An Ill-Advised Trip to Market Basket

So let me preface this post by saying I absolutely love Market Basket. The beloved Arthur T. Demoulas has helped Market Basket thrive in the ultra-competitive word of supermarket chains. I have much respect for a leader who seemingly always puts his employees first. It’s nice to know that, while I’m sure the Demoulas family is always looking for ways to increase profit margins, there are still CEOs out there willing to put the emphasis on people rather than dollars. Call me crazy, but I think that’s a respectable business model.

With all that said, Market Basket has a penchant for being absolutely bananas, especially on the weekends and even more so on a holiday. Long lines, insane parking lots, impatient customers…it’s all a part of the shopping experience at “The Basket.” So why did I decide it would be in my best interest to travel to the epicenter of consumer madness? I frankly have no idea, but it was a hell of a shopping excursion. This trip to Market Basket was a roller coaster of emotions, and I’d love to share those ups and downs with you now.

Ups

  1. The Trip Improved Self-Confidence

This is going to sound so shallow (and it is), but I certainly noticed an increase in self-confidence during my jaunt to “The Basket.” You see, I’m a middle-aged, average-looking husband and father. No one is looking at me these days. Nor should they! My wife liked it, so she put a ring on it.

Yet, seeing as though I was one of the few men in the store without greasy hair, a handlebar mustache, and a ripped shirt, I was bona fide eye candy. You’re welcome, ladies of Market Basket! I’ll catch ya’ll next week.

  1. Performed Daily Act(s) of Kindness

I’m always looking to complete an act of kindness for a stranger in need. Whether it’s paying for the coffee of the disheveled woman attempting to apply makeup while rippin’ a Parliament in the car behind me at Honey Dew or chatting it up with the Alzheimer’s patient who thinks I’m his co-worker from 1972, I love trying to make someone’s day just a little bit better.

Today’s Market Basket trip provided me with multiple opportunities to make someone smile. From cracking a joke with an elderly husband who was getting relentlessly mocked by his oh-so-loving wife combined to helping a woman retrieve a box of brown sugar from the top shelf, my daily quota was filled by 11:30am!

  1. The Prices!

 I can’t stress this part enough. Market Basket has incredible prices. If I purchased the same exact order at Stop and Shop, I’d be looking at a price tag around $200. Not at Market Basket. $143.58, baby!  I’ll put up with all the shenanigans that come along with a holiday trip to Market Basket for these deals.

  1. Amazingly Diverse Crowd

The most memorable part of my trip was, without a doubt, noticing and appreciating the diverse group of shoppers at Market Basket.  This ensemble of consumers was a stark contrast to their pretentious counterparts strolling their way through the aisles of Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods Market.

During my time in the store, I noticed multiple men walking around in MAGA hats, an Amish mother of 3 attempting to navigate the bustling bread aisle with her overzealous spawn, members of the LGBTQ community smiling as they enjoyed the company of their partner, and folks of every race just looking to provide a meal for their family. There was no feeling of divisiveness. We were all united in our pursuit of affordable groceries. It was a wonderful feeling.

Downs

  1. Uppity Employees

The first issue I had with this particular trip to Market Basket was the predominance of arrogant store employees, many of whom appeared physically pained by having to provide customers with quality service. Perhaps it was the unnecessary lab coat they were forced to wear that propelled their pompous behavior. Even I had no idea if I had walked into a grocery store or unknowingly stumbled into an awkward Quest Diagnostics office.  Would I be tested for diabetes while browsing the candy aisle? I can’t imagine how powerful these young kids working their first job feel when being afforded such a lavish uniform.

  1. Parking Lot from Hell

I could not get out of that parking lot fast enough. What a disaster! Between the hot messes attempting to hit the Clearance Aisles at Wal-Mart or the frazzled parents attempting to get to “The Basket” in order to stock the cabinets for their growing children at home, cars were everywhere.

Interestingly enough, it appeared that some people were thrilled with the chaotic environment. There were drivers standing side-by-side outside their respective vehicles, sipping their Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, and shooting the breeze as though they were tailgating at some big sporting event.  Now that I think about it, maybe they’re on to something. Who’s coming with me next Sunday? I’ll bring the grill.

  1. Inattentive Parents Everywhere

Ok, I know you’re flustered. It’s b-a-n-a-n-a-s in this store. The kids are all ramped up and itching to get their fix of fresh cheesy poofs. But, you need to remove the headphones and put the phone away. By deliberately ignoring your children, you’re only making their behavior worse while making all of us extremely uncomfortable.  Feel free to toss in Frozen for the 86th time when you get home so you can jam to some Miley Cyrus, sip wine, and unpack those deliciously cheap food products. You deserve it!

But, for now, help your children and your fellow shoppers by bringing your attention to where it needs to be…on the kids!

  1. Deli Counter Chaos

I have found Hell, and it is found in the rear of Bellingham’s Market Basket. It’s the deli counter. I have never seen a more miserable place in all my days of food shopping. It was time to leave. I decided to go without my low-sodium chicken breast and premium roast beef just so I could get away from this black hole that sucked the happiness out of all its customers.

It’s not even that the service was necessarily poor.  It appeared to be the fact that they had to wait ten minutes for their sliced ham that triggered customers. I mean why are we so depressed, people? Yes, you may have to wait a few minutes to get that piece of quality cheese. Deal with it! You aren’t in bread lines during the Great Depression. It’s all about perspective!

So, there you have it! That was my holiday trip to Market Basket in a nutshell. While I certainly experienced some highs and lows during the outing, I must say it was somewhat invigorating. It’s been seven hours since I returned home, and I still feel the adrenaline pumping!

Who’s joining me, next week?!

Until next time,

The Pondering Father

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