A trip to 99 Cent City: Volume Two!


By Justin Rybinski
7/9/04


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I get email and IMs from people fairly regularly who insist my original dollar store article is their favorite of the site and how I need to do another one immediately or else they will strategically bomb all local Quizno's, causing me to starve. What these morons, er, intelligent readers, don't realize is that most dollar stores restock at roughly the same rate as hair growth on George Foreman's head. I go to these places all the time for a laugh (well, 99 Cent City usually), and typically, only one or two things are unintentionally hilarious. It's really quite rare to visit an entire store full of amazing items just screaming to be bought and put on various walls.

Today was one of those days. Rejoice and be happy.

Chris and I made an impromptu trip to 99CC (a clever abbreviation for 99 Cent City) after eating bucketloads of greasy meat at Burger King, being the good carnivores we are. I was just here about two weeks ago, so I wasn't expecting anything new and thrilling. Shit, was I wrong. We didn't spend that much, nor did we buy as much crap as last time, but there was some comedy gold lurking in the toy section today.

Let's start with something you see in every dollar store ever - toy swords. On first glance, these swords look fairly common and boring. You probably couldn't even kill more than 20 ninjas without dulling your blade. Regardless, glances two through 800, the instruments of death with cardboard back are much funnier. First, the swords have tassels. Since my sources indicate swords are toys for boys, why would the manufacturer put effing TASSELS on the sword handles? The only guy able to pull off tassels while keeping his masculinity was The Ultimate Warrior. Remember that kid whose mom bought him a new Huffy with blue and yellow tassels on the handlebars? He didn't have any friends then, and now he's a community college dropout wife-beater. All because of tassels.

The graphic at the top appears to be some sort of generic Green Beret fighting a poorly drawn dragon with one of the swords. However, instead of plunging his legendary sword into the creature's heart, he decided it would be more prudent and effective if he showed the monster his badge (not included with swords).

Sergeant Pierre Pussifus: Stop, you fiend! I have been summoned by the king to put an end to your terror! As you can see, I am a Licensed Bikini Inspector!

Larry the Dragon: Are you kidding? I'm a fucking DRAGON. I don't listen to douchebags with plastic swords and lame trinkets from Spencer's. And why aren't you wearing any armor? Don't you know that I can roast you alive with one breath of fire? Go home, dumbass.

I guess in the end, all evil is slain with the swords, as the bottom of the cardboard shouts various victorious slogans at you, namely "winvictory," which is an odd, non-existent word for a piece of cardboard to say.

That's not all, though. There was an interesting bit of text hidden underneath one sword. The photo didn't come out that well, but here is what it says:

* THE FINEST QUALITY ANG THE BEST WALUE
* ALL THE FASHION
* NEW-TYPE

Spelling errors aside, the first and third lines are fairly accurate. These swords clearly outshined all other three-sword sets with tassels in the entire dollar store, possibly the entire block, and I am willing to suspend disbelief enough to accept that these are really new-type swords, not far inferior old-type swords. However, line two bothers me greatly. All the fashion, huh? I'm okay with companies calling their shitty pieces of plastic amazing super-happy fun-toys, but calling them FASHIONABLE? Not quite. Aside from her first two or three videos, when have you ever seen J-Lo carry around a toy sword? How about Aston Kutcher or Gweneth Paltrow? Retarded names, yes; toy swords, no.

Tacky astrological-sign shit also invaded 99CC since the last time I was there. I've never been into horoscopes and all that zodiac tripe, so I walked right past the display. On the other hand, Chris is a level nine zodiac wizard, so he felt compelled to stare at them and purchase four of everything. I'm glad he did, because not only were some misspelled like the one pictured, some had the wrong sign. I remember seeing Cancer's crab for non-Cancer signs. Pathetic, even for astrological crap.

And yes, it is state law that every item sold in dollar stores must have at least one misspelling. Don't blame 99CC for "seorpio," blame the government.

I'm still on the fence on this one. Is this ceramic toilet sign a hilarious knick-knack or yet another disturbing piece of pedophiliac paraphernalia we bought at 99CC? I'm leaning more towards the latter, as I still haven't hung this up yet. Chris disagrees; his is on his bathroom door already. However, Chris is a pervert whose opinions don't matter.

