A lot of folks in my position would have been perfectly content with the situation as it stood in 1984.
"Anyway, today we're making about two and a half million Wal-Mart shirts, and we've gone from 90employees the week Mr. Sam called to 320 today. And we know where it comes from. EveryChristmas, we give our employees Wal-Mart gift certificates."There's no charity at all involved in this program, and, in fact, I'm proud to say that it benefits us atWal-Mart in a very direct way. Every job we save creates another potential Wal-Mart customer who'snot worrying about where his or her next dollar's coming from. They have a job, and we have acustomer. So we all come out ahead. Farris was one of our early success stories, and since then we'veworked out all kinds of Buy American deals with small and large manufacturers, including FieldcrestCannon, 3M, Sunbeam, Mirro Foley, U.S. Electronics, Kentogs, Capital-Mercury, Mr. Coffee, Lasko,and Huffy.
Some folks in the retail business have asked me where I came up with the 2 percent formula, and thetruth is I just pulled it out of the air. In the early days, most companies charged 5 percent of their sales torun their offices. But we have always operated lean. We have operated with fewer people. We have hadour people do more than in other companies. I think we came to work earlier and stayed later. It hasbeen our heritageour obsessionthat we would be more productive and more efficient than ourcompetition. And we've accomplished that goal.
They're not interested in new solutions. And they only care about jobs if they areunion jobs, many ofwhich, frankly, have priced themselves out of the market either with unrealistic wages or total inflexibility.