I've always loved crowded stores. In Enfield, there was the Triangle Store on Main Street. Owned by Billy, who sat in his chair, smoking a cigar and reading the paper, who had his eye on you even when you walked to the back of the store..."If you're not buying that, put it back" He would shout in his NY accent. We thought he had powers to see through walls. Every space in the store was covered with stuff. Nothing was neat, things were stacked up and crammed in cases. He could find anything you asked for but I never knew how. Then, Rockdale Store opened in Lebanon. Lots of stuff everywhere. Another was Barber's on Main Street West Lebanon. Mr. Barber and Billy could have been brothers! And now, in this neat and polished generation of stores where they have huge signs telling you where everything is, I found Ocean State Job Lot. It is "Home of Adventure Shopping." I was thrilled.
I took my sister just before Christmas. My sister likes things neat. She's not about clutter. My house has books and magazines and plants everywhere. It's neat, but my version of neat. Entering the store is like being in a hoarder's storage unit. Stuff is everywhere. Toothbrushes share the same shelf as glue. There were ornaments of all kinds. Where else would you find asian santas to hang from your tree? It's amazing! After my sister's first "OMG" I was ready to dive into the piles of stuff, looking for bargains. They had cashmere socks for $3.00 and books from $1.99 including some great cookbooks. I love candy and bags of it from Germany were $1.50. There's a lot of stuff to get through but I could wander up and down these rows forever. The food section is my favorite. Where else can you find 15 different kinds of sardines for the husband? Or pickled eggs? Or cookies from Germany and France, and countries I've never heard of? Everything is piled high, but the prices are low. My sister fell under the spell of cheap prices and bought socks and some weird dried fruit that was really pricey at the Coop, but cheap here.
I haven't taken my sister to the Asian Super Store, Yipings on Main Street in West Lebanon. She would faint. There is no order at all, and it would be good to know some Chinese because all the stuff on the shelves isn't translated. I like rice noodles, and know what to look for other than that I'm lost. They are very helpful, but no, I don't need 20 pounds of rice. They do have some great bowls and chopsticks and I will try any kind of candy at least once unless there is a cricket in the picture on the label.
When I get home from these shopping adventures I quickly hide the bags. My husband likes a neat and orderly house and I veer to the left. I give him the sardines and hide the candy....and shove everything else in the closet.