Tuesday, May 3, 2011

14 Frivolous Items that I Always Feel Compelled to Buy at the Dollar Store But Don't

By now you've figured out that I'm a stay-at-home-mom in the Mount Pleasant area, and when I'm not cleaning or cooking I go for walks.  In the past 18 or so months, I've pretty much memorized this area of Vancouver.  I know where everything is sold, how much it costs, where it's cheaper, etc.  Part of the reason why I take so many walks is that Aias will absolutely not nap anywhere but in his stroller. So each day around 1pm, rain or shine, off we go.  As long as the stroller keeps rolling, Aias keeps sleeping.  I feel so safe and adjusted to this neighborhood that I rarely leave it; even taking a walk to Kits or South Granville feels like I've wandered into someone else's territory.  I used to leave the area on a rare occasion to walk up to the Dollar Giant on Commercial Drive or to the Dollar Giant on Kingsway up past Clark.  A few weeks ago I noticed they were building a "Your Dollar Store with More" at 398 West Broadway, which happens to be in the area of my usual haunts (technically near Cambie Village but hey, close enough).  My immediate reaction was annoyance since I'd much rather have had them build a Dollar Giant. Why loyalty to Dollar Giant? At Dollar Giant everything is $1.25 or less; none of this garbage of paying $10 for stuff at a "dollar" store.  I turned up my nose.  A few days after my birthday, Your Dollar Store with More opened.  I decided to wander in.

Am I ever glad I did!  This store is awesome; it basically has everything the Dollar Giant has but in lots of cases the items are actually less because they cost $1 instead of $1.25.  It's clean, it's one floor (the Dollar Giant up Kingsway has a whole second floor but no elevator), and it has tons of great stuff.  What really won me over at first were the giant straws which make for excellent domes.  At any rate, I was pleased. I'm especially happy that I now basically have no reason to ever leave my neighborhood. 

Now, it's hard for me to not write about my own inner politics with dollar stores; I love walking through a dollar store so much, but at the same time I can't shake the fact that they probably aren't the most ethical of places.  First you have the fact that lots of the stuff was probably made by people in sweatshops overseas.  Second you have another fact that most of the stuff is probably made with BPA or other sketchy materials.  Finally, most of the stuff there is frivolous and really just there to get you to buy more stuff, ultimately filling landfills or your homes with things that probably shouldn't have existed in the first place.  So yes, I've hung a dark cloud over an otherwise not-so-sad post, but I did feel the need to recognize that I'm aware of these facts.  Nonetheless, I still like to browse through every once in a while.  I even buy stuff sometimes; for example, dome materials.  Although I have to admit, sometimes I do find it hard to hold back from buying a bunch of frivolous yet strangely appealing stuff, stuff that I will now present to you.  I have no idea why these things always catch my eye; maybe it's my inner drive to hoard or something?  At any rate, I now present to you:

14 Frivolous Items that I Always Feel Compelled to Buy at the Dollar Store But Don't

1. Felt
Ever since we sewed with felt in my 7th grade Home Ect. class, I always get this strange urge to buy felt (it's only ever 2 or 3 for $1!) and sew things out of it.  Felt food, felt pillows, felt pouches, whatever.  The other day when I went with my friend Suze, I had actually picked out $5 worth of felt (that's 15 pieces at this store).  I have no idea what I intended to do with it, but I wanted it!  My friend just gave me a brand new sewing machine so I will probably succumb to this purchase at some point, maybe to make some felt toys for Aias, but on this occasion I put the felt back.  I should at least wait until I've actually set up the sewing machine before buying felt. 

2. Decorative Boxes
 These decorative boxes always get me.  They come in various sizes and prints, and they just look adorable.  Sometimes when I buy people gifts I buy these boxes, or if I'm mailing something to someone.   Many Christmases ago my mom sent my Christmas presents in two giant decorative boxes with Santa on them and while one of them was crushed while moving, the other still holds some craft supplies.  The fact is, I should not own boxes like this.  Why? I'll find a bunch of crap to put in them, that's why.  Still, oh how they taunt me!

3. Novelty Items for Bachelorette and Wedding Parties
   I always find these items so hilarious.  Back in the day when I was doing the marriage thing with my ex, I had a bachelorette party but it was about as exciting as a morning at church.  In fact, it basically was a morning at church.  There was definitely no sign of alcohol or male strippers or anything like that.  Perhaps that's part of why the marriage fizzled, who knows?  Maybe I'm feeling deprived, I don't know, but for some reason I always think it would be so fun to buy these cheesy things.  My friend Suze and I decided that since we've both sworn off marriage, we should have a faux bachelorette party for our other friends who have done the same.  Then we can enjoy all this frivolous pre-marriage festivity but without actually getting hitched. 

