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Attacks on discounters continue


Anew book out by author Ellen Ruppel Shell, Cheap: The High Cost of the Discount Culture, makes a familiar argument against discount retailers. According to Publishers Weekly, the wide-ranging book argues that the American drive toward bargain-hunting and low-price goods has a hidden cost in lower wages for workers and reduced quality of goods for consumers.

“After a dry examination of the history of the American retail industry, the author examines the current industrial and political forces shaping how and what we buy. In the book's most involving passages, Shell deftly analyzes the psychology of pricing and demonstrates how retailers manipulate subconscious bargain triggers that affect even the most knowing consumers,” according to the Publishers Weekly review. “The author urges shoppers to consider spending more and buying locally, but acknowledges the inevitability of globalization and the continuation of trends toward efficient, cost-effective production.

While Cheap takes on the entire discount retailing genre, two other books out this summer are directed more at Wal-Mart. Bethany Moreton, an assistant professor of history and women’s studies at the University of Georgia wrote a book titled To serve God and Wal-Mart: The Making of Christian Free Enterprise. Author Nelson Lichtenstein’s newest book, The Retail Revolution: How Wal-Mart created a Brave New World of Business, published by Henry Holt and Company is due out soon.

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