Step into your local 99¢ store and you enter an alternate dimension. Brands look similar but aren’t quite the same. “Aha!” you think, “There’s my shampoo brand!” You reach your hand out then recoil as you see the label is eerily similar but the spelling is wrong and the thing is leaking from the bottom. Everything can be had for a dollar, but nothing seems very appealing any more. To enter to the “toy” aisle is to downshift from sadness to despair. Plastic toys stare out through low-grade cellophane, begging to either be bought and enjoyed, or incinerated, it doesn’t matter to them.
Take a closer look at the Bar-Bee doll below. What first looks like pretty lipstick is actually smeared from a night working the streets, her red-rimmed eyes tell the story of a teary morning, and even that perky smile can’t hide a festering cold sore.
P.S. None of the sadness and despair of the dollar store stopped me from buying a bunch of cheap toys for Child Harbat’s chore reward box, along with much-needed cleaning and organizing supplies. I actually LOVE the dollar store and make fun because it’s an easy target. Oh, so very easy.