Finally, I hope there's a special place in heaven reserved for my two secretaries, Loretta Boss, who waswith me for twenty-five years, and Becky Elliott, who's been with me now for three years. They deserveit after what they've put up with here on earth. 北京赛车pk开奖app Finally, I hope there's a special place in heaven reserved for my two secretaries, Loretta Boss, who waswith me for twenty-five years, and Becky Elliott, who's been with me now for three years. They deserveit after what they've put up with here on earth. We'll never know, because we chose the other route. We decided that instead of avoiding ourcompetitors, or waiting for them to come to us, we would meet them head-on. It was one of the smarteststrategic decisions we ever made. In fact, if our story doesn't prove anything else about the free marketsystem, it erases any doubt that spirited competition is good for businessnot just customers, but thecompanies which have to compete with one another too. Our competitors have honed and sharpened usto an edge we wouldn't have without them. We wouldn't be nearly as good as we are today withoutKmart, and I think they would admit we've made them a better retailer. One reason Sears fell so far offthe pace is that they wouldn't admit for the longest time that Wal-Mart and Kmart were their realcompetition. They ignored both of us, and we both blew right by them. We can get beyond a lot of our old adversarial relationships and establish win-win partnerships with oursuppliers and our workers, which will leave us with more energy and talent to focus on the importantthing, meeting the needs of our customers. But all this requires overcoming one of the most powerfulforces in human nature: the resistance to change. To succeed in this world, you have to change all thetime. He said, 'Charlie, we don't give raises of a quarter an hour. We give them a nickel an hour.' But I didn'tcut back. I stayed with the seventy-five cents because those girls were earning it. We were a high-volumestore for those days, making pretty good money."I don't remember beingthat tight, but I guess Charlie's got it about right. We didn't pay much. It wasn'tthat I was intentionally heartless. I wanted everybody to do well for themselves. It's just that in my veryearly days in the business, I was so doggoned competitive, and so determined to do well, that I wasblinded to the most basic truth, really the principle that later became the foundation of Wal-Mart'ssuccess. You see, no matter how you slice it in the retail business, payroll is one of the most importantparts of overhead, and overhead is one of the most crucial things you have to fight to maintain your profitmargin. That was true then, and it's still true today. Back then, though, I was so obsessed with turning in aprofit margin of 6 percent or higher that I ignored some of the basic needs of our people, and I feel badabout it. Presently Stephen observed a vessel coming after them. Several vessels, among them the steamer to Mudport, had passed them with the early tide, but for the last hour they had seen none. He looked more and more eagerly at this vessel, as if a new thought had come into his mind along with it, and then he looked at Maggie hesitatingly. When we meet opposition to a prospective store site, we try to work with the opponents to see if wecan reasonably satisfy them. Occasionally, we will change a proposed location, or make someconcessions if they make sense to us. Today, though, we have almost adopted the position that if somecommunity, for whatever reason, doesn't want us in there, we aren't interested in going in and creating afuss. I encourage us to walk away from this kind of trouble because there are just too many other goodtowns out there who do want us. For every one that doesn't, I'd say we have another two hundredbegging us to come to their town. Wal-Mart wants to go where it's wanted. I've always said that thesimplest test of how right we are on this issue would be to go into any town where we've been for acouple of years and let everyone vote on whether they wanted us there or not. My Lord, they'd go crazyif we left. In fact, every now and then we do have to close up a store someplace because we just can'tmake it profitable, and the outcry is something awful. It's another part of the price you pay for success. I learned this lesson as a merchant in small towns, which is where I've spent my whole life. For those ofyou who've been around as long as I have, and who spent your early days in small towns too, it's nothard to remember how different small-town life was in the first half of this century. Newport was a prettyprosperous little town with a fairly competitive retail environment, but it's still a good example of howthings worked back then. It was a cotton town, which meant that a lot of the folks who shopped therereally lived outside of town on farms. Most of the men worked long hours in the fields, and most of thewomen worked at home. Very few women held jobs in those days, although a lot of them had workedduring the war, and they were beginning to think about going back to work when they got their familiespretty well underway. Finally, I hope there's a special place in heaven reserved for my two secretaries, Loretta Boss, who waswith me for twenty-five years, and Becky Elliott, who's been with me now for three years. They deserveit after what they've put up with here on earth.