I can’t profess to ever having shopped at Wal-Mart.

However, after reading the latest offering at Save the Humans, I should share that I own a book “Made in America” by Sam Walton, who started it.

It’s a great book, and written in real folksy language. It’s a story of a guy who was massively passionate about what he did. He quite simply lived and breathed retail and he knew that success could only come by giving value to the customer and looking after his employees.

Sadly, in order to find that book in the bookstore, I had to carefully search a bookshelf of miscellaneous business titles, after having made my way past large displays of anti-Wal-Mart books (one wonders why, since they don’t even have stores here and never will*), and others bashing various aspects of capitalism.

So it’s small wonder people never hear stories like this.

In fact my favourite story about Wal-Mart is when we went to buy a lawn mower there. There were two old guys pushing 90 running the section and the till. They have a young thing 1/4 their age who was 10x faster on the till but knew nothing about lawn mowers. These two knew everything, and between them all they made a great (if hillarious) team. But anyway…a customer came in wheeling a lawnmower that he had bought some weeks prior and mowed his lawn with a few times. He decided he didn’t want it anymore. They sent him to the refund desk, trailing grass all the way. As we left he was cheerfully getting a full refund. They would refund ANYTHING. In fact I’m sure most of it just went in the landfill out the back.

I recon that’s exactly how Sam would have wanted it, because those guys are going to come back, every time.

*For those in the US: we have The Warehouse, which Stephen Tindall runs along similar lines. Apparently it only took 50 faxes for him to get a tour of the Walton operation!

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