The Stuff-Buying Mood

The girlfriend has been spending every evening doing the wedding invitations with her mother, a multi-night affair of envelope licking, printer drama, and at least one text message that read “my mother is driving me batty.” I was invited to help in the same text message, but decided to stay far away—which meant I was on my own for dinner every night.

Naturally, the first night was awesome. I got a big burrito and ate the entire thing with little regard to how messy I was being. I had some beers and watched a movie. The second night I got a sub and stared at the Internet and waited for the girlfriend to come home. By the third night, dinner alone was an awful chore, and I found myself deeply bored. I decided to venture out into the world to buy stuff.

I was in the stuff-buying mood, which is entirely different from shopping. Shopping has a purpose. Shopping can be leisurely or purely functional in nature, but it has an end goal. Stuff-buying is aimless. It’s done simply to fill a emotionless void. Meaningless stuff-buying can be a dark place. We’ve all been there. It’s like eating potato chips vacantly in front of the television, and not even brand-name chips. It’s like eating those weird honey-BBQ-flavored ones from the gas station.

But stuff-buying can also be fun. Ollie’s Bargain Outlet is one my favorite stores. It’s the place to shop when you need stuff. They carry new, brand-name stuff from buyouts and surplus sales. If you’re looking for something specific, don’t go to Ollie’s. You’ll never find it. However, if you need stuff, it’s the place to be. Their logo is “good stuff cheap.” The merchandise is arranged in huge piles set up on plywood boards and cinder blocks, and they don’t spend money on displays or signs. All of the signs are handwritten or made on a copier.

So this is what I bought!


What is Cars 2 Cereal? As it states on the box, it’s a frosted multi-grain cereal with red-circled fun. This is what passes for a cereal tie-in these days. The cereal shares nothing in common with Cars 2 except that the main car in the movie is red and so are some of the circles in this box. They don’t even try to call it “red wheels” or “multigrain tires.” They simply take Cheerios, dye some of them red, and call it fun. Red-circled fun.

When I was a kid, I used to think it was crappy that the marshmallows only vaguely represented the things they were supposed to be. I wanted bowls of exact sculptures of the characters I was eating. But hell, at least I got crappy marshmallows. Man. It must be devastating to be a kid.

Seriously. I can’t get over it. Red-circled fun? On behalf of children everywhere, who shouldn’t be using bad language anyway, I’d like to sincerely say fuck you, Cars 2 Cereal.

Next in my purchases, POISON:

Here’s my thing about killing insects—I don’t go out of my way to do it. I’m all about live and let live, even within my own house. If I see a spider in the basement, I’ll pretend I didn’t see him. He’s on my turf, but I’m underground, so I’m also kind of on his. For flies, I try to shoo them out the window, rather than swatting barbarically. Bugs don’t have people spray. It’s not a fair fight. It’s my personal bug treaty.

But you know what? I draw the line in the sand when the insects start acting all shifty. When they swarm, when they gather in groups, when they hang out—that’s how you know they’re up to no good. I don’t mess around with that. Recently a couple of hornets have started hanging out on my car. They’re not flying around the general vicinity of my car—no they’re chilling right on top, just sitting there, waiting. Watching. It’s totally sketch.

Plus, I just love the name “Sudden Death” for a bug poison. I may be a liberal vegetarian pacifist, but when I have to make the decision to kill, I have no need for pleasant euphemisms like “Bug Barrier” or “Pest Control.” I want death. Sudden death.

Finally, in my aimless boredom purchases, I bought SQUATZ.

Squatz are miniature plastic figures entombed in pods that fizz when placed in warm water. Effervescence meets toys. Um, yes please.

Squatz came in two battling varieties: Robots vs. Aliens or Pirates vs. Ninjas. I chose Robots vs. Aliens because that is clearly the better battle. A battle between Robots and Aliens would be violent and full of lazer guns and explosions. You see, a battle between Robots and Aliens would quite simply be the battle for the world itself. Pirates and Ninjas? What the heck do they have to fight over? Hidden treasure? So meh.

So here are the mysterious fizzing pods. They smelled strongly, the chemical plastic PVC smell, like on Christmas morning in 1985. It’s the good shit. I love the smell of plastic in the morning.

Well, the only thing left to do is put them in a glass of water and watch them fizz magically into little toys. In other words, stand back everyone. I’M GOING TO DO SCIENCE. Important science with bubbles. As you know, all important science involves bubbles.

Whoa. That was a lot of fizzing. It went nuts. Folks, Squatz are not just any fizzing mystery pod toy, but are in fact, a quality fizzing mystery pod toy. For five bucks, you get your money’s worth of fizz.

But now for the most important finding of all. WHAT I GOT:

They’re all squatty and adorable! Battle-wise, I think the robot is winning it. As a bonus, their heads are inter-changeable, but it’s a feature that I just don’t love. Why would a robot ever exchange heads with an alien? That just ain’t right.

Gee. That was fun.

I hope the girlfriend comes home soon from invitation stuff. Maybe I should go over there and help. Or maybe I should just spray the entire can of Sudden Death on one unlucky hornet. It’s my one bug kill a year. I have to make it worth it.

10 thoughts on “The Stuff-Buying Mood

  1. So what have we learned? It’s not okay for cereal to come with toys anymore. It is however okay for Alka Seltzer to come with toys.

  2. I usually can’t bring myself to kill insects either. I rescue the wasps from our porch by trapping them in a cup and then releasing them. I once had to spray our plants because of a huge caterpillar infestation. They died sad, slow, wiggling deaths. I later woke up screaming from a nightmare that I was death spraying little baby ferrets who were chilling out on our bushes. Roaches are the exception. They poop. Plus my wife does a bizarre, spinning, squealing, roach dance that doesn’t end until I kill it.

    1. Hmm. I always know I’m the brunt of a joke when Zen e-mails me at work with “check out my comment.”

      As for the Squatz, what a great cheapo toy. I think the only use for the swappable heads is if you get Scurvy and the green alien one. That’s pretty fun and would add to the scientific education.

  3. Bubbles are awesome. I recently got some free chococolate candy in the mail and was more excited that it was packed in free DRY ICE! My 10 year old daughter and I went out back with a bucket of water and played (safely) with it. Awesome stuff.

    I so want some robots vs aliens Squatz now.

  4. If only Squatz came in cowboys & aliens, it’d be the perfect promo! Keep that weird science coming.

    PS, Always spray “Sudden Death” down wind. It’s not on the label, but it’s important.

  5. Aw, I miss Ollies. The only thing I can remember buying there was a clothes drying rack, so I must have blocked out all the fun crappy treasures. And I laughed at the bug thing because just last night I saw a smallish spider in the bathroom and then looked the other way, which I’ll probably regret today.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s