Case Study of the Week: Does a Retailer Live Up to Its Promise?

November 21, 2022

Business Ethics

You are to assume the role of the director of brand management and company spokesperson for Pet Stop, a retailer specializing in products for pets. The senior vice president has asked for you to analyze negative company press and determine if company policies need to be addressed or changed. The senior vice president also wants you to provide a written statement that addresses the company policy.

Pet Stop is a private company that has been in business for half a century. There are 1,500 Pet Stop locations in the nation. The retailer sells a wide variety of pet products and services, plus sells an assortment of small animals. Pet Stop's company slogan is, “Animals always come first.”

The most profitable product for Pet Stop is pet food. Pet Stop's inventory includes value brands and premiere brands that are only sold at pet specialty stores. The stores have pet food available for all small pets, including but not limited to dogs, cats, fish, reptiles, hamsters, amphibians and ferrets.

While most consumers typically think of bagged dry food or wet canned food when they think of pet food, there is another type of pet food that Pet Stop sells. Although not on the sales floor, Pet Stop does sell live feeder animals as food. Pet Stop sells live mice and rats as food for snakes. They sell live grasshoppers and other insects for amphibians and fish for turtles and reptiles. The live feeder animals are feed that these animals would eat in the wild. Pet Stop has been selling live feeder animals since it opened 50 years ago.

An animal rights activist group recently attacked Pet Stop, arguing that selling live animals as food goes against the company slogan, “Animals always come first.” The activist group claims that Pet Stop does not value the lives of the feeder animals and needs to stop the sale of feeder animals or change its slogan. The activists’ claims have been gaining attention on social media and blogs. There are two other major pet retailers that also sell live feeder animals, yet Pet Stop is taking all the heat.

The senior vice president understands that there is nothing illegal about selling live feeder animals but is questioning if it is ethical. The senior vice president wants your team to analyze the situation and determine the best course of action. The senior vice president wants you to analyze economic risks of your recommendation and write a company statement announcing the recommendation.


Randi Bibiano
Competitive Events Specialist

As DECA’s competitive events specialist, Randi primarily authors role-play scenarios for the collegiate and high school division’s competitive events programs. She also serves as DECA’s liaison for the Virtual Business Challenge and Stock Market Game. Randi assists with the recruitment of judges for both the high school and collegiate International Career Development Conferences. Randi has worked for DECA since 1998.

Discussion Questions

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

Classroom Connection

Career CLuster:

Business Management and Administration

Instructional Area(s):


Performance Indicators:

Explain the concept of private enterprise
Determine factors affecting business risk
Explain the concept of competition
Explain the nature of business ethics