2010.05.05 Another store closing means more weird bargains

Written by David Green.

By RICH FOLEY

It’s always sad to see a business close, but if it has to happen, at least try to help the owners move out their remaining stock. Besides, you never know what kind of odd bargains you might pick up.

Nearly 20 years ago, the Hill’s department store in Adrian closed its doors. I had shopped there several times during their liquidation and since I lived in Adrian at the time, found it convenient to stop in on their last day.

They were offering 90% off everything the final day, and I was sharing the store with perhaps 200 other shoppers at about 2 p.m. when an announcement was made that the store was now closed and final purchases should be brought to the check-outs immediately.

Since there were already long lines at the registers, I took the opportunity to grab a few more items on my way to the front.

I remember buying a cassette tape of one-hit wonder Matraca Berg (anyone remember her?) and two sealed vials containing what were said to be pieces of the Berlin Wall. Yep, pieces of the Berlin Wall, for sale in Adrian, Michigan. I still wonder if they were authentic, but I do know that at 90% off, they were less than a buck each.

Many years later, I went to the Big Lots closing sale in Wauseon on their next to the last day, with prices already 90% off. I purchased 30 bars of soap at seven cents each. They also had quite a few racing bumper stickers, decals and hat pins at huge discounts. Hat pins that originally sold for five bucks at the track hit the Big Lot shelves at 50 cents. Then take that 90% discount and you got a five dollar item for a whopping five cents, an actual 99% discount. I bought out their remaining pins. I still wonder what their final day discount was. I probably could have got a better deal on more soap.

With a local video store closing, 99% off might be too much to hope for, but last week I could smell bargains in the air.

On a trip to Morenci Tuesday night, I saw that prices were down to $1.99 per DVD. It was time to check out the selection. I ended up with a total of nine movies, a number that almost doubled my DVD inventory. That doesn’t mean that I doubled the value of my collection as some, if not most, of my latest selection were hardly of the blockbuster hit variety.

Take “Flash of Genius,” for example. I have a great interest in cars and the auto industry, but who thought that it would be a sensational idea to make a movie about the inventor of the intermittent windshield wiper? I may end up enjoying the movie, but I wasn’t surprised to see it still available. 

In the “Did we really need another sequel?” category, I bought a copy of “Slap Shot 3.” The original “Slap Shot,” made about 30 years ago, starred Paul Newman and became an unexpected cult classic. I didn’t even know this one existed until I saw it in the clearance racks. How bad could it be? Eventually, I’ll find out.

I couldn’t resist picking up a copy of “Grizzly Man,” although I had already seen it several times. It’s still fascinating to watch, even though you know how it ends. Even if you didn’t know, it would be hard not to guess that the bears would eventually tire of Timothy Treadwell and end his presence in their habitat.

 “An American Carol” was a film I’d never heard of before, but purchased because it was directed by David Zucker of “Airplane!” and “Naked Gun” fame. The first of my new purchases that I watched, it lives up to the reputation of Zucker’s previous films. Even the deleted scenes are hilarious, especially the one featuring  Gary Coleman and another with two actors portraying John and Ted Kennedy.

By Thursday, prices were down to 99 cents and I picked up a few more movies. I thought one of the employees might say something about my selection of “Be Kind, Rewind,” the story of two video store employees who try to save their store from closing. It was somewhat ironic to purchase it at a video store going-out-of-business sale, but since the gentleman in front of me purchased over 40 movies, they had probably gotten tired of looking at individual titles.

I wasn’t able to make it to the final day. How low did prices eventually get? 50 cents? A quarter? Even less?  Even those who didn’t make it to the store will eventually see the effects. Something tells me this will be a good summer for finding cheap DVDs at local yard sales.

  • Front.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
  • Front.bridge.17
    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
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