Curatorial: The Dollar Store

I don’t know if curatorial is really a word (and if I’m too lazy to even look it up online I don’t deserve to know), but if not, it should be. Because we are all curators now. Has anyone else noticed the explosion in use of the word “curate”? Every blog and business has some things being curated by someone or another. So I’m joining in. I’m a curator of the Dollar Store. Unfortunately they won’t actually let me officially curate the place — for some reason they want to carry inventory of more than 14 items — but I curate in my head. We are all curators now. In our imaginations.

Why curate the Dollar Store, or, a better question, why enter the Dollar Store? Because, dear reader, the Dollar Store is an amazing place. I’m not much of a consumer, in fact, I actively avoid purchasing anything to the point of being downwardly mobile. I’m just about to lose my status as an official member of the middle class. But ideally, when I do purchase I buy handmade, organic, local, sustainable stuff made with deep etsy love. But let’s be real: there is the ideal and then there are cheap imports. It is very difficult to be a purist in a world where nearly every single functional item, from clothes to couches, is made in China or her cheaper sisters. The thing I love about the Dollar Store, besides the obvious fact that everything is a DOLLAR, is the fact that the cheapness of every single item is in sharp relief. The poor quality and low standards aren’t masked by a sort of aesthetic gloss, the way the same items are presented at Target and Pottery Barn. Those places give the consumer the illusion that she is participating in a better, more meaningful transaction than the one that is actually taking place: buying poorly made disposable junk on the cheap. I don’t care if John Derian designed that melamine plate for Target (and John Derian is the best, the BEST, so this is not about him), the reality is that it’s a junky plate made in China. At the Dollar Store there are no capsule collections or collaborations with designers. I’m not fooled into thinking I’m buying into something fabulous. I’m at the Dollar Store, where, if you ever wanted to know what carcinogens smell like, just take a deep breath. That, my friends, is the smell of toxic materials waiting to destroy your first world happiness. But in the meantime, every thing is ONE DOLLAR!

So when I can’t buy handmade, organic, et al, I head to the Dollar Store. Prepare to read this explanation at the beginning of all my Dollar Store posts. And yes, there will be more than one. In this post I curate…

The Dollar Store 4th of July Party

Charming gingham paper plates & napkins

Paper goods up close. Put some fried chicken (an organic, happy chicken fried in sunflower oil) and coleslaw on that plate!!!

Tri-colored crepe paper!!! Very 19th century.

Baskets to hold all those charming paper goods and those homemade whatevers you will be serving your guests.

Attractive plastic serving pieces, for those times when you can’t bring yourself to use real service.

Charming little 6 oz retro glasses. Perfect for serving miniature root beer floats. Or ginger beer floats if you’re trend oriented.

Can you believe it? So cute, and ONE DOLLAR!


Party favors!

Kazoo parade!!!

Little ruffled navy blue baby sun hat. (one.dollar.)

Child’s sunglasses.

Sun hat is far too big for Francie. Should I buy it and save it for her to wear two summers from now? No, because two summers from now there will be another wonderful thing for her to wear on her cute little head, from THE DOLLAR STORE!

4 thoughts on “Curatorial: The Dollar Store

  1. Great post! I love the Dollar Store and sometimes I make the treck to Ocean State Job Lot. I need to stop by and get some American Flags for the yard!

  2. I too like things that are themselves. The mall is full of stores whose products are couched in euphemism and pretense, and doused in Frebreeze-like products (to hide the carcinogenic aromas). I’ve never purchased anything at the Dollar Store that was worth what I paid for it, nevertheless, your post encourages me to continue buying things there and throwing them away: a celebration of authenticity.

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