Most of the presents came from one of those stores that sell everything for a dollar. If they’re making money by selling stuff for a dollar, can you imagine how much they’re paying for it -- 50 cents? A quarter? A penny? Imagine how much money the stores that sell similar stuff for $5 and $7 are making.
After Steve had opened all his presents — A Darth Vader Pez dispenser, a Justin Bieber bobble-head doll, way out-of-date candy, a “Duck Dynasty” chia plant — and things got seriously cakey, someone asked, “Why doesn’t everyone shop at a dollar store?” Why would you ever pay 5 or 10 dollars for something they were selling for a dollar? When I was shopping for Steve, the dollar store was selling 80 envelopes for one dollar, when I had just bought a box of 100 envelopes at an office supply store for $7.99. Do the math — multiply by 7, take the square root of 3, divide by 4, change to base 8, carry the 6 and — oh yeah, I could pay almost $64 for 800 envelopes or I could pay $10 dollars for 800 of the same envelopes. Decisions, decisions. And yet you’d think that the office supply place would offer the better deal, seeing as that’s their business. They buy in volume so they can pass the gouging along to you, the envelope-buying sucker.
Steve said that some people would rather spend more on everyday products because it’s classier. That was when we came up with the most brilliant idea in the history of capitalism. We would open a chain of Two Dollar Stores right next door to every dollar store. We would sell almost the same stuff as a dollar store, but everything would cost twice as much and therefore have twice the class and we’d make twice as much money.
We’d make a fortune. Until someone opened a Three Dollar Store next to us.
Jim Mullen is the author of “It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life,” “Baby’s First Tattoo” and “Now in Paperback.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.