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Literally Watch Wal-Mart Take Over the United States . . .

Odd though it may be, I harbor a minor obsession with Wal-Mart. I've read this book which presents a pretty even-handed look at the somewhat stunning practices that Wally World (as my mother calls it) has pioneered to make them the retailing giant they are. Some of them, like making individual stores return cardboard boxes to the distributors or pay for them are pleasingly green in their business savviness. Save the planet, be cheap. Hey, if it works right?

And I've seen this movie, which paints the more heartbreaking human consequences of the drive to dominate the retail landscape — and that's where this riveting map from Flow Data comes in. I do so adore a map! This animated stunner starts in 1968 with the birth of the first store in Arkansas and grows progressively greener with every "rolled-back" price until Wal-Mart rules the entire world squashing everyone and everything in its path. More or less.

In other Wal-Mart related news, the store has recently pulled a controversial comic book from shelves, after complaints that it was racist. Maybe they don't have black hearts after all?

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