Suppose I told you there was a company with 16,000 stores, focused obsessively on low prices, that caused great unhappiness among many who longed to return to a simpler time, a time when mom-and-pop stores dotted downtowns across the United States. What would you think?
If you thought it was Wal-Mart, you’d be wrong. I’ve been reading “The Great A&P and the Struggle for Small Business In America,” by Marc Levinson (Hill and Wang, 2011), and, although maximum angst among consumers happened in the 1930s and 1940s, it’s as fresh as today. Did you know, for instance, that FDR cronies essentially took the Hartford brothers to court and made them criminals? Could you guess why? Would you believe it was because A&P’s prices were too low? Honest, that’s it.
This is a beautifully written book. If you like learning about what can go right (and then, later, go wrong), this is a great end-of-summer read.
Have a great week and enjoy the cooler weather.