Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Shoppin' at "The 'Blot"

Ocean State Job Lot opened in the space long ago vacated by good old Ames.

Ames, or "Ames's" as the locals say, was our source for all the little necessities like cheap jeans for dirty work, rubber boots for yard work, unromantic, practical underwear, and all the other useful merchandise in a low-priced department store. Alas, they went under.

For a while we clung to rumors that Target or some other retailer was coming in to take their place. Meanwhile, I nursed increasingly frail remnants of jockey shorts because I refuse to go to WalMart. WalMart is fortunately far enough away in any direction to keep me from being severely tempted.

The 'Blot's slogan should be "no one else wanted this, but you might." Sometimes they have cool stuff, like weird European and Asian snack foods, or Finky Chips, but a lot of the stuff seems like it came from the back of a warehouse or a truck that crashed.

You can find some good deals on name brand items in styles or flavors that failed to find a market. They had a bunch of Tom's toothpaste, but it was all some flavor like Tuna and Soy.

I waited more than a year for some jeans that fit me that didn't look like someone else had worn them for several months without washing them. There was that unfortunate period in fashion when the faded look gave way to the greasy, yellowed look. Combine that with a fly zipper no more than five links long and you have a pair of pants I wouldn't use as a shop rag. Eventually they got some acceptable Levi's 501(c)(3)s in basic black. One leg may be slightly longer than the other, but I'm going to put them through hell anyway. They'll just end up yellowed and greasy. But it will be my grease. And the rise is high enough to reach my shirt.

Eventually the underwear truck crashed, and I was able to update the decade-old contents of that drawer. I'm sure you are as relieved as I am.

When The Blot has something you like, buy as much as you can right then. We got used to buying these Swiss chocolate bars for $1.99. A few trucks must have crashed, because the stock went up and down a few times without running out. But then it was over. They have almost no chocolate now. Now we have an expensive habit to feed at street price. I--I--I'm getting the sshhakes nnnow...

The Blot also brought in a lot of their own employees, and apparently some of their own customers, as well. Even the products look stranger and stranger the longer you look at them. What looks like a national brand turns out to be Past Cereal or Kellegg's. Or it's from Eastern Europe, with an ingredient panel in Hungarian. Still, it's a great place to find 6,000 extra large tee shirts

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