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Cheap : The High Cost of Discount Culture (Hardcover)

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From the shuttered factories of the Rust Belt to the strip malls of the Sun Belt - and almost everywhere in between - America has been transformed by its relentless fixation on low price. This pervasive yet little-examined obsession is arguably the most powerful and devastating market force of our time - an engine of instability in an increasingly unsettled world. Our fixation on low price has also fueled a surfeit of consumption that threatens our health, imperils our environment, lowers our standard of living, and even skews our concept of time.
Low price is so alluring that we have forgotten how thoroughly we once distrusted it. Ellen Ruppel Shell traces the birth of the bargain as we know it from the industrial revolution to the assembly line to discount retailers and beyond. Cheap spotlights colorful characters from F. W. Woolworth to Gene Ferkauf, whose E. J. Korvette discount chain helped wean customers away from traditional notions of value. The rise of the chain store in postwar America led us to favor convenience over quality, and big-box retailers completed our reeducation by making us prize low price in the way we once prized durability and craftsmanship.


Publisher Penguin Pr
Mfg Part# 9781594202155
SKU 210933188
Format Hardcover
ISBN10 159420215X
Release Date 7/2/2009
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