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introductionFROM WAL-MART TO SMALL-MART

Nobody’s perfect. Today is the one day each year I permit myself to be a petty thief. As my childhood shoplifter buddies used to explain, there’s a thrill in being bad, plus there’s cheap stuff to be had. Let me clarify—I don’t plan on breaking any laws. My indulgence is perfectly legal, and many would even consider it smart shopping. But I shouldn’t mince words. What I’m planning on doing ought to be called “community lifting.” I’m going to make my annual summertime sneakers shopping run at Wal-Mart, even if it means snatching just a little bit of well-being from my neighbors.

Why am I doing this? Because for fifteen dollars I can get basic footwear that lasts a year. After twelve months of regular ...

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