Wal-Mart has successfully built itself into the biggest company in the world. If it were an independent nation, it would rank as the 30th largest economy in the world (Moreton, 6). Wal-Mart has become so successful, not because it has acted like an enormous multi-national corporation, but because it appeals to “average” consumers.

Wal-Mart began, not in big cities appealing to rich shoppers, but in small towns with a poorer demographic. In fact, the origins of Wal-Mart lie in the very region that fought against chain stores years earlier. Wal-Mart was successful in this area precisely because it did not act like a typical chain store. It hired women as the primary work force and listened to the suggestions they made. It allowed employees to have a stake in the company. It also respected its employees family and religious values. Many former employees commented on how working at Wal-Mart was like being in a family. This is very different from a typical giant company in which workers are not valued by the company.

This family atmosphere at Wal-Mart allowed for its success with customers as well. When customers walked in the door, they were greeted by somebody whom they probably knew. When they needed help in the store, there was a cheerful employee there to help them. Wal-Mart even went so far as to have country music days in its stores. This all built the perception among Wal-Mart customers that the store was aligned to their values. It wasn’t some big corporation headquartered in New York or something. Wal-Mart truly understood the kind of things that its customers and employees valued and made sure to represent those values in its stores.

Wal-Mart became the largest corporation in the world precisely because it was built on populist ideas. It never would have made it out of Arkansas if it had acted like just another huge company.

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