It was in the early 2000’s and I’d heard about a new dollar store opening where Biway (a now defunct Canadian discount chair) used to be there. I must admit my expectations were low. I figured I’d find a dimly lit store with dusty, poorly made products, pretty much nothing I really wanted to buy. Instead I found clean shelves and a variety of products I actually was interested in.
A month later I was dropping a resume off at a new store. I had two so I dropped one off at Dollarama as well. I hadn’t even taken my shoes off when I got a call asking for an immediate interview. I turned around and headed right back to the store, where I got hired on the spot.
My fellow co-workers used to laugh at me because I always went home with bags of toys and treats for the kids… claiming I was volunteering there because my pay was going to my kids’ toys and ultimately Dollarama. My parents would have the kids tucked up in bed but as soon as I walked in the apartment they’d come running down to say goodnight and see what they’d got that day.
One of my favourite memories of Kait was her wanting to know if I’d seen Santa. I was very confused and simply told her “no”.
“All my presents and stocking stuffers are from Dollarama so I wonder if he went through your till.”
It took a moment to come up with an answer. “Sorry hon. Santa must have gone through someone else’s till.” Thankfully she was satisfied with that.
As the years went on, the stores became more and more plentiful. I have two within walking distance. The price has gone up to a maximum of $4 but the quality has gone up as well. I bought a new strainer yesterday, a lovely dusty teal one made by Pioneer Woman, a WalMart brand. I already have a strainer that works just fine but I have no happy memories of it, it was bought by my ex, and this one’s gorgeous!
I don’t have much money and I buy presents where I can afford them. This year, with me saving up for moving and juggling a sick cat, I could barely afford a dollar store. But Dollarama was there for me. Where else can I find mermaid tails, sequined stuffies, mermaid sequin purses, mermaid pictures, neon figures, Himalayan salt night light, hovering helicopters, loads of books, floam, art work, word art, toiletries, boxes of chocolates and, of course, my colander.
If there wasn’t a Dollarama (or two… or five) nearby, I wouldn’t have presents for pretty much most of my family. And there’s a Dollarama near where I’m moving so I’ll still be able to spend time in my happy place.