THOMAS JEFFERSON: Dad never had the kind of ambition or confidence to build much of a business on his own, and he didn'tbelieve in taking on debt. When I was growing up, he had all sorts of jobs. He was a banker and afarmer and a farm-loan appraiser, and an agent for both insurance and real estate. For a few months,early in the Depression, he was out of work altogether, and eventually he went to work for his brother'sWalton Mortgage Co., which was an agent for Metropolitan Life Insurance. Dad became the guy whohad to service Metropolitan's old farm loans, most of which were in default. In twenty-nine and thirty andthirty-one, he had to repossess hundreds of farms from wonderful people whose families had owned theland forever. I traveled with him some, and it was tragic, and really hard on Dad too but he tried to do itin a way that left those farmers with as much of their self-respect as he could. All of this must have madean impression on me as a kid, although I don't ever remember saying anything to myself like "I'll never bepoor."We never thought of ourselves as poor, although we certainly didn't have much of what you'd calldisposable income lying around, and we did what we could to raise a dollar here and there. For example,my mother, Nan Walton, got the idea during the Depression to start a little milk business. I'd get up earlyin the morning and milk the cows, Mother would prepare and bottle the milk, and I'd deliver it afterfootball practice in the afternoons. We had ten or twelve customers, who paid ten cents a gallon. Best ofall, Mother would skim the cream and make ice cream, and it's a wonder I wasn't known as Fat SamWalton in those days from all the ice cream I ate. 北京赛车五码规律技巧 George II. was far from popular in England. There was but little in the man to win either affection or esteem. The Prince of Wales was also daily becoming more disliked. He was assuming haughty airs. He was very profligate, and his associates were mainly actresses and opera girls. The Prussian minister at London, who was opposed to any matrimonial connection whatever between the Prussian and the English court, watched the Prince of Wales very narrowly, and wrote home quite unfavorable reports respecting his character and conduct. He had searched out the fact that Fritz had written to his aunt, Queen Caroline, pledging to her his word 鈥渘ever to marry any body in the world except the Princess Amelia of England, happen what will.鈥?This fact was reported to the king, greatly exciting his wrath. Most of these early guys were very egotistical people who loved to drive big Cadillacs and fly around intheir jets and vacation on their yachts, and some of them lived in houses like I'd never even thought aboutbefore. I remember going to dinner at one of their houses, and we got picked up by this limousine thatmust have had room for fourteen people. Man, they were living high. And they could afford to back thenbecause this discounting thing was working so well. Customers just flocked to their stores, and thesefellows were covered up in cash. Most of them could still be around today if they had followed somebasic principles about running good stores. There are a lot of ways to build strong companies. They don'thave to be done the Wal-Mart way, or my way, or anybody else's way. But you do have to work at it. "Our Friday merchandising meeting is unique to retailing as far as I can tell. Here we have all theseregional managers who have been out in the field all week longthey are the operations guys who directthe running of the stores. Then you have all your merchandising folks back in Bentonvillethe people whobuy for the stores. In retailing, there has always been a traditional, head-to-head confrontation betweenoperations and merchandising. You know, the operations guys say, 'Why in the world would anybodybuy this It's a dog, and we'll never sell it.' Then the merchandising folks say, 'There's nothing wrong withthat item. If you guys were smart enough to display it well and promote it properly, it would blow out thedoors.' That's the way it is everywhere, including Wal-Mart. So we sit all these folks down togetherevery Friday at the same table and just have at it. "So I look at it, and I say, 'What are you doing wrong Samif I may call you SamI'll tell you what youare doing wrong.' I handed back his papers and I closed his attach case, and I said to him, 'Being hereis wrong, Sam. Don't unpack your bags. Go down, catch a cab, go back to the airport and go back towhere you came from and keep doing exactly what you are doing. There is nothing that can possiblyimprove what you are doing. You are a genius.' That's how I met Sam Walton."Abe invited me to join the NMRI and it turned out to be quite a valuable association for me. I was onthe board for about fifteen years, and made some terrific contacts and generous friends. I visited withAbe a number of times at his New York offices, and he was a very open guy. He shared with me how heused computers to control his merchandise.