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August 25. 2014 8:21PM

Market Basket: 'So close, yet so far'


The deli meat is running low at the Manchester Market Basket on Monday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER — Market Basket customer Alcides Texeira wanted to turn the partly depleted dairy aisle into a sports stadium Monday.

“I play soccer inside,” the longtime customer said in the empty store. “Nobody to see.”

A weekend of dashed hopes that a final deal would return ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas to power left employee Luis Faria the most disappointed he has been so far in the five-week supermarket standoff.

“So close, yet so far,” Faria, a full-time butcher, said while picketing along Elm Street. “We thought last night was it.”

Assistant Store Director Scott Burke said, unlike some other stores, managers there have not called about 265 idled part-timers to check on their availability if a solution is reached soon.

“We had a few who called in saying they’ve gotten jobs” elsewhere, namely Shaw’s supermarket, Burke said.

His store received a delivery of 2,100 items, including cereal, juice and oil, on Saturday, two days earlier than expected, but less than a third of the 7,000 pieces ordered.

“It’s the biggest one we’ve gotten in a while,” he said.

As for waiting for a final deal to be announced, Burke said: “We’re just waiting.”

He expects staffing will ramp up immediately “because customers will be back.”

Burke said it might take at least a week to restock produce and meat.

On Monday morning, the store contained more workers than customers, with Register 13 the lone one open.

A person could buy silk flower arrangements but no fresh flowers. The bakery aisle contained hot dog rolls but no hamburger buns — or beef to put in the burger buns. But beer, ice cream and cereal remained for sale.

Texeira said he wanted his store to return to normal, with produce and without boycotting customers shopping elsewhere.

“A lot of people spend a lot more on their food right now,” he said.

mcousineau@unionleader.com



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