diet coke for breakfast

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Posted by Tanstaafl
LILEKS (James) The Bleat:

But I did not get a lot of light bulbs. I was looking for 25 watt bulbs, a ridiculous wattage, but that's what the original fixture in the dining room wants. I also wanted some Reveal Globes, which sounds very much like a porn site, I know. The Reveal bulbs shed white light, as opposed to the old-denture hue of plain old bulbs. But they had none. I asked a clerk where the Reveal bulbs were.

Reveal? he said. I never heard of them.

They're GE bulbs.

Oh, we don't have GE bulbs anymore. We don't have any GE products. He said he didn't know why, had something to do with promotion, or something like that. Interesting. I'm guessing it may have had to do with shelf fees? maybe Home Depot wanted a certain amount of money up front to stock GE products, and GE didn?t want to pay that much, and someone decided to walk away from the partnership for a year, or forever. This drama probably occupied the lives of several dozen middle-level execs for a year or so ? sleepless nights, missed dinners, contentious teleconference calls, all ending in a few guys sitting in the kitchen at 2 AM with an Amstel wondering if this was going to cost them their job.

[Disclaimer: I have no firsthand or personal knowledge of the events/people described below. Everything contained is either speculation or rumor]

Home Depot does still carry GE Appliances and few other GE Products. However, they dumped GE lighting and GE Card Services as the operator of their Home Depot branded credit card. Although it ostensibly had to do with the economics of the deals, there is a "rumor" that there was more to it.

Robert Nardinelli is the former CEO of GE Power Systems. When Jack Welch announced his retirment, Bob was one of 5 or so potential successors. Jack and the GE Board instead decided to go with Jeff Immelt, who was then CEO of GE Medical Systems.

Being stuck at the highest level that he could achieve within GE, Bob decided to seek a position at another company. When he got the position at Home Depot, he renegotiated all of its deals with GE. People differ on what exactly happened at that point. Some said that because he new GE's financials really well, he knew where the company squeezes margin out of deals and just struck a harder bargain. Others say that he was spiteful and just set out to torpedo any dealings with GE. I believe that the truth is probably somewhere in between the two.

Anyway, that's why you can't by GE Reveal light bulbs at Home Depot. You can buy them at Lowes though, and you can charge them on your Lowes credit card, which is backed and managed by GE.


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