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Incredible Vision at Wal-Mart
Special to FreeRepublic ^ | 28 March 2008 | John Armor (Congressman Billybob)

Posted on 03/29/2008 6:44:19 AM PDT by Congressman Billybob

I’m grateful to an article in the National Post on Friday, 28 March, by Colby Cost for bringing this item to my attention. It is about Wal-Mart, but has nothing to do with the legendary business model of that company. Or, does it?

As the article recites, shortly before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans on 29 August 2005, Lee Scott, CEO of Wal-Mart, send a memorandum to all the regional and store managers in the region about to be hit. His message said:

“A lot of you are going to have to make decisions above your level. Make the best decision that you can with the information that's available to you at the time, and above all, do the right thing.”

This is an incredible message. Normally, when a disaster strikes in any large organization and communications are cut off, the subordinates are expected to batten down the hatches, protect themselves and wait for instructions. Lee Scott told his people to do the exact opposite.

What model was he following? It was the military model. There are times in battle that communication is lost. The soldiers and squad leaders on the ground don’t have the option to stand still and wait it out. Lives are on the line, and therefore they must act, even on partial or inadequate information.

The article mentioned how well the US Coast Guard functioned after Katrina. With speed and precision they set up rescue, triage, and transportation to functioning medical facilities outside the zone of destruction. How well did Wal-Mart do in this disaster?

Here is what the article says about that: “In Kenner, La., an employee crashed a forklift through a warehouse door to get water for a nursing home. A Marrero, La., store served as a barracks for cops whose homes had been submerged. In Waveland, Miss., an assistant manager who could not reach her superiors had a bulldozer driven through the store to retrieve disaster necessities for community use, and broke into a locked pharmacy closet to obtain medicine for the local hospital.

“Meanwhile, Wal-Mart trucks pre-loaded with emergency supplies at regional depots were among the first on the scene wherever refugees were being gathered by officialdom. Their main challenge, in many cases, was running a gauntlet of FEMA officials who didn't want to let them through. As the president of the brutalized Jefferson Parish put it in a Sept. 4 Meet the Press interview, speaking at the height of nationwide despair over FEMA's confused response: ‘If [the U.S.] government would have responded like Wal-Mart has responded, we wouldn't be in this crisis.’ ”

The article refers to a study of private responses to the Katrina crisis by many businesses. Steven Horwitz, an economist at St. Lawrence University in New York, noted that other “big box” companies like Home Depot and Lowe’s handed out millions of dollars in inventory, for free, to people in desperate need.

I have one, large question about this story. Why hasn’t it been reported before? Why didn’t it make the cover of Time magazine, or a story on “60 Minutes”?

The image which some “social activists” seek to apply to Wal-Mart is a large, impersonal corporation that has no interest in either the lives and welfare of its own employees, or the lives and welfare of the communities in which it locates. Of course, every time Wal-Mart opens a hiring office for an upcoming store, there are hundreds of applicants for every available job, If that fact was as widely reported as the rants of the “social activists” that image would not last very long.

But the real fight over Wal-Mart concerns unions. It is a non-union business. And unions are on the liberal, Democratic side of the political spectrum, as are about 80 percent of all reporters and editors. Now, it becomes clearer why this extraordinary story of the freedom to act that Wal-Mart gave its people, and how they used that, has not been widely reported.

Sometimes, the simple truth about a real situation can blow the invented story out of the water. And, we cannot have that, can we?

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About the Author: John Armor practiced in the US Supreme Court for 33 years. John_Armor@aya.yale.edu He is running for the 11th Congressional District of North Carolina.

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TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: disasterrelief; katrina; neworleans; walmart
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This is a new twist on an old story. I think you'll find it interesting.

John / Billybob

1 posted on 03/29/2008 6:44:20 AM PDT by Congressman Billybob
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To: Congressman Billybob

It’s not been reported because that would put a positive twist on the ugly image the msm has painted on Walmart. Not to mention they wouldn’t want to distract from Bush causing Katrina in the first place.


