenue stream will be re-established and things will return to a semblance of normal operation.
The problem here for you is me.
I will refuse to shop at Market Basket if you remain committed to this hard-line stance. In fact, I will refuse to shop at Market Basket unless you decide to sell the firm to Arthur T. Demoulas. That’s the truth of it, plain and simple.
You have another problem, and that is: I am not alone.
Everyone I know feels the same way. At this point, like it or not, you are perceived as “the bad guys” in this conflict by the general public in New England. It’s not just your employees who are staying away. It’s us, the stubborn, patriotic New Englanders who love to get their back up when it comes to a principled fight.
The way out for you could be very simple: figure out how to bite the bullet and accept Arthur T.’s offer.
Think about it – it would be a win for both sides. You’d be fairly compensated for the sale, and this entire mess would be off your hands. Operations at Market Basket actually would return to normal. I would dare to say that people would flock to the store in droves after the announcement of a sale to “Artie T.” just to celebrate.
My forecast of the alternative: you would find that you would never regain the level of popularity and profitability that you saw prior to Arthur T. Demoulas’ termination as CEO. People like myself will stay away on principle. Forever.
I want the old Market Basket back. The one that felt like a good citizen in the community, where the employees were happy and were treated like people, not ‘resources’.
Please consider my views and advice, and thank you for your time.
James M. Johnson