LORETTA BOSS PARKER, PERSONAL SECRETARY FOR TWENTY-FIVE YEARS: "If you've ever spent any time around Wal-Mart, you may have noticed that it's not unusual forsomebody in Philadelphia, Mississippi, to get in his pickup on the spur of the moment and drive toBentonville, where you can find him sitting in the lobby waiting patiently to see the chairman. Now, really,how many chairmen of $50 billion companies do you know who are totally, 100 percent accessible totheir hourly associates I know lots of people in big companies who have never even seen their chairman,much less visited with him."That's not to suggest that they always like what I have to say. I don't always solve their problems, and Ican't always side with them just because they bring their situation to my attention. But if the associatehappens to be right, it's important to overrule their manager, or whoever they're having the problem withbecause otherwise the open-door policy isn't any good to anybody. The associates would know prettysoon that it was just something we paid lip service to, but didn't really believe. If I'm going to fly aroundall over the country telling these folks they're my partners, Isure owe it to them to at least hear them outwhen they're upset about something. [Pg 256] We don't pretend to have invented the idea of a strong corporate culture, and we've been aware of a lotof the others that have come before us. In the early days of IBM, some of the things Tom Watson didwith his slogans and group activities weren't all that different from the things we do. And, as I've said,we've certainly borrowed every good idea we've come across. Helen and I picked up several ideas on atrip we took to Korea and Japan in 1975. A lot of the things they do over there are very easy to apply todoing business over here. Culturally, things seem so differentlike sitting on the floor eating eels andsnailsbut people are people, and what motivates one group generally will motivate another. Tales of All Countries--2d 1863 三级黄色_未满18岁禁止入内_性感美女_三级黄;色_日本黄大片免费... Of Thackeray I will speak again when I record his death. "Kmart really took us on in about 1977, and I remember Little Rock particularly. They took us on therein North Little Rock, where store number 7 had been one of our better stores. They got aggressive, andwe fought back. We told our manager there, 'No matter what, don't let them undersell you at all, onanything.' I remember he called me one Saturday night and said, 'You know, we have Crest toothpastedown to six cents a tube now.' And I said, 'Well, just keep it there and see what they do.' They didn'tlower it any more than that, and we both just kept it at six cents. Finally, they backed off. I alwaysthought they learned something about us at that storethat we don't bend easybecause they never cameat us with that degree of price cutting anywhere else."We got so much better so quickly it was hard to believe. We totally stood Kmart off in those smalltowns of ours. Almost from the beginning, they weren't very successful at taking our customers away inJeff City and Poplar Bluff. Once Kmart arrived, we, worked even harder at pleasing our customers, andthey stayed loyal. This gave us a great surge of confidence in ourselves. While Ron and Ferold were helping me run the company, and well before David joined us in themid-seventies, Jack Shewmaker was coming on strong as a big talent. He had done a fantastic job inopening stores. Jack had been the manager of a Kroger SuperCenter which was a concept combininggroceries and general merchandise not unlike our own supercenters today. So he had been a merchant,but he wasn't overly experienced when I hired him. He was in that first wave of college men I had startedto hire, and, being a graduate of Georgia Tech, he had that engineer's love of systems and organizationthat we were still badly in need of. By now, I was really surrounding myself with guys who were good atall the things I tended to just sluff off, like organizing the company to handle the growth explosion we hadstarted. If I hadn't gone after those folks, and kept on doing it, we would have come apart somewherethere in the seventies, or we certainly wouldn't have been able to pull off our really incredible expansion inthe eighties. Getting an early start on all these systems, building a foundation for our distribution centerdevelopment, starting to put data processing into the stores, really saved our bacon later on. Rosa, a waitress, folds up the ad she's torn from a newspaper,clears off the table where her new computer willsit and leaves her apartment.