Treasure Hunt

One of the great added bonuses of having a child, in my mind, is that you have a great excuse to buy cool toys. I have always enjoyed buying toys and stuffed animals, but I felt sort of silly sometimes, coming home with, say, a giant blue rabbit, and having my husband raise just one eyebrow at me, slightly. Now that I have produced offspring, however, I can bring home a giant blue rabbit anytime I please, to be met only with a, "Oh, Little Z will like that!"

Little Z's birthday is coming up, and also, we are going on a little road trip soon. Last time we took a road trip, it was pretty easy to keep her occupied by giving her toys that were all wrapped up. She would spend a lot of time unwrapping something, and then she had to figure out what it was good for. Last time, I just mostly wrapped up toys she already had, but this time, I thought it would be easier to entertain her with new-to-her toys from the thrift store. So, off I went to Dig and Save.

Dig and Save is sort of amazing. And scary. And dirty. And cheap. And, well, interesting. It's this place where, all around you, there are gigantic boxes full of stuff. It's roughly organized, into "clothes," "toys," "dishes" etc. There is a scale up by the cash register, and everything is sold by the pound. The per pound rate is ridiculously cheap, usually around 29 cents per pound. The catch is that you have to dig through the boxes to find the good stuff. Some of the boxes are so huge, I literally leave Little Z at the sitter, because I fear that I could lose her entirely in one of them. She could suffocate in one of those clothing boxes before I ever got her out. Today, I didn't bring her additionally because I went to buy her toys, and of course I didn't want her to see what I was getting her.

The people there are always so interesting. There are usually lots of immigrants, and plenty of people speaking foreign languages, often talking to themselves as they dig. The racket of people shuffling through all that stuff is extraordinary. And then you have the children. The children who can pretty much have whatever they want, because it's so cheap, and they go wild playing with things in the aisles. There are no dressing rooms for the clothes, which are not even organized by size, so there is a lot of trying things on over your clothes. The last time I was there, this Spanish-speaking woman got a shirt stuck on her, and asked me to help her. I was tugging and pulling and tugging and pulling, and it wouldn't come, and then it was stuck half over her head, and then we were laughing and then, when I finally got it off of her, (and nearly took her other shirt off with it), we were both laughing hysterically. There's nothing like laughing with a stranger who doesn't even speak your language.

Anyway, today I found plenty of loot. So much loot, in fact, that I thought I would take a picture of it all when I got home:

When they first weighed it and rang it up, the cashier came up with $1,079.

"Oh, I messed something up here," says she. "You could buy this whole store for $1,079."

She re-did it.

"Did you get everything? Really?"
"Yeah. $3.70."

I was dumbfounded. Wow. That's cheap. I had thirty or so toys, including a dump truck and one of those cool wooden wire things, and a shirt, and an embroidered ladybug, and some wrapping paper, and some odd magnets from places I've never been.

After you get home, you have to wash things off, of course, because there's no telling where they've been:

I dried off the smaller toys and wrapped them for the trip. The wrapping paper I bought there had some non-occasion generic flowers on it, and it was folded, and I assumed that it was all the same under the folding. As it turned out, every sheet was different. Little Z will be opening some very festive wedding paper on our next road trip:

She won't care, though. I hope she has as much fun playing with the toys as I had finding them.


  1. Wow - what a great concept.. paying for toys by the pound... Mustn't let my kids see that...

    Wait - it's OK. We don't have that concept over here in Sweden - apart from buying LEGO by the hecto.

  2. Where are you heading on your road trip?

  3. In retrospect, today, I'm so glad I got her the recycling dump truck! I was just listening to an old band called, "The Garbagemen". (Funny name.) Anyhow, I think little girls need more dump trucks. Until there is a band, "The Garbageladies," at least.

    Lady Fi, I'm not sure there is any other place in the U.S. like this store, with toys by the pound. As far as I know, it's unique.

    Holly, we're headed your direction, roughly.

  4. I love these American store names 'Dig and Save'. Hope Little Z enjoys the spoils of your mission.