Not everyone's "standard of living" goes up because someone saves on a can of beans though... And Wal-Mart has a lot of negative business practices (so do many businesses though of course) going on. I think that's where people cite a dislike for the store.
Crowds, how they negatively impact a local area they crop up in... These are factors mostly only pertinent to those who have to live within the bounds of the store. It's like a prison... Many people may want more, bigger, better prisons but they don't want it in their town because they'll view it as something of a blight irregardless of jobs it may create.
I don't look at WM as the salvation of the American family though, and in all my years in business NOBODY has said to me that Wal-Mart is creating a legacy of improving the lives of Americans.
I'm sorry Dafoo, that's comical to me in many ways... There are positives, there are negatives. The store causes big problems and a decrease in quality of life for many, it I'm sure is great for others, but I don't think you'll find anyone who looks at Wal-Mart as being a key to people's lives getting better except people inside Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart is just changing the face of retail, or has changed it anyway, and retail is growing above and beyond what Wal-Mart has done already. So now Wal-Mart too is changing with it and so on and so forth.
Personally I still prefer going to Target for this and that, and my local grocery store for my food, the mall for different things, the local auto parts for things to work on my car, etc., etc... The reasons why I don't care for Wal-Mart usually vary from the uncleanliness to the crowded nature of the store to even things I disagree with them on in general business practices... Just not my cup of tea, and I really only look at the store as a necessary evil anymore.