Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I Die So Over DAISO!

My name is Mr. Tiny and I am a dollar-store junkie.  When funds are low and options limited, I have been known to dance stride through, with the maturity fitting a well-adjusted, adult man, the aisles of the 99 Cents Only Store (becoming more and more of a misnomer with each passing day) and/or the Dollar Tree for hours.  Within those hallowed walls I find the wildest, coolest, and most (im)practical items - items that make functioning as a human being much more pleasant.

Who doesn't need a Super Stars doll, with its feminine
form, not-to-scale masculine head, molded-plastic boots,
and violently-violet hair?

When the end of days comes, will you be prepared?
Mr. Tiny will be living off this smorgasbord of junk food
replicated in marshmallow...this stuff never spoils, folks!

By the way, I can stop any time I want to...I just don't want to right now.

The real reason I love a good dollar store is that I know I can afford anything in the whole joint; nothing is beyond the limits of my meager bank balance.  Like a French millionaire strolling past the luxury shops of the Champs-Elysees, I strut through the dollar store with a mild air of faux disdain, looking down my nose to examine some piece of merchandise, with the confidence that at any moment I could say, "I'll take everything you've got," knowing that even then, I would still only be out thirty-four dollars...plus tax.

As great as our American dollar stores have proven themselves to be, an exciting Japanese counterpart has recently graced our golden shores and vies for superiority.  This store is proof of a modern-day, discount diaspora and I refuse to be the last lay cultural anthropologist to document it!

The goal is to get to all of Southern California's
Daiso locations (for research/comparison purposes, of
course).  For this post we chose the Daiso in Torrance, CA.

I am actually taking my life into my hands by bringing you the information in this post.  I swore a blood oath (well a smoothie oath, anyway) that this little piece of Heaven on Earth would be the secret shopping spot of the original Three Musketeers who found it (we're operating on the premise that we "discovered" Daiso).  In fact, the oath was my idea but in light of our forthcoming trip to Japan, this is just too good to remain a secret for very long.  So, here I am letting the Hello Kitty out of the bag with the brilliance of DAISO!!!

That's right, this place has an entire department dedicated to "SURPRISE & FUN!"

Daiso elicits a lot of complicated feelings.  Immediately overjoyed at the Japanese wonderland of kitchen utensils in every pastel color, sponges with smiley faces, and panda-shaped cookies filled with strawberry confection, one quickly gets a sense of dread realizing that something is a little bit different in Daiso; instead of one dollar, everything (unless otherwise marked) is priced at $1.50!  Once one gets past the who-do-they-think-I-am-Nelson-Rockefeller stage, it becomes easy to forget the extra fifty cents and fill a basket full of imported goodness!

I love the Japanese because they are always creating charming solutions
to problems that you never knew you had.  Like the time you said, "Could
there please, please be a reflective, umbrella receptacle that attaches to the
handle bars of my bike?"  Or the time you were bemoaning your utter lack of
"chocolate scented soft strap animals," or your mother's shock the first time she
came to see your new apartment and was repulsed by the gross immodesty of
your completely-naked chair legs.  Daiso of Japan has the answer - gingham! 

What I want to know is, how have I been making homemade,
microwave corn dogs without a pink, plastic mold/stick set for
all of these years?  Now I can't make them any other way.

Much of Daiso's inventory has a face and nearly everything is happy to
serve the customer.  The trash cans are eerily eager for your waste. 

Even the cotton swabs are pleased to assist in ear-gunk removal.

 There is a lot to be said for good packaging and America could take a few notes from Daiso.

Twine to truss a pork roast actually binds a cartoon pig.
This little piggy seems to like it...wink!

I have often wondered if I could subsist entirely on only what I could find at dollar stores; Daiso has me thinking that I most definitely could.

They carry everything for your top...

Down to your bottom!

Harmless household items or something else entirely?
Daiso seems to have a bit of an odd side too.
Blonde "Party Wigs," Massagers for parts of your body that you didn't know
 you had, and "Banana Keepers"....I don't know Daiso, I just don't know...  

Don't worry, it gets weirder!!!  Tucked amongst the noisemakers, Jacob's ladders, and squirt guns of Daiso's toy section, hung two of the strangest "toys" I have ever seen.  But don't take my word for it...

