Friday, October 24, 2014

An Introduction to Deals Only by Muriel Jensen



Good Morning, All!  I apologize for always adding my photo, but it's all I know how to do.  And straight text looks so daunting.  You're welcome to print this out, cut out my photo, and use it to play darts.

We live about five blocks up a hill from downtown Astoria.  It used to be a thriving little commercial avenue, but like most cities, serious stores have moved out of town and we're left with wonderful restaurants, interesting boutiques, but nowhere to buy groceries within walking distance.  Until I discovered Deals Only. I'd read somewhere that those thrifty grocery stores carried old, unreliable, and pirated products, and since it was right across the street from Safeway, I ignored it.  Until I had friends coming in the afternoon and nothing for dessert. Safeway had moved, so  I braved the purportedly illegal products, bought a chocolate chunk brownie mix, and thus began my love affair with the store.  They were absolutely delicious.

First of all - you'll probably all love this - they have a stationery section larger than our actual stationery store. (except for the office furniture)  I've bought a dozen fine-tip Bics for $1.  Yellow pads for 79 cents.  Purse calendars with pretty pictures for $1.  Post it note pads for 25 cents.

Gift bags are 99 cents, unless you need a big one for children's toys or wedding gifts, and then they're $1.99.  Have you priced a Hallmark gift bag lately?  (I hate to be disloyal - I love their channel - but 3.99 for a gift bag makes you think you could have added that much money to the gift.)

Seasonal socks are $1.  Without a job where I have to look elegant, I wear socks all the time.  I'm wearing a pair right now with witches and pumpkins on them - aaand, they play scary sounds.  Freaked out the cat this morning when I got dressed.  But $1!  The sign I mentioned a few days ago about Free Broom Rides came from Deals Only and was $2.99.

The food section has been a fun introduction to other cultures.  I now love Matzo crackers and chocolate macaroons, which show up after most Jewish holidays.  We eat refried beans, put jabanero sauce on our omelets, and eat different kinds of Mexican dulces.

Deals Only is probably the only place in the country where 12 oz of bacon is $3.49.  I asked how they could keep selling it at that price (Safeway sells it for $6.99.)  I've heard about the disease that's really hurting the pig population and I sympathize with the farmers, but can't pay that for bacon.  I was told Deals Only charges what it costs them to buy it, so it's a sort of loss-leader - only they do break even.

Cheyenne's Vita Bone dog treats are $2 a box, and sometimes I can buy a big package of Fancy Feast for the cats for $4.99.

Occasionally, there are surprises - like yarn, or jeans, or hats, or purses.  It's one of those thrill-of-the-hunt things.  Some days there are real treasures, and some days just milk and eggs.  But I love it when I find something fun.

When I was little, my mother and my Aunt Mamie went twice a year to a sale at Filene's Basement in Boston.  (a women's store, notorious for the wild nature of the shoppers)  They would come home with pink cheeks and sparkling eyes and usually a hat or a dress that would have cost a bundle at full price.

Since I'm nowhere near Boston, I'm upholding the tradition as best I can.

Where do you love to shop?

26 comments:

  1. I'm a sucker for Dollar Tree. Sometimes the quality is suspect, but who needs high quality party supplies, holiday socks, or clips to keep hair out of your face? Everything is $1, and the store is even pretty attractive.

    And I like your picture!

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    1. Hi, Liz. There's a Dollar Tree in Warrenton, the neighboring town across the bay. We used to go there when Ron still drove. I remember maple cream cookies shaped like a maple leaf that were out of this world! Have a wonderful weekend - we're expecting storms.

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  2. Muriel, Lately I've been too busy to shop. But then my elder daughter came to visit (she just went home) and she loves to shop, shop, shop. I'm still exhausted. But she loves bargains so we hit all kinds of stores. I didn't know we had 3 kinds of dollar stores, and T.J. Maxx, and Burlington Coat that sells way more than coats. And something called: Big Lots. Wowza--going through that store took all day. It is fun. I love Costco, because they give food samples and you can shop and have lunch.

