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Published November 5th 2012
Cheap, cheerful quality stuff and where to get them
There's something about two dollar shops that make regular people go all cloak and dagger. This could be because it's synonymous with cheap, low quality, imported stuff. There are issues from prestige to patriotism involved here. But you know those situations where when you gotta go you gotta go. You have the gifts but not the gift wrap; you have this one person in your group you forgot to get a Christmas gift for; there's a black hole in your kitchen where all the cutlery gets sucked into, and more along these lines of category 1 and 2 emergencies when a department store will simply turn its back on you.
Some reasons people love to browse two dollar shops: They are cheap.
You do find quality stuff: whether it's a department store or a discount shop, it all comes from China. You get some really useful stuff here that department stores simply do not have. No frills service, no queues at sales counter while they go through long billing routines, reward cards, attending phone calls etc. No snooty sales people who appear terribly displeased if you buy just one packet of tissues.
Some things you shouldn't consider buying from discount stores: Do not buy vitamins and medications such as pain killers. Do not buy food—processed, packed, or sold in bulk.
Do not buy baby stuff such as feeding bottles, sipping cups, etc. or plastic toys, teething rings, pacifiers, etc. Do not buy flammables such as lighters, fire crackers, etc, or batteries. If you buy clothes, wash them before use.
It makes sense to buy stationery such as files, folders, notepads, notebooks, memo pads as well as kids' colouring books and art paraphernalia. Party stuff, costumes, gift bags, boxes, and wrappers, vases, laundry baskets, bags, decorations, thongs, quirky stuff, garden accessories, tableware, and a hundred other things that add a touch of whimsy to life.
No suburban mall is complete without at least a couple of them. But what about the city? The CBD area has its fair share of discount shops and here's a list that might be of help whether you need to grab a quick gift or get a new toenail clipper.
Daiso will not charge you over $2.80 per item whether you're buying ear buds or a bucket. All their products come from Japan so don't bother reading labels unless of course, you have a splendid grasp of the language. They have a tremendous amount of stuff neatly arranged and tagged and you can quite easily spend around $50 without realising you've loaded your shopping basket. They are located at
Shop 204, Midtown Plaza
246-260 Bourke St
Melbourne Victoria 3000
Phone: 03 9654 7528
Open Monday to Saturday 9 am – 9 pm; Sunday 10 am – 6 pm
Tokuya is another discount shop along the lines of Daiso in that their products are from Japan and cost $2.80 no matter what you pick up. it's a wonderland with huge gift bags that would cost up to $15 elsewhere, lunch boxes, bowls, towels, mats, you name it they have it. Even if you came in with nothing particular in mind, you're bound to find things you can't imagine leaving without. They are located at
236 Bourke Street Basement Level
Open Monday to Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday 10 am – 8 pm; Thursday, Friday 10 am – 9 pm
From wigs to water fountains, Christmas decorations and Halloween costumes, kitchen and dining ware, and much more than I could even begin to list, this is the place to buy anything at cheap prices. I know people who refuse to buy from anywhere else driving you nuts with their, "it's cheaper at Hot Potatoes" refrain. In the city you'll find them at
One of those shops that makes you wonder what Aladdin's cave must've looked like. This place is full of glittering, colourful stuff from clocks, framed pictures, cheap Tupperware, clothes, socks, candles, tea towels, table runners, hammers and other tools, and much more than you could imagine. It really does boggle the mind quite a bit with its extravaganza. You'll find them at
635 Sydney Rd
Phone: 03 9383 1151
Open Monday to Friday 9.30 am – 5.30 pm; Sunday 10 am – 5 pm
Stuff and Nonsense
They couldn't have said it better, but then that describes what they sell to a T. This certainly is a no-nonsense place that you walk into, pick what you want and then some, pay and leave with bags full of goodies and your wallet none-the-lighter for the trip. Cutlery, party stuff, costumes, clocks, tools, that's right, stuff, and nonsense. They are located at
211 La Trobe St
Phone: 03 9639 3973
Open Monday to Thursday & Saturday 10 am – 6 pm; Friday 10 am – 9 pm; Sunday 10 am – 5 pm.
Arthur Daley's Clearance House
Basement prices in a basement shop; somehow it all seems appropriate. Once again you find yourself surrounded by tonnes of things you feel you could do with. The merchandise crowds the stairs as you descent into this cave of daily use treasure. Huge carry-bags, stationery, utensils, costumes, sun glasses, cosmetics, tableware, toys, mops, and much more for you to just pick up at cheap prices. Arthur Daley's is located at
Basement, 33-37 Swanston St
Melbourne Victoria 3000
Phone: 03 9654 2444
Open Monday to Wednesday 8 am – 7 pm; Saturday 10 am – 6 pm; Sunday 11 am – 6 pm
Fast Eddie's Superstore
Cheap costumes and jewellery are Fast Eddie's forte. They also have all the bare necessities of life laid out in large quantities—cutlery, cookware, Tupperware, sculptures, frames, pictures, footwear, plastic table covers, balloons, and that was only the one half of the shop. Cheap prices and cheerful attitude; you'll definitely walk in again. Fast Eddie's is located at
117 Cecil St
Phone: 9699 9880
Open all week long 9 am – 5 pm
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