4. Wall Stickers
 These are other items I think I will someday indulge in, at least when we have a place that's more permanent.  For some reason the idea of these stickers being stuck onto my walls seems like a really cute idea.  Back when I was pregnant I often walked to Loomis (now DeSerres) and would look at all the wall stickers.  Of course, those wall stickers were a veritable investment with their costs being up to $100 per sheet.  These ones cost $2!  They even have some giant ones that I'm pretty sure are the same exact ones they sell at DeSerres and Michaels and they are also $2.  Maybe someday... I should probably wait until Aias is old enough to stick them on himself, because with my limited artistic ability it will probably look like he decided where to put them anyway.

5. Giant Bows
These are the biggest gift bows I have ever seen.  Seriously, they are bigger than my head.   There's absolutely no logical reason why I'd ever want to have anything to do with these.  They are basically the size of a box you'd need if you were going to jump out of a giant gift box.  I hope people buy them and they keep them in stock because I would be sad to never see one again. 

6. Justin Bieber Birthday Party Stuff
Ok, this one isn't something I ever feel compelled to buy, but you KNOW it's hilarious.  This isn't even all of it.  At least 5 people laughed at me when I took a picture of this.   I feel like these are going to make some 10 year old girl very, very happy on her birthday. 

7.  Stylishly Printed Cleaning Tools
 Yet another frivolous item that I will probably actually purchase someday.  I keep telling myself that when we move into a more permanent place, we will have a full set of coordinated stylish cleaning products. Dream big, Monika, dream big. But in all seriousness, they have mini brooms that cost $2 and I'm feeling pretty choked that I spent $10 on a toy broom set for Aias when I could have gotten him a higher quality and way cuter set for a fraction of the price.  

8. Giant Straws
Much like the Biebs party supplies, this is a cheat too since I actually HAVE purchased these giant straws to make domes.  Look at all the gorgeous colours!  Even the tiny straws come in awesome colours.  If you want to build a tensegrity dome, why NOT use awesome straws? I hope to God that people have a use for these giant straws because I'll be so sad if they stop selling them.  I have no idea where else I would find them. 

9. Hawaiian Luau Party Novelties
 In another dimension, perhaps in a universe parallel to this one, I am a crafting domestic diva with a lovely house and huge yard, and I use this huge yard to host theme parties. It is in this dimension that I would frequently host luau parties. And why shouldn't I?

10.  Scrapbooking Supplies
 In my aforementioned life in a parallel universe, when I am not hosting theme parties, I am scrapbooking.  In fact, my huge beautiful house has a whole scrapbooking room in it.  Now, I've seriously considered taking on scrapbooking before, the only problem is the existence of the Internet. Why would I throw money and paper away when I could just post all of my memories on the Internet?  About a decade ago I actually did make a scrapbook.  Now all my efforts are sitting in a box somewhere not even being looked at.  I won't make that mistake again; those paper cuts simply weren't worth it in the long run. Not to mention that half that stuff looks like a choking hazard.

11.  Glitter Paint
 Technically it's not glitter paint, but rather, Glamour Dust! Whenever I see this Glamour Dust I actually ask myself if there is anything I own that I should paint with glitter.  Seriously!  I feel like one of these days one of the domes we build is going to be painted with Glamour Dust, that is, if I don't first find inexpensive Glow In the Dark Paint.

12.  Tiny Bags of Glitter
Here I go again with the glitter.  For some reason I can't get over what a fantastic deal it is to get these 5 bags of glitter for a dollar. It's not just these colours, but a whole rainbow of them you can buy. I seriously have zero use for this glitter; it doesn't even stick automatically to something like the Glamour Dust (which I will continue to capitalize as though it is a very important proper name).  

13. Bingo Blotters
Ever since I saw my first bingo blotter, I've wanted to own one.  This makes absolutely zero sense since I have never in my life played bingo.  It's not that I'm not open to it, it's just never presented itself as a real opportunity.  I think what I love about these bingo blotters is the little foamy tips and how they operate like a stamp (rubber stamps being another frivolous item I tend to enjoy in that parallel universe I mentioned earlier).  I also like how you can hear the paint in them when you shake it.  Nevertheless, I absolutely don't need one.  Can you imagine the damage a toddler could do with one of these? No thanks. 

14.  Nail Duos
 The final item that draws me in as I go to exit the store: nail duos.  These are little nail polish kits that come in two colours.  The first colour has a regular sized nail brush and the second has an ultra thin brush so you can draw things on your fingernails. Priorities, Monika, priorities. 

So there you have it, the 14 Frivolous Items that I Always Feel Compelled to Buy at the Dollar Store But Don't.  I'm surprised I haven't been arrested yet, seeing as I go into this store almost daily and today I was taking a bunch of pictures. Even though I buy something probably 50% of the time, they probably go on high alert when they see me because they probably figure I'm shoplifting.  I'm not shoplifting, Your Dollar Store with More, I'm just trying to kill time while my child naps in his stroller!  I'm waiting for one of the cashiers to strike up a conversation with me so I can explain this. 