2 posted on 03/29/2008 6:47:19 AM PDT by mtbopfuyn (The fence is "absolutely not the answer" - Gov. Rick Perry (R, TX))
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To: Congressman Billybob

Thanks, Billybob. If the masses knew that, they’d actually shop there more. Can’t have that, you know.


3 posted on 03/29/2008 6:50:41 AM PDT by Marysecretary (.GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL)
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To: Congressman Billybob
But the real fight over Wal-Mart concerns unions. It is a non-union business. And unions are on the liberal, Democratic side of the political spectrum, as are about 80 percent of all reporters and editors. Now, it becomes clearer why this extraordinary story of the freedom to act that Wal-Mart gave its people, and how they used that, has not been widely reported.

Bingo.

4 posted on 03/29/2008 6:52:35 AM PDT by Tax-chick ("Everything is either willed or permitted by God, and nothing can hurt me." Bl. Charles de Foucauld)
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To: Congressman Billybob

It isn’t just the Liberals, this article will throw a lot of Freepers into a rant mode too.


5 posted on 03/29/2008 6:54:33 AM PDT by Balding_Eagle (If America falls, darkness will cover the face of the earth for a thousand years.)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Thanks for the posting, Congressman Billybob. I don’t shop at Wal-Mart often, but I believe Mr. Sam Walton had true genius in leadership and marketing, and hardwired both traits into his company.

Wish they would carry more “made in USA” products, though.


6 posted on 03/29/2008 6:55:01 AM PDT by Wombat Ark
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To: Congressman Billybob

Thankfully, Hillary Clinton was on their board of directors to make sure they did the right thing. < / sar >


7 posted on 03/29/2008 6:55:26 AM PDT by Popman
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To: Congressman Billybob
Thanks for an inspirational piece.

Of course, the mainstram media is full of professional cynics who deliberately overlook anything positive about Walmart or any of the other named corporations. Their hate big business mentality dominates/edits over all -- which is why we can celebrate their demise.

8 posted on 03/29/2008 6:57:41 AM PDT by Zechariah11
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To: Congressman Billybob
As the president of the brutalized Jefferson Parish put it in a Sept. 4 Meet the Press interview, speaking at the height of nationwide despair over FEMA's confused response: ‘If [the U.S.] government would have responded like Wal-Mart has responded, we wouldn't be in this crisis.’ ”

Had the N.O. residents, Jefferson Parish president, Nagin, Blanco and countless other "locals" been as prepared and responded like Wal-Mart, the FEMA psychos the Coast Guard wouldn't have been as necessary.
9 posted on 03/29/2008 6:58:43 AM PDT by darbymcgill
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To: Congressman Billybob
The American people work and Exxon-Mobil, Walmart, Target, or any other business. When given the chance they rise to the needs of others. My family gives more in charity then the major DEM elites after we see their tax returns. Our incomes are not a large as theirs. Every time one of these elites points a finger at these companies, they point it at giving Americans. The elites are hypocrites.
10 posted on 03/29/2008 6:58:54 AM PDT by bmwcyle (McCain has yet to give conservatives a reason to vote for him)
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To: Congressman Billybob
It is a non-union business.

Only in the U.S. Overseas it is unionized in many countries. In China, where the purpose of the unions is more to keep the workers in line, Wal-Mart has actually embraced them.

11 posted on 03/29/2008 7:00:23 AM PDT by Non-Sequitur
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To: Congressman Billybob

Great article. Wal-Mart is not the “fount of evil” that all leftists (and a lot of conservatives on this forum) paint them to be.


12 posted on 03/29/2008 7:00:50 AM PDT by Wonder Warthog (The Hog of Steel-NRA)
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To: darbymcgill

oops..

FEMA psychos the Coast Guard = FEMA psychos and the Coast Guard..

