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So... How much is that?
The 99p Store
Member Name: Rach18
The 99p Store
Advantages: everything 99p, lots of bargains
Disadvantages: ignorant staff, some stuff poor quality
In the current economic climate it would seem that everyone is up fro saving a few pounds and these type of shops have sprung up everywhere recently. What makes this one different it that it's a whole 1p cheaper than your local pound shop. Yes, I am talking about the 99p store. They are a nationwide chain store which, you guessed it sells all of it's items for 99p. They have been around since 2001, have 117 stores nationwide and aim to have 200 stores by the end of the year.
Unfortunately our local town doesn't have a 99p store but when I visit a neighboring town about 10 miles away I always nip in and have a look. I have been in a few of these and the shop varies from place to place. The one nearest to me is always clean and tidy but I have been in others that have been a little less tidy and things on the floor and generally looked as though it has been thrown in. Unfortunately there is sometimes a nasty smell of dog poo in our local branch but there always was even when it was Kwick-Save before!
So what does the 99p Store sell? Well, basically anything and everything! My most local store is pretty well laid out, the aisles are nice and wide and most things are easy to find. I'll give you a little guided tour of our store.....
As you go in there is always an artificial flower display on the left hand side - this generally looks a bit naff though and you most probably wouldn't buy these if you had any taste! Because it's right inside the door its easily missed - I only know its there because I needed some artificial rose leaves once otherwise I wouldn't have looked at it. Carry on up the aisle and you are in the bath and beauty area. Here you will find everything from shampoo and hair bands, bubble bath and shower gel, razors and toothpaste. There are many well known brands here including Nair, Nivea and Colgate as well as some of their lesser known own-brand type things. There are big savings to be made on the well known named brands. Some of their own branded things are good too but you have to try them to know - this may mean that you waste a bit of money in the first place if it's rubbish! But I always reckon its worth a try and you won't know until you do.
Next up there is the baby section. Here there are many things - not only Johnsons baby products but also thigns such as fleecy baby blankets, bottles, weaning spoons and bowls but also bibs and occasionally socks, booties and little clothing items,. All of the quality here is good although I'd steer clear of the clothing. They are a bit thin and look cheap - having said that they do make perfect clothes for my daughters dolls.
Next on up the aisle there is a range of giftware. Some of this is ok and some isn't! I find it's great if you want a joke tacky gift for someone but much of it just isn't my taste. There are a number of teddy bear and buddah ornaments and that kind of thing. There are also some photo frames here which are quite nice.
Now this is in the same aisle as the underwear! Yes they do sell underwear in here too as well as the odd item of clothing. At the moment they have some adults coats in there for 99p as well as some ex George branded stuff in the kids clothing. They also sell pants and breifs and socks in here too. The kids pants are fine -especially if you are in the potty training stage. They sell great big granny pants in here and some super skimpy g-strings!! I haven't bought either as the y do look pretty cheap! The socks are fine - they are just socks afterall. You can get packs of 3 pairs of plain ones or 1 pair of character ones for your 99p - I found that these made good stocking fillers. At the moment thay also have a range of handbags, hats, scarves and gloves here.
At the top of the aisle they have a wide selection of kitchen roll, toilet roll and cleaning products. There aren't too many named brands here at the moment and I tend to use Home Bargains as it can be 20p cheaper for these kind of things! But you name it from polish to bleach to buckets they are all here. Laundry things are here too including washing powder, sotener and laundry baskets. One of my best buys from here was some tumble drier balls which cut the time things need in the tumble drier - I have seen these on sale elsewhere for around £8.
The next aisle is jam packed full of kitchen stuff. This includes kitchen utensils, plates, bowls, mugs, tea towels and baking trays. Most of the stuff here is really good value and of a decent quality. They also have loads of tupperware type things -perfect for storing bits n bobs and food. I have had some lovely really big plain white serving dishes from here. They also have some really nice big lined bread baskets. I make a lot of hampers and things for presents so these are perfect.
