I got an e-mail last week from an acquaintance who used to be in the news business, and now in retirement is apparently a tea-party supporter. The e-mail lists 12 points about how big Wal-Mart is, and then suggests that since Wal-Mart is so big and successful, the people who run Wal-Mart ought to run the U.S. government.
The e-mail refers to our congress as “corrupt morons”, which in too many cases is an apt description.
Being the skeptic that I am, I checked out the claims made in the e-mail (no, I don’t even take stuff as gospel from people in the news biz) about how big Wal-Mart is, and surprisingly found that all the claims were true, and apparently taken straight from the Wal-Mart corporate fact sheet.
It says Americans spend 36 million bucks at Wal-Mart every hour of the day, and that the company (which operates on about a 3% margin) makes just under 21 grand every minute. Wal-Mart is bigger than Home Depot, Kroger, Target, Sears, CostCo, and K-Mart combined, and employs 2 million people worldwide, 1.4 million in the U.S. alone.
Based on gross revenue, Wal-Mart is the largest corporation in the history of the world. It sells more food than any other store in the world, and since Wal-Mart got into the grocery business 15 years ago, 31 big supermarket chains have gone bankrupt, and Wal-Mart now sells more food than Kroger and Safeway combined.
Wal-Mart has just shy of four thousand stores in the U.S., of which 1,906 are SuperCenters like the huge edifice at South Towne Drive and the Beltline. That’s a thousand more stores than it had five years ago. This year 7.2 billion purchasing transactions will occur at Wal-Mart stories. (The population of the earth is around 6.5 billion.)
More than half of the population of the U.S. lives within 5 miles of a Wal-Mart store; 90% of Americans live within 15 miles of a Wal-Mart; and 97% of Americans live within 25 miles of a Wal-Mart.
The e-mail then morphed into a rant about government “failures” (Postal Service, War on Poverty, Freddie Mac, et.al.) and suggested that the President and every member of congress should quit, and that we should just let Wal-Mart run the government, since they seem so good at running big things.
I’m far from convinced that Wal-Mart should run the government, but the people doing it now could stand some improvement.