I’m embarassed to put the Coast Guard so close to FEMA.

sorry.


13 posted on 03/29/2008 7:00:59 AM PDT by darbymcgill
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To: Congressman Billybob
I like Wal-Mart. Cheap crap, appropriately priced.

I know it's all made in China. That's because the unions have made it impossible to make cheap crap appropriately priced in America.

If war breaks out, and China stops providing their goods, I have every confidence that the American people will be able to get our paper-drink umbrella, refrigerator magnet, and disposable razor factories up and running in a heartbeat.

14 posted on 03/29/2008 7:01:11 AM PDT by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: Congressman Billybob; Gabz
Uh oh, the Wal-Mart bashers on FR won't like this.

Gabz, thought you might be interested.

15 posted on 03/29/2008 7:03:14 AM PDT by Madame Dufarge
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To: Madame Dufarge
The Wal-Mart bashers didn't show up here when the original was posted. Well, maybe a couple . . . the rest ran for hills.
16 posted on 03/29/2008 7:04:54 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: Marysecretary
I was not introduced to Walmart until I relocated. What a surprise, they are friendly, theri prices are way better than Kroger or Albertsons and it saves us about $30-$40 a week on the same items. Best part is their return policy. Bring it back and no problem.

There are a few things we get elsewhere, like fresh produce, but other than that I's sold on Walmart. IMO

17 posted on 03/29/2008 7:05:41 AM PDT by IllumiNaughtyByNature (Senator McCain, what did GWB promise you back in 2000? And you believed him? BWAHAAAAA!)
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To: Congressman Billybob; Spktyr; SmithL; DeFault User; PGalt; conservatism_IS_compassion; CPT Clay; ...
Armor for Congress PING!


John Armor for Congress

John Armor on YouTube

Freepmail or ping me on the thread to be added to the John Armor for Congress ping list.


18 posted on 03/29/2008 7:08:51 AM PDT by MitchellC (Thomas Sowell: 'I will be delighted.. if someone with such views gets elected.' ArmorforCongress.com)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Not to be cynical but, crashed into the pharmacy to get drugs for the hospital? Riiiiight.


19 posted on 03/29/2008 7:09:58 AM PDT by beckysueb (Pray for our troops , America, and President Bush)
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To: Wombat Ark

And they have completely adopted the “green” hoax. Of course there could be a demand for that sort of thing. But I just hate it. Can’t even find a decent light bulb there. I refuse to pay 8 bucks for an ugly light bulb.


20 posted on 03/29/2008 7:12:31 AM PDT by beckysueb (Pray for our troops , America, and President Bush)
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To: Congressman Billybob

I have one, large question about this story. Why hasn’t it been reported before? Why didn’t it make the cover of Time magazine, or a story on “60 Minutes”?

@@@@@

Because it doesn’t fit the pre-approved narrative.
Movies could/should be made about the forward-thinking and generosity of these businesses and the fantastic work of the Coast Guard.

The Live Threads on FR during the week after the storm are a fantastic resource for the most accurate, realtime timeline of events for anyone who wants to do research on the true story.

DNC media lie to the American public every day. Somehow this kind of “journalism” is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind.


21 posted on 03/29/2008 7:15:29 AM PDT by maica (Peace is the Aftermath of Victory)
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To: Congressman Billybob

It’s amazing how the truth eventually comes out regardless of how the left tries to restrict it.


22 posted on 03/29/2008 7:15:46 AM PDT by SouthTexas (If you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much space!)
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To: mtbopfuyn
It’s not been reported because that would put a positive twist on the ugly image the msm has painted on Walmart

Sad because it's true. I just googled for walmart + katrina; the first three articles were from the Washington Post, The Nation, and CNN, but in the next three pages the articles were more like blogs &c.

23 posted on 03/29/2008 7:19:08 AM PDT by jiggyboy (Ten per cent of poll respondents are either lying or insane)
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To: Congressman Billybob

I’ve mixed thoughts and feelings about Walmart in general- but I can live with them;) Still- I shop there regularly.