"Instant Boobs"
Working in a similar fashion to a glowstick, a chemical reaction is produced by a
vigorous massage (see step 2), creating inflated, stick-on, latex bosoms.  Of course,
we couldn't leave the store without them...they're only $1.50!!!  Imagine all of
the worthwhile things we could buy if we didn't buy so much dollar store junk!

Not to be outdone, there is an adhesive appendage for girls with swan envy.
Do you see the bald man in the nude body suit....CREEPY!!!!
From what I understand it was this prima ballerina's final performance,
making this her "Swan Schlong."  Why does it look like a swan?!?!?!  

The greatest part about frequenting dollar stores is the fun - trying on masks, creating full dance routines in the aisles, testing products, wearing children's sun hats, getting other shoppers to sing along with the muzak, filling your lonely Saturday nights.  But don't get it twisted; I graduated from picking up items and asking the nearest employee, "How much is this," a long time ago...child's play.

The greatest part about Daiso is that very little is lost in translation...

"Special Presents.  With the delicious cake
which I made heartily, have happy time."


Daiso of Japan
Multiple Locations



Cheers!

Mr. Tiny

34 comments:

  1. Hilarious review of Daiso! I must visit. I need more household products with smiling faces!

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    1. Thanks! This place is so much fun!!! It's hard to walk away without at least ten things.

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  2. Yeesh, you couldn't PAY me to put anything of a food nature from a dollar store into my mouth! I would also be cautious about using anything PLASTIC from them for food storage; they probably don't trouble themselves about minor details like using 'food-grade" plastics...I have also seen articles explicitly WARNING against buying anything food-related from dollar stores! But they are great to shop around in for gadgets and craft supplies; I have gotten LOTS of KOOL stencils and stamps, and various things to use for embellishment, and they have some surprisingly good paintbrushes, as well. Oh and the stick-on boobs and penis sheaths? Good lord, I remember getting a few Japanese "teen' mags sent to me when I was 15 or 16 (back in the 70s) and being shocked at how explicit they were in terms of violence and SEX.

    The Japanese are super -uptight about excretory functions, however, and go to some absurd lengths to cover up the sounds and smells... not surprisingly, this uptightness "backlashes" in the form of an overabundance of "underground" pornography featuring innumerable closeup "action shots" of said bodily functions..ask me how I know!

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    1. So, so, so disinterested in poopoo porn.

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  3. This post made me happy for a number of reasons. I also love a good dollar tree visit. Their off brand snack food is always completely random for example, you can always count on finding 1000 types of cheese puffs. WHO DOESN'T LOVE THAT!?! I think Japan would be too much for me. I would home with an entire suitcase of novelties...egg shaped faux boobies et al.

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    1. Next time you are here, that will be our first stop on the wacky tacky tour. There is one not too far from Monrovia! So much good stuff!!!

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  4. Daiso: Yes! Yes! A thousand times, yes! Your stores seem to have a bit more variety than the ones up here. The one I frequent most often is almost all housewares. I'll be keeping my eye out for those molded plastic wigs. So bitchen!

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    1. Isn't it the greatest?! I think the ones they're opening down here are pretty big; I think I've been to four of them (some multiple times) so far. I totally brought the hair helmet/wig thing home!

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  5. Daaaaaang! I'd be ALL over that. We have the general only-a-dollar type stores and though I love those and spend way too much money, we do NOT have Daiso here. I do not understand the expanding glow boobies or the swan schlongs (ha!) but I'd love to be in on their pitch meetings. I'd blow so much money in that store. Good lord and god bless.

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    1. Well, it is your turn to come out here; Rae and Kimmie have each graced us with their presence. If you come, I promise a shopping spree at Daiso! It is an unbelievably fun way to empty your wallet!

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  6. p.s. It must feel great to already have all of your holiday shopping done.

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    1. p.s. SHOPPING LIST: Boobies for the boys. "Swans" for the girls. Check and check!!! Hahahaha!!!

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  7. Oh man. I was a anime junkie in college! I heart this post so much.

