Before venturing to the dark side, let’s give Wal-Mart inc. its due
and acclaim it as the best friend the budget-minded consumer has ever had. However, Wal-Mart’s amazingly low prices are the product of a ruthless cost-efficiency and corporate ambition that has made the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer simultaneously one of America’s most reviled and admired corporations. In the name of the shopper, Wal-Mart grew huge by bullying its workers, its suppliers, and the residents of towns disinclined to submit to the expansion imperative of a company that by 2007 was opening new stores at a rate of 1.5 per day.

From time to time throughout the history of American business, one giant corporation has been elevated to a position of preeminence by the magni- tude of its power and the ways in which its exercise excited the hopes and inflames the fears of its age. Standard Oil, General Motors, IBM and Micro- soft have all filled this standard-bearer role. Today, for better and mostly for worse, the mantle has been passed to Wal-Mart.

"Filled with direct quotations from current and former Wal-Mart employees, paraphrased anecdotes from Wal-Mart lore, Sam Walton legends, data from government documents and studies from academic researchers ... Not a single page is boring, whether the reader is a Wal-Mart lover, Wal-Mart hater, or a conflicted in-between sometimes shopper." —The Kansas City Star

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