For the past two years, fewer and fewer Americans have been shopping at Wal-Mart. Historians know this as the "National Wising Up" period. Alas, Wal-Mart is now luring us back in. What is wrong with us?

Oh, right; we're all incredibly poor. Still. I expect more from us, as Americans. Just kidding. Wal-Mart told analysts yesterday that its store revenues started rising again, for each of the past three months. The crushing systemic impoverishment of an entire nation which makes a mockery of our fabled "middle class" has a silver lining after all!

But the company has noticed that lower gas prices in recent months helped raise consumer spending toward the end of the month. Shoppers are still stretched and fragile, only buying what they need. But that loosening up just a bit was encouraging news after Wal-Mart has seen spending around the paycheck cycle become more pronounced over the past 12 to 18 months.

As long as we ensure than Americans can set aside no more than $1.36 from their unemployment check, which will buy just enough gas to power their dilapidated wreck to the nearest Wal-Mart for bi-monthly stockings-up on bare necessities of the very lowest price and quality, I think this company could see some bright days ahead.

Something to celebrate, as a nation! With a Wal-Mart sheet cake.

[BW. Photo: AP]