Mr. Neil (mrneilesq) wrote,
Mr. Neil

It's not easy being cheap...

More and more it seems that shopping at my local dollar store is endangering my life. The other day I bought some earphones that might as well have been dual joy buzzers. Literally, the slightest bit of ear canal friction would cause a massive discharge of static electricity the likes of which no death row convict has ever known. Fifteen muscle spasms later, and I considered taking a personal loss of 1/100 of a "c note", and trashing the aforementioned repackaged torture device.

Alas, this isn't the first time I've had bargain basement troubles. Last time, excruciating pain came in the form of discount shaving razors. I'm not sure what I was expecting, with 20 shrink wrapped in a package with a man quaking in a pool of his own facial blood, but I'll be darned if the product didn't deliver. Looking like a cross between the elephant man and an "all you can Eat" cow heart and spaghetti buffet, I learned a valuable lesson that I would instantly forget: "If something appears too good to be true - HEY, A BARGAIN!" Needless to say, when I saw a pack of razors in the dollar store the following month from a different manufacturer, I greedily snatched them up, figuring that the last incident was a mere fluke. With much less irony than an O'Henry play, I found when I opened the package that these were the exact same face shredders that I had purchased in wolf's clothing - literally, since they had a picture of a wolf slitting his own jugular on the packaging.

Though the both of these incident pale in comparison to the horror that would befall my NEXT visit to "Cheap-Skate Central". On a lone CD rack in the middle of the spice isle (after all, who doesn't like a little music while popping whole cloves into their mouth?) was a familiar motley, and jaundiced crew. The veritable first family of animation, "The Simpsons". Somehow, one of their music albums must have fallen from the top sellers rack from an actual full fledged retail store into the dumpster that dollar stores usually retrieve their battered wares from. Knocking down every elderly lady in my path to procure the Compact Disk first (let's face it - old women often confuse any cartoon character from this century with the Post Office's Mr. Zip, who their spoiled nephew invariably loves) the one diamond in the rough was mine. I disregarded all traffic lights on my way home, as they're clearly designed for drooling people who are unable to save 98% on standard retail, as I had with my dollar acquisition. Breaking my front door down, I pressed that magical wedge of cheese that is the play button on my player device. My exuberance and joy were pronounced Dead on Arrival. This was the fated "Simpsons Sing the Blues" album. Instead of the wittily written and masterfully scored ditties from the show itself, these were custom "chestnuts" made to capitalize on the Simpson's fad of the early 90s. I winced through such auditory abominations as "Do the Bartman", Marge Simpsons's malodorous vocal strains belting out "Springfield Soul Stew" and finally, "Take the Suckers' Money".

As the month went on, my wastepaper bin filled higher and higher with newsprint chessboards, Used Shrink-wrapped Napkins, third world electronic devices that required cranking instead of batteries to function, wrist watches without a feature to set the time, pre-corroded batteries, Adhesives that would better to be used as lubricants, and other travesties against the functional. My only conclusion is this: It costs money galore to dump piles of worthless junk in landfills. These dollar stores have added a middleman to pay these fees FOR them, which is a good deal, considering they're obviously already being payed off by the actual successful retail chains to see that anything utterly unsalable is milked for all the unhappiness the middle class can absorb.

As for me, well, I've found that all the worthless crud I don't want can serve as perfect birthday gifts for people too polite to say anything about it. On that note, have a Pre-War candy?
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