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Tom Mackenson, Cory's father, earns his living as a milkman, working a delivery route for Green Meadows Dairy in the town of Zephyr, Alabama. In the autumn of 1964, a revolutionary event takes place in a nearby town: A supermarket where milk is sold in scores of disposable jugs opens. Big Paul's Pantry stocks so much milk that it undercuts the dairy's prices. Cory's mother compensates for Tom's drop in income, by making and selling baked goods. Within a few weeks of this ruinous event, Green Meadows Dairy begins trimming hours off their milk delivery routes, including Tom Mackenson's, and dropping prices. All to no avail. As a dairy manager remarks to Tom: "...home milk delivery is as dead as the dinosaurs." Finally, four days after Thanksgiving, Green Meadows Dairy fires Tom Mackenson. This sea change inspires prophecy in Cory's father. In his longest monologue, Tom forecasts the coming of the consumerist 'Wal-Mart' culture to America: Stores open to all hours with lighting that hurts the eyes; families in the stores and not at home, "buyin' stuff that the big banners hangin' from the ceiling say you ought to buy;" a multitude of stores under one roof in nameless towns; and it all begins, says Tom Mackenson, with one supermarket.
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