I was immediately struck by the “military model” comparison. Completely apt and SHOULD be a model for all large organizations. All soldiers are taught and expected- to think on their feet when the situation goes FUBAR.

An old friend of mine was in charge of all VA hospitals in the southeast at the time of Katrina. Hospitals and clinics had to be evac’d in at a moments notice, from Mobile to NOLA...hundreds and hundreds of patients. He accomplished it without one injury or death- BEFORE Katrina hit. It was quite remarkable. How did he do it? The “military model”...


24 posted on 03/29/2008 7:25:24 AM PDT by SE Mom (Proud mom of an Iraq war combat vet)
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To: darbymcgill

If the Corp opens the the Bonnet Carre spillway this year as some predict, wait for the next news flash. This one won’t involve the levees.


25 posted on 03/29/2008 7:25:59 AM PDT by A Strict Constructionist (We have become an oligarchy not a Republic.)
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To: Congressman Billybob
Great article, John.

The Katrina situation, taken as a whole, is probably one of the best examples of the superiority of free market choice over government planning that exists in recent times.

26 posted on 03/29/2008 7:30:36 AM PDT by MitchellC (Thomas Sowell: 'I will be delighted.. if someone with such views gets elected.' ArmorforCongress.com)
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To: Congressman Billybob
Another one of your well written, informative posts. Thanks for telling this story. If you hadn't, I would never have known. It's a nice counterpoint to the industry standard, anti-Walmart reporting that we usually see.
27 posted on 03/29/2008 7:33:35 AM PDT by GBA ( God Bless America!)
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To: Congressman Billybob
Thank you for posting this.

Proving that Americans have that extraordinary gene built in--the gene that gives us the ability to rise above the problem and "handle it." Americans genuinely care about others and CAN act more noble than many others. (Example: How well we handled 500K people evacuated because of the recent fires here in San Diego--there were more volunteers than evacuees!!!)

One of the biggest problems of today's society: WE'RE (mostly) SPOILED & SOFT! ;-)

28 posted on 03/29/2008 7:34:21 AM PDT by NordP (Yeah...Clinton didn't inhale and Obama didn't know 'nothin' 'bout Rev Wright bein' wrong)
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To: Wonder Warthog

Wal-Mart is not the “fount of evil” that all leftists (and a lot of conservatives on this forum) paint them to be.

BTTT!!!!

And, what would consumer’s be paying for goods if it were not for the mega merchant stores’?????
I don’t agree with the, (made in China) aspect but, China buys many goods from America, a concept never discussed on many forums.


29 posted on 03/29/2008 7:36:01 AM PDT by buck61
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To: A Strict Constructionist

What do you mean? Asks a lover of New Orleans...


30 posted on 03/29/2008 7:51:23 AM PDT by nralife
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To: beckysueb
Not to be cynical but, crashed into the pharmacy to get drugs for the hospital? Riiiiight.

Cynicism is okay, but unless you have been through a disaster of massive proportions, you are rather clueless as to what the immediate needs may be.

During that Katrina disaster, many hospitals and clinics and nursing homes lost parts of their structures and accesses. Some had floors that were completely under water and had patients on upper floors. Many awaited rescues that didn't happen because the emergency rescues were too busy with other rescues. If a hospital's pharmacy was on a lower floor (very conceivable) and that floor was under water, it is very possible that outside medical supplies and equipment might be necessary.

When such disasters occur, you don't have immediate access to the police, fire department, medical, etc. You have to fend for your self.
31 posted on 03/29/2008 7:54:49 AM PDT by TomGuy
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To: jiggyboy

I recall right after the Katrina disaster that many area Walmart stores and warehouses (and other chain stores) basically opened their doors and let people take whatever they needed. There were stories of workers using forklifts to load materials and supplies into trucks to take to relief areas.

And the cash registers were closed down during this time.


