"When we leftNewport, it was a thriving cotton town, and I hated to leave. We had built a life there, andit was so disturbing to have to walk away from it. I have said that time and time again. I still have goodfriends there from those days."HELEN WALTONI came out of thatNewportexperience with my pride a little damaged, but I had made money on the saleof the Ben Franklinmore than $50,000. The whole thing was probably a blessing. I had a chance for abrand-new start, and this time I knew what I was doing. Now, at the age of thirty-two, I was afull-fledged merchant; all I needed was a store. Helen and the kids and I started driving around in thespring of 1950 hunting in earnest for one, and northwestArkansasappealed to us for several reasons.

First, for Helen it was a whole lot closer to her folks in Claremore thanNewporthad been. And it wasgood for me because Iwanted to get closer to good quail hunting, and withOklahoma,Kansas,Arkansas,andMissouriall coming together right there it gave me easy access to four quail seasons in four states.

We tried to buy a store in Siloam Springs, on the Oklahoma border, but we couldn't come to terms withthe owner, Jim Dodson, who later became a friend of ours. So one day Helen's father and I drove intoBentonville and had a look around the square. It was the smallest of the towns we considered, and italready had three variety stores, when one would have been enough. Still, I love competition, and it juststruck me as the right place to prove I could do it all over again. We found an old store willing tosellHarrison's Variety Storebut we needed to double its size, and to do that we had to get aninety-nine-year lease on the barbershop next door (no more five-year leases for me). These two oldwidows from Kansas City who owned it wouldn't budge, and, frankly, if Helen's father hadn't gone upthereunbeknownst to meand negotiated a deal, I'm not sure where the Waltons would have ended up.


"Bentonville really was just a sad-looking country town, even though it had a railroad track to it. It wasmostly known for apples, but at the time chickens were beginning to come on. I remember I couldn'tbelieve this was where we were going to live. It only had 3,000 people, compared to Newport, whichwas a thriving cotton and railroad town of 7,000 people. The store was a small old country town storewith cans of lace, boxes of hats, sewing patterns, everything you can imagine just stored aroundeverywhere. But I knew right after we got here that it was going to work out."Now I had a store to run again, and even though it didn't do but $32,000 the year before I boughtit-compared to $250,000 at Newportit didn't matter that much because I had big plans. We tore thewall out between the barbershop and the old store, put in brand-new fluorescent fixtures instead of thefew low-watt bulbs they had hanging from the ceiling, and basically built a new store in there. It was ahuge store for Bentonville at the time50 feet by 80 feet, or 4,000 square feet. Charlie Baum of BenFranklin came to my rescue again. This time he helped me break down all those fixtures he had helpedme put up in my old Eagle Store. We loaded them onto a big truck, which I drove over to Bentonvillefrom Newport. We had to get on an old dirt road to bypass a weigh station over at Rogers because Iknew our load was illegal several different ways. Bouncing on that old road tore up half the fixtures.

Anyway, Charlie and I installed them again. Around this time, I read an article about these two BenFranklin stores up in Minnesota that had gone to self-servicea brand-new concept at the time. I rode thebus all night long to two little towns up therePipestone and Worthington. They had shelves on the sideand two island counters all the way back. No clerks with cash registers around the store. Just checkoutregisters up front. I liked it. So I did that too.


"As soon as Sam moved the store from Newport to Bentonville, he had a nice big sale, and we putbarrels full of stuff all around the floor. Those elderly ladies would come in and bend way down over intothose barrels. I'll never forget this. Sam takes a look, frowns, and says: 'One thing we gotta do, Charlie.

We gotta be real strong in lingerie.' Times had been hard, and some of those underthings were prettyragged."So when Charlie and I laid out that store in Bentonville it became only the third self-service variety storein the whole country and the first in our eight-state area. Maybe nobody here knew it, but it was a bigdeal. We've got our first ad from the July 29, 1950,Benton County Democrat on display today down atour Wal-Mart Visitors Center. It's for the Grand Remodeling Sale of Walton's Five and Dime, promisinga whole bunch of good stuff: free balloons for the kids, a dozen clothespins for nine cents, iced teaglasses for ten cents apiece. The folks turned out, and they kept coming. Although we called it Walton'sFive and Dime, it was a Ben Franklin franchise, and that store took off just like Newport had and turnedinto a good business right away. It really was an A-l store for these parts back then.


"I guess Mr. Walton just had a personality that drew people in. He would yell at you from a block away,you know. He would just yell at everybody he saw, and that's the reason so many liked him and didbusiness in the store. It was like he brought in business by his being so friendly.

"He was always thinking up new things to try in the store. I remember one time he made a trip to NewYork, and he came back a few days later and said, 'Come here, I want to show you something. This isgoing to be the item of the year.' I went over and looked at a bin full ofI think they called them zorisandalsthey call them thongs now. And I just laughed and said, 'No way will those things sell. They'll justblister your toes.' Well, he took them and tied them together in pairs and dumped them all on a table atthe end of an aisle for nineteen cents a pair. And they just sold like you wouldn't believe. I have neverseen an item sell as fast, one after another, just piles of them. Everybody in town had a pair."Right away I started looking around for store opportunities in other towns. Maybe it was just my itch todo more business, and maybe, too, I didn't want all my eggs in one basket again. By 1952 I had drivendown to Fayetteville and found an old grocery store that Kroger was abandoning because it was fallingapart. It was right on the square, only 18 feet wide and 150 feet deep. Our main competitor was aWoolworth's on one side of the square, and a Scott Store on the other side of the square. So here wewere challenging two popular stores with a little old 18-foot independent variety store. It wasn't a BenFranklin franchise; we just called it Walton's Five and Dime like the store in Bentonville. I remembersitting on the square right after I bought it listening to a couple of the local codgers say: "Well, we'll givethat guy sixty days, maybe ninety. He won't be there long."But this store was ahead of its time too, self-service all the way, unlike the competition. This was thebeginning of our way of operating for a long while tocome. We were innovating, experimenting, andexpanding. Somehow over the years, folks have gotten the impression that Wal-Mart was something Idreamed up out of the blue as a middle-aged man, and that it was just this great idea that turned into anovernight success. It's true that I was forty-four when we opened our first Wal-Mart in 1962, but thestore was totally an outgrowth of everything we'd been doing since Newportanother case of me beingunable to leave well enough alone, another experiment. And like most other overnight successes, it wasabout twenty years in the making.

Of course I needed somebody to run my new store, and I didn't have much money, so I did something Iwould do for the rest of my run in the retail business without any shame or embarrassment whatsoever:

nose around other people's stores searching for good talent. That's when I made my first real hire, thefirst manager, Willard Walker.


"The first time I ever saw Sam Walton was when he and his brother-in-law, Nick Robson, dropped intoa TG&Y dime store I was managing in Tulsa. He visited with me for about an hour, asking a lot ofquestions, and left, and I never thought anything about it. Later on he called me and said he was openinga new store in Fayetteville and wondered if Id be interested in interviewing for the manager's job. I had tomove myself over there, work half days for free until the store opened, and I remember sleeping on a cotin the storeroom. But he said I would get a percentage of the profits, and that appealed to me. When Iwent to quit TG&Y, the vice president said, 'Remember, Willard, a percentage of nothing is still nothing.'

But I went ahead and took the job. Sam was down there every day from the time we started until thetime we left. He rolled up his sleeves and worked every day until we built that store from scratch.

"Sam would haul in all kinds of merchandise that he bought from these friends of his over inTennesseehaul it in by station wagon. It worked real good. The first year that store was open, I believeBentonville did $95,000 and we did $90,000.

"Well, later on, when we had Wal-Marts and went public, I went out and borrowed what seemed likean awful lot of money at the time and bought stock with it. Bud and Sam came down to the store oneday, and Bud said: 'Willard, I sure hope you know what you're doing.' He told me I had more faith thanhe did. I always knew it was going to be successful. The philosophy made sense, and you couldn't helpbut believe in the man."In the years to come, that lure of partnership helped us attract a lot of good managers, but I don't believewe ever had one who bought more stock than Willard. And of course he feels pretty good about ittoday.

I remember those days mostly as a time of always looking around for ideas and items that would makeour stores stand out. Sometime in there the Hula Hoop fad hit real big, and they were flooding thebig-city stores. But the genuine articles, which were made of plastic hose, were pricey and hard for us toget. Jim Dodsonthe fellow who wouldn't sell me the Siloam Springs storecalled me and said he knew amanufacturer who could make hose the same size as the Hula Hoop's. He thought we should go infifty-fifty and make our own Hula Hoops. We did. We made them up in his attic, and sold a ton of themat his stores and mine. Every kid in northwest Arkansas had to have one. Later Jim ended up managing aWal-Mart for us up in Columbia, Missouri, for about fifteen years.

