By Julie McCay Turner
Late Friday afternoon, Bedford’s 70+ Stop and Shop employees remained on strike, standing on a picket line outside the store in the Bedford Shopping Center.
Customers drive into the parking lot, but most leave right away, heading to other markets. The strikers report that many customers approach the store, shake the locked door, and turn away in disbelief. One customer who lives in West Roxbury expressed surprise that the Bedford store was closed along with others in the chain.
Because a branch bank and pharmacy are in the building, the store remains open through its far entrance near the bottle return area. Grocery customers seem also to have entered the store, using automated check-out facilities to pay for their orders while baggers and checkers stand on the picket line. Management personnel was clearing carts from the parking lot.
Inside the store, the shelves were full and the aisles were empty. Without customers or employees to refresh the produce since 1 pm on Thursday, wilted and unsalable goods could add to the economic impact of the strike. Delivery trucks were being turned back by the strikers.
A short conversation with the store manager Sara O’Leary late on Friday revealed no news. She cordially stated that there was nothing she could say during the strike and referred The Citizen to Stop and Shop’s public information office.
The happy news in this story is the warm feeling the strikers feel for the customers who have come to stand with them, wish them luck, or deliver food, coffee, and gift cards to support additional coffee or burgers from McDonald’s.