Thursday, June 01, 2006

made in america

The past couple of weeks, I've been reading Made in America, the autobiography of Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart. I bought it for $5.97 at Wal-Mart as an impulse buy. Its really very interesting. I know that Wal-Mart is considered the enemy of small business in many places. Adding to this is that, in this book, Walton describes how they always targeted small towns, because all of the other discount stores (like K-Mart) were only hitting towns of over 50,000. Walton himself started out at JCPenney's and then was very successful at running a Ben Franklin franchise. He actually got into the discount store business because the trend was going that way and he was about to get left behind. Unfortunately for his competition, his kicked their butts! Here's quote from page 226 of the book.
"Of all the notions I've heard about Wal-Mart, none has ever baffled me more than this idea that we are somehow the enemy of small-town America. Nothing could be further from the truth: Wal-Mart has actually kept quite a number of small towns from becoming practically extinct by offering low prices and saving literally billions of dollars for the people who live there, as well as by creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in our stores."
Whether you're a Wal-Mart fan or not, this is an inspiring story, filled with principles that will be helpful for whatever career a person is in. There's even a picture of Sam washing dishes after a church supper. Apparently he and Helen were very active members in a PCUSA (Presbyterian Church USA) congregation.


Greg Hazelrig said...

I remember when the only places you could find a Wal-Mart were in the small towns around us. We lived outside of Memphis and it wasn't until I was at least a teenager before they came to the city.

I will also show my age here somewhat. I remember going to the Ben Franklins near me as a kid to look at the toys. Wow! That was a long time ago.

Jason Woolever said...

we had a Ben Franklin too. sam actually tried to get the Butler Brothers who owned Ben Franklin to back him in the discounting business, but they didn't want any part of it.

Anonymous said...

Does the book describe how Walmart has trained it's employees to use welfare, and that while it "saves" small town America billions of dollars it is at a cost of poverty for many who work there?

Jason Woolever said...

no, it doesn't.
is that true? how could I get my hands on that information?

John Flores said...


Sam Walton had passed on to glory. Is his face is a faceless corporate behemoth that wants to give the best return on investment to its shareholders.

Please look at this website and this leaked document that was presented to Wal-Mart's board of directors. Please comment on what you think of Wal-Mart management after you read this document.

Recommended website

Recommended document

John Flores

Frisco, Texas

Jason Woolever said...

hey john, good to hear from you!
i looked at that memo just briefly. i'll have to get back to it when i have a few minutes. thanks for the info. very interesting.

Anonymous said...

Read this from the St. Louis Business Journal:

Anonymous said...

Type "walmart employees welfare" into Google (without the quote marks) and read tons of articles on how the Walmart employee and the taxpayer is hosed. They don't appear to be a good example of corporate responsibility. Greed and self centeredness has corrupted our world to the point that when Christ comes back he will probably check his map to see if he is even on the right planet.

Jason Woolever said...

ha ha, good one!