The Retail Revolution: How Wal-Mart Created a Brave New World of Business by Nelson Lichtenstein, Metropolitan Books, 311 pages, $25.00
Buying Power: A History of Consumer Activism in America by Lawrence B. Glickman, University of Chicago Press, 403 pages, $45.00
The story isn't part of the official Wal-Mart creation epic, but it tells us almost all we need to know about the company's approach to the interests of its employees and the laws of the nation. Around the time that the young Sam Walton opened his first stores, John Kennedy redeemed a presidential campaign promise by persuading Congress to extend the minimum wage to retail workers, who had until then not been covered by the law. Congress granted an exclusion, however, to small businesses with annual sales beneath $1 million -- a figure that in 1965 it lowered to $250,000.
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