A regional drama has been resolved: For most of the summer, two cousins, members of the Demoulas family, have wrestled over control of the Market Basket discount-supermarket chain their Greek immigrant grandparents created.
And the good cousin won! The cousin who knew his employees’ names. Who wanted more of the profits shared with his workers. Who believed that working at the local Market Basket could actually be a career path.
I have observed this job viability at the Market Basket down the street. I have seen neighborhood kids trade in their Bruins and Pats tee shirts for Market Basket’s crimson jackets and move up the food chain. So to speak.
Getting back to the drama: In the first few days, as the cousins and their lawyers wrangled and Market Basket employees staged huge rallies in support of Good Cousin throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine; doing The Right Thing as a shopper wasn’t all that obvious. Because this dispute wasn’t really a labor dispute. (Although the Teamsters and other unions might have decided not to support the status quo/Bad Cousin because, pretty soon, the stores’ shelves were pretty much empty.)
“Don’t support Corporate Greed” begged a hand-made sign hung on my Market Basket’s parking-lot fence. So we didn’t. And shoppers across the region did the same thing. And, I’d like to believe, Bad Cousin, overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for his cousin, gave up.
That Good Cousin’s father, Telemachus Demoulas—named after the central character in Homer’s Odyssey, apparently—played fast and loose when he was in power and cheated his brother George, Bad Cousin’s dad, and all of George’s family and thus begat this Greek tragedy unto generations; what a great story!
And one everyone can relate to. Story does that. So I also choose to believe that’s why so many people supported Good Cousin. Because we know this family. They’re just like ours.