There are those who seem to believe that big department store chains like Wal-Mart carry almost everything that exists. This is, however an illusion.
Writer Chris Anderson observes that this impression is part of the paradox of plenty. He writes: “Walk into a Wal-Mart and you’re overwhelmed by abundance and choice. Yet look closer and the utter thinness of this cornucopia is revealed. Wal-Mart’s shelves are a display case a mile wide and twenty-four inches deep” (Chris Anderson, The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More, New York: Hyperion, rev. and updated, 2008, p.156).
Anderson notes that the actual proportion of goods that exist is more like a world that is one mile wide and a mile deep. The Wal-Mart abundance is really just a veneer of all the variety that exists.