When I was growing up, my mom tried to make sure at least some of my toys had educational value. I never had truckloads of Transformers or Voltron figures, but I did have state capital and multiplication table flash cards. I didn't realize it then, but learning about stuff was probably better then having a room full of action figures, as now I have a college degree and a sweet job to show for it (oh wait, no I don't). I can also answer difficult questions on the trivia machine that every sports bar seems to have, like "What is the capital of Montana?" (answer: Montana City)

One toy I definitely never had was China's own Super Hammer. I'm sure if I spent a greater part of my childhood beating people over the head with blunt, colorful instruments, I'd be an investment banker or an eyeball surgeon. Click the pic for a close-up view of the graphics.

Needless to say, they're insane. On the right, a bastardized version of Winnie the Pooh battles a vague Rodney Dangerfield on a golf course. I didn't know Winnie golfed or bottled up enough rage to kill a man. Maybe Eeyore gave him herpes and Piglet got ran over by a bus. I don't know. I've never seen the movies, so don't blame me. Note how only Winnie has motion lines, so the Chinese Dangerfield must be using his hammer as a defensive tool.

On the left, a baseball coach is busy berating a kid with a Super Hammer, while in the background, the sun appears ready to crash into them. I'd be pissed if Earth were about to become atomized, but probably not at eight-year-old kids, unless they had something to do with it. I don't understand why the kid even has a Super Hammer. THEY'RE PLAYING BASEBALL, not whatever crappy Chinese sport involves Super Hammers (ping pong?). Maybe this is why China sucks so much at baseball. You'd think with 500 trillion people, they'd be able to have a couple players good enough to play for some U.S. team, but no, they'd rather play with Super Hammers. Assholes.

This is a close-up of the cardboard at the top. Why are there pigs running around everywhere? I can't prove it, but I swear I've seen those exact same pigs running around in some Looney Tunes cartoon a decade ago. The packaging makes a huge deal about this Super Hammer being up-to-date. What the fuck? First the swords are new-type, and now this hammer is up-to-date. Gosh, I sure wouldn't want to buy an outdated hammer. What if it's not Y2K ready? I called up a local hardware store to ask why hammers need to be up-to-date and he hung up. It must have been a bad connection.

For some reason, 99CC is the place to be if you need (not want, NEED) incredibly generic ska CDs from 1997. The cleverly titled Skarmageddon and Mephiskapheles albums appear to be the overstocks of the overstocks back when ska music had its three weeks of popularity back in the mid-'90s. It didn't last, however, as it appeared ska bands didn't quite have their priorities straight.

Priority One: Crazy/pun-infested band/album/song names.
Priority Two: Ten-to-twelve members, some just for dancing on stage for live shows.
Priority Three: Hilarious song lyrics, with plenty of sexual innuendos.
Priority Four: Music.

I've dabbled in ska from time to time, so I've actually heard some of the bands on the Skarmageddon sampler, which was really depressing. It's titled ""100% Ska"," which sounds like one of those out-of-context one-word reviews some crappy movies have on their posters. You know, like when a reviewer will say "Christ all-fucking-mighty, this movie sucked hardcore. You'll have more fun licking your uncle's nutsack," and the blurb on the bottom of the poster says "Hardcore...fun."

This is what the Mephiskapheles (I added that into my Microsoft Word dictionary in case it comes up again) CD looks like. For those of you who are living in 1992 and have disabled all images, let me explain. A demon with a face on his ass is apparently shaking the penis of a pope in front of a zombie-infested cemetery. Hmmm. It's fairly safe to say this isn't one of the thousand or so Christian-ska bands out there, like MXPX, Five Iron Frenzy, and The W's.

Holy crap! No time for introduction stories! A dog bandana! With neon bordering! With pictures of meat everywhere! Holy crap! Seriously, there was no way we weren't going to buy this and photograph ourselves wearing it, which will probably impair future employment opportunities. Whatever. It's worth it.

Here's Chris, bandana on face, with baby scissors in one hand and gum-flavored shampoo in the other (more to come on that later in the article). You can't tell here, but the edges really are bright neon. It looks great when he goes downtown with it on. You know all the ladies flock to guys with meat on their face.

