BENTONVILLE, Ark. – March 29, 2007 – It’s no April Fool’s joke that famous names are working for the world’s largest retailer. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. revealed today that it’s not unusual for customers to come across a celebrity name in their local Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club locations.
Diane Sawyer can be found working in the Wal-Mart Connection Center while Jeff Gordon is leading the Sam’s Club meat department and Elizabeth Taylor is helping Wal-Mart customers select the perfect fragrance. Barbara Walters is providing customer service, Betty White is offering Wal-Mart shoppers domestics advice and Sandra Bullock is completing customer claims. Bill Murray is a store manager, Barry Williams works on customers’ cars, Mike Meyers replenishes produce and Janet Jackson is a Wal-Mart cashier.
With 1.3 million associates across the United States, Wal-Mart customers are bound to hear a “celebrity” name at their local Wal-Mart store or Sam’s Club location, even if the name doesn’t match up to a well-known face. And, in a friendly gesture of goodwill, the company is extending an invitation to the actual celebrities, inviting them to meet their Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club namesakes and provide an opportunity to job shadow for a few hours.
Having the same name as someone well-known in the entertainment or sports industries has allowed associates to become “celebrities” of sorts in their own communities. As they go about their jobs of taking care of their neighbors who have come to know them in their local stores or clubs, they have interesting stories to share.
One example is Betty White at the Lebanon, Ore., Wal-Mart. A domestics manager since the store opened 16 years ago, Betty has felt like a “celebrity” all her life – her maiden name was Betty Grable. Customers kid her about going from a “pin-up girl” to a “Golden Girl!”
Oregon, Ohio, store manager Bill Murray enjoys the fun remarks he gets from customers when they see his name and connect it with his celebrity counterpart. He began his career in the Meadville, Penn., store 15 years earlier unloading trucks in night receiving.
“The store manager’s name is at the bottom of every receipt as an added customer service and many of our shoppers get a kick out of seeing ‘Bill Murray’ on their receipts,” said Oregon manager Murray. “It certainly is an easy name to remember … especially around Groundhog Day!”
Diane Sawyer has been assisting Wal-Mart customers for four years and can currently be found at the Dyersburg, Tenn., store in the electronics department. Helping shoppers make their technology selections at the Connection Center, Sawyer enjoys sharing her name with her “newsworthy” namesake.
Fragrance is a specialty for both Elizabeth Taylors as the Wal-Mart associate of the same name has been helping customers select the perfect perfume and other beauty aids for more than 20 years. The Lamar, Mo., Taylor says that she has no bias when helping her Wal-Mart customers make the selection that best suits their needs.
Although Barry Williams may be known for his Brady Bunch fame, the Monticello, Minn., Wal-Mart store associate by the same name is busy helping Tire & Lube customers. Williams, a retired military pilot, is working part-time at Wal-Mart while attending school to get his electrician’s degree.
Janet Jackson is regularly seen at the Logan, Ohio, Wal-Mart working at the cash register and wishing customers a nice day. She is commonly asked by customers about “her” Super Bowl appearance!
Austin Powers comments are frequently heard by Wal-Mart produce replenishment manager Mike Meyers. With the company for more than 11 years, he began as a Wal-Mart hourly associate before being promoted to an assistant manager. His current role positions him to interact with buyers, suppliers, store, distribution center and transportation associates.
Sandra Bullock has nearly seven years under her belt with Wal-Mart, the majority of that in the claims department at her local Millington, Tenn., store. She appreciates the impact of her name and recalls a supplier bringing in his daughter to meet her because the daughter’s favorite actress was Sandra Bullock. Bullock remembered a slightly disappointed experience for the girl when realizing she wasn’t the Miss Congeniality star!
As a front-end manager at her local Hartwell, Ga., Wal-Mart, Barbara Walters has enjoyed six years helping customers and supporting the Children’s Miracle Network. Just recently, she was paged over the store intercom system and couldn’t help laughing at the number of customers looking around the store for her celebrity counterpart.
Jeff Gordon has been with the company for nearly eight years and scores a variety of “points-paying victories” with Sam’s Club members daily. Currently leading the club’s meat department in Oklahoma City, Gordon receives a variety of remarks from members about “his” speedway success.
And in Niles, Ill., some Wal-Mart customers get “all shook up” when they see the name badge of the associate waiting on them in the paint and hardware department. The associate badge spells out the bright blue letters E-L-V-I-S from below a big smile. Many even request a favorite song from “the King.” Obviously, Elvis has not left the building and is still working at Wal-Mart!
Wal-Mart is the country’s largest private employer, providing a diverse and multi-cultural work environment built on respect, support and service to customers, associates and suppliers. Positioned to serve more than 127 million weekly customers, the company provides a positive work environment for more than 1.3 million associates around the United States.
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Every week, more than 127 million customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Club locations across America. The company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of giving back locally. Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $270 million to local United States communities. To learn more, visit www.walmartfacts.com, www.walmart.com, or www.walmartfoundation.org.