Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Wal-Mart Home Office

I just finished touring the Wal-Mart home office. It is incredibly humble and unassuming for being the nerve center of the world's largest retailer. It kind of reminded me of the Pentagon in that regard (older, not very ostentatious).

No Wal-Mart would be complete without a door greeter, and the home office is no exception. He asked me where I was from and what I thought about the hot weather. The smell of popcorn greeted us as we entered the building.

The home office was built in 1970. It is the original building where Sam Walton had his office. Lee Scott sits in that office now.

Wal-Mart has 15 headquarters campus facilities in the Bentonville/Rogers area and employs 11,500. As you can guess, Bentonville and Rogers are booming.

Wal-Mart receives 100,000 visitors a year, mainly vendors wanting to sell products to Wal-Mart. There is a whole hallway devoted to meeting rooms for vendors.

We also saw the auditorium where the famous Saturday morning meetings are held.

Our tour guide was the Executive Vice President of Sam's Club. He started out at Store #1 bringing in shopping carts.

There is definitely a real mythology about Wal-Mart. Sam Walton's benevolent visage looks down at you everywhere you go in the home office. It is in many ways the ultimate success story of our time (Bentonville started off no different than Pullman). There is nothing evil here. The feeling is distinctly All-American. That's probably why the liberals hate it so much.

Pictures later. We're off to a distribution center next.

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