We remember, not long ago, when Wal-Mart collected more negative headlines than Kobe Bryant hit fade-away jump shots.Towns didn’t want the retailer to open a store in its borders. The company treated its employees like dirt. It was destroying the environment. Mom and pop stores were being laid to waste by Wal-Mart’s expansion. There were countless critics and a well-publicized documentary was released. Sure, the largest retailer in the world still has its detractors, especially some blogs in particular. But we have certainly noticed a decrease in this negativity.A recent New York Times article sheds some light on this development. Apparently two anti-Wal-Mart groups, Wal-Mart Watch and WakeUpWalMart.com are scaling back their operations and making more of an effort to work with the retail giant in changing its practices instead of going to battle.It seems like Wal-Mart has done a lot on the public relations end. And in regards to the environment, many green-minded professionals we’ve spoken with surprisingly point to the chain as being a trailblazer in sustainability.Have you noticed a drop in the criticism of Wal-Mart? And if so, what do you think is driving it? Or is this only a temporary lull that will be followed by more intense criticism of the company, for whatever reason?

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