Have I mentioned the Family Dollar store yet? It’s my new favorite place here in Nashville.
Contrary to the name, not everything inside costs a dollar, which is disappointing, but nonetheless it’s the kind of bargain-basement neon playground that has you dancing down the aisles in a Julie Andrews kind of joy parade. You feel high the second you walk in… at least, I do.
Rows and rows of additive-riddled edible things shine like beacons alongside such necessities as glittery plant pots and plastic weather-vanes. Old men and women fill plastic baskets to the brim with cut-price trinkets, carousing and perusing the aisles with looks of wonder on their faces like wizards collecting items for spells.
One could lose hours in here.
More than that, the people who work at the Family Dollar are oh-so-very-proud. They are the proudest people I’ve ever come across in my life. I can only imagine they have to fill in some kind of loyalty form when they’re hired, or make some sort of video of themselves singing a homage to the store while gratuitously sacrificing a goat.
‘You’ll get nine dollars an hour, and that’s just to start,’ the store manager, Cindy, informed us when we enquired about the note they had stuck to the cash register the other day. It was advertising for a new employee. ‘You’ll work sixteen hours, then have two days off.’
‘That sounds wonderful,’ we replied as she multi-tasked her way through her monologue, crossing off some Snickers bars on an inventory.
‘Uh huh, sure is, and you’ll get a company discount with that.’
‘By the way,’ her bespectacled cashier sidekick added as he rung up our Goldfish and peanut butter flavored Pop Tarts (it was snowing – we needed supplies), ‘have you seen our discounted clothes? One lady just bought a t-shirt for $1.86.’
‘That’s right!’ Cindy hollered, waving a Snickers our way this time. ‘Just $1.86! It was supposed to be $3.99. So that’s a great saving, right?’
‘Right,’ the cashier agreed, ‘SUCH a great saving!’ He motioned us over with him then, to the clothing, so we could all check it out together.
Sure enough, it was cheap. ‘Imagine buying a new pair of shoes for the same price as a used pair in a secondhand store!’ he said excitedly as we admired the children’s sneakers.
The Viking bought some pyjamas in the end. And as he handed over less than $5 for them we all laughed and marveled as one at how much he’d saved, like we were wrapping up an episode of The Brady Bunch before the credits rolled. I think everyone was happy and proud as we walked back out into the flurry, clutching our discount wares.
Screw Disney World, you know, I don’t care if I never got to go in Orlando. The Family Dollar store is everything. I can’t wait to spend more time there.