Also at that time, I had been buying all my fixtures from Ben Franklin. They were wooden standards,which was par for the course in those days, with wooden shelf brackets to hold the merchandise. Then Iwent somewhere to look at what Sterling Stores was doingmost everything I've done I've copied fromsomebody elseand saw these all-metal fixtures. I met a guy named Gene Lauer here in Bentonville andpersuaded him to build us some for the Fayetteville store, which became, I'm sure, the first variety storein the country to use 100 percent metal standards, like the ones you see in stores today. Gene built thefixtures for the first Wal-Mart and stayed with us for twenty-one years before retiring a few years ago.

Today he works here in Bentonville at the Wal-Mart Visitors Center, which is sort of a museum locatedon the site of that first store.


"Sam used to come down to our Fayetteville store driving an old fifty-three Plymouth. He had that car soloaded up he barely had enough room to drive. And would you like to guess what he had in it Ladies'

panties. Three for $1.00 and four for $1.00 and nylon hose. He would come in and take an end counter,and say, 'Now, Charlie, here's what you do: on this feature bin you put three for $1.00 panties, and onthis one you put four for $1.00. And you put these nylons right in between the two of them. And thenwatch em sell.' And they did. Like crazy."While I was doing all this running around between Bentonville and Fayetteville and Tennessee and theBen Franklin regional office in Kansas City, my brother Bud had borrowed some money and bought aBen Franklin of his own up in the little town of Versailles, Missouri, population 2,000. He and I kept intouch, but we weren't really doing any business together, and he had started a family and was doingpretty well on his own. Well, one time when I was up in Kansas City I heard about this big subdivisiongoing up thereRuskin Heights. In the middle of the subdivision would be a 100,000-square-footshopping center a whole new concept at that time. It was going to have an A&P store and a BenFranklin store in the middle, a Crown drugstore on the end, and small shops in between. So I called Budand told him to meet me up there right away. I said, "You want to gamble and go into this thing" And hesaid, "Might as well." And we did. We borrowed all the money we could and went into that Ben Franklinfifty-fifty.


"In the early days of the variety store business out here, there were some conventions amongcompetitors. Each chain more or less controlled its own state. Oklahoma was TG&Y. Kansas was Alco,Texas was Mott's, Missouri was Mattingly. Nebraska was Hested's. Indiana was Danners. They werelocally based and developed, and they'd say, 'Well, you don't cross my border, and I won't cross yourborder.' Ben Franklin franchises were for little independent operators who wanted to fit a store or twosomewhere in the cracks between those guys. Of course, Sam changed all that. Borders didn't meanmuch to my brother. He thought nothing of doing business in four statesall in one day."If I ever had any doubts about the potential of the business we were in, Ruskin Heights ended them.

That thing took off like a house afire. The first year we made about $30,000 profits on sales of$250,000, which went up to $350,000 in no time. When I saw that shopping center catch on the way itdid I thought, "Man, this is the forerunner of many, many things to come." And I decidedwith no moneyto amount to anythingto go into the shopping center development business myself back in Arkansas. Iwent down to Little Rock just on fire with the idea of being the pioneer shopping center developer there.

I tried to get one real good corner, but a big wheeler-dealer with Sterling Stores bought it out from underme and put in what became the town's first shopping center, which featured a Sterling Store and anOklahoma Tire and Supply.

I kept at it. I probably spent two years going around trying to sell people on the idea of shopping centersin Arkansas in the middle fiftieswhich was about ten years too early. I finally got an option on one pieceof property and talked Kroger and Woolworth into signing leases, based on us getting this one streetpaved. I started raising money for the pavement, but it got real complicated, and in the end I decided Ihad better take my whipping, so I backed out of the whole deal and went back to concentrating on theretail business. I probably lost $25,000, and that was at a time when Helen and I were counting everydollar. It was probably the biggest mistake of my business career. I did learn a heck of a lot about thereal estate business from the experience, and maybe it paid off somewhere down the linethough I wouldrather have learned it some cheaper way. Incidentally, after I dropped my option on that last piece ofland, a well-known young fellow named Jack Stephenswho had a whole lot more money than Ididwent on to develop a successful shopping center that's still there.


"Two things about Sam Walton distinguish him from almost everyone else I know. First, he gets up everyday bound and determined to improve something. Second, he is less afraid of being wrong than anyoneI've ever known. And once he sees he's wrong, he just shakes it off and heads in another direction."All during that real estate fiasco, I was, of course, still trying to run these variety stores, and everythingwas going along great until May 20, 1957I'll never forget the day. Bud called me from Versailles andsaid a tornado had hit the Ruskin store. "Ah, it probably shook up a little glass," I said. But later I got toworrying about it, and I couldn't get through to anybody up there so I went on up to Kansas City to seefor myself.

I got there about two in the morning and saw that the whole shopping center was practically leveled.

None of our people were seriously hurt, but the store was about gone. And even though the merchandiseand the fixtures were insured, it was still a big blow to Bud and me. This was our best store, the one wewere really excited about. It was there one minute and gone the next. We just rebuilt it and got back at it.

By now, though, with all the places I had to visit, I was driving too much to have time for anything else.

So I began to wonder if maybe flying wouldn't be the way to go.


"One day I got a call from Sam, and he said, 'Meet me in Kansas City, I want to buy an airplane.' Boy,it took me by such surprise. I always thought he was the world's worst driver and even my fatherwouldn't ever let Sam drive him. I thought, 'He will kill himself the first year.' So I did everything in theworld to try and talk him out of that first airplane. He just said, 'Whether you meet me or not, I'm goingto look at this airplane.' And I did not go because I knew he would kill himself in that plane. He called melater and said he hadn't bought that particular plane, but he'd gone to Oklahoma City and bought this AirCoupe for $1,850, and I had to come see it. I'll never forget going out to the Bentonville airport andseeing what he called an airplane. It had a washing machine motor in it, and it would putt-putt, and thenmiss a lick, then putt-putt again. It didn't even look like an airplane, and I wouldn't go near it for at leasttwo years. But then we were putting some more stores in around Little Rock, and one day he says, 'Let'sgo to Little Rock.' I hadn't flown since the Navy in the Pacific, and I was always used to water. Here wewere with Sam at the stick going over all these trees and mountains. It was the longest trip I ever took.

That was the start of the Wal-Mart aviation era."In spite of what Bud says, I loved that little two-seat plane because it would go 100 miles an hourif youdidn't have the wind against youand I could get to places in a straight line. In all the years and thousandsof hours I've been flying, I've only had one engine failure, and it came in that Air Coupe. I was taking offfrom Fort Smith and was just over the river when an exhaust stack blew. It sounded like the end of theworld. The motor hadn't quite quit, but I had to cut it off. For a minute there I thought that might be it forme, but I was able to circle back and land with a dead engine.

Once I took to the air, I caught store fever. We opened variety stores, many of them Ben Franklinfranchises, in Little Rock, Springdale, and Siloam Springs, Arkansas, and we had a couple more inNeodesha and Coffeyville, Kansas. All these stores were organized as separate partnerships betweenBud and me, along with other partners, including my dad, Helen's two brothersNick and Frankandeven the kids, who invested their paper route money.


"This is hard to believe, but between my paper route money and the money I made in the Army both ofwhich I invested in those storesthat investment is worth about $40 million today."Whatever money we made in one store, we'd put it in another new one, and just keep on going. Also,from Willard Walker on, we would offer to bring the managers we hired in as limited partners. If youhad, say, a $50,000 investment in a store, and the manager put in $1,000, he'd own 2 percent.


"He would never let us buy more than $1,000 per store. I think $600 of it was a loan, and $400 of itwas four shares of privately owned stock at $100 a share. All he would guarantee was that he would payus interest every year, which at that time was 4  percent. I remember one guy who ran a store wouldcall and say, 'Are you going to buy into store so-and-so' And I'd say, 'I think so.' Later, he would say,'I'm not going to loan it to Sam and let him expand onmy money.' Then I'd pick up the phone and callMr. Walton and say, 'So-and-so isn't going to buy his share of that store, can I buy his share' He'd say,'Sure.' So I'd get a double share."That whole periodwhich scarcely gets any attention from most people studying uswas really very, verysuccessful. In fifteen years' time, we had become the largest independent variety store operator in theUnited States. But the business itself seemed a little limited. The volume was so little per store that itreally didn't amount to that much. I mean, after fifteen years in 1960we were only doing $1.4 million infifteen stores. By now, you know me. I began looking around hard for whatever new idea would breakus over into something with a little better payoff for all our efforts.