Finally I give you a photo I took of Your Dollar Store with More; the police car just happens to be there, no one was being arrested, unless they were there to question the crazy woman who comes in 4-5 times a week and was just taking pictures; I guess she got out just in time.  

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  1. Who wouldn't want a leopard print plunger?!

  2. Okay I have two comments....
    #1 - The bachelorette party thing kills me. Hahaha I guess I have to take some responsibility right? Monika, I am truly sorry! I would like a second chance to help plan your bachelorette party if you should decide that you want a fake one in the future =). Believe me I am WAY better at planning them now!

    #2 - I remember in high school we went to the dollar store and you found the coolest thing EVER. It was a hair straightener that applied tattoos to your hair. I actually have no idea how the thing worked or even if it worked. I was so impressed with your purchase I remember it 10+ years later. So I think it is safe to say that your dollar store finds have always been a strong point for you! Glad to see that you have kept up your talent!


  3. I pretty well smiled through this entire post. DAMN YOU decorative boxes and stylishly printed cleaning tools!

    ... I kinda also have strange feelings about Bingo blotters, but I think that's because I keep meaning to go. -- MONIKA, we NEED to have our faux Bachelorette party and have the first stop be Planet Bingo on Main. No arguments.

  4. @ Jes, OMG no you cannot take any credit for that bachelorette party, I 100% blame that on the Christian nightmare my life was at that time. I'm laughing so hard thinking about it. At least the food was good!!!

    ALSO I TOTALLY REMEMBER THAT GLITTER HAIR TATTOO THING! Dollar tree FTW! I bet it's still somewhere in my mom's garage. When I go back to visit I'm gonna find that thing and gift it to your baby as an antique heirloom!

    @ Susan: IT'S ON! We are so gonna do it now that you have approved it. I will message Suze about it this week. Oh God, combining it with Bingo will make it that much better. Why is life so good, lol!

  5. Ok, seriously, our stores here don't sell the giant straws or the nail duos...I WANT!!!!

    Thanks so much for stopping by and following! I appreciate! I am gladly following back! (and yay! you're Canadian too!)

  6. I enjoyed browsing your site! I'm following from welcome wednesday blog hop. I hope you can follow back :)

  7. Hello, I am a new follower. I would love it if you would visit my blog and follow me back at Valerie @ My-2-Cents

    Thank you
    Have a blessed week!

  8. Why doesn't my dollar store have all of these great things? I would be so tempted too!

    I'm stopping by from the Super Stalker Sunday Hop! Thanks for participating and I'm looking forward to "stalking" you!
    Mariah, FormulaMom

  9. Great post! I always have the same problem XD Except in my case, it's largely anything I think will look aesthetically pleasing for scrapbooking, so anything with swirls, good vibrant colors, nicely textured paper, I need to pull myself away XD Haha.

  10. Here Because of the Fab Friends Blog Hop.
    Following. If I was crafty inclined I would so pick up stuff from dollar stores.

  11. Steve says "It's just your inner Packrat demanding to be satisfied." Gramma says"That's great for Aias to have a mommy who likes to walk,so he can get his sleep,which I'm told a growing bay needs." Keep it up.

  12. Steve says
    it's your "Inner Packrat". I say, Good for you. Not only is it good exercise,it gives Aias the sleep a growing boy needs.

  13. Thank you so much for sending the link to your wonderful entertaining blog about our Your Dollar Store With More on West Broadway! It truly was a joy to read! We’d like to respond to the third paragraph where you question the origin and content of the products in our stores: all of our plastics that are for babies and food purposes, are made of 100% virgin plastics. Most say right on the label “BPA Free”, and in the case of baby products, also say “BPA, Phthalates and PVC Free”. All of our ‘Made in Thailand’ Baby’s Choice products are from one of the biggest manufactures in the world who are also making OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) for the biggest names in the industry (Gerber, Playtex, etc.) and you know that WalMart and the big companies would never allow bad conditions in their factory audits.

    The rules and regulations for product safety are not determined by their cost or selling price - the same standards apply to all products. Your Dollar Store With More strives to provide its customers with high value, quality products and only purchases from established vendors that are required to be compliant with all known guidelines – domestic and overseas. Our company has strict product guidelines and processes that suppliers must meet in order to even be approved by us. This is assured by a contract between Your Dollar Store With More Head Office, and the vendor that includes the following conditions (and many more), copied verbatim from that contract:

    •The goods you supply to YDSWM are not faulty in design or construction and the product is suitable for the purpose for which it is sold by the retail seller.
    •The product performs to an appropriate standard of safety and complies with all applicable laws and regulations that apply to products of this type and the product achieves the requested result where applicable.

    As for your “14 Frivolous Items that I Always Feel Compelled to Buy at the Dollar Store But Don't”, we certainly hope you someday give into temptation and purchase them all, and some more decorative boxes to put everything in as well!


    Your Dollar Store With More
    Corporate Office

  14. Those decorative boxes always get me too!

    And it is awesomely hilarious that you actually got a comment from the Dollar Store's head office. XD


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