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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Winging It

At the Dollar Tree (motto: “Everything’s a Dollar!”) the price may be right, but it is not necessarily a good value.

Dollar stores have gotten very sneaky through the years. Some stores, like Dollar General, distort the dollar store concept by offering items priced in even-dollar amounts. (Laundry detergent, only $4.00!)

Even at the traditional store model of this genre, many of the single-dollar priced “deals” are actually quantity manipulations.

Sure, you can get individually-portioned applesauces for school lunches there, but they are packaged in fours. At the regular grocery store, they are packaged in groups of six, usually for $1.52.

Not such a bargain now, is it? Especially if you had to make a special out of-the-way trip to the dollar store in addition to your regular grocery store visit.

Another tricky tactic I’ve noticed involves toothpaste—one dollar seems like a deal, but upon closer inspection, that tube of Crest (boring, traditional kind—no fancy whitening agents or anything) is 2.8 ounces. That means there’s a tiny little tube in an oversized box. Today at Walmart, I scored a tube of Aim brand toothpaste for 85 cents, and it was SIX full ounces!

You must be shrewd, calculating, and alert if you wish to make the most of a trip to the dollar store, and you must always make a list of exactly what you’ll need. They prey on the impulsive and weak-minded folks who are easily seduced by pseudo-savings on items such as kitchen utensils, cleaning supplies, and energy drinks.

I’m a pro at this.
Don’t worry about me.

With the tornado ravishing our neighbors to the north and more storms predicted for our own area, it seemed wise to stock up on emergency supplies—often a bona-fide dollar store value. Besides, Mia had been nagging me about needing more mouthwash, which is a whopping $4.28 at most of our usual haunts.

 A trip to the dollar store was in my forecast.

My list was concise; my goal was to be out of there in under ten minutes and ten dollars.

Unfortunately, I forgot my list in the car, so I had to wing it.

Forty-two minutes (and $42.41) later, I emerged with the following supplies:

1 package of q-tips
1 package of cotton balls
1 package of cotton “rounds” (those seemed handy)
1 tube of triple anti-biotic ointment
1 very large bottle of peroxide
1 surprisingly small bottle of rubbing alcohol
1 box of (generic) bandaids, 30 count, flexible fabric style
1 box of surgical facemasks, 10 count, one size fits all
1 bottle of saline nasal spray (Did you know that stuff can expire? I happened to notice that the mostly-unused bottle in our medicine cabinet had a date of 8/10 on it!)
2 3-packs of D batteries (We already have a huge collection of all the other sizes because we can’t seem to find a use for dollar store batteries as they are very unreliable. Oh. Whoops.)

And of course,

4 bottles of kids’ anticavity mouthwash, bubblegum flavor

When you are winging it, you must keep your options open for other emergency items that probably would have been on your list if only you’d thought of them.

Which is why I purchased these supplies, too:

3 sets of earphones (if you have kids, you know that lost earphones qualifies as an emergency of catastrophic proportions)
1 annoyingly small bottle of Lysol toilet bowl cleaner
3-pack of toothbrushes (each with its own little travel case—perfect for an emergency)
1 battery-powered toothbrush with battery
2 jump ropes, one with sparkles
1 toy paddle with a ball attached via string, Avengers-themed
2 2-packs of diving toys for the pool
1 box of snack baggies, 60-count
5 packages of nylon bejewelled butterflies, assorted colors
1 package of electronics wipers, pre-moistened for a no-residue streak-free shine
1 “windtwister” garden decoration, rainbow-colored
1 "pinwheel-style" garden decoration, multi-colored
1 car duster, convenient handle, reusable, washable
1 very large patriotic bow
1 GoJo Hands-free Adjustable Headset with BONUS headset (As seen on TV!)
1 five-piece set of teeny tiny kitchen utensils

So, would you like to guess what kind of emergency I was preparing for? Because I, too, am dying to know—I’ll need some very convincing excuses when Russ asks me about all this stuff.

If we don’t come up with something quickly, it will be abundantly clear that that I was winging it again…

Definitely emergency supplies!

No matter how desperate the emergency may seem,
I will NEVER purchase a pregnancy test at the dollar store.

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