Can you actually lose by winning? Well, in the case of the workers and the customers of Market Basket, that’s likely the case this morning as you rejoice over the thought of cheap boxes of Kraft Mac & Cheese, and discounts on pork chops.
Arthur T. Demoulas, who someone saw walking on water across the Merrimack River today, bought out his not-so-kissing cousins for $1.5 billion.
Arthur T, who is part messiah, part shameless self-promoter, tells the workers and customers that it’s time to get things back to normal for the supermarket chain that is beloved by the unwashed masses of eastern Mass., New Hampshire and Maine.
But there’s a problem here, folks.
Arthur T. is now leveraged up the wazoo. He owns Market Basket, but the banks now own him. Then there’s the shadow of the gigantic losses incurred during the walkout. Market Basket lost, by some estimates, almost half a billion dollars.
And now, ole Artie has to hope that customers come back at a rate that will allow him to keep up with those pesky covenants established by those ornery bankers.
It’s a reality that even a freshman in business school can understand.
I have no doubt that Market Basket will go on, and even thrive for a while. But it will never be the same. Get ready for a big rise in the cost of your Hamburger Helper.
As for the workers, who put their families’ survival in the balance to blindly follow this guy, you probably would have been better off working for the cousins who took things over in the first place. Sure, under the previous management, you might have lost some benefits. But now, with the highly leveraged Artie T as your commander, it’s likely you’ll lose a lot more while this guy attempts to pay back what he owes.
The only true winner here today are people like me. At least now I can go back to enjoying my shopping experience at MY store, the Hannaford in West Peabody without getting stuck in line with Market Basket “refugees.” Goodbye to the screaming kids, annoying grannies who like to pinch the produce, and moms who look like they’re training to become sumo wrestlers. Back to Middleton with you unwashed masses.