For the past several years, Wal-Mart has been fighting a battle against bad publicity of the sort collected in The United States of Wal-Mart, a 2005 book by Colorado journalist (and Geeks Who Drink quiz-master) John Dicker. The mega-corp's latest weapon? A new logo that moves the star that previously served as a de facto hyphen between "Wal" and "Mart" to the right, effectively transforming the company's moniker into a single word.
Why? Apparently, the hyphen was the problem.
Granted, the company hasn't openly declared war on extraneous punctuation. A July 1 Denver Post brief quotes a PR line from the Wal-Mart web site that declares, "This update to the logo is simply a reflection of the refresh taking place inside our stores and our renewed sense of purpose to help people save money, so they can live better." And it's amazing how well it works. Looking at the new image, the seventy-plus wage-and-hour lawsuits the company is currently fighting don't even cross my mind.
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I didn't realize it until now, but that little line symbolized all that was dubious about Wal-Mart -- and now that it's gone, we can all shop at any of the chain's approximately twelve gazillion outlets absolutely guilt-free. Friends, it's morning in America again. -- Michael Roberts