We’ve all heard the stories about local activists campaigning to block a proposed “big box” store. Opponents of Wal-Mart can rattle off a whole host of dangers one superstore poses, from increased traffic to the loss of locally owned businesses. But their efforts will seem positively Sisyphean once you see the eye-opening interactive map “Watching the Growth of Wal-Mart Across America.”
The beginnings are humble — a dot flashes on the map to symbolize the first Wal-Mart’s opening in Arkansas, in 1962. Soon, though, the flashing dots are spreading throughout the land, particularly east of the Mississippi, which is just bursting with inexpensive maternity wear. The pulsating store count finally tops out at 3,176 in 2007, and then all is quiet. Too quiet.
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