As supporters of Arthur T. Demoulas held their biggest rally yet on Tuesday, gathering thousands in the parking lot of a strip mall in Tewksbury, speakers, customers and employees alike acknowledged the fatigue is setting in.


Randi Tremblay, who works in the meat department in the Bellingham Market Basket store, summed it up.


"We want it to be over with. It's enough. It's enough."


How long could it last? By some counts, it’s day 19 in the ongoing saga that is the Market Basket dispute. Labor attorney Fred Alvaro represents businesses – and he can’t think of any logical reason the Market Basket management is allowing the impasse to continue.


“If I were advising these guys, my advice would be to get this thing wrapped up as quickly as possible,” Alvaro said.


Quickly, because fickle customers get used to new habits fast and may learn to permanently shop elsewhere. But other grocery chains aren’t making obvious moves to take advantage of the situation.


Supermarkets like Shaw’s and Hannaford have been reluctant to say much – like whether they’ve stepped up their marketing. They do confirm they’ve seen more customers and increased the number of workers in certain locations.


But the competitors haven’t lowered their prices to Market Basket levels.


“There’s no one else in New England who has stepped into the space that Market Basket occupies” 


And retail consultant John Rand says no one’s likely to take that step.


“We have Stop & Shop, which is not particularly interested in being a value player, they’ve always been a mainstream player. And Shaw’s, which has gone through several ownership changes and so far doesn’t seem to have the resources to invest in prices that are all that different from Stop & Shop.”


So, that might buy the Market Basket management some time. Blair Trippe, who’s mediated many family business conflicts and written a book on the subject, says the management may need that time. She says it’s possible we only think it’s taking a long time for this disagreement to resolve because Market Basket has been in the news every day. Trippe says family businesses usually take a while to get to a resolution.


And while that might boggle the minds of employees who’re watching the company bleed millions of dollars a day, Trippe says there are also other economic interests at play.


“There are a lot of lawyers involved and there are a lot of people who are benefitting financially from this conflict, so there’s that that you’re contending with,” she said. "You could argue there’s so much publicity that might bring other buyers and it might end up going for more because it’s quite a brand name at this point."


Or the delay might not be about money at all, Trippe says. Demoulas family members could be stalling because they’re worried about what a decision will do to the family.


“Family members can be stuck, afraid to make decisions, because as soon as you make a decision the dynamite gets lit, and bad things happen,” she said.


Meanwhile Market Basket employees are getting used to the situation. At yesterday’s rally, Heather Doyle, a kitchen manager at the Portsmouth Market Basket store, pointed out how well managed the event was.


“The very first one that they had was kinda like wingin' it.”  


Parking was more organized. There was more water and more emergency vehicles. There were places to donate money. Doyle said even posters were more detailed, because employees had time to work on them.


“We want to end soon, you know what I mean? We don’t want it to become a normalcy type of thing but we’re getting the hang of it, I guess,” she said.


As the impasse continues, Market Basket employees — despite themselves -- are learning to protest and picket as efficiently as they ran grocery stores.