There was an NPR piece last week about some woman who decided to cook her meals using only ingredients found in "99 Cents Only" stores. This specific chain of 99 cents stores, big in California and the West, is distinguished from other 99-cent stores because (1) nothing at all costs more than 99 cents, and (2) they have produce, dairy, and all sorts of other food. I passed one today. So I went in. I was genuinely surprised at the quantity of produce they were selling for 99 cents. A bag of oranges. A bag with about three dozen key limes. A package of 8 plum tomatoes. 2 heads of broccoli shrink-wrapped together. None of it looked great, but it all looked edible, nothing looked spoiled. Frozen pizza. Brand-name yogurts at 3 for 99 cents. Butter, milk, cream cheese. Besides the expected canned vegetables, pasta, soup, crackers, etc that you'd expect to find in a 99-cent store. Two things I wanted to blog about though:
1. 99-cent home pregnancy tests. I mean, I assume in CVS these things are not 99 cents. Perhaps if you think you're pregnant, maybe you should spring for a name-brand pregnancy test? Then again, maybe not -- maybe the mechanics of these tests are so basic that there's no reason not to get the 99-cent one, because it's not going to be any less accurate. In any case, surprised to see that -- and at the checkout, no less! Next to the candy, chocolate, and batteries!
2. They play up the 99-cent thing throughout the store, gift cards are $19.99, open until 9pm... except, near the cash register, I noticed a sign saying things are "99.9% guaranteed"! Wait a second. Do they think they're being cute, with the 99 thing, or is this something their lawyers dreamed up to excuse the fact that one in a thousand things someone buys is going to kill them? What is a 99.9% guarantee? Do you get 99.9% of your money back if you return something? Ridiculous.