It appears that Wal-Mart has turned around its two-year long sales slide that seemed, momentarily, to mark the end of America's love affair with big box bottom-feeding. Same-store sales have now risen for four straight quarters, overseas sales are growing, and the company is once again dominant enough to be considered the leading indicator of the financial health of you, the consumer. So how are you doing out there? Poorly.

It's not always sunny in Wal-Mart World. Even the world's biggest retailer has to deal with you people, and your poverty:

Still, customers living paycheck-to-paycheck "remains pronounced" in the U.S, said Chief Executive Mike Duke. There are "continuing economic pressures."

Wal-Mart has been challenged recently as its core lower-income customers in the U.S. contend with high gasoline prices and persistently high unemployment levels.

Sad. I wonder how many Wal-Mart customers are facing continuing economic pressures due to the full-scale destruction of small business in America's small towns and a relentless drive by certain powerful retail players to squeeze every last cent out of its supply chain at the expense of countless other, smaller businesses and their workers?

Ah well. You can always apply for a job at Wal-Mart.

[WSJ. Photo: AP]