A new study from George Mason University finds that the big chain retail stores –including Arkansas-based Wal-Mart — vastly outperformed FEMA when it came to helping devastated communities in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
From Canada’s National Post:
“…chief executive officer of Wal-Mart, Lee Scott, gathered his subordinates and ordered a memorandum sent to every single regional and store manager in the imperiled area. ‘A lot of you are going to have to make decisions above your level,” was Scott’s message to his people. ‘Make the best decision that you can with the information that’s available to you at the time, and above all, do the right thing.’
… While the Federal Emergency Management Agency fumbled about, doing almost as much to prevent essential supplies from reaching Louisiana and Mississippi as it could to facilitate it, Wal-Mart managers performed feats of heroism. In Kenner, La., an employee crashed a forklift through a warehouse door to get water for a nursing home. A Marrero, La., store served as a barracks for cops whose homes had been submerged. In Waveland, Miss., an assistant manager who could not reach her superiors had a bulldozer driven through the store to retrieve disaster necessities for community use, and broke into a locked pharmacy closet to obtain medicine for the local hospital….”