09 February 2013

Dollar Store

Shopping can be such a drag. Time wasted going from one store to another. Department stores used to be nice because you could find eight out of ten items there. Now my favourite department store has turned into a catwalk of designer-label boutiques. Another one decided to change their floors upside down and inside out and I can't find a thing. Hence the necessity to broaden my horizons.

I declare: Dollar stores are the new department stores. One can only marvel at the crowded, gleaming wares and twenty-first century manufacturing ingenuity. The spirit of sharing compels me, should you decide to try out the new kid on the block (the new kid takes up most of a city block in my neighbourdamhood). Bring your heftiest shopping bag to carry home the stuff you didn't know you need.

Naysayers might suggest China is taking over the planet but I checked. Numerous items are made in Canada and the USA. Overall one might say there's a subdued but substantial global air. Inflation and intrinsic value have forced dollar store owners to create tiny little stickers for certain products that say $2 or ~gasp~ even $3.

 Valentine Day was uppermost during a recent visit; a whole aisle of red and pink love, glowing with glitter to warm your heart and make you forget your slush-covered boots. I resisted the satin pillow shaped like two red lips ($3). We head into the household supplies section. You might need table cloth weights. To hold down the corners of a tablecloth; imagine. I didn't know an LED faucet light was available, "temperature sensitive," presumably for those who prefer to watch a red or blue light instead of testing water with the fingers. You can "double your closet space" with a mysterious contraption in a long box.

Thermal insoles amongst the tools and paintbrushes. Mason twine in day-glo colours. Don't know what mason twine is, but the pink was attractive. Many kinds of tempting bungee cords, so handy for holding two awkward things together. Rubber kneepads with straps ($2); for those who still wash floors by hand? How about a large clock that says "Cherish yesterday dream tomorrow live today" (sic: no semi-colons) for $3? Or a plastic owl with an ugly round hole in its belly designed to serve as a birdhouse for smaller, probably not-too-intelligent birds. Inspirational sayings are also available as tasteful pastel wall plaques.

In the things to eat division, a well-known brand of tomato juice, size large, goes into my cart. I see the price went from $1 in 2012 to $1.50 in 2013. Not to worry, expiry date says June 2013. Large jar of dill pickles, made in India ($2); pass. Four varieties of dehydrated pad thai. Shelves and rows of canned goods. Stacks of packaged candy of unexamined origin begging to rot little teeth.

More doggie stuff than you can shake a stick at. Packs of "sidewalk chalk" thoughtfully enclosing animal templates, "washes away with water." A cordless gold club brush ($3). Golf club brush?! Then "the broccoli wad -- the ultimate money band!" as attested by Vincent Pastore, whoever he is. No helpful diagrams on the cardboard backing of the bullet-proof plastic; imagination is useful. Must have: a coffee-scented candle! A handsome "skeletal system chart" ($1.50) was hard to resist but momentary reality check, I've run out of wall space at home.
Surely your car craves an adorable little air freshener like this. Green, yellow, or orange. Another entire row seems dedicated to party supplies for sub-teens. Just load up here; no tearing your hair out over homemade gift packs (moi still wondering why the birthday mother has to give gifts to the kids who attend the party). A "light and sound" space gun ($3) for the birthday kid looks all too evil. Paper animal masks seem harmless. I counted at least eight different books of sudoku.

The cosmetic/personal care subdivision is not exactly your average drugstore where girly things overflow, and drugs or vitamins are few and far between. Nevertheless, a winner. A toothbrush packaged with pseudo-dental apparati: the tiny mirror on a long handle to inspect your back molars, and the metal tool with dangerous picks on each end, normally wielded with great artistry by dentist. You know you always wanted them! Brilliant. Well, it has a tongue-scraper too, meh.    

Now, if I buy this malleable ball does it have a cryptic purpose? Unknown childish game? Arthritis therapy for the hands? Or is it just for the sheer stress-relieving pleasure of imagining squeezing someone's throatf?

Bonus point: this place does not pipe music over loudspeakers. What satisfying treasures have YOU found in your local?


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  2. See? For my sins, that's the kind of comment I get.