...and especially to Beth for the birthday wishes. Beth you see sent me a birthday card. It sat in my mailbox overnight because when I came home from work I neglected to check it. I checked it on my way out the next morning and discovered this card in the mail. I knew it was a birthday card but I didn't recognise the name or the address. I did know someone named Beth in New Hampshire around 1971 or '72 but then we lost track of each other. Had she married and moved and suddenly thought of me all these years later? Why? It's not like we had a romance. We were just friends that I met through a mutual friend who attended art school with her in Boston. Throughout the day the mystery popped into my brain now and again. Is this Beth from New Hampshire? I pulled into the drive way after work, this time checking my mail box. Just a bill from the gas company. Happy Holidays. Where's our money? As I entered my house there was the envelope on the little table by the door from the mysterious Beth. I picked it up and suddenly, while looking at the postal stamp, light dawned on Marblehead. It was Beth from Blogger! I had never received anything through the mail from a fellow blogger. So thanks everyone for the birthday wishes especially you Beth! That was very sweet.
These are busy days. In fact it's been a busy year. Work has been a strain. I survived a layoff last month. 700 other people weren't so lucky. It's been a hectic and convoluted 13 years since my original company was sold to the parent company of another old New England supermarket chain owned by and English Corporation named Sainsbury. My original company was a local company that had been around since 1915 and we were the Cadillac of the supermarkets around here. We had many owners since the original family sold out in 1964 to the Jewel Corporation out of Chicago. Through the next several owners, the local company was still run by the same people so at store level nothing really changed until Sainsbury, an English Corporation, bought us and stuck us on the side of their American holdings in New England. This company can trace it's origins back to the 1880's. Now they were failing. I suppose they thought adding us to them would add revenue since our 60 stores were mostly in the metropolitan Boston area where there are about 4.5 million people, not scattered throughout New England. I guess it seemed like a good idea. From the beginning we were told to lower our standards and they were right. We were THE upscale market in Eastern Ma. and a couple of other New England states with many food industry firsts to their credit including cellophane wrapped meats, plastic mesh bags for oranges, in store cooked foods plus a few others. OK it's not like curing cancer, but they were still firsts. We were the best paid with the best benefits. After 5 years I had four weeks vacation. Since 1999 it's been a confusing array of poorly thought out ideas. We were no longer being run with people who had worked their way up through the stores but by people with just business degrees. Their knowledge on how the retail food business operates on the ground floor was sadly lacking. If you want to buy roast beef you have to pick from six different brands. All this does is confuse the customer. If they say, "Give me the one on sale." You then have to ask them which one because they will put three on sale. A simple task has become tedious. Then about eight years ago they began changing the name of all my original company stores, to the other name, then a couple of years later they started changing them back because the name had been established in the area for so long and there was "name recognition". Well pardon my French, but no shit Sherlock! It took all those degree carrying baboons about eight years to realise this. Can you get a degree in common sense? It does seem to be a common thread in a lot businesses these days.
We are presently owned by another sad sack corporation in Minnesota named SuperValu. They are neither super nor a value. Their two highest grossing locations in the whole U.S. are our two original stores located in Downtown Boston and next door Cambridge. I don't say that to brag I say that because they want to sell us. How sad that you have to sell your two best retail outlets because you helped in killing the reputation of both company names. As far I know two deals have fallen through so far. The last purposed deal involved the laying off of 700 people as part of the deal then, no deal. And yet despite all this I still have a job for which I am very grateful.
Last Sunday I went to see Lincoln. The movie that is. A great movie! Everything about it, superb. Acting all the way around was top shelf. Daniel Day-Lewis was outstanding as Abraham Lincoln. The rest of the cast was just as good. It is a wonderful film. In other local news. Last week, right near the very Cambridge store I mentioned above they were filming a movie with Leonardo DiCaprio. A friend of mine who works in that store phoned me and said she saw the movie trailers on the street right behind the store and Leonardo was seen riding his bike around Porter Square. I don't know the name of the movie. Maybe I'll change the name of this blog to Entertainment This Afternoon.
My sister has just purchased a house and I of course am happy to help her move. Besides I could be living there someday. Between working odd schedules at work, keeping in touch and socialising with friends when I can, and of course seeing my lady friend (Not a big problem though Honey!), moving boxes for my sister, it's a busy life. I am off today and I have been a total slob accomplishing nothing but this blog entry and eating and it's been a welcome relief.
I've gone on long enough. Once again a big thank you to everyone for the happy birthday wishes especially to you Beth. Thank you! That was very sweet of you. I won't forget this!
That's it. I'm outta here.