Our first big clue came in Saint Robert, Missourinear Fort Leonard Woodwhere we learned that bybuilding larger stores, which we called family centers we could do unheard-of amounts of business forvariety stores, over $2 million a year in sales per store, just unthinkable for small towns. The same thingproved true to a lesser degree in Berryville, Arkansas, and right here in Bentonville too.

I began to hear talk of the early discounterscompanies like Ann & Hope, whose founder, Marty Chase,is generally considered the father of discounting. Spartan's and Mammoth Mart and Two Guys fromHarrison and Zayre and Arlan's were all starting up in the Northeast, and I remembered that lesson I'dlearned a long time ago in Newport with the panties selling in such huge volume when they were priced at$1.00, instead of $1.20. So I started running all over the country, studying the concept from the millstores in the East to California, where Sol Price started his Fed-Mart in 1955.

Then closer to home, Herb Gibsona barber from over at Berryvillestarted his stores with a simplephilosophy: "Buy it low, stack it high, sell it cheap." He sold it cheaper than anybody ever had before,and he sold more of it. He did it in Abilene, he did it in Amarillo, and he surrounded Dallas with stores.

Then in 1959 he came to northwest Arkansas with a franchiser named Howard's and did so well in FortSmith that he branched out to the square in Fayetteville and started competing with our variety stores.

We knew we had to act. He was the only one discounting out this way, and, because I had made allthose trips back East, I was probably one of the few out here who understood what he was up to.

By then, I knew the discount idea was the future. But I was used to franchising, and I liked the mind-set.

I generally liked my experience with Ben Franklin, and I didn't want to get involved in having to build acompany with all that support apparatus. So, first I went up to Butler Brothers in Chicago armed with myusual yellow legal pad full of notes and made a big pitch for them to back me in a discounting venture. Iwanted them to be our wholesale arm, our merchandiser. If they had agreed, our family could havecontinued our fairly normal lifestyle. In those days, I wasn't as fully committed with my time to thebusiness, and it wouldn't have been all that difficult to put together an organization with them. But theyweren't interested. Then I approached Gibson, but he already had his franchiser so we couldn't gettogether either. We really had only two choices left: stay in the variety store business, which I knew wasgoing to be hit hard by the discounting wave of the future; or open a discount store. Of course I wasn'tabout to sit there and become a target. Now, right down the road from Bentonville sits Rogers,Arkansas, which was a good bit bigger town, but I never could operate there because Max Russellowned the Ben Franklin franchise. I tried to talk him into going in with me as a partner and building a bigstore there. But he wasn't interested.

I went ahead and started building a store in Rogers. It was a big commitment on the family's part. Wecouldn't use Ben Franklin at all for that store, so I had made some arrangements with a distributor inSpringfield, Missouri.

Nobody wanted to gamble on that first Wal-Mart. I think Bud put in 3 percent, and DonWhitakerwhom I had hired to manage the store from a TG&Ystore out in Abilene, Texasput in 2percent, and I had to put up 95 percent of the dollars. Helen had to sign all the notes along with me, andher statement allowed us to borrow more than I could have alone. We pledged houses and property,everything we had. But in those days we were always borrowed to the hilt. We were about to go into thediscount business for real now. And from the time those doggone Wal-Marts opened until almost today,it has been a little challenging.

BOB BOGLE, FIRST MANAGERWALTON'SFIVEAND DIME, bentonville, now retired fromwal-mart:

"We were flying to Fort Smith in the spring of 1962, and Sam was piloting the plane over the BostonMountains. It was that Tri-Pacer by then, not the original plane that we had made a lot of trips in. Sampulled this card out of his pocket, on which he had written down three or four names, and he handed it tome and asked me which one I liked best. They all had three or four words in the title, and I said, 'Well,you know, Scotch as I am, I'd just keep the Walton name and make it a place to shop.' I scribbled'W-A-L-M-A-R-T' on the bottom of the card and said, 'To begin with, there's not as many letters tobuy.' I had bought the letters that said Ben Franklin, and I knew how much it cost to put them up and tolight them and repair the neon, so I said, 'This is just seven letters.' He didn't say anything, and I droppedthe subject. A few days later I went by to see when we could start setting the fixtures in the building, andI saw that our sign maker, Rayburn Jacobs, already had the 'W-A-L' up there and was headed up theladder with an 'M.' You didn't have to be a genius to figure out what the name was going to be. I justsmiled and went on."Something else about that sign that's worth mentioning. On one side of it, I had Rayburn put "We Sell forLess," and on the other, "Satisfaction Guaranteed," two of the cornerstone philosophies that still guide thecompany.

After years and years of studying the discount business and experimenting with it sort of halfheartedly,we were finally getting ready to jump into it whole hog. On July 2, 1962, we finally opened Wal-MartNo. 1, and not everybody was happy about it.


"Because there was a Ben Franklin store in Rogers, run by somebody else, we really stirred up ahornet's nest when we opened that first store. I vividly remember opening day. Along with the crowds ofshoppers, a group of 'officials' from Ben Franklin in Chicagoall dressed in pin-striped suitsshowed up.

They marched in like a military delegation, and in the front of the store asked me, just as cold as theycould be, 'Where is Mr. Walton' They marched on back to Sam's office without a word.

"They were back there about a half hour, and then they marched out without so much as a goodbye. Afew minutes later, Sam came down and told Whitaker and me that they had issued an ultimatum: Don'tbuild any more of these Wal-Mart stores. We knew he felt threatened because he had all those BenFranklin franchises. But we also knew Sam Walton wasn't the kind of guy you issued ultimatums to."To tell the truth, though, that first Wal-Mart in Rogers wasn't all that great. We did a million dollars in ayear, a lot more than most of our variety stores, which did $200,000 to $300,000 a year. But remember,Saint Robertup there in that Army townwas doing $2 million in sales. Once we opened Rogers, we satthere and held our breath for two years. Then we put stores up in Springdale, a bigger town near Rogers,and Harrison, a smaller town. Here, of course, I have to let David Glass tell his now-famous story aboutcoming to Harrison to see what a Wal-Mart was, and being so horrified at the sight.


"In those days, word was starting to get out that a guy named Sam Walton had some interesting retailingideas, so I drove down from Springfield, where I was with Crank Drugs at the time, to see a Wal-Martopening. It was the worst retail store I had ever seen. Sam had brought a couple of trucks ofwatermelons in and stacked them on the sidewalk. He had a donkey ride out in the parking lot. It wasabout 115 degrees, and the watermelons began to pop, and the donkey began to do what donkeys do,and it all mixed together and ran all over the parking lot. And when you went inside the store, the messjust continued, having been tracked in all over the floor. He was a nice fellow, but I wrote him off. It wasjust terrible."I guess it really was about as bad as David describes it, but he just happened to hit it on its worst day.

The store was only 12,000 square feet, and had an 8-foot ceiling and a concrete floor, with bare-bonedwooden plank fixtures. Sterling had a huge variety store in downtown Harrison, with tile on the floor, nicelights, really good fixtures, and good presentations. Ours was just barely put togetherhighly promotional,truly ugly, heavy with merchandisebut for 20 percent less than the competition. We were trying to findout if customers in a town of 6,000 people would come to our kind of a barn and buy the samemerchandise strictly because of price. The answer was yes. We found out they did, and they wanted it.

Today, we have a 90,000-square-foot store in Harrison. Down the road in Springdale, we were trying tolearn something else: would a really big, nice store work in a larger town We opened a35,000-square-foot Wal-Mart there, and it quickly became our number-one store in sales. Just to giveyou some idea of how the whole concept has changed over the years, we recently opened a gigantic185,000-square-foot store in Springdale, and the store in Rogers today is 135,000 square feetcompared to 18,000 for the original old number one.

Maybe a lot of people saw the same things David Glass observed that day out there in Harrison, but Iwas feeling pretty good. After we got those first three stores up and running, I knew it would work.

Wal-Mart was off to a good start, and we saw lots of potential. But now Gibson's and other folks werebeginning to look at the smaller towns and say, "Hey, maybe there is something out there that we ought tolook into." We figured we'd better roll the stores out just as quickly as we could.