32 posted on 03/29/2008 7:58:55 AM PDT by TomGuy
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To: Congressman Billybob

Thanks for posting this, John!

We’re printing copies to take to the Wal-Mart managers in Sylva & Franklin.

Great article!


33 posted on 03/29/2008 8:01:00 AM PDT by BwanaNdege
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To: Congressman Billybob
In Wal-Mart We Trust
 
03/29/2008 9:54:30 AM CDT · by Baynative · 1 reply · 11+ views
National Post (via Mark Levin) ^ | Friday, March 28, 2008 | Colby Cosh
Who did the most to help victims of Hurricane Katrina? According to a new study, it was the company everyone loves to hate.

34 posted on 03/29/2008 8:01:57 AM PDT by TomGuy
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To: IllumiNaughtyByNature

Similar deal here. I started shopping at Walmart about two years ago when I relocated because it was convenient. I didn’t know the town but there was a Walmart a stone’s throw away so I went there. What I found is a clean, well laid out store with low prices and aisles that are always neatly stocked. It’s just about the ideal shopping experience so long as you’re not after haute couture or mom and pop quaintness. The other thing I saw there are black people and white people and latinos and asians and blue collar guys and kids from the local university, all together in the midst of this great bounty of low priced consumer goods. Leftists should love it. If the Soviets could’ve pulled off these kinds of scenes, they would have considered their model a success. I used to work with a guy who had made it out of Cuba. He did his shopping at Walmart and considered it a kind of Heaven. I see the same thing ~ affordably priced abundance for average people. The Left should love it, but someone’s making a profit, so of course the Left hates it.


35 posted on 03/29/2008 8:03:57 AM PDT by Yardstick
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To: Congressman Billybob

That parish president misses the point totally. It is because FEMA is the government that it can never respond like Wal-Mart!


36 posted on 03/29/2008 8:10:06 AM PDT by appeal2 (Brilliance is typically the act of an individual, but incredible stupidity can usually be traced to)
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To: Congressman Billybob
John, this is like the Al Capone story-in between killing off his rivals, buying off politicians etc., he also opened up numerous soup kitchens during the depression.

Does this make him a 'good guy'?

37 posted on 03/29/2008 8:10:06 AM PDT by realdifferent1 (What do the people of China call their good plates?)
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To: Congressman Billybob

I’ll bet Wal-Mart got paid back dollar for dollar for every item they “donated”.

Does anyone have a copy of their 2005 tax returns? Their accountants should be fired if they did not take advantage of this major write-off.


38 posted on 03/29/2008 8:16:13 AM PDT by panaxanax (Writing in Duncan Hunter 2008!)
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To: realdifferent1

“John, this is like the Al Capone story-in between killing off his rivals, buying off politicians etc., he also opened up numerous soup kitchens during the depression.
Does this make him a ‘good guy’?”


Interesting, you used Al Capone on your very first FR post back in January.

“More likely from Al Capone. He got a lot of love from Chi during the Depression by setting up soup kitchens.”


39 posted on 03/29/2008 8:25:04 AM PDT by ansel12 (If your profit margin relies on criminality to suppress wages, then you deserve to be out)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Home Depot, Wal-Mart and other companies that did the right thing should do a joint commercial to show what their people did to help their communities in crisis.


40 posted on 03/29/2008 8:29:58 AM PDT by art_rocks
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To: Wombat Ark


I believe Mr. Sam Walton had true genius in leadership and marketing, and hardwired both traits into his company.

Wish they would carry more “made in USA” products, though.”

The problem I think is that Sam’s sons didn’t learn that lesson. I think if Sam was alive, we would see more “made in the USA” products.


41 posted on 03/29/2008 8:32:13 AM PDT by art_rocks
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To: nralife

The Corp is doing some digging in the BC for levee fill and it is right uo against one of main rail lines out of the city. When the water starts flowing I’m afraid it will undercut the railway bridge and cause it to collapse. The only time I have seen the spillway open it was really turbulent and fast flowing. I hope that I’m wrong big time.


