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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Customers trying to stay loyal to Market Basket while still getting the items on their grocery list

The daily Market Basket protests, rallies and shortage of supermarket staples, now entering their third week, have put some shoppers in a pickle. They want to remain loyal to their favorite grocery store but also have to fill their fridge with food.

Carmen Lacasse was pushing loaded carts to her car, parked at the edge of the area commonly used by the grocer’s shoppers, at the Hudson Market Basket on Monday. The area was empty, save for one car. ...

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The daily Market Basket protests, rallies and shortage of supermarket staples, now entering their third week, have put some shoppers in a pickle. They want to remain loyal to their favorite grocery store but also have to fill their fridge with food.

Carmen Lacasse was pushing loaded carts to her car, parked at the edge of the area commonly used by the grocer’s shoppers, at the Hudson Market Basket on Monday. The area was empty, save for one car.

“This is where I shop. This is home,” she said.

“I see the receipts on the door. It’s horrible, horrible,” Lacasse said. “I’m getting everything I can here. I do not like the other markets.”

Lacasse said there are certain items she has to go to other stores to get, and she picks up meat at the butcher down the road.

She also said she has a big garden that helps with her produce needs.

“So far I’m OK,” she said.

She supports the workers and their plight but returned to the store because she feels she still gets more for her dollar.

“People say to boycott and not come in here, but this works for me. We’re on a tight budget. Everybody I talk to says they spend $40 to $50 more a week at different markets. My family, everybody, and I believe it. I can’t do it,” she said.

Inside the store, Darcy Manning found store director Dan Desfosses walking the aisles. She gave him a big hug near the pet food.

Manning is a dedicated Market Basket shopper but recently took a trip to another retailer.

“I had to go to Shaw’s, and it killed me,” she said.

“I want to shop at Market Basket,” she explained. “Their prices are better. Their employees are nicer; their managers are extremely helpful.”

Manning said she’d continue to shop at Market Basket despite the picketers outside, “no matter what.”

“No, I don’t even know if that’s helping anything,” she said. “I don’t know if all the people out there tooting their horns and everything. … I don’t know if that’s helping because the CEOs and stockholders, they’re in Tewksbury (Mass.). They don’t hear what’s going on.”

But the consequences of the showdown between the grocery store chain and its workers has her worried.

“I don’t want it to turn out to be no Market Basket or an extremely expensive Market Basket. I don’t want that to happen,” she said.

Down the street at the Hannaford supermarket, Lillian Albert also was loading her car with groceries. She isn’t a regular Hannaford customer.

“My heart goes out to several people at Mission Pointe,” she said of the 62 and over housing community in next to the Market Basket in Hudson.

“A lot of them (shoppers) are elderly,” she said. “They used to be able to walk to Market Basket.”

She said they walk for exercise, and, they come from “the old school,” meaning they won’t walk through the protesters along Lowell Road.

“My heart goes out to the people there,” Albert said. “One of the guys, he’s in his 80s; he works there and he pickets,” she said.

“My grandmother shopped at Market Basket in the early ’50s when it started off as this tiny little store down the street in Lowell, (Mass.), just this little tiny place,” she said “That’s when the father’s owned it. Those guys got along great as brothers. It’s too bad it didn’t spread to the rest of the generations.”

Nearby, Sister Margaret Camire had finished shopping at the store and admitted the experience wasn’t familiar to her. The once-a-week shopper said she preferred the town’s Market Basket because it was close to the Presentation of Mary Academy, where she lives.

“I miss it because I’m so used to the aisles,” Camire said. “I know them by heart. I can do my shopping in 40 minutes. Today? I had to look around because I don’t know where anything is. I hope that shortly I’ll be back to Market Basket.”

Chelsea O’Bryant, of Nashua, came across the river to Hudson to shop with her grandmother Florence O’Bryant.

“We figured I come over, and I’d take my gram with me shopping because she needs to get her groceries,” O’Bryant said.

She said she’s been making the rounds to different stores, including a trip to Market Basket.

“Market Basket really doesn’t have much of anything,” O’Bryant said. “We shop around to find the cheaper prices of them all, so we came here.”

Don Himsel can be reached at 594-6590 or dhimsel@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Himsel on Twitter (@Telegraph_DonH).