Monday, September 26, 2011

Name That Object!

My kids love to visit $2 shops. With pocket money, chores money, and tooth fairy money, they've quickly worked out that the haul of junky but funky objects they can acquire is exponentially greater at these emporiums of the flotsam of capitalism than if we go somewhere like Target.

I myself find $2 shops oddly fascinating as well as vaguely repellant. They often smell odd - musty, mouldy, overscented with cheap soaps and knock-off deodorants - and they're usually stuffed to the gills with the most eclectic assortment of objects imaginable. I walked out of one local place recently with a photo frame, a canvas dog bed, coloured pencils, a plastic tiara, paper plates, a firelighter, a packet of scrubbing sponges and some spray hair colour, and that was by no means an exhaustive sample of what this shop had to offer.

Another thing that always astounds me about $2 shops is their casual approach to a) pricing and b) labelling of their merchandise. It's like haggling at a market in Hanoi sometimes; I've often gone in with a specific amount of money, say $15, and gathered up what I needed, then negotiated the price to match the available cash.

Every $2 shop I've ever been into also sports a hefty selection of Mystery Merchandise - objects, without packaging or labelling, whose purpose is obscure and in some cases intriguing. I've asked, on occasion, what a specified object might be, only to be met with a fine shrug from the staff. I get the sense that they themselves don't always know what the odder items in their stock are, or what they're for. This both puzzles and delights me.

On our last visit to the $2 shop, my 2.5 year old came racing up the aisles with a packet clutched in her hand.

"I wan' THIS!" she declared, pushing it into my hand.

I looked down at a clear plastic envelop containing 6 iterations of ...

"What ARE they?" I asked my husband in bemusement.

He examined them. He hmmmmed. "Stuffed if I know," he eventually replied.

We found the spot on the shelf that C had trawled her treasure from. It was full of unnamed objects in clear plastic packages. Some of them were obviously kitchen objects - a set of measuring cups, a sieve, a set of plastic spatulas. Some were bathroom objects - soap dishes in various lurid shades, toothbrush holders, toilet brushes. And some of them were just mysterious, their purpose unclear, left to the imagination.

C really, really wanted her "fing", and it was $1 for the packet of 6 Fings, so we bought it for her. She plays with them in her plastic-food kitchen, sitting them on her wooden stove, stuffing them with tissues to sit toy eggs inside. She loves them, but we still have absolutely no idea what they ARE.

So I present it to you:

Do you know what it is? Can you make a guess? (Funneh ideas welcome ;-)

There's no prize on offer here, just the satisfaction of knowing you can put me out of my curious misery.

I have a plethora of other $2 shop mystery objects hanging about, so until I run out (or get bored with it), I'm going to post a Monday Name That Object! for a few weeks. Hopefully some people will be able to resolve conundrums for me :-)


  1. LOL! Thank you - just given my 7yo and I a few minutes of holiday entertainment trying to work this out!

    Our final verdict was: they are 'Cup Holders' for parties i.e. you put a glass or cup inside, to help you remember that yours in the 'white' one, or the 'blue' one etc.

    This assumes that the pack came in assorted colours...

  2. Dunno what it is, but this could be a viable replacement for "Collectors" Mystery Object.

  3. Ooooo, clever thinking! Sadly the pack was monotone - all cream coloured - but I still think your idea has merit. They could be cup holders, for a small cup anyway.

  4. I also think they're cup holders, but for those office water cooler/heater things that only have those flimsy plastic cups. You put one of these on your cup so you don't burn your fingers when you want a cup of tea. My Dad had a red one in his old office.

  5. Like this:

    (Probably should have looked for the image first...)

  6. Oh yes, that could be! These ones are not nearly as funky (or, dare I say, as functional, as they lack handles) as the ones in newswithnipples link, but they could be intended for the same purpose.

  7. A friend just emailed me her suggestion, which is that they are icecream cone holders (to prevent squelchy cones falling apart). I think that's a definite possibility too.

  8. I like the icecream cone holder suggestion! Sorry I can't come up with anything better... I'll keep on checking back for new suggestions, I am so intrigued!!!