Last week, an image featuring former Costco CEO Jim Sinegal touting Costco’s generous wages for employees went viral.

In case you didn’t see the meme, it said, “Costco CEO pays his employees $17/hr on average, plus benefits, earns less than $500K, refuses Wall Street demands to cut employee salaries and benefits.”

What the image neglected to say is that he’s no longer the CEO.

No matter. Since it’s not every day that a company’s former CEO makes news, we took a closer look at the 2005 New York Times profile that inspired the meme, discovering some amazing facts in the process about how Costco put employees first–while still managing to become a leading player in the industry.

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