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.
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“[The Bully of Bentonville]…is 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 such as Basker. 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
“In The Bully of Bentonville Bianco produces the most penetrating examination of Wal-Mart’s business practices and their ripple effects in American society that has been published since Wal-Mart watching became a serious pursuit of the business press and academia.” — The Star Telegram