Wall to Wall Wal-Mart Bashing

Columbus Alive | August 11, 2005
Just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be another treatise, diatribe or invective against the place for “Everyday Low Prices,” John Dicker drops The United States of Wal-Mart (Tarcher). A breezy and surprisingly fascinating look into Sam Walton’s perpetually damned “category-killer,” Dicker jettisons the standard “objective” journalistic voice by making it personal. Although armed with an arsenal of facts and stats (besides being the largest corporation and grocer in the world, Wal-Mart is also the largest seller of bling too, at $2.3 billion annually) it’s the writer’s utter exasperation with both the mega-superstores and with us as consumers that drive his argument.

Throughout United States of Wal-Mart, Dicker details the standard litany of issues usually cited by critics. But just when you think Dicker has a beef only with the behemoth from Bentonville, he proves he’s an equal opportunity disser by taking aim at public radio’s Tavis Smiley, and at the liberal movement in general. He tsk-tsks Smiley’s capitulation to Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott during an interview (Wal-Mart underwrites Smiley’s show), while blasting what he views as the mostly white anti-Wal-Mart movement for failing to recognize that many times Wal-Mart is the only grocery store to set foot in inner city neighborhoods.

Dicker concludes that ultimately money really does talk. Wal-Mart will continue to scourge the earth, and collect a small fee for doing so.

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