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The Bully of Bentonville: How the High Cost of Wal-Mart's Everyday Low Prices Is Hurting Americaby Anthony Bianco
Synopses & Reviews
The largest company in the world by far, Wal-Mart takes in revenues in excess of $280 billion, employs 1.4 million American workers, and controls a large share of the business done by almost every U.S. consumer-product company. More than 138 million shoppers visit one of its 5,300 stores each week. But, as recent news stories show, Wal-Mart's "everyday low prices" come at a tremendous cost to workers, suppliers, competitors, and consumers.
The definitive portrait of the juggernaut that is reshaping American, The Bully of Bentonville exposes the zealous, secretive, small-town mentality that rules Wal-Mart and chronicles its far-reaching consequences. In a gripping, richly textured narrative, Anthony Bianco shows how Wal-Mart has driven down retail wages throughout the country, even as their substandard pay and meager health-care policy have led to a double-digit employee turnover; why their aggressive expansion inevitably puts locally owned stores out of business; and how their pricing policies have forced suppliers to outsource work and move thousands of jobs overseas. Their power even influences what Americans can read, watch, and listen to; in the name of protecting its customers, Wal-Mart bans "racy" magazines and insists on sanitized versions of popular DVDs and CDs.
Based on countless interviews with Wal-Mart employees, managers, executives, competitors, suppliers, customers, and community leaders, The Bully of Bentonville illuminates the story-behind-the-headlines and brings the truths about Wal-Mart into sharp focus.
The story of Wal-Mart has become the story of America. As one Wal-Mart executive crowed, "Wal-Mart is America." The largest company--by far--in the world, Wal-Mart has revenues in excess of 250 million dollars, 1.4 million American workers, 5000 stores. Over 138 million shoppers visit Wal-Mart every year. And it opened another 55 discount stores, 210 super centers and 45 Sam's Club last year alone. With a 15% growth rate, they are a juggernaut that is reshaping the very essence of the American economy. Critics charge that Wal-Mart and the "big box" phenomenon it has inspired, from Home Depot to Lowe's, from Toys R Us to Target, has exacerbated the great divide between the haves and the have nots in America. Based on hundreds of interviews with Wal-Mart employees and managers; former employees; competitors; vendors and consumers,
About the Author
ANTHONY BIANCO has been a senior writer at BusinessWeek for twenty years, and is the coauthor of the magazine's acclaimed cover story on Wal-Mart. He lives in New York City.
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