If you're reading this on your phone from a line outside an electronics store, congratulations -- you're a real American! And you're probably way more excited about the 50th anniversary of big-box retail in this country than the rest of us are.
In 1962, when gas cost about 28 cents a gallon and the suburbs were growing faster than you can say "sports utility vehicle," Walmart, Target, and Kmart were all born.
NPR's Morning Edition talked to retail historian Marc Levinson about their rise to prominence and dominance.
One of the prerequisites for the big-box was the car. Everybody had to have a car because the big-box was sitting out in a parking lot somewhere. The big-box made shopping into a family experience. Mom and dad and the kids all piled into the car, they went out to this big store, and they could spend several hours there because there was, by the standards of the day, an enormous amount of merchandise.
Today's stores are about four times the size, but hey, so are our cars!
Since '62, the big boxes, especially Walmart, have grown like an infectious pox upon our nation. Even Friday's planned worker strikes at upwards of 1,000 Walmarts across the country may do nothing to slow the monster's growth. From The Daily Beast: