FEBRUARY 17, 2007

by Kelly

Back in ancient times - the mid 1990s - when I first graduated from college, I found myself working at a little Dollar Store in my "Industrial Wasteland" hometown in upstate NY (let's hear it for state run institutions!). This was, believe it or not, one of my favorite jobs of all time. The work was easy, the people mostly pleasant, and it was fun to have first dibs on anything new that came in. Being able to afford anything in a store was a pretty new concept for me at the time. Even if it was just a dollar store! Since this time I have gotten a much better job (or several), but I still have a place in my heart for the dollar store concept. For, in a dollar store lurks both the unmitigated bargain and the completely absurd.

The best time to visit a dollar store is around a holiday. Which for stores is virtually all the time. You know how it goes - even in August the Halloween displays are being set up. When we visited a local Dollar Tree on February 17th, there was nary a Valentine's Day item on the shelves. But Easter (not until April this year) was already in full-swing!

Nothing says "Easter" like a full-frontal onslaught of miniature Easter Trees! What? You've never heard of an Easter Tree? Then you, my friend, have not been to a dollar store! These particular Easter Trees were so small no Easter ornaments could even be hung on the branches. I guess their purpose is to just sit around and be pastel. I wonder how the pastel palette came to be synonymous with Easter? When Jesus rose from the dead did he proclaim "No bold colors shall represent this miracle!"? But, I digress...

I thought these plastic Easter Bunny cups, while a little odd, kicked all kinds of Easter ass. The faces are so well-done and very cute! Sure, your drink will be top-heavy and fall right over, ruining your newly finished coffee table (no coaster can stop this inevitable disaster)...but don't those faces just make the clean-up worth it?

Moving away from the Easter displays, I spotted this pile of  Grab Bags. Defined as: "Stuff nobody's buying so we cram it in paper bags, label it a "surprise" and see how many of you idiots (or your idiot children) fall for it." Well, judging by the amount of ripped-open and discarded brown bags, most people don't "love surprises" quite as much as the sign demands.


The thing above is actually a pen. Really.

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, got a birthday bag full of underpants, at the dollar store for you!
This reminds me of the time that Ham and I were at my doctors office, in the waiting room, where an old lady with no internal monologue, no volume down button and no self-awareness was screeching to her companion about her recent trip to the dollar store: "I GOT WHITE UNDERPANTS AT THE DOLLAR STORE!" she screeched, sending Ham and I into giggle fits we could hardly stifle.

Johnny Rzeznick should have these sold at Goo Goo Dolls concerts, don't you think?


And finally, the above - my favorite item in this trip to the dollar store. Kids Bible story dinnerware! What kid doesn't want to find, after he eats his peas and liverwurst, a half-naked Adam & Eve cartoon smiling up at him, all creepy-like? That one is definitely the most disturbing. The other designs are harder to detect, although one represents Noah's ark. We should have bought these. Darn my tendency to get overwhelmingly embarrassed over buying such things!

And thus ends our trip to the dollar store to hunt for Easter absurdity. We hope to come to you often in the future with holiday dollar store reports!

(Posted 03/2007)