I'm going to confess something here. I love the 99¢ Only Store! Yes, me with the haute couture shoes, purse and sunglasses.
There. I said it. Ahhh. That was cathartic.
We don't have a 99¢ Only Store in Beverly Hills and it's just about the only thing I don't like about our town. I have to schlep to obscure places like the Valley with grime, grit and guns. (Yes, I did get caught in the middle of an armed robbery in the 99¢ Only Store parking lot and yes, I still go back).
Why do I subject myself to this? It's a treasure-hunting gold mine in there, that's why. Once you see the low prices for the same name brand products you buy at other stores with the exact same expiration dates—plus obscure items like Mr. T's Plastic Wrap, Backstreet Boys Popsicles and Hannah Montana Lip Gloss—you just have to go back.
A Los Angeles Times food critic once reviewed a 99¢ Only Store Cabernet Sauvignon—a 1997 Staton Hills Late Release from Columbia Valley, Washington—giving it the five out of five "serve with pride" rating. The critic wrote:
Comments: Big Cab flavor; wants a steak
Snob appeal: "Late Release" pumps up sexiness of handsome label
"That’s me!" I rejoiced. I like sexy. I like handsome. I like meat. "We're running low on dog food, Dixie cups and dried mushrooms," I justified. "I need some badminton birdies, Band-Aids and batteries…badly."
When I got to the 99¢ Only Store, I ran over to the wine section. Staton Hills was gone. Cleaned out. I found an employee (not an easy task). "Where is the Staton Hills wine. Any in the back?" I asked. "The lady over there," he motioned to the parking lot. "She's from Beverly Hills. She's going from store to store, stocking up," he grinned, as though Mercedes Lady and I were due back at the asylum for medication.
There she was, loading up her Mercedes SL 65 with several cases of Staton Hills. Staton Hills was going to Beverly Hills without me. She was going to serve it up and I bet she wasn't going to confess where she got it from. Who are you Ms. Mercedes? I'm on to you.