[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t’s nice to be able to give back to people when they’ve done you a good turn, and that’s exactly what retail military discounts are all about. These discounts aren’t in place simply as a way to get people to spend more money. They’re there as a way of saying thanks and to honor all those brave individuals serving in active duty, retired military personnel, national guards, military families, and other military service members who risk their lives every single day just to make sure we’re safe. A lot of big companies out there show their appreciation to members of the military in the way of a daily discount or special programs designed to help veterans.
Walmart is an organization that concentrates on the latter. Rather than allow a daily discount to members of the military it set up its own program to help veterans of the military stay in employment upon leaving the forces. But, we’ll get onto that in a moment. First, we’ll take you through a history of Walmart and how it got to be the giant corporation that it is today.
History of Walmart
Walmart Inc, as it was originally named, was founded back in 1962 by a Mr. Sam Walton. It all started as a place to sell lower priced items for a faster turnaround. Walmart became incorporated in 1969 and changed its name the following year to what it remains today: Walmart Stores Inc. By 1970, there were 38 Walmart stores in operation employing 1,500 staff. Over the next few years, the company continued to grow at a phenomenal rate. People just couldn’t get enough of the great prices on offer by the discount superstore. By 1975, just 13 years after opening his first store, Sam Walton now had 125 stores under his belt, bring in millions.
As more and more people came to love the Walmart brand, it quickly overtook rivals Sears and Kmart in terms of profitability, and by 1990 was deemed to be the largest retailer in the United States in terms of revenue. People just could not get enough of the bargains that were on offer here. During the ‘90s, Walmart branched out of the United States and into various international settings including Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and Europe. It also bought the ASDA chain in the United Kingdom for a cool $10 million.
By the mid-‘00s, Walmart had more than 6,000 stores scattered around the world, employing more than 1.5 million people. Walmart now employs more than two million employees, making it the largest private employer in the whole world by a landslide. The next closest is Amazon with between 500,000 and 600,000 employees.
So, what does the largest private employer in the world do with all its profits? Of course, it re-invests money into the business and pays its workers healthy salaries with good benefits and regular bonuses. But, what about for the people who have served, and continue to serve, in the U.S. military you may wonder. Well, while Walmart doesn’t give a daily discount to retired military personnel, military service members, and military families, it does honor them in a different way and that’s through the [highlight color="green"] Veterans Welcome Home Commitment.[/highlight]
What is the Veterans Welcome Home Commitment?
Since 2013 Walmart has been running a program that gives back something to all those men and women that have sacrificed so much to serve this country. Returning to life as a civilian after being in the military for any length of time can be a difficult process. The Veterans Welcome Home Commitment strives to make that transition a much easier one by guaranteeing any eligible, honorably discharged U.S. veteran employment in either a Walmart or Sam’s Club establishment.
As well as being the largest private employer in the United States, Walmart is also the largest private employers of veterans and military members in the country too! That’s an incredible title to hold and one that the company is very proud to share. The original goal set out by Walmart when the program began was to employ 100,000 veterans by the end of 2018. However, having already employed more than 188,000 they soon realized that goal needed to be changed. So, a new goal has been set to employ 250,000 veterans by the end of 2020. And taking into consideration the success they’ve had already, I don’t think that will be too hard to reach, do you?
Further support for veterans
It’s not just the Veterans Welcome Home Commitment that Walmart has in place to help the heroes of our country. Others ways Walmart shows its support to veterans include:
- Military Family Promise: If any military personnel or their spouse is transferred to another part of the country through work, Walmart will guarantee them a job at a nearby Walmart or Sam’s Club.
- Walmart Foundation: Through Walmart and the Walmart Foundation, a staggering $40 million has been dedicated to supporting veterans via educational opportunities, job training, and more. Blue Star Families is just one of the many organizations that are funded through the foundation. It provides free resources, opportunities, and services to military families and helps to bridge the gap between them and the general public. Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) is another organization funded by the Walmart $40 million commitment. TAPS offers help and compassionate care for anyone suffering from the loss of a loved one whether as a result of their service or while in service.
- Coalition for Veteran Owned Business: This organization provides support for military spouses and veteran business owners to help grow their businesses. It provides innovative solutions from a coalition of industry leaders and is fully supported by Walmart.
So, as you can see from the above, Walmart is dedicated to helping the brave men and women of the U.S. military in a pretty big way. There aren’t many other organizations out there that spend quite so much time and money on providing the kind of help our veterans deserve. For that alone, they’ve certainly got my custom for life.