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Boredom sets in amid slow business at Market Baskets

Joanne Rathe/Globe Staff

Steve Paulenka, one of the original eight that was fired at Market Basket, walked with a giraffe on his neck to indicate employees are “sticking their necks outs.”

Protests continued outside Market Basket stores Wednesday and at the company’s Tewksbury headquarters, while deliveries and customers continued to trickle in to the stores.

Some 500 people gathered outside Market Basket’s main offices to picket in the heat, according to Steve Paulenka, a supervisor who was fired by the company and has led several protests.

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Although many workers got their weekly paychecks, deliveries of new groceries are rare — and in some cases, managers say, botched, containing expired food and some cases that are just not what store directors said they ordered.

“A lot of stuff that came yesterday, we threw out,” said Mark Lambert, a manager at the Reading Market Basket. He said that his store placed the order almost two weeks ago, and that about 10 percent of a shipment of deli meat and dairy was already expired.

Still, managers are hopeful. At a Market Basket in Lowell, a manager told the Globe that he was placing orders every day to get his grocery shelves restocked, although none were arriving. Workers are continuing to come in to work and many protest on their days off.

But with no customers and business at a standstill, some employees are outright bored. In Manchester and Newburyport, managers said workers have cleaned the stores several times over —in some cases, using toothbrushes.

“We did paint this week,” said Stephanie Schwechheimer, who runs a Market Basket in Haverhill. “Changed light bulbs, ceiling tiles, all kinds of things. You’d be amazed how busy we can keep things.”

Jack Newsham can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @TheNewsHam.

Clarification: A photo caption in an earlier version of this story should have identified Steve Paulenka, one of eight managers fired by Market Basket.

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