‘Help me help Market Basket employee Linda Bates’

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Editor’s Note: The following was submitted to Manchester Ink Link by Dave Bastien, who was moved to take action on behalf of a Market Basket employee he encountered Friday night, when he went to pick up some specialty items – gluten-free – for his wife. Market Basket is the only place he can find what he needs. 
As he learned, sometimes on the way to getting what you need, you end up in the right place at the right time because of what someone else needs, too. 

So I went to Market Basket last night and ended up on a bench outside the store sharing tears with the woman who bagged my groceries.

Here’s what happened:

Linda Bates, Market Basket employee.
Linda Bates, Market Basket employee.

As I was checking out, the manager (nice guy, by the way) came over to the bagger (Linda Bates, a 69-year-old widow from Londonderry, NH) and said she had to leave for the evening because there wasn’t enough business. As he walked away she started crying, so I went over and asked her if she was OK. She said “no,” so I hugged her and asked what was wrong. She said she was being sent home because it was too slow, and she wasn’t going to make enough to pay her bills. This wasn’t the first time, and she’s been really struggling financially since her husband died of brain cancer two years ago, especially now with all that’s happening at Market Basket.
I tried to reassure her, and after a few minutes I left with my groceries. While driving home I was overcome by the emotion of the situation so I dropped off my bags and went back. I just couldn’t believe how millionaires fighting over making even more money impacted this poor woman’s life in a very real way.

I wondered if they knew.
When I got back she was still there so I told her I was going to the ATM to get some cash to help her and I’d be right back. Well, the nearest ATM was broken so I returned just as she was leaving the store. We sat on the bench outside and talked (and cried) a bit more. She said that after her husband died she ended up on public assistance (food stamps, fuel assistance) but she didn’t like taking it (she’s a very proud woman from a generation we should aspire to emulate) so she applied for and got a job at Market Basket making $8/hour. She got off public assistance and now she’s up to $9/hour (and proud to have earned a raise!), but there aren’t enough hours on her schedule now. We exchanged contact info and I promised to help her.
This hard-working woman is a victim of greed. Arthur S. and the Market Basket BoardScreen-shot-2014-08-03-at-9.28.05-PM of Directors, you should be ashamed of yourselves and you should come here and apologize to her, and you should make things right. That would be the courageous thing to do. Are you up for doing what’s right?

I’m sure you can’t imagine this, but here’s a woman who ran out of money for fuel in March, so she would go to bed early and turn on her electric blanket to get through the night. Have you ever had to do that? She doesn’t qualify for fuel assistance because she has a job working for your store. Her tank is still empty and she was hoping to use her August income to buy fuel to get her through the first of the cold nights. Can any of you even fathom living like that?
In the meantime, she could use a little help.

So if you want to help me help her you can add a little contribution here on this Go Fund Me campaign I launched for her. Anything you can offer will go to Linda directly. I know that sometimes people think that raising money for others is a scam, so if you question this at all call me directly at 603-434-2853. I’ll introduce you to Linda too so you can hear her story.

Sincerely, Dave Bastien

Londonderry, NH

UPDATE: I got an email from Linda saying she went to bed depressed and stayed in bed late because she was so worried. She was given hours today so she got herself ready and went to work for a 2 p.m. shift. I went to the store to buy a few things and tell her about all the generous people  – all of you! -–  and she started smiling. That’s when we took this picture. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for helping to make her smile and take away some of her worry. The world still has lots of kind hearts and I sincerely appreciate all of your support for this campaign.

Hear Linda Bates in her own words, via the Eagle Tribune, on how Market Basket has changed her life for the better:

Click here to see what readers of this story are saying on reddit, where the conversation is heating up.

About Carol Robidoux 5555 Articles
Journalist and editor of ManchesterInkLink.com, a hyperlocal news and information site for Manchester, NH.
  • Sarah R

    Sent over a donation. Thanks for sharing this woman’s story.

    • Thank YOU, Sarah, for your generosity.

    • Dave

      Thank you Sarah! I sincerely appreciate the support and I know Linda does too!

  • Kkkl

    I want to punch arthur s in the face so bad

  • Slu

    It’s not millionaires fighting over millions. I personally know the half of the family (and brother) that has been ousted by the other terrible brother Arthur S. Get your facts straight before tossing around comments like that giving people a negative impression on the entire company. Idiot. Good article to shine light on a nice lady though.

    • JohnDoe9991

      So what is it? Is it because they care about their employees that this happens?

    • J~daddy

      I think you are overreacting. It’s pretty obvious that ASD is a dick, and ATD would never dream of letting this happen to one of his employees. I don’t think anyone questions that for a minute.

