“The Wal-Mart Effect” Book by Fishman

Who Knew Shopping Was So Important?

Fishman introduces the reader to Wal-Mart’s effect on a local, national, and global scale. Fishman highlights the megacorporation’s power that can influence packaging and even prices set by its suppliers. The deodorant and grocery examples show how its low price strategy disrupts the whole industry. Although people are happy with low prices, there is no real competition, and many lose their jobs.

Sam Walton’s Ten-Pound Bass

The second chapter discusses the new business culture instilled by Sam Walton that helped Wal-Mart sell things at lower prices than its competitors. The comprehensive costs control includes rigorous payroll rates, absence of bonuses, and other incentives for workers. Another essential idea of Walton was to save money other retailers spent on their store’s nice design.

Makin Bacon, a Wal-Mart Fairy Tale

This one presents examples of how Wal-Mart lowers and keeps prices at the same level. The Makin Bacon case shows the financial and customer size supremacy of Wal-Mart. The giant influences and reshapes the suppliers’ product mix, operations, and choices to fit its objectives. For instance, Hanes cut the number of underwear, while Bertolli Olive Oil was made to sell their products at lower prices, suffering losses.

The Squeeze

This chapter is dedicated to Wal-Mart’s price pressure that squeezes concessions from supplier literary eliminating their profits. The retailer coerced the Vlasic Pickles to keep the same price by threatening to refuse to sell all their items. The majority of companies (even FedEx) are fearful of making any comments about Wal-Mart. Its needs are top-priority, while the suppliers’ well-being is secondary.

The Man Who Said No to Wal-Mart

This chapter highlights Jim Weir’s determination, the CEO of Snapper, who refused to increase the sales volume to save the company’s name and image and please its other dealers. The effect of mass volumization could diminish the quality of lawn equipment, while their market strategy is high quality.

What do We Actually Know about Wal-Mart?

This chapter points out that Wal-Mart’s effect is not adequately researched because of secrecy and lack of disclosed information. Basker found that the price of products declines up to 13% in the long run. The retailer’s ability to decrease prices is so strong that it was found to impact the market even in times of inflation.

Salmon, Shirts, and the Meaning of Lower Prices

This chapter addresses the other origins of Wal-Mart’s low prices. The affordable Kathy Lee Gifford clothing was revealed to be manufactured in Bangladesh using child labor (Fishman, 2006). The company also exported salmon from Chile, negatively affecting the local environment and paying low wages.

The Power of Pennies

Fishman discusses here the main reason for Wal-Mart’s popularity among customers, comparing it to Southwest Airlines. The retailer makes people come back by the amount of money they save for their customers, while the company’s atmosphere and experience are not exciting.

Wal-Mart and the Decent Society

The ultimate chapter discusses the preferences of customers (American society). The author concludes that Americans value bargains, low prices over the well-being of people who make products, and overall safety.

To conclude, The Wall-Mart Effect provides an insight into how the company managed to become such a success. It also analyzes the real business cases to show the retailer giant’s true force both in terms of the number of customers and financial impact. This company’s effect is mainly positive for the customer but can be detrimental for a supplier or distributor.


Fishman, C. (2006). The Wal-Mart effect: How the world’s most powerful company really works. Penguin Books.