Nobody does schlock like New York does schlock. Sure, you can find dollar stores everywhere, but for sheer merchandisical chaos, nobody beats the Big Apple. Today, MOS and I went into a local schlock-shop (the preferred term for this type of emporium--olde-fashioned "pe" at the end of "shop," optional) in search of a pair of two-dollar slippers--slippers being the one thing I forgot to pack for my current vacation. Sadly, the best we could do was $2.97 slippers (but marked down from $4.97!).
I was nevertheless struck by the sheer volume of merchandise cramming the aisles of this particular establishment. Imagine the amount and variety of products available at, say, your typical Wal-Mart packed into an area about the size of a typical Wal-Mart restroom. We're talking white dwarf levels of density here, people. And you could seriously find anything. A sampling of the sale items in this one store: shirts, shorts, sundresses, the aforementioned slippers (actually flip-flops, but why quibble), underwear (men's and women's), socks, fans (electric and handheld), food containers, pie tins, clocks, lamps--and lampshades--bottle openers, soap, toenail clippers, mylar balloons, universal remotes, towels, toys, cabinetry (CABINETRY!)--and these are just the things I remember.
The cash register is at the back of the store, so one must navigate this Sargasso of consumer goods (or at any rate, consumer OK's) to pay for anything. No doubt this increases sales by exposing the clientele to ever more stuff before they pay. It also strikes me as a questionable security measure, though, as anyone could presumably grab a handful of--let's just say, matter--from near the front door and be halfway down 37th Avenue before anyone even realized a bunch of floppy hats was missing. (Did I mention they offer floppy hats?)
Maybe it doesn't matter, though,. When ringing up the flip-flops, the cashier initially punched in a price of $4.97 (no supermarket scanners here!). We protested that they were actually $2.97--marked down! And without so much as a "Price check on aisle five!" the young lady at the counter promptly changed the charge to $2.97. Really? Um, OK, how about $1.98?