    • Dave

      Hi Slu, I’m the one who created the campaign to help Linda. If you’re calling someone an idiot then that’s me. So if helping an elderly woman in need is being an idiot, then I’ll gladly accept that title yet still respect your opinion. I still feel it’s millionaires fighting over money that has put her, and many others, in this situation. If you do know them personally, then please ask them to come explain it face to face to this poor woman because she just doesn’t understand this situation, and if anyone, she deserve an explanation.

    • Janey04090

      He did not say its Millionaires fighting over millions, he said its millionaires fighting over MORE MONEY. Why are you so angry and hostile?

  • MashkaTekoa

    Now, how do we help the thousands upon thousand of other people in this same situation? If she was a minority she’d me even more shit outta luck.

    • Dave

      I appreciate your concern Mashka. I agree there are lots of others who need help because of this situation. I’m the person who created the campaign to help Linda, because her struggle happened right before my eyes and I couldn’t not help. If others see those in need I hope they’ll offer help too. Regarding minorities, seniors are treated as poorly as most minorities in this country and I believe our society respects its elders much less than many others.

  • sszo

    From the sounds of it you’d be surprised how much the norm this is for companies, especially retail. Granted I was usually grateful to get to leave early as many of the retail and other part time jobs are terrible. As someone who worked in retail for over 10 years, from 15 -26, I can tell you companies sending home their workers is the norm. I don’t condone the actions, but it happens more often than you might think. I worked with many people who barely lived pay check to pay check and feared getting sent home early all the time. I’m glad this raised awareness, maybe, and it is a heartbreaking story.

    • TonyG

      It may be the norm in retail, BUT, the lack of business is due to the situation. Before this whole mess began, she was finding a way to make ends meet and seemed happy, but once MB started shutting down she was left with no work to do.

  • TonyG

    The really sad part is Arthur S doesn’t care one little bit about anyone or anything…he just wants his bank account to keep getting bigger.The rich and affluent feel they are entitled and are above everyone else. There is no solution…the rich will always be rich and not care about anyone but themselves

    • Dupper

      You realize that Artie T is getting just as rich right? The reason Artie T is seen as the good guy is because he uses his leadership skills to give of his time. He is willing to listen to any employee regardless of rank. The employees are the only ones who are suffering and that won’t change. If Arthur S decides to sell he will be making over a billion dollars for a company with no debt. Artie T. will have to increase prices to pay the interest on his debt from buying the company.

  • Virginia Comeau

    We live in a well water community. So alot of poor people ..elderly here rely on the $.50 gal mb spring water. And its serious bcs it is expensive to buy the water for daily use. Im afrid withot mrket basket prices..some..woukd drink untreated water nd get ill

    • mmlein

      Why do you assume that drinking well water would make you ill?

  • Judith Loubris Mc Carthy

    I personelly think it’s not a wise decision for the worker to walk off. Where is it written that you are allowed to pick your boss? It isn’t . All these well meaning people, and I understand they like him and he must be a wonderful boss,but they are going to end up with no jobs or re hired and they will find away to slowly but surely get rid of all of them. They are only hurting themselves. Sure the business is losing billions but you know in the end the company can write this off as losses and they will come out just as wealthy as they are no, then they can sell everything off and richer. Or they can just knock everything down grown level and sell the land for a profit., The workers are only hurting themselves and the customers and making money for everyone else.

  • Dupper

    Why is this the fault of Artie S? He didn’t change anything. The employees chose to start this fight because they feared changes. Customers are not shopping because there is no meat or product. Once the stores are stocked again hopefully her hours will be increased. It is a sad story, but the blame should be shared across the board and not just with Artie S. and the CEOs.

  • Abby

    Well, the employees wanted the customers to boycott – what did you expect?! This is the kind of thing that is really ticking me off. You want to protest, all the power to you. But when people start losing hours at work because you asked people NOT to shop, don’t start looking for people to help pay their bills. The woman in this story is a wonderful person for helping the employee out and I probably would have done the same. But if I see one more “gofundme”, I’m calling your boycott off so these people CAN go back to work. ENOUGH already!

  • Moudsie

    these people need to know that if they go in to work, and are told to go home–have their hours cut, etc., they can probably collect unemployment compensation–I just looked it up–
    “My work hours have been reduced. Am I eligible to claim unemployment benefits?
    If your schedule of working hours is reduced, you are typically eligible. You can receive a full benefit for weeks when there is no work or a partial benefit for weeks when there is less than the normal full-time schedule. Generally, you must experience a reduction of at least 1/3 of your hours/earnings in order to receive even a minimal benefit but a reduction of that much or more will usually qualify for receipt of some benefit. The greater the reduction, the higher the payable benefit. Your actual eligibility cannot be determined until you file a claim. ”
    I don’t think the fools at MB on Arthur S’ side know this and this would make their payments into the fund go way up–pass this around and make sure others know.