Market Basket’s return welcome

At last: Market Basket is back and those among us who value the company for its prices can breath a sigh of relief. We’re saved after weeks of having to shop at the grocery chain that shall remain unnamed but which offers prices in excess of those at Market Basket.

And the opening of Whole Foods in Nashua offered no relief, although we didn’t really expect any.

Whole Foods is not known for its low prices, but those of us who gave it a try can attest that it is an interesting store with interesting items, but priced far higher than the grocery chain that shall remain unnamed, and far, far higher than Market Basket.

A careful shopper, one who has been to stores in the area other than Market Basket, was certainly aware of price differences. Apples, for instance, generally sold for 99 cents a pound in MB while the cheapest in that other store were $1.49 and pound, and those were red delicious that, while red, are hardly anything to exclaim about. The rest of the apples were $1.79 a pound, a price no better than could be found at, for instance, Lull Farm in Milford where they are grown locally.

At Whole Foods, we found a huge contrast in the price of fish, the most glaring when it came to sea scallops. Now they are hardly inexpensive. Even at Market Basket they usually approached $18 a pound. The last time we looked in the grocery chain that shall remain nameless, they were $18.99 a pound. At Whole Foods? A hefty $28.99 a pound. Can you say yikes? We can: Yikes. What we find most interesting about what transpired during the weeks that we could not, or would not, shop at Market Basket, because of the squabble pitting Millionaire #1 against Millionaire #2 at the expense of people who are not millionaires, was the failure of the grocery chain that shall not be named to take advantage and lure people who might have become regular customers. How?

Easy: Cut prices.

The people who were pining for Market Basket because of price might have had to shop at the GCTSNBN, but given the difference in prices, are hardly likely to continue to do so now that MB is back up and running. So, sure, that other place might have gotten extra business for a bit but continued business? Unlikely.

Given the number of cars in the Milford Market Basket parking lot last Thursday, less than 24 hours after a deal was struck, customers couldn’t wait to abandon whatever other choice they made to return to MB.

It didn’t help that the grocery chain that shall remain nameless decided to end its program of providing easy ways for customers to donate food to the Share Outreach food pantry. Great timing, guys.

With the low­ cost grocery store effectively shut down, people who depend upon low prices might need Share more than ever. Yes, a great way to inspire customer loyalty is to kick the food pantry out the door.

We hope that the deal finally reached to reopen Market Basket means our old low­ cost friend is here to stay. And we hope that other place learns something when customers go away.

As for Whole Foods, well, it really is a very nice place and it has lots of organic fruits and vegetables (which, by the way, one can find at Market Basket and that other place), but $28.99 for a pound of sea scallops? We say again: Yikes!

A suggestion: Next time you’re at Market Basket pick up a few items for Share – peanut butter, cereal diapers, spaghetti, and deliver them to Share, off Elm Street, behind the Milford Ambulance Service building.