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    1. Warrenton is building a T.J. Maxx. Have never been in one. Can't wait until one of my friends is going. Burlington Coat Factory is wonderful, too, but the closest one is in Portland (100 miles away). I'm with you on Costco - especially now that they're sampling all that holiday stuff! Happy Weekend.

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  3. We have a dollar store, too, and I head there occasionally. When the rubber band bracelet making craze hit last year, we paid $20 for Mike's at Michael's. Well, then, Mike just had to have another so that MOM could sit there and make bracelets with him. I wasn't about to pay $20 for something I really didn't want, so bought one for $2.99 at the Dollar Store. Sigh, there was a difference. Mine had rough edges and the rubber bands caught.
    But, I love buying toothbrushes and toothpaste there. No difference.

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    1. You're acquiring such skills as your son's partner in artistic endeavors - and everything else. Funny you should mention toothpaste - I went to Deals Only for a tube but they were out of regular toothpaste had only had children's tubes with superheroes on them. That was fine with me. When I got it home, I realized it is designed for little mouths. (Hey, out there! I heard that snicker!) And not only that, the hole where the paste comes out is jaggedly cut so that it looks like lightning! Very exciting. Have a good weekend.

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  4. Muriel, your picture is beautiful and I understand how you want at least one picture with all the writing. I’m doing a blog now that’s all writing, and I plan to include pictures of my Peace Rose which has nothing to do with the text. I never discovered the Dollar Store or 99 cent store until I really had to watch my pennies after my divorce. I love it! I buy beautiful cards for 50 cents out of a huge selection. I get the mailers for my books, two for 1.00 and anywhere else they're 1.29 for one. A wonderful post, especially for people who have never tried those “special” stores.

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    1. Hi, Marion! Yes - I love Deals Only for cards, too. Some are a little made-in-my-garage-looking, but many are really pretty. Looking forward to pictures of your Peace Rose. Happy Weekend!

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  5. We don't have a Deals Only here in Corinth, but we do have a Dirt Cheat and I love to go there. I'm always watching my pennies so when I found name brand swim suits for $6-7 I snatched up three. I'll be watching for a Deals Only in my travels...and I didn't use your photo for dart practice. :-)

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    1. Hi, Patricia. I'd come visit you if I had the nerve to wear a bathing suit. I think the ones with long legs and skirts that wore in the twenties should come back. I believe Deals Only is not a chain, just a locally owned store. But if you come to Astoria to visit, I'll show you around. Especially since you didn't use my photo for target practice.

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  6. I love TJ Maxx and Dollar Tree. At TJ Maxx I find the most beautiful teacups and teapots. I bought 2 beautiful Dunoon fine bone china teacups that are made in England for $10 each. I chipped one and almost died, and when I tried to buy another one online it was $20.00 EACH plus shipping!! I could only find an identical one in ENGLAND!! I've found the most wonderful things there. And Dollar tree is the best for those eyeglass wipes that I use to wipe my iPad, and watch batteries and even my replacement specialty kitchen spotlight bulbs!! $1.00!! Sometimes even I can't believe it. This weekend I'm going to IKEA for a flat screen t.v. stand. It's so nice and less expensive than any other equivalent I've seen. Ahhh yes...love my discount and lower cost buying options. Then I have a little extra money to buy your wonderful books Heartwarming ladies. ( :

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    1. Hi, Laurie. I'm really looking forward to T.J. Maxx opening. I thought it was all clothing. Didn't realize it had other things as well What a find! We're all happy that you've made such a sensible decision on how to use your savings! Bless you! Happy Weekend.

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  7. I agree with Liz, and love your picture, Muriel.

    There's a wonderful, family-owned grocery store called Robinson's in Dorset, Ontario, near our cottage. There is an adjoining gift shop and a small boutique. The owners have also been known to train seeing-eye dogs . . . which of course earns my loyalty!

