September 1st is always the start of Halloween season for myself and many others and once again this year I’m going to recommend you Dinosaur Dracula, Review the World and I-Mockery for all kinds of cool Halloween related posts over the next two months.
Back to me.
I decided late this afternoon to go on a run around town to browse the Halloween section at various stores. The exception being I decided to ignore big box stores like Walmart and Target because I know they are slowly bring in Halloween items and haven’t gone full bore yet. So, I decided I was going to hit up a few shops I rarely ever go to. Namely, K-Mart, Party City (of which I always make multiple trips to during the Halloween season and then ignore it for the other 10 months out of the year) and then maybe a Family Dollar or a General Dollar. Are both of those Dollar stores owned by the same company? They’ve always seemed interchangeable to me. You’ll find the same cheap products, clearance items and nearly expired food at each place.
First on my list was K-Mart, except I didn’t like the look of traffic getting there so I took a quick detour to Party City. Not a big deal. Like clockwork, Party City pretty much has everything set up when it comes to costumes, masks and accessories. They have tons of full boxes of all kind of Halloween goodies sitting on the floor though, which will no doubt contain most of their Halloween decorations and party favors. I wonder what they store in their Halloween section when it isn’t September/October. I really must go look sometime.
Sorry for the poor lighting but it’s a gold color. Party City’s website has a better picture of a black version. I couldn’t help but get a Skeletor vibe from this mask. It’s like what he would’ve looked like if turned into a cyborg. For $16.99, it was a bit higher than I would’ve liked to have paid or thought it was worth, but it’s a pretty cool mask so I bought it. Never mind the fact that I don’t know when I’m ever going to wear it (other than in my own home to terrorize my dog when no one else is around).
Well, that was all I really saw that I wanted. I’ll go back a few more times before Halloween comes, but I don’t have much use for Halloween costumes. I just like to look. So, off to K-Mart I went!
A few words about K-Mart: I feel really bad for them. Every K-Mart I’ve been to in the last 20 years is run down and looks nearly abandoned by customers and employees alike. Our particular K-Mart has a parking lot that is never even half full and it’s in serious need to being repaved. I don’t think they used the big caged lawn & garden section for anything other than storage and the paint is peeling off the walls of the building (inside and outside). Once you step inside, it’s a pretty huge building and it doesn’t seem like they have enough product to fill it. The aisles are very wiiiide. More paint peeling, stains on the ceiling from leaks, the tile creaks when you walk on it, there’s exposed wires…
Don’t get me wrong though — I love all of this. It may sound weird to say, but K-Mart was a big part of my life growing up. We didn’t have a Target or Walmart in my hometown until I was 10 or 11, so K-Mart was where everyone shopped when I was really little. Going to K-Mart is like talking a stroll back into the 1980s (because it looks like this store hasn’t received any renovation since then). It’s charming and lends a bit of a mom & pop vibe to the place (the pharmacy there closes for a lunch break!), but still surprising that a national chain store can get away with looking like this in 2014. I know K-Mart closed a lot of stores and I couldn’t sworn our was going to be one of them, but it’s still pluggin’ along.
K-Mart’s Halloween selection is pretty small. And if I’m remembering how it was last year, I don’t think it’s going to get any bigger. They have a notably small selection of Halloween candy, costumes and decorations but it’s enough to fill that area where they used to have their snack bar/cafeteria, which is why I don’t think they’ll get much more in. There wasn’t a whole that was interesting but one thing that did catch my eye was they had the exact same metallic robot skull mask I bought at Party City for only $9.99!!!
Feeling defeated and completely ripped off by Party City but too lazy to drive back over there for a refund, I continued to browse the store because I felt like taking the trip down memory lane and wanted to enjoy the serene weirdness of the store. Then I started noticing food items of mild interest and started taking pictures of them with my smartphone (again, please excuse the quality, my phone is four years old and I don’t have steady hands). One thing about going off the beaten retail path, you run across products that you didn’t know existed or figured were discontinued. And that’s kind of a treat in itself.
Sausage gravy is awesome. Who knew that the company that releases mass quantities of canned cherry, apple and pumpkin pie filling about this time of year also regularly has cans of country sausage gravy? And you know what you could pair it up with?
A small carton of Hungry Jack hash browns! Just add water!
I love Nestea and Lipton Brisk. It’s good to know that K-Mart’s offers up their own via their Smart Sense in-house label.
Ah, Dad’s Old Fashioned Root Beer and Cream Soda. K-Mart really is kicking it old school. I haven’t seen Dad’s anywhere else in years.
Walgreens sells a giant bag of Andy Capp’s Hot Fries but I’ve often lamented over the fact that they don’t carry the cheddar or BBQ variety. K-Mart has all three (but in smaller bags). I figured gas stations were the only other place besides Walgreens to get some of Andy Capp’s fries. Until tonight, I didn’t realize the Andy Capp comic strip was created and based in England. Thanks, Wikipedia!
Capri Sun apparently has their own answer to V8 Splash.
I’ve never had Cheerwine that I know and have no idea what it’s supposed to taste like (guessing cherry though), but I’ve always exclusively associated it with the 1980s. Early to mid ’80s, specifically, for some reason. Pretty sure I have not seen in in person somewhere for at least two decades and actually thought it had been discontinued. I should’ve bought some.
And so ends our stroll through K-Mart, but WAIT! There’s more! I made a run into Family Dollar as well. What a weird place and it must be a nightmare for someone who is claustrophobic. They has the opposite problem of K-Mart — so much merchandise, so little space. There was some guy there angrily sitting in front of a computer while talking on a portable phone. And he wasn’t an employee. So I’m not sure if they offer free phone/internet access there or what, but he seemed perturbed whenever someone would walk by him.
I continued taking pictures because I’m very very odd and very very bored…
I remember we would sometimes buy this for our dog when I was a kid. If you add water, a “gravy” begins to form. This is the dog equivalent of making chocolate milk with your Cocoa Puffs or Cocoa Krispies. Again, a product that I associate with many, many years ago and thought was discontinued.
M&M… candles? What scents could they possibly have? Red Hot Apple Cinnamon, Milk Chocolate and Nutty Lemon, of course! The three standard M&M flavors! No wonder it’s on clearance.
Cinnamon Jacks? Brown sugar & cinnamon cereal. This actually sounds decent. Never knew it existed.
Kellogg’s Jif cereal! Never heard of this one either. The box art and cereal pieces look really generic. Squares with a hole in the middle? Why? And I know the box is supposed to resemble a jar of Jif peanut butter but it looks really outdated.
I was just asking someone the other week if Cherry 7Up still existed and they said it did but I couldn’t recall having seen it in a long time. Well, here’s the proof!
Only including this one because of reminds me of my days of living in Michigan where Vernor’s was everywhere. This is the first time, I think, I’ve ever seen it in Florida. I love ginger ale and occasionally ginger candies but Vernor’s was the real deal and a bit too much for me. Not really all that enjoyable or refreshing to drink. Burns. I’ll stick with Canada Dry or Schweppes.
So that was my day. How ’bout yours?