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Food

Valentine's Shopping at the 99¢ Only Store

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For a few days, LAist had been driving past a banner draped in front of a local 99¢ Only Store that read: “Valentine’s Day Headquarters.” We were intrigued. The 99¢ neon sign called to us like a siren’s song. (Plus this LAist poster needed gifts for her hubby, and we wanted to surprise him. Really surprise him.)

Now for those who’ve never been, 99¢ Only Stores sell lots of stuff -- food, household supplies -- cheap. All products, including some name brands, cost 99¢ or under before taxes. The stores are brightly lit and usually crowded, but we ventured to this Valentine’s HQ on a Friday night and avoided the Target-like madness.

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We made a beeline for the aisles decorated in red-and-white and stared at the treasure trove that lined either side. Sure the chocolates and candy were plentiful, but there was so…much…more. On one side we found ceramic love frames, ceramic gift boxes, mugs and ceramic hearts with ribbon hangers, but nothing that really said “Be My Valentine” to us.

On the other side, however, was the good stuff. So we bought and bought because the 99¢ Only Stores wouldn’t break the bank. Here’s what ended up in the shopping cart:

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1. Love Dice: We found them elsewhere for $4.99.
2. Love Darts: Throw the darts for love commands.
3. Love Cuffs: Who needs the Pleasure Chest when you have pink plastic handcuffs for under a buck?
4. Love Machine: A plastic gun that lofts little cupids at your love one. Guns=Love.
5. Brach’s Large Conversation Hearts: Because nothin’ says Valentine’s Day like a bag of sugar, dextrose and corn starch
6. 32 Mighty Beanz Valentines plus Stickers: We can share the love with 31 more people.
7. 2006 Speed Racer Calendar: Racer X rocks.
8. 2 Piece Heart Stem Champagne Flutes
9. A gift bag for our booty

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10. And, the pièce de résistance: Two bottles of Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer for 99¢. (We needed a little something something to put in the aforementioned flutes, but we passed on the 99¢ bottles of wine because we thought Two Buck Chuck was scary enough.)

Total Cost of Valentine’s Items: $9.90 before tax.
Finding PBR on Sale at the 99¢ Only Store: Priceless.