Monday, August 22, 2005

The Dollar Store

In the US, there is a "dollar store", or a variation of the dollar store in almost every town. You know what I'm talking about - the "99 Cent Store" or the "Dollar Plus!". I generally never shopped at the dollar stores - unless I was looking for cheap coloring books for my son the scribbler or Search-A-Word books in large print for my grandparents. Apparently the dollar stores do high volume business in those two items, because it seems they always have them.

When we moved to Georgia in April, our second day here our friend Gina took us shopping. We were headed to Goodwill, the large German supermarket, and there was road work and we had to detour. As we took the detour, through a section of Tbilisi called Didube, we came across the "Dollar Store". Gina immediately stopped and we got out of the car and went in to check it out. The store had just opened and Gina was shocked. After living in Georgia for 2 plus years, she stood in the middle of the store at one point and said "I'm just so overwhelmed! I don't know where to start!".

You see, almost all the products in the Dollar Store are American products. Mostly off-brands, much like you would find in a US dollar store, but some name-brand products as well. Dave and I were not so shell-shocked, since we had just come from the states, but for the expats who have lived here for a while, the Dollar Store was BIG news. You could get generic pop-tarts, cookies, mustard, mayo, etc. all for a dollar fifty-five. (I don't know why they call it the dollar store when everything is a dollar fifty-five AND you actually pay in Georgian Lari, so everything is really almost 3 lari. Maybe because it would make the sign on the front of the store too complicated.)

Anyhow, I now adore the Dollar Store. After living here almost 5 months, it's nice to be able to go into the Dollar Store and shop. It's small, about the size of a 7-11 store in the US, but all the products are labeled in English and they are all kind of comforting and familiar. I buy Tom's brand peanut butter crackers by the boxfulls (they were the only thing I could keep down in the first few months of my pregnancy). I buy Gatorade for David. I buy birthday cards and wrapping paper.

They just opened a new branch of the Dollar Store in the Gldani section of Tbilisi. We got an email last week about the "Grand Opening" and it claimed it was much bigger than the original store in Didube. Dave and I set out on Saturday to find the store. 2 hours of driving around and stopping for directions (with our bad Russian skills and their poor English skills, it's amazing but we were able to get decent directions) we found the store and had to stand in line to get in. The store is big, almost twice the size of the original Dollar Store. And the selection - well, they have quite a bit more stock (Sunny Delight juice! David was in heaven - he loves that crap. Blaine, on the other hand took one taste and declared it "yucky".) and quite a bit more selection. Now that I know how to get there, I see many more trips to the Gldani Dollar Store in my future.


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