Mom took me to see the Wal-Mart shrine in Bentonville when I went down there to visit her. The front of the five-and-ten-cent store where Bill Walton founded his empire has been preserved and, not surprisingly, just inside the front door there’s a little pretend store filled with old-timey nick-knacks you can pick up as a souvenir of your visit.

The fake store out front is just the beginning, through. Stepping through it, we found ourselves in a museum devoted to the history of Wal-Mart. Mom pointed in awe at the maps posted along the walls that showed the number and location of Wal-Mart stores through the years with little clusters of dots that started in Arkansas and spread across the nation, looking not unlike botulism colonies spreading across a petri dish. I was more fascinated by the framed full-page newspaper ads. Did you know there was a time when you could buy a men’s button-down shirt for less than five bucks?

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