Saturday, December 06, 2008

Bargain shopping.

I know the world is going to hell in a hand basket, and there is plenty of crap that I could be posting about. But sometimes the mind works in mysterious ways.

For instance, today I was out running around with Mrs. Field, and we just happened to pull into one of those strip malls that dot the A-merry-can landscape. The thing about strip malls is that if you play your cards right you can do damn near all of your shopping in one of those bad boys.

So anywho, there I was driving around the parking lot, looking for a parking space, when I spotted a sign that said, 89 CENT STORE. Yes, I said an 89 CENT STORE. Now I have no problem with bargains, and I love the fact that you can walk into a store and pretty much know the price of every damn thing in the place. And I am not going to front; I have been known to hit the Dollar store a time or two. You can get some well needed household necessities in the Dollar Store, so don't act like it's only me. But when is enough enough? I mean when I first saw a $5 or less store I thought it was kind of cool. At the time there were tons of stuff you could stock it with that cost $5 or less. Then I saw the $1 store, and I thought to myself that there was no way that they could pull it off. How could you stock an entire store with shit that cost $1 or less? But stock they did, and apparently it worked. How else do you explain the proliferation of $1 stores all over the damn place.

But an 89 CENT STORE? Come on now, again I say: where does it end? I mean I know times are hard but how much shit can you find for eighty nine cents? And it's not a lie, they mean that shit. Everything in the damn store is eighty nine cents or less. I know there are stores with Dollar in the title (down South they have a ton of them) such as "Dollar General", "Family Dollar", " and Dollar Plus". But there are lots of different prices in those stores. Believe me, my mother in law, bless her heart, does damn near all of her shopping in one such store down in South Louisiana. But to guarantee that nothing in your store will be over eighty nine cents? Wow! Could a FIFTY CENTS OR LESS store be far behind?

But hey, times are hard, cities are printing their own money now. So pretty soon they might have stores where we can just go in and barter shit. THE YOU TELL US YOUR PRICE STORE. Hell the shopping experience couldn't be any worse than it is at Wal Mart. I think I might be on to something.


? said...

Remember when your buying from the dollar store to ask for the lead free products.

Christopher said...

Gas is supposed to fall to $1 a gallon by the spring.

Wendy's and McDonald's have dollar menus and Taco Bell sells a half pound .89 cent burrito.

Today I got a letter from one of my credit card companies that said I don't use the card enough so they cancelled it. I'd had the fucking thing for 10 years.

Robert Reich was on Keith's program this past week and he said he thinks we're marching toward a depression.

The "O" man was a mega-task before him. I don't envy the mess he's inheriting from the Motherfucker from Midland.

Kellybelle said...

Be careful--that stuff comes from China.

Anonymous said...

Have to agree, there is no Quality Contol on any of that stuff.

My fave is all the white tr*sh hoping that with a failing economy the clerks will fall all over themselves to provide kowtowing service. Umm. Service is an expense. You pay top price at Nordstrom's and Nieman-Marcus for the excellent staff. At the low end, you are likely to see the reduction of service to eliminate unecessary costs.


field negro said...

"Remember when your buying from the dollar store to ask for the lead free products."

Classical one, would they even know? And Damn Kelleybelle, thanks for telling me, I will be sure not to buy any food from the $1 store.:)

And ahhm, is the .99 store really that much better than the $1 store?

Chris, I feel you on the credit card thing. I got a similar letter from a credit card company. And it was a gas card no less.

rainywalker said...

When I was a teen [60's] they still had the 5-10 cent stores around and my sister used to manage one. They would tear the top 1/3 cover off the comic books when the new ones came out and my sister would bring me an armload once a month. I miss the smell of those stores and the wooden floors.

Anonymous said...

I know everybody likes a bargain, but we are going to discount ourselves all out of work someday soon. Services and products cost money. Workers at stores need income and benefits. Short term gain is going to be some long term pain for a lot of people.

Anonymous said...

Too late, Field. It's already happened. I was in Filene's Basement about a month ago looking a jewelry. The salesgirl told me they were going to have a "Name Your Own Price" sale the next week.

Anonymous said...

Haven't gone into a Dollar Tree since reading this story:


Hey Field Negro,

We already have places where you walk in, pick out what you like and name the price you want to pay and go home with your find...nightclubs!!


Black Diaspora said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Black Diaspora said...

By Springtime we'll have another dollar store:

Gas Stations!

Anonymous said...

I have recently discovered the dollar tree and was happy shopping there until this incident. I always threaten not to shop at Wal-Mart because of the shabby way they treat their employees but always backslide. I don't think I will ever be able to set foot into a dollar tree again.

field negro said...

"By Springtime we'll have another dollar store:

Gas Stations!"

Oh you folks have jokes. :)

ms.moses, you kid right? I must be psychic.

Texas Liberal, if you run a $1 store, what do you pay your employees, and what type of benefits do they have?

Anonymous said...

