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First take

When the big supermarket realignment in the Northwest – in which small-sized Haggen supermarkets swallowed dozens of Safeway and Albertsons stores – there was some cause for unease, the same unease many people feel any time a little fish consumes a big one. And Haggen may have felt, corporately, a little like you did the last time you ate too much for dinner. Now the results are emerging. Haggen has been hit with lawsuits from unions representing workers, over layoff and working hour issues, and from Albertsons over what that company says (Haggen disagrees) is non-payment for some materials. And now word that Haggen is closing a bunch of stores around Washington and Oregon, displacing hundreds of employees. One of those stores happened to be the first Haggens I ever visited, a well-designed and -run store at Tualatin, Oregon. Someone ought to compare the end results to the happy corporate talk around takeover time; the matchup won’t be close. – rs

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