Saturday, December 6, 2008

Truth In Advertising

I used to love going to the dollar stores.

Of course, that's when everything truly
was a dollar.

Back when I could fill my cart
with magic markers, greeting cards,
picture frames, candles, peanuts,
socks, seasonal decor, batteries,
eye liner and shampoo-
and get change back for a ten.

When I went into the local
store recently,
I was shocked at the new orange
price tags that some items displayed.
$5.00, $3.00, even $8.00!

I felt cheated.
I felt as though the world had turned
upside down.
How could they do this to me?
To Us!?

I had my suspicions
the day I saw construction workers
taking down the old sign.

"Where Everything's A Dollar"
was ripped off and hauled away
to the junk yard to rust in peace.

I guess you could argue
that there are still some deals
to be found at Deals,
but because they back-stabbed me-
because they didn't personally
approach me with their decision-
I have a difficult time
spending my dollars there.

But you have to give them credit
for at least changing the sign.
Now we all know what to expect-
or NOT to expect when we enter.

That's not quite the case with other stores.

When I first heard of Burli
ngton Coat Factory,
I imagined a giant warehouse full of
little ladies at their sewing machines
and tons of fabric being whisked away
on conveyors-
and layers of coats stacked on pallets
for consumers to purchase.

It's not just coats.
(Which I do think their new sign
above the service desk
finally claims)-
It is a virtual smorgasbord of
ethnicity and fashion.
Within those walls lie every imaginable
brand name and size and style
that a person could dream of.

To me, it's like a Motown Big Lots.

But I love it.
Amid the flash and gaudiness,
there is always a purse or shoes
or little gift pack of crackers or chocolate-
there are cool watches
and bargain fragrances
and even a Christopher Lowell section
for would-be decorators.

It really is more than just coats.

And what is one to expect from a store
named Old Time Pottery?
I imagined a bunch of old men
throwing clay on a wheel
and stacking cute little urns on shelves to dry.
Maybe a few coffee mugs tossed in
or a artsy vase.

Old Time Pottery
is an accessory bonanza!
If you went out and bought all your
basic furniture needs and put them in an empty house,
you could go to Old Time Pottery
and buy everything else you would need
to completely finish the look.

Lamps, rugs, floral, art, seasonal items,
kitchen gadgets, pet items, glassware,
bedding, candles and
the whole nine yards!
The name just doesn't do it justice.

I won't even go into the misleading names
of restaurants.
White Castle? Get real.
Cracker Barrel? More that just crackers, baby!
Chili's? Don't think chili is even on the menu.
And the 54th Street Grill is not even on 54th Street.

I failed to visit the St. Louis Bread Company forever
because chawing on a loaf of Italian baked dough
has never been my idea of a great snack.

But once I had their had their
creamy caramel espresso
with the cinnamon crunch bagel-
I was hooked!
(However, I still think
they need to change their name...)

And I really shouldn't have to
spend twenty minutes at Pizza Hut
studying the menu!

Instead, I think I will just whisk into
The Dollar Tree
and grab a few snacks.

I trust these people.
They know me.
They would never change their cheap ways.

I am at home there-
Where everything is still a dollar
and there are no unwelcome surprises.

That's exactly how I like it.