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  8. i am legitimately upset that we didn't go there when we were on the west coast!!! i bet i could have found SO MUCH STUFF i needed!!

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    1. Just another reason for you guys to come back. I know you would love this place; they have an entire aisle of tiny erasers shaped like things - food, toys, animals, etc.

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  9. Ok Loose Lips, don't be suprised if you go back and there is nothing left! I love this store and after it's "discovery" I have been back 3 times. Who doesn't need $1.50 batteries and Ziplocs with flowers on them? P.S. You own me and a certain someone a Lee's smoothie.

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  10. Not to mention if you have, say, 20 cats... each can have a completely different decoration AND shape of food bowl, thanks to Daiso! Not that the bowls were necessarily INTENDED for pets...

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    1. Is it wrong to share food bowls with my kiddies...er, kitties?!

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  11. Call me old fashioned, but anthropomorphised cotton swabs kind of scare me.

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    1. You're old fashioned. Hahahaha!!! It is kind of weird having a face inside our ear.

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  12. The Daiso near me closed. It was a very sad day in the South Bay area. But they probably closed because they didn't carry the prosthetic boobs. If they did, they would have made a killing.

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    1. Oh no! I don't have one especially close to my house but I will spend twenty dollars in gas to save a buck. Hahaha!!! I think the word has already gotten out on the boobs, they are became more and more scarce!

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  13. To Wild! The Swans going to give me nightmares...

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    1. Totally bizarre, right?!?!?! It is impossible for my Western brain to understand why/how this could possibly be an acceptable children's toy! But I do love the weirdness of it all.

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  14. OMG-I have been laughing out loud at this post!! Sounds like you've found a true treasure of a store!!! And everything has those cute kawaii faces on them!! EEEEEEE! Such fun! I love the stuff you chose - all weirdly awesome!
    Did you say you are going to Japan?????? omgomgomgomgomgomgomg
    There had better be pix and posts every hour on the hour!!! And no, no sleeping - you must find every cool place and teensy store you can find!!! And haul a HUGE suitcase for all the treasure you'll be bringing back! Yep, we want to see it all!!!!! :)

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    1. I'm glad I had you laughing!!! Yes, we are leaving next week and can hardly believe that it is true! We will definitely be taking loads of photos!

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  15. LOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!!!!!!! Best post! :) Now if only I could track down a pair of those stick-on boob thingies...

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    1. Hahaha!!! I'll save you some for when you visit next year!

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  16. Hi-I sent a link to your post to my daughter in LA to see if she knew of the Daiso Store. Got an email tonight-she went today and thought it CRAZY!!! (The same one you went to in Torrance.) She said I'd love. See? Like mother, like daughter - we love wacky!!!

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    1. I'm so glad that I am converting more people to Daiso AND wacky tacky living!!! It sounds like its about time for to come out and experience California for yourself!!! If you do ever visit, we'd love to meet up!

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  17. Ah-HA! I knew it would be something like this…

    I arrived at your post after Googling the Japanglish on the bags in which my "Special Presents" arrived. Gifts from dear childhood girlfriends in my hometown of Torrance, there's no doubt in my mind they were selected with the same glee that you and your friends displayed as you danced through Daiso's aisles of discounted delights. The $1.50 price tags explain why the girls felt free to obey every impulse. I don't know what I'm going to do with all this…stuff.

    The occasion for the giant gift box was a particularly troubling milestone birthday, and my friends went to great lengths to pick up "treasures" that alternately mocked (ID holder to wear around my neck in case I get to wandering) and cared for (adult diaper) my advancing age. Now that I've seen your Daiso finds I'm surprised they didn't pick up some "Bottom wipes for adults," and disappointed they didn't include "Instant boobs."

    Thank you for helping to solve the mystery. Hope your Japan trip was wonderful.

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  18. I buy all of the girls Bento items at Daiso...and I decorated their room in a pink Christmas theme all from items purchased at Daiso as well! Love that place!!! We got one in Northridge last year....you'll have to come visit-we'll have you over for dinner then a shopping spree! I'm a nut about wrapping paper (all paper items, actually!) and they have a great assortment of those things as well! (and crafting supplies!) Okay...gotta run over to Daiso now!

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