Me, with long hair I had to later cut for a job interview, complete with bandana, Roman Cowboy Battle-Axe (you'll see what I mean in a few sentences) and Oasis t-shirt. I'm pretty sure this is what PetKing had in mind when they released this bandana.

Like I said above, many dollar store toys seem pretty typical and dull on first impression. This is one of them. Wow, an axe. Great. It has a Yoshi head sticking out the opposite side of the blade, but it is from Japan/China/Korea/Hong Kong, so no big surprise there. However, take a look at the actual packaging:

This is no mere battle axe. This is a "Wild Weset" Battle Axe. You know, the Wild Weset that featured horses carrying undertakers wearing green leprechaun hats. That's not all. Check out the graphic of the Roman Coliseum in the background. Yes, that's right; I am one of the few people in America to own my own Roman Wild Weset Battle Axe. This may have been the actual axe that was used to kill Caesar, and later, General Custer. You know it's important because they didn't have time to spell "west" right.

Think about this. The company that made this could have easily designed some crappy warrior/dragon or barbarian clipart for the packaging. It's a freaking axe. Not very many popular groups of people used them for anything. Sorry lumberjacks, you guys just are not popular enough to warrant clipart. Then, the company (based in Asia, mind you) decided on a Wild West theme. Is that what they teach kids in China? Is this payback for decades of trade embargos? Then they decided to spell west wrong. Then, they decided to throw in a random picture of a Coliseum. Except for maybe a bag of pork rinds, this is the worst choice they could have made for clipart selection. I may be a bit hasty here, but I now consider each and every one of the eleventy mega-trillion people of the Chinese republic to be dumb as a box of doorknobs. Prove me wrong, China! Prove me wrong.

The final two items I am featuring here today were not purchased at 99CC. They were either gifts or items bought at Canadian dollar stores. Let's start with a professional grade hair-care product.

_

I can't bring myself to actually try this shit. I value my hair, and I wouldn't look very good bald or with patches of my hair missing. I know the kid on the bottle is giving it the thumbs-up, but notice how the kid HAS NO HAIR. If he does have a small patch at the top of his head, he covers it up with a 1940s-era beanie cap. Would you take shampoo advice from the bald? I didn't think so.

They claim this is "2-in-1" shampoo, but I didn't read anywhere that the shampoo conditioned your hair. It's a bit misleading to call your shampoo "2-in-1" when one of the features is the odor. Does that make REAL 2-in-1 shampoos 3-in-1? I'm pretty sure that every shampoo ever has smelled of something, so you're not fooling anyone, Dubble Bubble.

The back of the bottle says, "What could be more fun than smelling like your favourite bubble gum?" Obviously they've never been to a brothel. Or played Super Nintendo. Or watched an episode of Family Guy. I'm not quite sure Dubble Bubble understands the meaning of the word "fun." Sitting around smelling like something is not fun. Maybe if you smelled like something in a place where you shouldn't, like court or church.

Bobby: Can Billy come out and play?
Mom: No, he's busy smelling like gum.

This last item is a magnetic dartboard from China. Magnetic dartboards have been around for a while, so you're not breaking any new ground, China. Note how it's not at all designed like a normal dartboard and that the highest possible score is 39. The hilarity begins on the other side. There's really nothing left to say about this, as everything is pretty much self-explanatory. Look:

I know some of you (well, me, at least) want to use that text in away messages, etc. Because I'm a totally kickass guy, I'm going to transcribe the text right here for easy copy/pasting.

Repected customers:
Our Magnetic Dartboard is a toy which is very safe and full of fun.
Normal dartboard using very sharp dart. It is very dangerous and could hurt people if used in-properly. So it is not a good toy for children. However, out magnetic dartboard does not have such problem. Our mangentic dartboard use a strong magenton dart to replace the sharp tip. The board is produced using offset or silk-screen printed color soft material. Vivid colours and shapes make the dartboard be more fun.
This special safe design and vivid board design can brings a lot of fun and safe to children.

Thank you for your buying "Jian sheng"brand magnetic dart!

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