March 14, 2008

News & Opinion: Fishman was in town.

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 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.
Charles, if you're reading this, thanks for coming. Do come again.

About Dylan Schleicher

Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.