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Wal-Mart: The Bully of Bentonville: How the High Cost of Everyday Low Prices is Hurting America

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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 Wal-Mart’s “everyday low prices” come at a tremendous cost to workers, 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 Wal-Mart’s “everyday low prices” come at a tremendous cost to workers, suppliers, competitors, and consumers. 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, how their substandard pay and meager health-care policy and anti-union mentality have led to a large scales exploitation of workers, 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. Based on interviews with Wal-Mart employees, managers, executives, competitors, suppliers, customers, and community leaders, The Bully of Bentonville brings the truths about Wal-Mart into sharp focus.


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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 Wal-Mart’s “everyday low prices” come at a tremendous cost to workers, 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 Wal-Mart’s “everyday low prices” come at a tremendous cost to workers, suppliers, competitors, and consumers. 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, how their substandard pay and meager health-care policy and anti-union mentality have led to a large scales exploitation of workers, 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. Based on interviews with Wal-Mart employees, managers, executives, competitors, suppliers, customers, and community leaders, The Bully of Bentonville brings the truths about Wal-Mart into sharp focus.

30 review for Wal-Mart: The Bully of Bentonville: How the High Cost of Everyday Low Prices is Hurting America

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nicko

    Most of what this book reveals has already been exposed to the public, but what we get here is all of it in a single impacting package. No matter your political persuasion this book should disturb you. This book is a tail what rampant and unregulated Capitalism can do to small towns. This is not only being accepted but also subsidized tax dollars. Nonetheless, although there are many reasons to dislike Wal-Mart and this book does a good job of catloging them. The Walton family appear to be insula Most of what this book reveals has already been exposed to the public, but what we get here is all of it in a single impacting package. No matter your political persuasion this book should disturb you. This book is a tail what rampant and unregulated Capitalism can do to small towns. This is not only being accepted but also subsidized tax dollars. Nonetheless, although there are many reasons to dislike Wal-Mart and this book does a good job of catloging them. The Walton family appear to be insular and selfish people. However, this book leaves one important question unexplored: Why do people prefer to shop at Wal-Mart over the small locally owned business? Of course, the answer is that most consumers prefer the variety and low prices found at Wal-Mart. Should those people be forced to pay the higher mom-and-pop prices so that mom and pop can remain in business? By saving subtantial money on groceries and other items, aren't the lives of the Wal-Mart customers (in the aggregate) improved as least in proportion to the harm inflicted on the small business owner? It may be that the small downtown hardware store will go the way of the buggywhip factory and that, in time, we will remember them with the same quaint nostalgia.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    The author's writing style and overuse of the word "draconian" made me want to drive to the nearest supercenter and load up a shopping cart full of discounted merchandise made by 6 year olds in China. This book was informative but I had a hard time getting past the fact that I wanted to punch the author in the face.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mario

    A pretty good read, but Bianco lets his anti-Walmart bias slip through at times. The book also might have been improved by omitting the last 1-2 chapters.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Oriana

    This is the kind of book I pick up so I can back up my convictions with some sort of sense. It's no longer adequate to have a conversation like this: Me: Wal*Mart is bad! Antagonist: What on earth do you mean? They are just extremely successful at the game called capitalism. Me: B-b-b-but... they're evil! Antagonist: You can't call them evil just because they're big and make a lot of money. Me: B-b-b-but... don't they treat their workers badly? And buy everything from blind old women working in Chine This is the kind of book I pick up so I can back up my convictions with some sort of sense. It's no longer adequate to have a conversation like this: Me: Wal*Mart is bad! Antagonist: What on earth do you mean? They are just extremely successful at the game called capitalism. Me: B-b-b-but... they're evil! Antagonist: You can't call them evil just because they're big and make a lot of money. Me: B-b-b-but... don't they treat their workers badly? And buy everything from blind old women working in Chinese factories for pennies a day? Aren't we evil by extension if we shop there? Antagonist (patting me on the head): Ha ha ha, silly girl. You have no idea what you're talking about. But thanks to books like this one, suddenly I do have an idea. And boy, oh boy, was I right. The thesis set forth in this book is that not only is Wal*Mart evil, they are single-handedly changing the face of retailing in the 21st century. It goes way beyond mistreating employees, being virulently anti-union, essentially financing all of China, and setting new lows for devastating conditions in factory labor. They are consumate masters of spin, duplicity, aborted initiatives, lying, intimidation, and horror horror horror. Please for goodness sake read this book. Please stop shopping at Wal*Mart. They have got to be stopped.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    I LOVE WALMART! Yeah, I know, this book was written anti-Walmart, but if we got rid of them now, how would that hurt the world economy? Think people, where else can you go to find it? Other places stood by and watched Walmart take over, so isn't it THEIR faults? Worth the read -great for research papers :)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Clay Held

    It's funny, finally learning the behind-the-scenes inside story from the time I worked at Wal-Mart. All the events, situations, and upper-management decisions that I was told I "wouldn't understand" is laid out in plain English. Also funny how it so thoroughly skewers the Wal-Mart Cheer, something I always found utterly distasteful.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    Ok, I finished it. I thought it was informative, but it wasn't really new information. I had, however, not heard about the anti-union extremes. It certainly makes me think twice before I shop there, but I understand the conflict of instant "benefits" at the checkout vs. what it takes to save that money, i.e. the underbelly of the company and its policies. Sigh. It makes me wonder about Target.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    I thought this was a well-researched book about Wal-Mart's rise into global domination. I felt, however, that the author emphasized and re-emphasized Wal-Mart's union-busting issues. Granted, it's an important problem, but I would really have liked to see more detail about other problems.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    I read this while I was teaching research writing. This is definitely an anti-Walmart novel. How bizaare that I would end up having to deal with Walmart in my current position.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mary Smith

    Interesting view of behind the scenes at Walmart.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jim Bremser

    Confirmed all my reservations about this monolith of capitalism...I still stay out of their stores.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    Somewhat interesting, however since I haven't shopped there in years and already know why, I pretty much lost interest halfway through and didn't finish it. Oh well.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    Very well written! I think the coverage is very fair and yet still show Wal-Mart's evil side. Love the footnotes and bibliography.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jane Dee

    Boring!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    Welp, I'm not going to Wal-Mart anymore.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Renee

    Details of what one already knew about WalMart policy .

  17. 4 out of 5

    Simon J.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tushar Jhunjhunwala

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tricia B.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Phyllis

  21. 5 out of 5

    Marie

  22. 5 out of 5

    petrax

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nick

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bhargav Hothur

  25. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa

  26. 4 out of 5

    David

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

  28. 4 out of 5

    Antoinette

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jess

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

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