Like theater troupes, street gangs, and Widespread Panic concerts, dollar stores attract a unique and discerning clientele. Unique because many of them cannot, with any regularity, satisfy the minimum dress requirement to get into Wal-Mart.
Discerning because… well… let’s just say with the exception of the recently-expired-snack aisle, more than a few of them have smoked enough to be discerning a good deal more than the rest of us.
I, too, am discerning a good deal more than I particularly care to do. Mostly, I am discerning the two irate gentlemen beside me, eyeing a Truman-era deodorant display, and grumbling about how one dollar is far too much to pay for deodorant. Oh, am I ever discerning it – every time I reach a point I can no longer discreetly hold my breath.
Though, given my elitist criticism, I suppose I should provide a cursory explanation as to what my high-rolling, jet-setting, English-studying self was doing in such a wretched hive of scum and villainy.
What brought me to the ends of the universe was a search, albeit one probably doomed to failure, for sufficient materials to motivate a toddler to crap in either our toilet or the neighbor’s lawn. Hey – I’m misanthropic, and I believe in giving children opportunities to assert their independence, provided said opportunities can be used to advance my own passive aggressive agenda. But to return to the topic of what precisely one can get for a dollar, I’ve discovered the answer includes a surprising amount of religious artifacts. Allow me to offer a couple examples:
- Holy Bible crosswords
- Chocolate praying hands
Ultimately, I decided to go for stickers. And some crayons. The stickers don’t stick, and the crayons don’t color (though me and little brother still sing bass and tenor), but my net investment was $2. In short, I’m not mad.
I am, however, perplexed. My investment was almost $3. The primary reason it was not is due to the fact I’m still not entirely certain what that last buck would have purchased. You see, when I approached the dollar store cashier, an individual who even at his tender age embodies the Peter Principle, I heard the following statement:
“Do you want [insert incomprehensible mumbling noises here]? They’re three for a dollar.”
I was not entirely sure what to make of it. I dare say the only safe answer was, “No.” To date, I am still uncertain what precisely he was trying to upsell. I think it might have been drugs. And while I ingested a great many things I’m not exactly proud of over the course of my life, I’m fairly certain I don’t want the three-for-a-dollar drugs from the guy at the dollar store. With age comes a cursory amount of wisdom – rather comparable to a rabbit that has seen all his litter mates run down by eighteen wheelers and subsequently decides not to frolic in the street.
Of course, that didn’t stop me from buying the stickers that don’t stick and the colors that don’t color, but still – one out of three. I’ve had worse days.