Yesterday I did the opposite - I wanted to see who in this economy still has money so I went to the rich people's mall. It's called La Encantada but those of us who can't afford to shop there call it La Spend-o-lotta. And you can see why these people have so much to spend on fancy clothes - they don't eat! These people think size 2 is a large! I started to feel sorry for them. They can't even enjoy a good meal. One of my favorite stories about MLK is the one about right before he was shot, when he was teasing Rev. Kyles about how he better have good "southern food" at his house that night for dinner, and not any fancy food. And he was really happy, thinking about the ham and the biscuits and the greens...

Anonymous said...

I can no longer shop at any Dollar Tree stores...I hope the micky-ficking stores go under:

Anonymous said...

Gee, we could call the next one a "Five & Dime" store...

teach people not books said...

so long as our government continues to allow corporations to outsource production to other countries without any inkling of oversight of practices or any punishment of gross violations of human rights, and so long as the fda continues to allow carcinogenic shit in the plastic we give to our children to eat out of and play with, the amount will keep dropping. it's a disturbing irony of capitalism run amok.

rikyrah said...

one of your favorite House Negros has been beaten - Dollar Bill Jefferson

Anonymous said...

The last five and dime in my home town was an S.S. Kresge, the precursor of...aaieee!... KMART! Hmmm, field, beware what your patronage might spawn.

tjwash said...

I had to do some consulting briefly for the 99 cent store offices here in Cali, a few years ago. Everyone at their corporate office that I dealt with just had nasty, fucked up attitudes, and did not care about anything but squeezing every last little drop of blood from whatever bag of turnips that they had.

I have never stepped foot in one of those stores just because of that. I can't imagine that what I saw from their district managers and executives did not filter all the way down the very last employee.

Christopher said...

I love a bargain and I'm not too proud to shop at the Dollar General store.

Why pay $6.99 for hair color when the very same product is $2.00 at the Dollar General store? Same for Michelin deodorant. $3.99 at Wegmans but $1.00 at the Dollar General store.

When I was a kid coming up in San Francisco, we had the best Woolworths downtown on Market Street at Powell. The place was huge and they had a cafeteria that sold homemade soup, fresh sandwiches, and burgers. You could get the best fried chicken there. A breast was .50 cents and they put it in this waxy paper. They had ironing boards, laundry baskets, sneakers, underwear and watches and TVs.

It's gone now. Last time I went back to San Francisco, the space had been turned into a Gap, where upper middleclass folks could buy their kids $85 jeans.

earlgrey said...

@Christopher, I never made it into the city to go to that woolworth's, but we had one in the east bay in El Cerrito Plaza when I was a kid. I loved the counter and the spinning stools and the grilled ham and cheese sandwiches. Today it would be called a panini and instead of $1.50 it would be 10 bucks.

field negro said...

"Gee, we could call the next one a "Five & Dime" store..."

Anon., not everything in the "Five & Dime" stores cost .5 or .10. It was just a way of saying (Like the Dollar Generals we have now)that the prices were low. Whereas in the .99 and $1 stores the prices are guranteed to be below a $1. So what exactly was your point?

Bookworm Girl said...

it's funny to come across this post today. i went into a dollar general for the first time 2 days ago and left there pissed. my 2 item came to $3.57! i told her to void it and left in a huff cuz i thought it was a dollar store. lol!

Anonymous said...

I haven't yet set foot in the Mal*Wart that replaced Bradlee's several years ago here in my town, but I will go to the Target for socks and other necessaries, because I understand they treat their employees relatively well. And you can see it from the way the store always looks pretty nice, even at Christmas shopping season. Woolworth's was the last real 5 & dime in this town, and it was replaced many years ago by a tacky "dollar" store.

The stories about contaminated food and lead-painted children's toys should have everyone too scared to shop in these stores. When I was a kid we got a fresh orange in our Christmas stocking, and it was a real treat. Why buy an American child a $300 video gaming system that some other poor child in Indonesia or China or Mexico earned pennies for building?

Bob said...

I buy generic Tylenol PM in a 99 cent store. It isn't expired & it's manufactured on Long Island NY. I also get cleaning supplies. It's all the same as the house brands from supermarkets.

field negro said...

Co-sign with Bob, I get house producs and cleaning supples for my car as well.

But I will heed the warning some of you posters gave me. Thanks for the 411.

Anonymous said...

At least they don't need bailing out I guess.


Anonymous said...

I cannot imagine workers at the $1 store have good wages or any benefits. I never go to any $1 store. Some retail outlets do in fact have very good benefits. I hope this is able to go on. We'll see how deep the disounts cut.

Anonymous said...

Hit Lancaster Ave (around 41st St) - you'll find a few "88 Cent" stores there. As for me, Dollar Tree has been my haven for a few years, now. Like you, I am tickled that EVERYTHING is a dollar. I repeat: EVERYTHING is a dollar. Peace.menad

Anonymous said...

I must live on another planet. the comments on this site have me always going hmmm.

