Hellish linchpin of the world crap economy Wal-Mart has spent this entire year trying to lure Americans back into their low-priced honey trap. Yes, we know, you already buy everything at Wal-Mart, because it's cheap, and also because it put all the other stores out of business. But it's simply not enough.

Yesterday, Wal-Mart announced its first quarter financial results. Operating income was up. Earnings per share were up. Net sales were up. No thanks to you, Americans—all the growth is coming from overseas. U.S. same store sales fell for the eighth quarter in a row. Here in Main Street USA, Wal-Mart is still wrestling with the existential question: "Why don't you Americans love us any more? Is it our clothes?"

"We're simply not converting enough of our grocery customers to shop apparel," said William S. Simon, the president and chief executive of Wal-Mart's United States division, in a conference call with investors.

Next time you're spending your very last pile of nickels on enough budget rice to get you through the week at two meals a day, why not pick up some Hanes™ brand apparel—located right across the aisle, at Wal-Mart? You don't want Wal-Mart to have to leave town, do you?

[NYT, photo via AP]