Sep 292005
 
Authors: Katie Kelley

Pledging Allegiance to "The United States of Wal-Mart" is a Worthy Purchase

Corruption, censorship, scandal and cover-ups; while this sounds more like an episode of "Desperate Housewives," it is actually John Dicker's newest non-fiction novel documenting the ins and outs of the notorious corporation known as Wal-Mart.

While at first glance, "The United States of Wal-Mart" appears a little daunting, with approximately 240 pages discussing only Wal-Mart, it is actually a cleverly construed account of the company's construction policies, union scandals and the media-frenzied hype that continuously surrounds the business.

Dicker, a first time novelist and Denver resident, examines the myth and the man behind the company beginning with the infamous Sam Walton – a man who, while topping the Forbes 400 World's Richest Man list in 1985, was still getting his haircut at the local barbershop for $5 and not tipping.

Dicker also uncovers why, today, 14 years after Walton's death, people still refer to "Uncle Sam" and his policies regarding music and magazines that shouldn't be sold at the family-oriented store.

Dicker discovers this issue further and notes in chapter three that: "Mr. Sam's sayings and likeness adorn company headquarters and outposts. Executives and flacks endlessly recycle his anecdotes and 'rules' as if company history ceased upon his death."

While delving into the world of Wal-Mart, Dicker manages to uncover what he, among others, considers an anti-union scandal, while Wal-Mart employees cited in his book consider themselves "pro-associate" rather than anti-union.

Overall, the book, while not offering the usual escapism qualities of some books, is an intriguing, intellectual and easy read that will have you chuckling with disbelief as to the reality of everything Wal-Mart and the economic world which depends on it.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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