Whatever you’re looking for, Walmart most likely has it. After all, it’s one of the biggest supermarkets in the world. But like any other successful company, Walmart also had its humble beginnings.
Here, you’ll discover the history of Walmart, its unique rules, and even the company’s challenges throughout the years.
With that said, here are the 30 whacky facts about Walmart:
American businessman Sam Walton founded Walmart. He opened its first store in Roger, Arkansas, in 1962. However, it wasn’t called Walmart during this time. Instead, it was referred to as “Wal-Mart Discount City.”
While Walmart often sells cheap products, that doesn’t mean they don’t have luxury products available at the store. Some examples of these luxurious brands you can find at Walmart are Michael Kors, Chanel, and Rolex.
Why call it Walmart? It’s a simple combination of two words: Walton (the founder’s surname) and market.
Up until 2008, Walmart was branded as “Wal-Mart.” Following a rebrand, the company introduced a new logo with a more rounded font, a lighter shade of blue, and the iconic yellow spark.
Walmart used to have an employee who was more than a century old! His name was Loren Wade, a World War 2 veteran who worked for the company for over three decades. Sadly, Wade passed away in 2016.
Before Walmart became what it is today, Sam Walton transferred 80% of his company ownership to his children. As a result, his heirs inherited his wealth without paying estate tax.
NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal had one of the most significant purchases in Walmart History, amounting to a whopping $70,000! Shaq’s purchases racked up to the point that his credit card was declined, as his bank thought a thief had gone on a shopping spree at Walmart.
Speaking of Shaq, he left Reebok in 1998 and soon made a deal with Walmart to create his own brand of shoes, which were much more affordable compared to his previous basketball shoes.
There are over 600 Walmart stores in Texas. Following it is Florida and California, which have more than 300 stores each.
Walmart stores used to be open 24/7. However, most of their stores soon began to have a closing time since the additional cost of running an everyday-open store wasn’t worth it.
Walmart also used to physically lock their night-shift employees overnight. The intention was to protect their employees who were working in high-crime areas. However, this policy also caused problems for employees if they experienced injuries or medical emergencies.
Up until 1991, all Walmart stores were located in the US. The first international Walmart was opened in Mexico City.
To provide excellent customer service, Walmart employees are required to accommodate customers who are within 10 feet (3 meters) of them – the company refers to this as the 10-foot rule.
Walmart has over two million employees worldwide, making it one of the largest employers in the world. They’re also considered one of the top-earning companies in the world – their revenue in 2022 amounted to a whopping $573 billion!
Regarding their employees’ investments, Walmart prohibits them from investing in competitors’ stocks, such as Amazon, Target, and Costco.
In 2019, Walmart updated their employee uniforms by replacing their vest with a more modern, grey, recycled-fabric version. The overall dress code was also adjusted, allowing employees to wear comfortable clothes like sneakers and jeans.
Walmart CEO Doug Mcmillon began his Walmart career at 16, unloading trucks at the Bentonville distribution center.
In 2022, Walmart sued BJ’s Wholesale Club as they accused the company of copying the self-checkout option in the Sam’s Club app. Sam’s Club is Walmart’s members-only chain of stores.
While Walmart dominated the US market, that didn’t necessarily mean the same result happened to other countries it entered – some examples of countries where Walmart (and its investments) failed are Germany, Japan, and South Korea.
In 2021, Walmart introduced driverless trucks to transport goods from their warehouses to fulfillment centers and retail stores.
Walmart went public in 1970 to grow the company without relying too much on debt. It was a life-changing move for the business; within two years, it was listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Walmart isn’t always a good thing, though. The “Walmart Effect” describes the negative impact on local small businesses when a Walmart store opens in a new area.
Walmart employees use secret terms to describe things at work. For example, when an employee places a product in the wrong place, they refer to it as “plugging.” Another term would be “wet wall,” which refers to the produce section.
In 2021, Walmart was sued for racial discrimination after a store wrongly accused two African-American men of shoplifting a TV. All the two men were doing was returning a faulty TV they had purchased earlier that day.
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Walmart in 2023 for disability discrimination. The affected 16-year-old Employee has Down syndrome and was fired following schedule changes they could not handle due to her disability.
Walmart has a museum located in Arkansas. It showcases the history of Walmart’s uniforms, a hologram of Walmart’s founder, and even interesting objects that were returned to the store – they call this the wall of returns!
The largest Walmart store is a 260,000 square-foot (24,155 square meters) behemoth in Albany, New York. The Albany store is also one of the few that operates over two floors!
In June 2018, Walmart created a program called Live Better U (LBU), which covered college fees for employees at a cost of just $1 per day. In 2021, the LBU program became free of charge.
Walmart stopped selling pet fish at their stores in 2019. The move ultimately came after decades of lowering demand. That said, you can still get a new goldfish from Walmart’s online store.
Despite being established in the mid-1900s, Walmart is still at the top of its industry, earning hundreds of billions and providing jobs to more than a million people worldwide yearly.
However, this doesn’t mean the company didn’t have its fair share of setbacks. Like other businesses, Walmart also made some mistakes along the way, which has infuriated both customers and employees.
So, to wrap things up, running a company like Walmart appears to be quite the roller coaster ride!