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Wal-Mart is so huge that it bullies other huge companies. Though Charles Fishman consistently tries to point at positive things about the retail behemoth, that’s the portrait that emerges in his The Wal-Mart Effect: How the World’s Most Powerful Company Really Works—and How It’s Transforming the American Economy. Wal-Mart stomps around the schoolyard, hoping to shake down Sears and Kmart for their lunch money. And there are graver consequences for people around the world. Whether it’s forcing small businesses to lower wages in order to remain competitive or pressuring suppliers to move overseas (where lax environmental standards plus cheap labor equal huge cost-cutting), Wal-Mart expands at the expense of communities everywhere. Though Fishman is sympathetic to the American consumer, we come across as a bunch of bargain addicts, constantly jonesin’ for the next low-price fix. But if you’re among the millions of Americans who head for the local “Supercenter” every weekend, don’t be offended—Fishman shops there, too. He appears at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (James McBee)