The truth, they say, will always set you free.
The truth, I say, is regularly much stranger than fiction.
Just the other day when researching another story I came across some information that caused me to dig a little deeper for more verification. Sure enough, the following items appear to be true:
º Wal-Mart registered more sales in 2012 -- $443 billion -- than the GPD of many countries. The GPD acronym stands for Gross Domestic Product, which your favorite economist would tell you means "the market value of all officially recognized final goods and services produced within a country in a given period of time."
What that boils down to is: If Wal-Mart were a country, it would be the 25th largest economy in the world. Wal-Mart is a more valuable economic property than Austria, Norway, South Africa, Colombia (the drug cartels don't count), Finland, Israel, Ireland, New Zealand and plenty of other industrialized nations.
º 8 cents for every U.S. dollar is spent at Wal-Mart. I think that figure is much higher in my household.
º 90 percent of all Americans live within 15 miles of a Wal-Mart. I would guess that figure is actually much lower if you eliminate the distances some of the people in northern Alaska might have to travel.
Those Wal-Mart facts inspired me to look for some other U.S. business oddities. Consider these:
º Yahoo was originally called "Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web." I had no idea about this, but Yahoo originally was named after founders Jerry Yang and David Filo. It was rebranded "Yahoo" in 1994, which stands for "Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle."
º In 2004, the Japanese Ice Cream Association promoted "raw horse flesh" ice cream in hopes that it would boost the popularity of ice cream. On a similar note, I once saw a guy drink a horseradish milkshake on a bet. I also saw him get sick within seconds of finishing the concoction.
º Walt Disney World generates about 120,000 pounds of garbage every day. Big deal. So did my kids when they were growing up.
º More than 4.6 million Whopper sandwiches are sold at Burger King every day. What about the Junior Whoppers?
º The retail price for the iPad would be $1,140 if it were built by American workers instead of Chinese. But you would get the rebates quicker.
º There is no tipping at restaurants in Japan. Tipping should not have been allowed at a restaurant I ate at one night last week. All I'm saying is it took 45 minutes to get a cheeseburger and fries with no more than 10 people in the entire establishment.
º Henry Ford, father of the automobile, is also father of the charcoal briquette. I'm not sure which one he invented first, but common sense says having a car makes it easier to get to the family picnic.
º Colgate's first toothpaste came in a jar. I wonder if whoever invented peanut butter first put it in a tube?
And I'm sure if toothpaste still came in a jar it could be found at the Wal-Mart less than 15 miles from my home.