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One Dollar, No Holler

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader

2009-12-19


I’ve got a great idea! With the economy the way it is, why not declare 2009 the year of the Dollar Store present? We’d still be spending money to help the economy; only restricting our shopping to one of these shrines to the greenback wouldn’t bust the budget.

Because I care about my readers (all five of you) I walked through one of these dime stores of the millennium just to see what was available. Bear in mind, the selection of items might have changed between the time I wrote this and the time it was published, but I’d like to go down in history as the Woman Who Started the Dollar Store Christmas. Who knows, maybe Lifetime will make a movie about it. Anyway, here’s what I found:

Decorative boxes in the shape of a candle shop and a candy shop. These would make great packaging for homemade gifts like cookies or ornaments. They would also work as gifts on their own.

A hinged ceramic box with an angel playing a violin on top of it.

For those expecting, they had an assortment of blue and pink baby booties, suitable for ornaments, gift box decorations or holding candy.

Those of you wishing to expand your assortment of glassware will be relieved to know you can find champagne flutes (two for a dollar), martini glasses (made of real glass) and Coca-Cola glasses. Why buy an unhealthy value meal at McDonald’s just to get one of these free glasses? Take those six bucks you would have spent eating and stock up on Coke glasses! Plus, this particular dollar store had Coke glasses in the adorable six ounce size, and also featured regular size Coke glasses with handles on them (Coke mugs?).

Here’s an idea: at the front of the store are those little replica village houses and businesses that normally sell for $15 apiece at other stores. Granted, these are smaller, but how about buying one each for several friends, then have the village set up at a different friend’s house every year? A rotating village that always has a home. What could be more heartwarming and cornier?

As with almost every facet of American retailing, there is a sense of the absurd at the dollar store. This is where you try crap out without blowing a fortune on it. You also realize that the American consumer is expected to buy anything and everything, including the following:
If you’ve always wanted an “American Idol” magic grow towel, get thee to the Dollar Tree on Lima Road. (The face cloth is in aisle six). Thankfully, Simon Cowell’s face was nowhere to be found, but I wasn’t in the market for towels today, so I walked by. They also had an “AI” soap dispenser, but I passed on that too.

The car air vent freshener with spinning roulette wheel falls into the “what were they thinking” category. The copy on the package said (sic)” Checkout the action as the ball bounces from one number to the next.” But presumably, not while you’re driving.

A light-up hand clapper, for those of you too lazy to use both hands to clap. I KNOW you’re out there!

An “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” watch? Yes, it’s here. But I was intrigued and tempted by the Cool Mint Foot Splash. I walked on, wondering who would buy Glamourlines Magic Solution Breast Petals. I never thought my nipples were in need of restraint, but at least I know where to go to take control of them.

The vaguely Chinese looking purses were kinda pretty; my eye was caught by a small bag that seemed made out of potholder loops. By far, it seemed the sturdiest of the pocketbooks.

Eating on the cheap? There’s a selection of food here from various salads (ham, chicken, tuna, fat free tuna) by Brunswick, as well as smoked oysters, salmon, Shasta Cola, Stars and Stripes Cola and Wolfgang Puck’s Chicken Tortilla Soup. Need praying hands in the shape of chocolate? Rest easy, they’re here.

After all that shopping, you deserve to come home, pop some chow mein (yes, they’ve got that too) into the microwave and watch “Project Kill” starring everyone’s favorite Naked Gun, Leslie Nielsen.

As I left, it sort of warmed my heart that you could get everything you needed for a holiday get-together at rock bottom prices. (Generic Chex mix and various nuts were also up for grabs). Come on, what you waiting for? It’s only a dollar!

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