Satisfied, loyal and repeat customers are at the heart of Walmart’s...

Satisfied, loyal and repeat customers are at the heart of Walmart’s spectacular profit margins, and those customers are loyal to us because our associates treat them better than salespeople in other stores do. So, in the whole Wal-Mart scheme of things, the most important contact ever made is between the associated in the store and the customer. I didn’t catch on to that idea for quite a while. In fact, the biggest single regret in my whole business career is that we didn’t include our associates in the initial, managers-only profit-sharing plan when we took the company public in 1970. But there was nobody around preaching that philosophy in those days, and I guess I was just too worried about my own debt, and in too big a hurry to get somewhere fast. Today, some of our company’s critics would like everybody to believe we started our profit-sharing program and other benefits merely as away to stave off union organizing.

– Sam Walton


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