Next up is the DIY section. Here you will find basic tools -screwdrivers, spanners, alan keys, wire cutters and that type of thing as well as their own brand of 'no nails' type stuff, wallpaper paste, WD40 and sandpaper. The car care items are also here - wash stuff, sponges, ice scrapers and air fresehners. I really don't recommend their ice scrapers - the last 2 I have bought the handles have snapped off on first use.
There are a couple of seasonal aisles - at the moment they are selling Valentines stuff (including naughty PVC outfits!!!!!!) I refused point blank when hubby pointed these out - cheeky so and so!! There are loads of tacky bits here - fake plastic roses, I 'heart' you mugs and the like. But the rest of the seasonal aisle is actually very good as currently they have gardening items - from large planters, soil and bulbs to tools, seeds and complete growing kits. Vegetable seeds are 4 packets for 99p which I thinkn is a bargain - especially as ours always seem to get eaten by the birds. As my daughter had been a good girl I told her she was allowed a 'treat' from here - rather than choose some bit of tat, she picked a nice little grow your own tomato kit - all in a brown paper back with compost, seeds and 4 pots for 99p! They also had onions, courgettes and loads of herbs. Ithink these are excellent value!
Next up toys and books - occasionally the toys are well known brands butthe majority are poor quality in my opinion. Bargains in there at the moment are pirates of the Caribbean action figures! The books can be great. Near Christmas they had lots of 2010 annuals which were £8 elsewhere. Recently I have got a Russel Brand book in there which was RRP £14.99.
The stationary and arts and crafts section isn't too bad. You get the usual pens, felt tips, colouring books, notepads and some nice painting sets for kids - Mickey Mouse and Disney Princess ones are previous purchases in here. There are also packs of stickers for children, staplers and scissors - you get the idea! They do sell a couple of nice card embellishments though if you make your own cards.
The partyware aisle is the next one - perfect for paper plates, cups and bowls as well as table cloths, candles and party bag items.
There is a small petcare section here selling petfood, bowls and chewy dog toys. SOrry I can't be more specific - I don't have a pet!
In the entertainment section you will find blank DVD's, CD cases, and batteries. Occasionally they have branded batteries in here or you can get many unbranded ones for your money. I don't rate these as in my opinion they do not last long and tend to leak. They also sell a small range of pay as you go sim cards from O2, Orange and T-Mobile. There are random cables and things here as well as TV remove controls etc. They do sometimes sell DVD's - I got a Superted one - purely for the nostalgia you understand. They seem to have a range of childrens ones here at the moment including Postman Pat and Spot as well as a couple full of nursery rhymes and songs.
The food and drink aisle is great - you can get multibags of well known crisp brands -wotsits, discos, pom-bear etc as well as lot and lots of sweets. At the moment they have Sugar Puffs and Weetabix Minis - usually around £2 a box so a good saving. They also have multipack cans of tango (6) and fruit shoots (4). These also are quite expensive in your local supermarket! Don't forget to have a look at the groceries - cook in sauces, rice and pasta, oilve oil and tins of things! Some of the items here are short dated though hence the price so just check before you buy if yo uare not going to use it within a month or so. Some of the items are also well known but the packaging is not English -makes no odds to me but some people won't buy it if they can't read it.
Thats about all that they sell. So what do I think if the shop - it's great to buy branded stuff that is much cheaper than elsewhere. They do have some brilliant deals in there but the stuff isn't always there long so if you see it get it - when it's gone its gone ! Like I previously said our local is clean and tidy but the staff aren't up to much. They are pleasant enough but most in here do not speak much English so if you have a query you might be out of luck, they also talk to each other in their own language whilst serving which I find incredibly rude. If I am being served in a shop I expect to have the cashiers attention! I also like the fact that you can now pay by card as well as cash (for purchases over £5- bizaare as it means you actually have to buy 6 items and not 5!). I alos like knowing that everything is 99p - walk round adn you'll be surprised that some doddery old folk asking 'so how much is this?' -my nan included!
The shop does get incredibly busy - especially at weekends - I guess we are all out to save a couple of quid these days. The shop must be thriving considering its business in comparison to other shops. I'd suggest going at a quite time -early or late or in the week!
Thanks for reading my longer than intended review of the 99p shop!!
Summary: grab a bargain.