Timeless Thoughts: The 50¢ store

Timeless Thoughts is a monthly linkup hosted by Georgie and Tara, where bloggers write about something from their past – it could be an item, a place, an event – anything that evokes a trip down memory lane. Timeless Thoughts is held on the first Saturday of the month, and runs for two weeks.

I was debating against writing this post because it’s a little-known story and one that I wanted to share for perhaps a more appropriate occasion, but a couple of years down the track and no appropriate occasion has really come up that is suited to this story. Timeless Thoughts is not necessarily about writing childhood things, but about reflecting on memories from the past – even the recent past.

So, drilling that in, I’m going to share a story from what was probably at least ten years ago, and not something that really constitutes a particular item.

I can’t remember the date, but it was definitely when I was an early teen – I could have been younger. I was at a chain bargain store with my dad, perhaps about twenty minutes away from home. I was a cheapskate, and to this day, probably still have the qualities of a cheapskate. I do love a bargain as much as the next person, but these days I definitely question the quality of products and whether I really need them – not just trying to get a bargain. In this particular store, I was just browsing around like I usually do: I headed straight for the arts and crafts section, because at the time I was really into buying beads for making my own jewellery. My next favourite section to explore was the stationery and books section (I could never have enough notebooks). After that I would trawl through the junk assortment of “accessories” like hair accessories, cheap jewellery and keychains.

After I finished looking around, I had picked up only a few items in total, one of them being a total bargain: a notepad that had my name printed on it, that was marked down to fifty cents. I don’t know what it was about the notepads, maybe they were running out and needed to get rid of them quickly. But I was ecstatic because rarely found my name on those personalised keychains and notepads, yet I found one!

My dad was busy browsing some clearance bin, I think, and I spotted a staff member ticketing items at fifty cents. Not many of them were interesting and I watched until I saw him ticket a small dolphin statue at fifty cents. He did the same with other statues on a shelf, and I noticed they must have been doing stocktake or cleaning the whole shelf because most of that was empty.

I think some people appeared confused because he immediately announced that everything (that was left) on the shelf would be fifty cents.

“If you would like to buy one just grab one and bring it here so I can put a sticker on it,” he said. I saw a few ladies grab a statue and hand it over to have a sticker attached. Without really thinking, I grabbed one too. My dad looked excited.

OK, I’ll admit it, I was excited too.

We heard an announcement over the speakers.

“This store is going to close today. Everything is being marked down. Lots of items will be sold at discounted prices and all must go.”

I started looking around and I noticed that a lot of items had yellow stickers on them that marked down the price significantly. I took the opportunity to grab a few items I had my eyes on earlier, now that I deemed the price more acceptable.

My dad had collected a bunch of items too. I don’t remember a lot of what we got, but I can tell you that some of them were worth a heck of a lot more than fifty cents.

“Good afternoon,” an announcement began over the speakers, “Everything in this store will be marked down to fifty cents.”

There was a pause and I think a few customers looked around in confusion.

“Yes, everything in this store will be fifty cents only. Grab anything you wish to purchase and it will be marked as fifty cents when you go to the counter to pay. Everything in the store must go!”

The announcement had more excitement than the previous one. I saw people flock to the shelves – mind you, this was unlikely to be anything like a Black Friday sale in the United States – and grab what they wanted before anyone else got their hands on them.

The next half hour was a blur but I just remember my dad and I carrying shopping baskets full of stuff, and as we went outside to put the stuff in the car, “How lucky! I can’t believe that everything in that store was fifty cents and we happened to be there!”

We were so excited to tell Brandon and my mum when we got home about how we spent less than $20 for so much stuff. 💵💵

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What a nice story. That’s a stoke of good luck to be in that store right at the time when they were selling everything for 50 cents! And to buy so much for only $20 in the end? This reminds me of the 1950s and their cheap prices 😆 Imagine how much we’d be buying with today’s money and those prices, which is exactly what you and your dad did in that store. I do feel bad for the store going under, but it is nice that it worked out for you two. Even better that you found that notepad with your name on it!

Thanks for sharing this memory 🙂

Hahaha, that is so awesome. I can imagine that it would have been a big shock to all the customers, but really exciting at the same time. I think it’s funny that the sections you would visit, are the ones I usually head to as well. Although, like you, I do try and really think about what I am buying now… However, if I was in a store and there was a magic 50c sale, it might get a little crazy haha.

Fifty cents?! How lucky that you and your dad were there at the right time haha! I would’ve gone crazy and grabbed a bunch of stuff I don’t need! I have changed a lot now though and gone for a more minimal approach with items. Discounted items don’t phase me as much as they used to but fifty cents might do I admit 😆

Hahaha yes! Fifty cents is awfully tempting. Even though I try very hard not to buy things I don’t need, sales get tempting. 🤐 I used to go to cheap dollar stores all the time but I avoid them now. Usually crappy stuff that is low in quality haha!

I’m a cheapskate through and through, girl.

I love this story. What a turn of luck that everything ended up being 50 cents! Was the store closing down or something? That’s crazy. I remember I went to a thrift store which was held in like a massive backyard, and everything was a £1!

Haha yeah I think the whole store was closing for good. I don’t think you’d find anything like that these days. And I try not to get sucked in by sales. 😂

I really enjoyed reading this story. It was really lucky that you and your dad just happened to be there. I wish fifty cents went that length today.

I remember that my dad would bring my brother and I to the dollar store and we’d find a little trinket and we’d pay with quarters (I had to have been about 7 or 8 at the time). Your story reminded me of this.

Oh man, you and your dad got lucky by being there when the staff announced that everything in the store was 50 cents! I love bargains and discounted stationery goodies. I can imagine how crazy everyone went after that announcement. I would too 😆. For $20, you got a lot of bargains there 😆. I try to keep in mind the quality of things when it comes to purchases. I rather spend a bit more for something more robust so it doesn’t end up as junk :’)..

There are 99 cent stores here in Texas, at least in my area and beyond and they are a godsend. Love them so much that my husband and I go there all the time 😄