by Kelly

Let's face it: Target rocks! And it rocks in so many, many ways...not the least of which is that little gem you walk into straight away as you enter the store: The Dollar Bins! For those who get their kicks out of daft items and cheap amusements (such as ourselves) this area is an almighty mountain of absurd fun. Admittedly, some trips are better than others - as with any day of shopping. But when you hit the jackpot at the Target Dollar Bins it's always a great day!

Lately I've found myself purchasing terrible compilation DVDs, multicolor pens, children's games, and even Christmas clothes for my cat (ok, that was $2.50) from these bins. But nothing beats the day I found name brand plastic cereal and plastic ice cream. I'll start with the cereal. I saw these babies and knew we had to purchase and examine them further:

That's right, kids, the most hideous imitations imaginable of your favorite cereals were just sitting there waiting to be bought. As of last week at least one local Target had some left, if you'd like to purchase one or several. Let's take a closer look, shall we?

What really struck me about these, right from the start, was how much they did not look like any actual cereal I have ever eaten. Just look at the Froot Loops! When was the last time you noticed your Froot Loops melting into your milk? That green one on the right looks like something from a dinosaur's nose. Then there's the Frosted Flakes, which also look nothing like the real thing. They look more like...oh, I don't know...some strange pastry? The manufacturers of this product have made the discrepancies between the real and fake cereal even more obvious to us by so kindly putting photos of the actual cereal right on the box. What might have slipped by is now even more obvious. For instance, the real picture shows purple Loops. The fake Loops don't include purple, but do include dark blue...something I may not have thought about had it not been for the photo. I can excuse the clear cereal box as a marketing ploy...but when your marketing ploy is "seeing the fake cereal before you buy it" shouldn't the fake cereal look as realistic as possible?

Every box of cereal came with a bowl, a spoon, a "banana" and a flattened out "carton of milk."


The back of the plastic box has a warning label (there's always "absurd" potential on warning labels). It says, "CAUTION! Wash all food/drink playthings thoroughly before use. Not dishwasher, oven or microwave oven safe." So you must wash everything, but not in the dishwasher. Darn it! I was so looking forward to washing that milk carton in there. I guess I'll have to wash it some other way now. And now I can't microwave that banana either. Goddammit.

When I got these suckers home I didn't wash the items first, but I immediately decided to investigate them. I hope I didn't pick up some strange Chinese disease (they were made in China). I honestly couldn't believe what I thought I was seeing in the box. Was the "cereal" actually an arc of painted plastic?

I decided to open the Rice Krispies because of the three cereals before me, they seemed the most daft.


Here are the contents of the Rice Krispies box; spoon, "milk," bowl, box, "cereal" and "banana":

Oh dear, this almost speaks for itself (I wouldn't have been surprised if it had!). I give to you..."Rice Krispies"!

It looks like something our cat barfed up. This was made of that thin, yogurt container-type of plastic. The kind you can give yourself a nasty paper cut on. Great for the kids! What is that white line? Some kind of blood vessel? A foamy river with tributaries? And how about what I assume must be a strawberry? Or is it a clown's nose? Honestly! WTF? Side view:

The "cereal" was really that paper thin. The "milk," the bowl, and the spoon weren't as bad. The bowl and spoon were kind of cute. The banana was totally lame - lacking any discerning characteristics to confirm it is indeed, a banana and not some life form from the same planet as this "cereal." The milk carton was a total bitch to put together. I know I look stupid saying that. It wasn't as easy as it seems. I don't think a kid could figure it out.

The "cereal" in the bowl. More realistic? Nah. In fact, it doesn't even fit in the bowl correctly, so you can always see that it's paper thin. So daft! And it still looks like cat barf with a vein and a clown nose.

The whole yummy breakfast!


Kellogg's really could have done better than authorizing these piece of utter crap. What were they thinking? It was good because it was funny and I guess that's why they were only a dollar each. I don't know, because you'll see below that Dairy Queen also had offerings for a dollar and they were a whole lot better. But for Kellogg's this doesn't help a whole lot for advertising how appetizing their food might be. I may never eat Rice Krispies again.

One company did get it right: Dairy Queen. I picked these up in the Target Dollar Bins the same day as the Kellogg's items and what a difference!

Right down to the last detail (well, almost - the Blizzard has its problems, as you'll see) Dairy Queen did it 100% better than Kellogg's. To start, the packaging wasn't a scratched up clear plastic box. No, their packaging looked so difficult to get into - and the items so nice - that I decided not to open these. Perhaps they'll be worth $2 each someday! We'll start with the banana split:

Just look at it! It looks delicious! Ok, I don't know what the yellow stuff on the middle blob is supposed to be (my guess is caramel) but that's minor compared to the Rice Krispies debacle-in-a-box. Just look at the detailing on this banana:

Compare it to the bananas in the Kellogg's boxes and you'd think this one was real. The strawberry looks less real, but again, compared with the "strawberry" in the "Rice Krispies" it's a Michaelangelo!

Both of the Dairy Queen items came with little doily-like napkins. Another A+ for details! I'm surprised the Kellogg's boxes didn't come with a replica dirty bib!

The second Dairy Queen item was this Blizzard and Ice Cream Sandwich:

I have never had a Blizzard myself. We don't have Dairy Queens around here (which is one reason it's a little baffling to find these toys here). However, I am almost completely sure Blizzards don't contain lady bugs. Am I right? Well, these look like they do. Or lady bug parts!

So much for my theory that Dairy Queen made more realistic fake strawberries! At least they tried to make more detailed fruit. Mad props for that. And the straw is a lovely touch. The ice cream sandwich contains no bug parts that I could see and looks good enough to eat.

I think I'm going to go get some ice cream now. This concludes the first of what I hope will be a series of posts delving deeper into the Target Dollar Bins. Let us know what you find!

(Posted 12/2006)