Of all the notions I've heard about Wal-Mart, none has ever baffled me more than this idea that we aresomehow the enemy of small-town America. Nothing could be further from the truth: Wal-Mart hasactually kept quite a number of small towns from becoming practically extinct by offering low prices andsaving literally billions of dollars for the people who live there, as well as by creating hundreds ofthousands of jobs in our stores. I know most companies don't have cheers, and most board chairmen probably wouldn't lead them evenif they did. But then most companies don't have folks like Mike "Possum" Johnson, who entertained usone Saturday morning back when he was safety director by taking on challengers in a no-holds-barredpersimmon-seed-spitting contest, using Robert Rhoads, our company general counsel, as the officialtarget. Most companies also don't have a gospel group called the Singing Truck Drivers, or amanagement singing group called Jimmy Walker and the Accountants. Samuel Adwell, Jailer. 国产综合自拍|偷拍|偷拍自拍国产区第1页-久草在线免费视频在线观看 "I remember asking Dad for permission to climb a bluff overlooking the Buffalo River. He said, 'Doanything you're big enough to do.' What an exhilarating challenge of judgment and confidence booster fora twelve-year-old. Later, when I was a young man trying to find my way in the world, he gave me anopen invitation to join the Wal-Mart team, but never a hint of pressure. What a wonderful way to growup."Now, as I said, one of the reasons I fell for Helen in the first place was that she was her ownwomanand she has not proved a disappointment in that category. For example, one of the things I'mfamous for around our company is absolutely insisting that all our executives and managers here inBentonville attend our Saturday morning meeting. One of the reasons I like it is that if all our folks outthere in the stores have to work on Saturday, I think those of us back here in the general office shouldshow up on Saturday too. Plus, as I've said, if you don't want to work weekends, you shouldn't be inretail. The percentage of gross margin in this industryreally, the markup on merchandisehas dropped steadilyfrom around 35 percent in the early sixties to only 22 percent today. Almost all of that representsincreased value and savings to the customers who shop discount stores. So the guys who weren't runningefficient operations, who had taken on lots of debt and were living high and not taking care of theirassociates, who weren't scrambling around to get the best deals on merchandise and passing those dealson to their customers, these guys got into trouble. When we saw Kmart headed right after us in 1976 and1977, we decided we could pick up some speed in our expansion efforts by acquiring some strugglingdiscounters. I really don't know what they thought, but I wasn't about to cooperate with them. So they found out allthese exciting things about me, like: I drove an old pickup truck with cages in the back for my bird dogs,or I wore a Wal-Mart ball cap, or I got my hair cut at the barbershop just off the townsquaresomebody with a telephoto lens even snuck up and took a picture of me in the barber chair, andit was in newspapers all over the country. Then folks we'd never heard of started calling us and writing usfrom all over the world and coming here to ask us for money. Many of them represented worthy causes,I'm sure, but we also heard from just about every harebrained, cockamamy schemer in the world. Iremember one letter from a woman who just came right out and said, "I've never been able to afford the$100,000 house I've always wanted. Will you give me the money" They still do it to this day, write orcall asking for a new car, or money to go on a vacation, or to get some dental workwhatever comesinto their minds.