The Terrifying Spread of the Walmart Plague

This is probably one of the scariest videos I've seen: The spread of Walmart. It may just be the slimy green, but it looks like an outbreak movie where everyone dies.

The first Wal-Mart, called Wal-Mart Discount City, opened in Rogers, Arkansas, in July 2, 1962. Five years later, the company already had 24 stores in Arkansas alone. By May 1971, Wal-Mart had already propagated to five states. From there, the growth was just explosive, eating the country from its heart. In 1975 they took Texas, upping the number of stores to 125.

A decade later in 1987, boom, 1,198 stores were spewing out everything from clothes to electronics to movies to music to toys all through the US. Soon, the epidemic ran into the rest of the world and in 2005, they already had 3,800 stores in the US and 2,800 all across the world, with 1.6 million employees and mainframe systems as big as the Death Star, permanently cross-tabulating and linking providers, stores, and customers' data to optimise their sales and distribution flows.

But that was all well known. Seeing it animated, however, is a completely different story. Where's Dustin Hoffman and Rene Russo when you need them (especially Rene). Check out the zoomable interactive version here. [Flowingdata and Wikipedia via Dark Roasted Blend]

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