Seriously though, Wal-Mart won a suit to recoup health care payments it made to a woman who was hit by a truck. As she settled with the truck’s insurance company, Wal-Mart requested, and was rightly awarded the payments it had made to her. It’s called subrogation, or double-dipping, in boring insurance lingo. Anyway, regardless of the law, there has been a large amount of attention for the case. Can you guess which side of people’s anger Wal-Mart is on?
But in all seriousness, Wal-Mart would be stupid to drop its claim.
From a sales perspective, Wal-Mart survives based on price sensitivity. This means people, largely (hah!), shop there because it’s the cheapest. This is to say that if Wal-Mart’s prices went up to Target levels everyone would shop at Target instead.
Also, Wal-Mart is despised by a large part of the American population (many of whom have the luxury of not having to shop there). It is truly hated. And often it is held as a representation of everything wrong with America, consumerism, throw-away culture, foreign reliance, and the downfall of mom and pop. This will not change anytime soon as we love to hate Wal-Mart.
So what does the company have to gain by bending its own rules and allowing this woman to keep her $400,000+? I posit, nothing. If Wal-Mart made a huge PR deal about dropping its action would those who despise it change their mind? No. The only thing that would happen in terms of sentiment toward Wal-Mart is that it would be out $400,000. The brand is now in a position where it has been made out to be such a villain that certain groups need to hate it because of what it stands for. And their opinions will never change.
Six months from now, whatever the company has done in this woman’s situation will be forgotten. So why should Wal-Mart bother?