Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Much has been written in recent years about the economic effect of discount stores; but where did this perception come from? Atlantic correspondent Ellen Ruppel Shell chronicles our initial distrust of cheap to its current popularity. From food, to clothing and furniture this comprehensive volume analyzes the real price of cheap. --Holly


A myth-shattering investigation of the true cost of America's passion for finding a better bargain

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 with bargains is arguably the most powerful and devastating market force of our time, having fueled an excess of consumerism that blights our land­scapes, escalates personal debt, lowers our standard of living, and even skews of our concept of time.

Spotlighting the peculiar forces that drove Americans away from quality, durability, and craftsmanship and towards quantity, quantity, and more quantity, Ellen Ruppel Shell traces the rise of the bargain through our current big-box profusion to expose the astronomically high cost of cheap.

About the Author

Ellen Ruppel Shell is a correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly, and has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, National Geographic, Time, Discover, Seed, and dozens of other national publications. She is the author, most recently, of The Hungry Gene, which was published in six languages, and is Associate Professor and Co-Director of the Knight Center for Science and Medical Journalism at Boston University.

Product Details ISBN-10: 0143117637
ISBN-13: 9780143117636
Published: Penguin Books, 06/29/2010
Pages: 320
Language: English
Recommended Reading Level Minimum Age: 18
Maximum Age: 17
Minimum Grade Level: College Freshman
Maximum Grade Level: 12th Grade