God, Golf and Wal-Mart

How God Negotiates a Deal With Wal-Mart

Our movie, Seven Days in Utopia, had come and gone from the theaters by early October 2011. So what was to follow? Well the first thing was distribution of the DVD. We wanted a quick turnaround so that the DVD could be in the retail stores by Christmas. We needed a miracle for that to happen. It was well into October and most Christmas marketing strategies by the major retailers were set.

I had heard that Wal-Mart was the king of DVD sales - but how to get the DVD in their stores by Christmas? If we missed this window our movie would be old news by the following Christmas.

I had also heard of the legendary cubicles at the Wal-Mart corporate office. That is where people who wanted to sell their products would go to negotiate. The negotiators of Wal-Mart were legendary. Most stories passed down to me went something like this. “I sold my product to Wal-Mart for less than it cost to produce and then threw my dog in for good measure. But hey, I’m in Wal-Mart.”

Not wanting to buy in to the myth, I threw caution to the wind and called one of our well-networked investors and asked if he had any relationship with Wal-Mart. He said that he had a friend that was an executive for them that he thought was in charge of international relations. He contacted the gentleman to see if he would take a call from me. He agreed, and so I called hoping he would network me into the DVD area.

Here is how the phone call went. I let him know a little about our family friendly faith movie staring Robert Duval (of course that helped!!) and asked if he had any relationship with the DVD distribution arm of Wal-Mart. He said, “Funny you should ask, I was just reassigned from international relations to director over all domestic DVD distribution and marketing!” Of course I nearly choked as I marveled once again at the precision of God and His joy in networking His people for His purpose.

By the Friday after Thanksgiving, the biggest shopping day of the year, we had a special stand-alone display in the isle by the checkout lines of 1500 Wal-Mart stores across America. To my knowledge they all sold out. I will forever be indebted to Wal-Mart and how they went out of their way to accommodate us. In the end it became evident that our major distributor could not have cracked into the Wal-Mart system so quickly. I never had to visit the cubicles and I kept my dog!

Only God could have opened that door. I am in awe of a God that cares that much about the mission to which He calls. He is seriously and intimately interested and invested in the journey of our calling.