The Market Basket boycott entered its second week Monday. Speculation and rumors about the situation are proliferating, along with efforts to support employees, and efforts by Market Basket competitors to gain customers.
On Friday, Market Basket said it wouldn't penalize any employee who returns to work, but this morning the Facebook site Save Market Basket put up a post that said "Amnesty is a Lie." The post says some warehouse workers tried to return to work today but were turned away by security guards.
In an email to WGBH News, the company said it isn't true. Market Basket said security guards turned a few people away because they arrived before supervisors, and guards had been told supervisors got there first. The company wrote that anyone who wants to return to work is welcome.
Meanwhile a page for donations to employees that went up five days ago says more than $41,000 dollars has been collected.
Ann Marie Cambio pitched in $50 bucks. She said it's just a fraction of what she's saved shopping at Market Basket for her family.
"It's a no brainer," she said. "I have three children; they're grown now, but on average, I'm sure I saved $10 a week there, and times 52 weeks is $520 dollars, times 30 years."
Cambio worked at Market Basket herself through high school and college. She said the company even gave her a partial scholarship to help her finish a programming degree. Cambio said she's supporting Market Basket because it still plays an important role for young people.
"So many of our towns, it's the first job for many of the young adults. They'll hire at 14. I mean it's a win-win. it's a win for the community and it's a win for the employees and our town."
Until the boycott is over, Cambio's shopping at Whole foods and Hannaford. She said that doesn't put a big strain on her budget.
"But I hate paying more than I have to anywhere," she said.
Spokesmen for Hannaford and Shaw's supermarkets said their grocery chains have seen a sustained increase in business since Market Basket employees began picketing and urging a boycott.
Grocery store industry analyst David Livingston said now it's just a question of which chain picks up the most Market Basket customers.
"Market Basket had a very strong market share on the east coast, north of Boston, New Hampshire, so major competitors -- which would be Stop & Shop, Shaw's, Wal-Mart and Hannaford, they're in a great position to see their sales increase."
But Livingston said Market Basket competitors should be careful to not come off as profiting from turmoil that's put thousands of people out of work.
"I think if they keep it low-key, they don't brag about how they're able to take advantage of the situation, that's probably the best thing they can do is to have no response," Livingston said.
Hannaford spokesman Eric Blom said they've temporarily redistributed employees to some Hannaford stores that have seen the biggest influx of customers from Market Basket, especially over the weekend.
Shaw's spokesman Jeffrey Gulko said their distribution centers have increased shipments to Shaw's markets, and they've posted employees among the aisles to help displaced Market Basket customers get their bearings after venturing in for the first time. Gulko says he's sure some of those Market Basket refugees will become permanent Shaw's customers.
But analyst Livingston says it's difficult to predict how many customers will stay with competitors.
"If I had to guess, I'd say about 10 percent," he said.
Livingston said it all depends on how long the situation lasts.