Throwing the market basket out with the bathwater

Business is all about relationships. In order to have successful business, you and your business must be trusted in all of your relationships, whether that means your customers, suppliers, or investors.

One of the reasons why operating a business is complex and difficult is that none of these relationships works in isolation, yet the individual contracts tend to involve a limited number of parties.

Your supply, distribution or employment contracts control discrete relationships with each entity or person, unless there is some special rationale that requires additional clauses linking elements of performance to other transactions or events.

Nonetheless, your company works as a whole, and each part of the chain must function properly.

And this is why when you have a contract dispute with one of your business relationships, you need to maintain a personal distance from the dispute, and not become emotionally invested.

The current problems with Market Basket are at the point where the governors of Massachusetts and New Hampshire have entered into negotiations with both sides in an attempt to prevent the dispute from causing a collapse of the entire supermarket chain.

One supplier, which has “suffered a significant loss” due to the shutdown of the Market Basket warehouse, was led to comment that the current leadership of Market Basket has “made one incredible strategic blunder after another.”

When your disputes begin to affect your broader business environment, real damage can be done to your business and its future prospects.

It is important to keep disputes in context and discuss with your financial and legal counsel the big picture, to ensure that a small brush fire does not engulf and overwhelm the forest.

Source:, “Governors step into New England supermarket feud,” Associated Press, August 18, 2014