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    1. First of all, I love the name Dorset. It calls to mind ivy covered cottages and old churches. And I love anyone who loves animals. I so admire people who can train a dog, then let it go to do its work with someone who really needs it. That's so generous. Would love to explore their gift shop and boutique. Maybe one day. Happy Weekend.

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    2. It is a lovely place and I would love to have the opportunity of showing it to you, if you ever find yourself in northern Ontario!

      Yes, that's why I could never train or breed dogs, as I could NEVER let any of them go!

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  8. Like you, my local grocery store closed a year and a half ago. Then I found another one I liked 6 miles away and within a year that one closed too. I used to be a regular sale shopper. I'd get the flyer on Thursday, circle what I wanted and go out the first day and get the items.

    Now, I only go when absolutely necessary. I hate grocery shopping, hate putting the food away even more. So, I buy everything I need at once. If I decid to make something special and was missing an ingredient, I'd run to the local store and get it. At 15 miles away (30 round trip), there's no running out to buy one thing. I just do without.

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    1. Hi, Shirley! Putting food away in the cupboards is when I really miss my children. For whatever reason, it was a chore they loved. With my husband at the car, handing over the bags, and the rest of us strung out from the porch, through the living room, into the kitchen, with our oldest son on the kitchen stool putting things away, it was one of the times we laughed a lot together. (No garages adjoining the houses in our old neighborhood.) Like all kids, our complained about having to do anything, but they thought that was fun. Your story reminds me of The Egg and I, where she went shopping once a month because town was so far away. I believe once she forgot to buy lamp wicks, and they were in the dark until the next month.

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    2. Oh, I loved The Egg and I--and everything else Betty McDonald wrote!

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  9. I've been known to dart into the Dollar Tree (was tickled to buy a hula dancer who shakes when the sun shines in my office).

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    1. I think we have to have a picture of her on your next blog, Mel. Happy Weekend.

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  10. Muriel, you are speaking my language! Love these kinds of stores--we have a few in the neighboring metropolis of Longview, WA. It's always fun to see what treasures you can find. A small can of almond paste at the grocery costs $6.99--$1.99 at Prospector's Outlet. Also LOVE TJ Maxx, but it's almost an hour away. And of course yard sales...love my yard sales! I'm always sad when fall comes and they go away for the winter, but it gives me yet another reason to look forward to spring!

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    1. The neighbors and Ron and I had a few lawn sales this summer. Meeting all those people is so much fun. Didn't you guys have a small tornado yesterday? You're here to blog, so you must be okay. Talk about the kind of excitement you can do without. Happy Weekend!

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  11. Fun post, Muriel. I have been in a Dollar Tree before and like it for things that I don't plan to need forever (Halloween costume accessories for example) but I am a sucker for Target. My kids get so mad because I walk around with my phone, scanning all the products with their coupon app. It's a pain in the butt but I love to rub it in when I tell them how much I saved. Of course, 12 year olds are not that impressed by saving $3.20 - go figure!

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  12. I love Target, too, but that's fifty-five miles away. I can wander in there forever. Don't understand the coupon app and all that, but am sure if I had one nearby, I'll learn to use it. 12-year-olds are great fun to embarrass. Tell him/her that the $3.20 you saved goes toward their next (fill in whatever is wanted most.) Happy Weekend!

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  13. Hi Muriel, Are you talking Astoria, Oregon? I will look for it next summer as we'll be up there again. I love Fresh and Easy. Everything is healthy and fresh and the stores are small so they are easy. Lots of inexpensive prepared foods too for the busy one. Thanks for sharing.

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  14. hi, Sandra. Haven't heard of Fresh and Easy, but sounds like my kind of place. Love prepared foods and inexpensive is just a bonus. Please call me when you come to Astoria. We're in the phone book. Happy Weekend.

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