Friday, 8 March 2013


Apart from the fact that they don’t pay their workers and you know, child labour and stuff, I can’t tell you how much I love a pound shop. My heart starts hammering as soon as I see a giant pack of batteries, or a bumper sack of off-brand Mini Cheezers, or a discounted Cheeky Girls autobiography. Mops, pegs, brushes, magic expanding socks, diaries made of thin toilet paper – I love it all.

I also love that, unlike the shiny doodads and pointless reactionary trinkets of John Lewis, it all comes with a moving whiff of Chinese warehouse. You’ve got to admire these shitty products. Unloved, piled high and viciously discounted, they’ve travelled the world trying to find a home. If that imported deodorant could speak, it would say: ‘Me and my family of lavender roll ons have been in a shipping crate in Shanghai for 6 months, wondering whether we will see an armpit again. But for just £1 you can adopt me and apply me gently into your crevices.’ 

And as a parent, pound shops are worth their weight in gold. Toys for other people’s children who you don’t know or particularly like? Check. Watery paint and newsprint colouring books? Check. And here’s a secret I only just found out myself. Poundland sell MIDDLE CLASS FRUIT SNACKS.  You don’t have to send Boudicca and Rafferty to school with cold chips and a biscuit any more! For one British pound you can throw in some Fruit Factory stringy things and give them one of their five a day like a BOSS. I even found some Dorset muesli in there the other day – admittedly the packet was thumbnail sized, but it was only a fucking quid. Suck on that, Mumford and Sons and Jamie Oliver and all you pork pulling artisan idiots. I might sleep under a motorway off ramp, but I know how to live!

Anyway, it’s a good job I have learned to treasure crap things, because they’re the only things I can afford. I can’t remember the last time I paid full price for anything. The combination of the financial crisis, a terrible government and working part time means I’ve become a bargain betty, a sales slut, a made in Taiwan fan. You wouldn’t catch me wearing Marni and Louboutins, because I am dressed head to toe in a massive bin bag from B&M. The best conversations I have involve money off coupons and 3 for 2s on jam.

Like the women who lived through WW2, who were still making cups of tea with powdered egg and making earrings out of potato peelings well into the 70s, I don’t think I’ll ever get over my modern day penny pinching. I will always be a Pound Shop Princess. You could give me a black Amex and Kanye’s pin number and I would still gravitate towards Poundland to fondle the washing baskets. 

Cheap? Yes - but I’ll have the last laugh. And I will also be the proud owner of SEVEN MILLION packets of Jammy Bodgers. Screw you, recession. 


  1. oh lord, britishisms aside, i can totally relate. whenever complimented on a particular piece of clothing, rather that shrugging mysteriously and alluding off-handedly to a recent trip to new york, i launch enthusiastically how this skirt, THIS SKIRT, was originally 89$ but i bought it for... GET THIS!... 10$!!! unless the other person is of my ilk, they usually get a wee bit nervous. but come on! an 89$ skirt! for 10 bucks! that leaves me 79$ to spend on many bottles of cheap wine!

    obviously on this side of the big water we call them dollar stores, but i recently went into one and bought myself some sparkly headbands that i'd just seen in a department store for 5 times the price. who's the idiot now, huh?!

  2. Hi, I've only just started following you on Twitter so this is my first time on your blog.

    Great subject for an article. I love and hate the pound shop. Love it for housewares such as cloths and pegs etc, but loathe it for their batteries that last 10 minutes and tissues that disintegrate on blowing your nose. Not pleasant situation to be in I can tell you.

    The shops though are great, just have to weed out the crap :)

    See you over on Twitter,


  3. thanks lucy sweet for answering me with an article. Will I give you a gentle nudge every few weeks?

  4. " it’s a good job I have learned to treasure crap things, because they’re the only things I can afford"


  5. Ha! Loved this! I am becoming a Pound Shop Princess, too. I love getting a good bargain.
    Have you seen this website for food cheaps? Super for the basics - pasta, Ragu etc. And there are posh things on there too. Keep an eye on the pack sizes (1 litre of BBQ sauce?) and the sell by dates on perishables.

  6. Oh pants - helps if I give you the link, huh?

  7. hey - did my comment register? I got a funny message from blogger!

    1. oh clearly the frugging thing disappeared. Right, what did I say?!

      ....I'm a bit worried about the roll-on wondering whether it will see an armpit 'again'. I like mine to be virgin to armpit territory when I buy them :-D

      I luff poundshops too - stock up on shit for Christmas morning. I buy about £10 worth of felt pens, plastercine, sticker books etc for stuffign into a stocking in my son's bedroom. I manage to get some shut eye until about 8am on Christmas morning before chaos descends with The Big Presents Downstairs with that. Totally worth it.

      I luff a charidee shop too. I hyperventilate if I see anything from Next under £3. Sad but true.

  8. I love pound shops; a few months ago I saw a red plastic bracelet in Poundland, with different Jesuses on each link. One of my biggest regrets is that I didn't buy it. I did, however, buy a knock-off Transformer that was supposed to be a man turning into a tiger, but in reality looked like something that was just screaming "kill me now"

  9. I frickin' love Poundland. Though I've learned the hard way that some things that seem like a bargain are not - their off-brand clingfilm, for example. Worse than useless. It won't tear cleanly and won't stick to anything but itself. On the upside, you get about a thousand miles of it.

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