“So what you are saying is that these executives planted the bad hotdogs? Man, that is cold!” Jose exclaimed.
Denice said, “Nope. I am not saying that at all. I am saying that a core group of executives had a plan in place in case something like this happened. I don’t think they knowingly put out the bad product that killed those Cub Scouts and the kids at the daycare. I think they knew it could happen.”
“Do you think it was luck that had the bad product come from the inefficient plants?” Jose asked.
“Not hardly. It is a statistical impossibility that two plants, seventy miles apart produced bad produce with the same strain of Listeria within days of each other. Nobody audited the company after they announced which two plants it came from. They could have claimed it came from anywhere and nobody would have challenged them.” Denice said.
“The industry was overloaded with capacity. Not as many people are eating hotdogs. Every company was struggling to make a profit. This crisis allowed one company to shed all of its liabilities and continue business under a fancier name with higher mark-ups.” Denice said.
“The boutique company was able to go to all of the states where they had packing plants and demand tax rebates, relief from pollution regulations and infrastructure improvements.” Denice said.
“Did all of the states come through?” Jose asked.
“Illinois was not able to deliver all of the tax abatements the new company was asking for. The boutique company closed the plants and laid off all the workers the week the state of Illinois announced that they would not meet the company’s requests. I can tell you that the other states where the company did business fell right into line and gave the company everything it asked for.” Denice said.
“I am not sure how you think this applies to the business you assume I am in.” Jose said. He was not above doing a little bit of fishing.
Denice said, “You know I am just talking in vague generalities here.” She offered to pour him a bit more wine. “But certain kinds of merchandise were decriminalized just a few years ago. That resulted in 25% of the retailers in the merchandise being released from prison which, overnight, meant the industry was 25% over capacity.”
“Another thing that decriminalization did was that the goods could be openly transported and sold. Shipments did not need to be split into many, many smaller lots. Sellers can advertise and the efficient ones get lots of business.” Denice said. “I would make a wild ass guess that that particular industry has three times the capacity that it needs, and that over capacity eats up a lot of profit.”
“Where do you see this going from here?” Jose asked.
“Bona-Brown will need to see a public announcement by early next week.” Denice said. “That gives you about a week to get your ducks in a row. To be believable, heads need to roll, there needs to be blood in the street. I don’t want it to be my blood and you don’t want it to be your blood.”
“The guys selling hotdogs figured out which parts of the business were losing money and made a big show of sacrificing them. Conflict is not profitable. Find some hot-heads that cost you money and let them do what comes naturally to them. Just make sure you, and the people who you think ought to be running the business are not standing where the shit-splatter will fall on you.” Denice said.
“You know, if you ever decide to leave government I am sure we can find a very lucrative job for you.” Jose said.
Denice said, “Naw, I am a finisher. I need to see this through. Ask me in about fifteen years.”