A Message from Our Chairman - Nearly 30 Years Ago

By Anna Taylor
June 6, 2014

Our board chairman Rob Walton started the 2014 Shareholders Meeting by sharing some words written by his father and our chairman, Sam Walton. Rob reminded associates and shareholders that our customers are the most important part of our business. Here's the original article by Sam Walton that appeared in Walmart World Magazine in 1985.

My Friends:

I seem to be a little light on a material this Monday (certainly shouldn’t be) and my deadline is on me.  So why not let me repeat the most basic fundamental and important part of our business.  You’ve seen it before, we’ve talked about it often, but we can’t over-emphasize the importance of our wonderful customers to us and our futures. Think on each of these Wal-Mart commandments:

  • Customers are the most important people in any business.
  • Customers are not dependent on us.  We are dependent on them.
  • Customers are not interruptions of our work – they are the purpose of our work.
  • Customers do us a favor when they shop with us.  We are not doing them a favor by serving them.
  • Customers are part of our business. They are not outsiders.
  • Customers are not people with whom you argue or match wits.
  • Customers are people who bring us their wants.  It is our job to fill those wants.
  • Customers are not cold statistics.  They are flesh and blood human beings with emotions and feelings like our own.
  • Customers are deserving of the most courteous and attentive treatment we can give them.
  • Customers are the people that make it possible to pay your salary.
  • Customers are the lifeblood of this and every other business.

Our stockholders and directors meetings last week were terrific.  I felt real good about the entire event and we all owe so much to Bette Hendrix and all the teams that worked so hard to make it all come off on time and so very well done.  I just can’t say enough for everyone – all the committees and drivers from out General Office.  It was without questions the best we’ve ever had, even if high water prevented our Annual Float down Big Sugar Creek. 
The highlight, for me at least, was getting to see, visit and listen to the over 400 stockholder associates who were elected by you to attend our shareholders meeting.  They were the greatest – all eyes full of enthusiasm and Wal-Mart spirit – all during the trip – all day – and I’m sure they didn’t let up on those long bus rides home.  What wonderful associate partners we have. That’s the real key to our Wal-Mart success.  Our people, like those who represented you so well here, and everyone throughout Wal-Mart.