Analyze and explore data related to the issue
What action would you take if you were Sarah Goodwin?
include statistics and other quantitative analysis to provide evidence of your views.
Describes the main elements of the issue and supports explanation with clear and relevant examples using reputable
research for all non-commonly known information.
Draws informed conclusions that are thoroughly defended with evidence and examples.
Effectively incorporates a range of mainstream and reputable resources that reflect depth and breadth of research.
Resources (at least five) in text citations.
Please avoid “fluff” writing instead employing “concise” business writing.
Sarah Goodwin is a 1980 graduate of an M.B.A. program. She majored in marketing, was interested in retailing. and had
been delighted to receive a job offer from a large and prestigious department store chain in northern California. The first
year of employment at this chain was considered to be a training program, but formal instruction was very limited. Instead.
after a tour of the facilities and a welcoming speech by the president, each of the new trainees was assigned to work as
an assistant to a buyer in one of the departments. The intent was that the trainees would work with five or six buyers
during the year, rotating assignments every two months, and would make themselves “useful” enough during those
assignments so that at least one buyer would ask to have that person join his or her department on a permanent basis.
Buyers are critical in the management of a department store. They select the goods to be offered, negotiate purchase
terms. set retail prices, arrange displays, organize promotions. and are generally responsible for the operations of the
departments within the store. Each buyer acts as a profit center, and sales figures and profit margins are reported monthly
to the senior executives. In this particular chain, the sales and profits were calculated on a square-foot basis (that is per
square foot of floor space occupied by the department), and the buyers contended, generally on a friendly basis, to
outperform each other so that their square footage would be expanded. The buyers received substantial commissions,
based upon monthly profits.
Sarah’s first assignment was to work for the buyer of the gourmet food department. This was a small unit at the main store
that sold packaged food items such as jams and jellies, crackers and cookies, cheese, spreads, and candies, most of
which were imported from Europe. The department also offered preserved foods such as smoked fish and meats, some
expensive delicacies such as caviar. truffles, and estate-bottled wines. Many of the items were packaged as gifts, in boxes
or baskets, with decorative wrappings and ties. Sarah was originally disappointed to have been sent to such a small and
specialized department rather than to a larger one that dealt with more general fashion goods, but she soon found that
this assignment was considered a “plum.” The buyer, Maria Castellani, was a well-known personality throughout the store:
witty, competent, and sarcastic. she served as a sounding board, consultant, and friend to the other buyers. She would
evaluate fashions. forecast trends, chastise managers (“managers in a department store are the people associated with
the finance, personnel, accounting, or planning, not merchandising), and discus retailing events and changes in an
amusing. informative way. Everybody in the store seemed to find a reason to stop by the gourmet food department at least
once during each day to chat with Maria. Sarah was naturally included in these conversations, and consequently she
performing weil on her first job and arranging for her next assignment. Then an event occurred that threatened to destroy
ail her contentment.
(Statement of Sarah Goodwin)
We had received a shipment of thin little wafers from England that had a créme filling flavored with fruit: strawberries and
raspberries. They were very good. They were packaged in foil covered boxes, but somehow they had become infested
We did not think that all of the boxes were infested, because not all of the customers brought them back. But, some of the
people did, and obviously we could not continue sell them. We couldn’t inspect them because there were too many—over
$9,000 worth—because we would have had to tear the foil to open each box. Mafia said that the manufacturer would not
give us a refund because the infestation doubtless occurred during shipment. or storage at our own warehouse.
Maria told me to get rid of them. | thought she meant for me to arrange to have them taken to a dump, but she said,
“Absolutely not. Call [name of an executive] at [ame of a convenience store chain in southem California]. They operate
down in the ghetto and can sell anything. We’ve got to get our money back.