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March 14, 2008

News & Opinion: Fishman was in town.

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 7:02 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Yesterday Charles Fishman, The Wal-Mart Effect joined us for the first of our spring events. He's an incredible storyteller; if you ever have a chance, go see him live. I'm guessing he'll be on tour with his next book on the subject of bottled water. Yesterday's subject: Wal-Mart, the behemoth that can make or break a company. He told the story of Vlasic pickles and their one gallon jar. Wal-Mart started selling gallon jars of Vlasic pickles for a mere $2.97 (yes, under that $3 mark). Elsewhere in retail aisles, Vlasic pickles stopped selling as the demand for the bargain gallon jars increased.
Vlasic, already burdened with financial problems, finally convinced Wal-Mart that the gallon jars being sold at $2.97 a pop wasn't working for them and requested a price adjustment. Wal-Mart responded by allowing them to decrease their jar size to just under half a gallon for the same price. Vlasic responded by filing for bankruptcy.
That's one of many stories. Of course, there are good and bad stories. As Charles explains, asking whether Wal-Mart is good or bad for America is like asking whether the IRS is good or bad. There's no right answer. For right now, at least, Wal-Mart just is.
Here's a photo Miss Rebecca took at the event.
fishman-eisner.jpg
Charles, if you're reading this, thanks for coming. Do come again.