While on our family’s annual pilgrimage through New England over the last few weeks, we made our customary stop at the Wal-Mart in Littleton, N.H., since we live in a Wal-Mart-deprived area of the universe. On this visit, we encountered two twentysomething guys engaging in what looked like an attempt at Wal-Mart irony. One wore a T-shirt identifying him as a Wal-Mart shareholder; the other an athletic-team T-shirt that, instead of containing the name of a sports team, carried the “Wal-Mart. Always” slogan. They seemed to delight in their shopping. Anyway, when we got home, I tried to Google those T-shirts, since neither of them looked like official Wal-Mart merchandise. I didn’t find either one, but I did find a predictably impressive array of T-shirts and other paraphernalia that invokes the name of the country’s largest retailer. They range from this one, which replicates a Wal-Mart receipt on its front, to legions of anti-Wal-Mart wear. As you might expect, if you’ve followed Wal-Mart’s dust-ups with the state of Vermont, there’s a “Sprawl-Mart” T-shirt available from the Vermont Natural Resources Council. Despite the state’s historically anti-Wal-Mart stance (although at least two Vermont communities have caved), there are always about as many Vermont license plates in the parking lot of the Littleton Wal-Mart as there are ones from New Hampshire.
—Posted by Catharine P. Taylor