After Walmart Bought Jet, It Eliminated In-Office Drinking

Jun 25, 2017

Walmart’s $3 billion acquisition of Jet.com last fall was a win for both the e-commerce startup’s investors, who got a big payday, and the discount retailer, which got a robust online platform. But it apparently came with one small caveat—Jet employees would have to stop drinking at the office.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Jet had regular in-office happy hours, as well as at least one kitchen cupboard full of liquor, and employees sometimes drank at their desks. The company is based in Hoboken, New Jersey, a town with a strong drinking culture, and founder Marc Lore runs a vineyard.

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But Walmart, headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, has a conservative corporate culture that includes companywide prohibition. After it took over Jet, it cleaned out the liquor cabinets and moved happy hours to nearby bars—a compromise, both companies thought.

Those moves backfired. According to the Journal, Jet executives complained that fewer employees were attending happy hour after it was moved off-site. To its credit, Walmart reversed its stance, allowing happy hour to return to the Jet office and loosening similar restrictions on other recently-acquired startups.

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