Here’s the story — The New York Times published an exhaustive story chronicling how “bribery played a persistent and significant role in Wal-Mart’s rapid growth in Mexico.” … Now here’s the truth — What, this is news? We’re talking Mexico, folks, not the Vatican. I’m not saying Walmart did anything, but I am saying it’s hard to get anything done in that corrupt country without greasing someone’s palms. I once asked a Mexican acquaintance involved in helping U.S. companies get started in the Mexican marketplace, so how do you get started? Who do you talk to? “Money talks,” he told me. “There will be people you will have to accommodate to make things happen.” Are you talking under the table? “I am saying,” he smiled, “that it is easier to get things done in Mexico if you know the right people and if you are willing to enrich their lives to make your path easier.” I actually investigated hosting a trends conference in Mexico City when I was publisher of Food Business magazine years ago and learned first-hand how right my friend was. People kept telling me, “the wheels will turn faster if you are generous” to Mister S-and-so”. If Walmart did what the New York Times is charging, well, big fellow, join the pack of companies big and small who have had to pay off Mexican officials to break down the red tape. It is Mexico, it is corrupt, and that is what you do to thrive in a corrupt culture.

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