" I don't shop at Walmart, I don't shop at the dollar store" Is this an east coast sentiment? I know many a people that work at Walmart and for the state. What's the difference in treatment? not much.

I wish I had a job, either at the $.99 store or at Walmart. What is the difference between Walmart and companies that have outsourced jobs to other countries? When I was in college I bought all my household goods at the $.99 store. why pay more than a dollar for a laundry basket, vitamins, juice if I don't have to? I lived a block away from a $.99 store, one of the the employees kid got killed (crash) the whole company in Las Vegas took up a collection to help out with funeral costs. I asked about their wages before this recession hit no one had a complaint they were happy to have a job.

The Walmart employees I know did have complaints, most worked the late night shift and hated it. But all had opportunities to be promoted and were easily promoted to manager thus moving up the pay scale. Yes, they may not start at a high wage but Walmart promotes their people with ease so it's easy to become a manager. In fact out of the seven people I know that worked there, three are managers the rest quit, one went back after being laid off from his construction job, Walmart openly accepts returning employees.

Walmart in Boston pays higher than 80% of the jobs in Las Vegas, in fact most Walmart's back east have higher wages than west coast jobs. I just don't get the complaints or holier than thou attitude. Like I said I must live on another planet.

ch555x said...

Yeah, those Dollar Tree stores are all over the place down here, but that's a good thing for my wallet!

Anonymous said...

Makes you wonder what the markup was on those products if you can buy stuff at such a low price. On a lighter note, if your church/community center/gym is doing a drive for personal products, it's a good place to get soap, shampoo, lotion, etc.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Bean Town Chica, WalMart in our town is the employer of last resort. I used to work for one of the other companies that pretty much took anyone that walked through the door so that when people left (for whatever reason) I would sometimes run into them working at WalMart. Walmart is the only place in town where I have seen the guy with the hook for an arm work or the girl that has just been beat with the ugly stick.

Given my "name," you just know that I shop at the 99 Cent Store. But you can turn over any product and look at the country of origin and the sell or use by date. The stuff that I have bought has always been in date and all most all of the household and personal items are made in the USA. The food stuffs that I have looked at mostly come from USA, very little from China, all of the fresh stuff for sure from the USA. At Costco, look where the fruit comes from...Mexico and Chile. Dried fruit somewhere in the Mediterranean. Yes, a lot of the cheap plastic/china stuff comes form the Orient at the 99 cent store but so does the stuff at Costco. For seasonal junk some of the stuff at the 99 Cent store is just amazing.

P.S. I love to pick up some of the wine at the 99 Cent to tease my pretentious husband. My favorite was the red wine from Italy packaged in the little square boxes just like kids juice.

Anonymous said...

I have recently discovered the dollar tree and was happy shopping there until this incident. I always threaten not to shop at Wal-Mart because of the shabby way they treat their employees but always backslide. I don't think I will ever be able to set foot into a dollar tree again.

This isn't exactly to defend Dollar Tree or anything, but in that case I really think their motive was being cheap as opposed to denying compensation because the murdered worker was black.

Of course, it's not like being a cheap bastard makes you my friend. I can understand that worker's comp would be denied if there had been a personal grudge, but there was nothing personal in this case. If I were on the jury, Dollar Tree would lose the case.

Anonymous said...

I was a union man all my working life and our union went out of its way (as did their members) to bring attention to the mistreatment of workers by Wal-Mart. Until last year (2007) they were not being paid for overtime and various other ludicrous practices. We and anyone that we could convince, boycotted Wal-Mart for several years.

Wal-Mart finally paid millions in backpay and the boycott was over. That was 2007. I ventured into Wal-Mart this year for the first time in about five (5) years. Of course, that was after the settlement was made. Peace.

Anonymous said...

I just may have to stay out of Dollar Tree (just read the story submitted by a couple of folks).

@anonymous (10:16a):

We've already went the way of "Five and Dimes" (probably before your time). They were everywhere. Like stated, though, that wasn't the actual price of things, but, most items were cheap. Peace.

Anonymous said...

Worker's compensation is to encourage companies to keep safe work places.

What did the $ store not do that made her vulnerable? What should they have done to protect her? Should the $ store have foreseen that she would be stabbed by a racist freak?

If the guy had stabbed her in the parking lot on the way to work; Should $ store pay?

If he had stabbed her in another store where she did not work should $ store have to pay?

I'm just asking.

Black Diaspora said...

@anon:3:22PM "What should they have done to protect her?"

They should have staffed the store with their own upper-level CEO types, or have them working side-by-side with her.

Now, I bet that that would have improved security.

Anonymous said...

Upper level CEO types working side-by-side working with her.

No come on, what really could/should they have done?

If people/companies have not done anything wrong, should they be punished? I am just asking.

It seems to me that it is just out of the blue and the store should not have to pay workers comp. That can totally punish the company in increased payments for years.

Should all companies have a decent insurance policy on their employees? that pays regardless of where people are killed/die?

I am just asking.

Anon. 3:22 pm

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