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Just as Registers Go Out, Wal-Mart Boss Drops In

PEOPLE

June 16, 1989|From Associated Press

FT. WALTON BEACH, Fla. — Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton pitched in to help the clerks at his store in this Panhandle city when an electronic glitch shut down the cash registers.

The 71-year-old Walton, considered to be among the world's richest people, grabbed a note pad Tuesday evening and started writing out prices for the customers so that bills could be tallied on calculators quickly.

"People began recognizing him and coming up and greeting him," said store manager Paul Sively. "He shook their hands and talked to everyone he could. The registers were out for about 45 minutes, and I don't think we had one customer complain."

Walton, known for his down-home style, had dropped in because country singer Jana Jea was to perform later that night in the store's parking lot. Walton often attends promotional events for the Arkansas-based chain, and Sively said he had suspected that the boss might make an appearance.

Walton continued to chat with customers during the concert and also took the stage to sing a duet with Jea and lead the audience in the Wal-Mart cheer.

"He was up there saying, 'Give me a W! Give me an A!' and the customers went right along with him," Sively said.

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