Apart from the fact that they don’t pay their workers and you know, child labour and stuff, I can’t tell you how much I love a pound shop. My heart starts hammering as soon as I see a giant pack of batteries, or a bumper sack of off-brand Mini Cheezers, or a discounted Cheeky Girls autobiography. Mops, pegs, brushes, magic expanding socks, diaries made of thin toilet paper – I love it all.
I also love that, unlike the shiny doodads and pointless reactionary trinkets of John Lewis, it all comes with a moving whiff of Chinese warehouse. You’ve got to admire these shitty products. Unloved, piled high and viciously discounted, they’ve travelled the world trying to find a home. If that imported deodorant could speak, it would say: ‘Me and my family of lavender roll ons have been in a shipping crate in Shanghai for 6 months, wondering whether we will see an armpit again. But for just £1 you can adopt me and apply me gently into your crevices.’
And as a parent, pound shops are worth their weight in gold. Toys for other people’s children who you don’t know or particularly like? Check. Watery paint and newsprint colouring books? Check. And here’s a secret I only just found out myself. Poundland sell MIDDLE CLASS FRUIT SNACKS. You don’t have to send Boudicca and Rafferty to school with cold chips and a biscuit any more! For one British pound you can throw in some Fruit Factory stringy things and give them one of their five a day like a BOSS. I even found some Dorset muesli in there the other day – admittedly the packet was thumbnail sized, but it was only a fucking quid. Suck on that, Mumford and Sons and Jamie Oliver and all you pork pulling artisan idiots. I might sleep under a motorway off ramp, but I know how to live!
Anyway, it’s a good job I have learned to treasure crap things, because they’re the only things I can afford. I can’t remember the last time I paid full price for anything. The combination of the financial crisis, a terrible government and working part time means I’ve become a bargain betty, a sales slut, a made in Taiwan fan. You wouldn’t catch me wearing Marni and Louboutins, because I am dressed head to toe in a massive bin bag from B&M. The best conversations I have involve money off coupons and 3 for 2s on jam.
Like the women who lived through WW2, who were still making cups of tea with powdered egg and making earrings out of potato peelings well into the 70s, I don’t think I’ll ever get over my modern day penny pinching. I will always be a Pound Shop Princess. You could give me a black Amex and Kanye’s pin number and I would still gravitate towards Poundland to fondle the washing baskets.
Cheap? Yes - but I’ll have the last laugh. And I will also be the proud owner of SEVEN MILLION packets of Jammy Bodgers. Screw you, recession.