42 posted on 03/29/2008 9:12:39 AM PDT by A Strict Constructionist (We have become an oligarchy not a Republic.)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Brilliant essay..Kudos!!


43 posted on 03/29/2008 9:14:48 AM PDT by ken5050
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To: buck61
"I don’t agree with the, (made in China) aspect but, China buys many goods from America, a concept never discussed on many forums."

Well, even the "made in China" aspect is bogus, because ALL of the big-box stores (and a lot of smaller ones) stock exactly the same "made in China" stuff. Why pick out Wal-Mart specifically??

44 posted on 03/29/2008 9:22:28 AM PDT by Wonder Warthog (The Hog of Steel-NRA)
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To: Congressman Billybob
I like this story and I like Wal Mart even more because of it. I've always believed that company induced rules and regulations do nothing but hinder productivity and stifle the imaginations of its imployees.

My favorite all time manager for the company I served 35 years with was the guy who eventually learned to not ask me questions about how or what I was able to get something done for our HR dept. or acquire any needed "things"..........

The lesson to be learned with Wal Mart's story is to just trust your employees.........

45 posted on 03/29/2008 9:25:59 AM PDT by Hot Tabasco (Congress needs to investigate the increasing disappearance of socks from washers)
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To: Yardstick
You nailed it Yardstick. Growing up in So. Cal all I head was how rotten they were and the local govt. would not let them build.

Moved to TX and built a house about 1/4 mile from a super Walmart. Went there because I need something fast and called my wife and said "you gotta see this!" She went over later and said the groceries section/deli/bakery is huge! She went to kroger one last time and kept the receipt. Then next week went to the Walmart.

Bought the exact same items, or walmart substitute, and had saved $30 on off the $110 Kroger receipt.

We've found about 2 items of the Walmart brand (Great Value is their brand) that were pretty bad, but everything else was same or better.

We're hooked and so are most of the neighbors in the new development we moved into. We were the one of the first 5 in our new development and a lot of out of staters are coming here and they are hearing about it and figuring it out also.

Their oil changes are even the best value around also and since I do a lot of driving that matters to me as well.

46 posted on 03/29/2008 9:26:33 AM PDT by IllumiNaughtyByNature (Senator McCain, what did GWB promise you back in 2000? And you believed him? BWAHAAAAA!)
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To: Congressman Billybob

““A lot of you are going to have to make decisions above your level. Make the best decision that you can with the information that’s available to you at the time, and above all, do the right thing.””

Should be nailed to the door of every CEO in America.

Makes Donald “Your Fired!” look like a a cheesy two bit chump.


47 posted on 03/29/2008 10:05:02 AM PDT by TexanToTheCore (If it ain't Rugby or Bullriding, it's for girls.........................................)
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To: art_rocks

“Home Depot, Wal-Mart and other companies that did the right thing should do a joint commercial to show what their people did to help their communities in crisis.”

There are many more corporations involved in our disaster relief, grocery chains and organizatons have done a magnificanet job. As far as advertising goes, I suspect they don’t care as they do it in order to do the right thing.

If you knew the full scale of corporate response to disasters, not just katrina, your jaw would hit the keyboard.


48 posted on 03/29/2008 10:11:00 AM PDT by TexanToTheCore (If it ain't Rugby or Bullriding, it's for girls.........................................)
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To: BwanaNdege
Thank you for taking copies of this to the local Wal-Marts.

John / Billybob

49 posted on 03/29/2008 1:44:27 PM PDT by Congressman Billybob ( www.ArmorforCongress.com)
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To: realdifferent1
Of course not. But what are the Capone-like evils you lay at the doorstep of Wal-Mart?

John / Billybob

50 posted on 03/29/2008 1:46:49 PM PDT by Congressman Billybob ( www.ArmorforCongress.com)
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