9 Things Rhode Islanders Will Never Understand About Market Basket

Market Basket Drama

Market Basket is back baby! While I find this news exciting for my Massachusetts and New Hampshire friends, it's really not that valuable to me anymore, and it makes me a little bit sad. Why? Because I live in Rhode Island and there just aren't any around. There was supposed to be one opening just over the border in Attleboro, but for some reason after they built it (completely, I might add) they just neglected to open it.

So what are the facts:

  • Market Basket is a beloved grocery store by many New Englanders.
  • Market Basket is a family run company.
  • Said family is BSC (batshitcrazy). See? I actually think the term "Basket Case" came out of this family.
  • Most items are $2.99* (according to casual research done by me and my husband)
  • When it rains they put sawdust on the floors for absorbency reasons. (I'm not joking.) 
Let me tell you a little tale about our first experience with Market Basket.
My husband and I lived in Norton, MA for three years. If you've ever heard of Norton, MA there's a good chance you're a golf fan or you went to Wheaton College. That's about it. Bubba Watson and his friends (including Tiger Woods and Bill Clinton) are actually kickin' it in Norton as we speak at TPC Boston for the Deutsch Bank Championships http://www.tigerwoodsfoundation.org/events/deutscheBank/index which happens every year during Labor Day weekend. Anyway. When we first moved there we thought our only shopping option would be Shaw's. A few years ago there was a Shaw's on every corner in Southeast Massachusetts, now not so much. So Shaw's, ho hum Shaw's. We were used to that growing up in Rhode Island. In fact, Rhode Island's main options are Shaw's, Stop and Shop, and Dave's (I'm speaking from my South County point of view). Then one day I did some Google Mapping and saw that there was another grocery store a few exits down on 495. Market Basket. Never heard of it.

So in we went to the Raynham Market Basket. Our first thought? Have we stepped back in time? Are we visiting a grocery store museum? The store literally had not changed anything but the stock since the late 60's. Imagine linoleum tiles, those freezers from my childhood that were just sitting on the floor opened (not upright with doors), everything was orange and red, original clock on the wall (I can tell by the font). And the best part? The uniforms - they couldn't have changed since the 60's/70's! The fabric reminded me of what my great grandfather used to wear in his job as a mechanic. Each role had a different uniform - shelf stockers wore blue shirts and pants, the produce stockers were in red, and even the cashiers had a different look (although I can't recall that one now). 

Once we stopped gawking we were quickly jostled back to the reality that this place was BUSY. I mean so busy that you had to wait for a cart to become available, or go fetch one from the far reaches of the parking lot. So busy that you better know what you want off those shelves because the train of shopping carts behind you would bowl you over in a second. So busy that the meat counter looked like people were camped out for the original iPhone. It was INSANE. 

Hurricane? Blizzard? Nope, just stocking up for the Patriots Game at 8.


So after all this, why do I have such a fondness for Market Basket. Here are 9 reasons that Rhode Islanders (and most others outside the Market Basket radius) wouldn't understand - because "More for Your Dollar" doesn't exist is such perfect harmony here. 

1. I swear my grocery bill was cut in half compared to Shaw's and Stop and Shop (omg let's not even get into Whole Foods. Which I love. But come on.) = More for Your Dollar
2. With such high turnover the produce is really fresh.
3. Great meat selection (there's always an old-school butcher back there butchering away - unlike Stop and Shop/Shaws).
4. Unlike the other "cheap grocery stores" they carry most anything you would also buy at a Stop and Shop/Shaws).
5. Most of those items are $2.99. Seriously MB loves the price $2.99 (and so do I).
6. An insane amount of people work there, which means they don't skimp on service because their prices are low.
7. The employees are fiercely loyal to Market Basket (despite the fact they are required to wear ridiculously outdated uniforms). Whereas, the indifference of most grocery store workers in Rhode Island is palpable.
8. Once you've mastered the Market Basket Shop you can take on anything. 
9. The cashiers ring up orders with lightning speed and the baggers bag even faster. I mean look at that line above. They have to.

I'm so glad my friends can once again visit their local Market Basket. And to all of my RI friends who still can't believe I wrote a post about a grocery store I say to you, "You'll never understand." Oh and also, this isn't the first time ;)