If you’ve ever ventured outside of the heart of Center City, you’ve probably experienced the whimsical enchantment that is the international, diverse or just ethnic Philly corner store. Like a rare geode or diamond in the rough, these dilapidated, ambiguously marked haunts contain wonderfully obscure items at third-world prices. Conveniently located in neighborhoods where it is easier to find a bag of weed than a piece of fruit, corner stores provide a welcome alternative to the homogeny of Wawa and 7-11, allowing both the hardened street ruffian and innocent child to order Dipsy Doodles aside each other.
As a North Philly resident, I would often find myself peering through thick plexi-glass windows and roaming dusty aisles of these stores with a measly few cents and my bargaining savvy. My travails were often rewarded with unrivaled treasures, such as the $4 chicken cheese steak platter or the mysteriously delicious yet anatomically impossible chicken ring.
In addition to the occasional deal, I would often come across absurdly useless products whose mere existence was more unbelievable than the thought of an actual human being purchasing it. Featured below, for your amusement, are a few of these utterly insulting corner store bargains that will challenge your faith in capitalism forever.
BLUE RIBBON PREMIUM DOG TREATS
Product Description: Blue Ribbon Premium dog treats allow your dog dignity and sophistication while eating what is essentially compacted trash. Notice the finely minced bits of newspaper and hair, seamlessly packed into the dubious “Burger” patty. I’d sooner feed my dog his own fecal matter before I allow him to ingest this putrid excuse for dog food. If I think hard enough I can see the insidious Blue Ribbon executives lighting their cigars with $20 bills and laughing at anyone dumb enough to buy their recycled trash.
Probable Customer Logic: “I’ve always felt like my dog should be wearing a tuxedo.”
BABY KING BELLY BUTTON BINDER
Product Description: Aside from sounding like a medieval torture device, the Baby King Belly Button Binder’s only use is preventing your spiteful tears from falling onto your child. Basically serving the same purpose as regular piece of cloth, the marketing geniuses behind this item might have overestimated the public’s demand for needlessly binding a baby’s precious orifices.
Probable Customer Logic: “I do need a way to prevent the scorpions inside my baby’s body from escaping.”
HORNY GOAT WEED
Product Description: Don’t waste your time with nosey doctors assuming they know everything about your erectile dysfunction when the same guy who sold you that Spiderman 3 bootleg has just what you need. Notice the packaging’s tacit animal eroticism, assuring customers of its ability to increase your libido to levels comparable to that of a virile goat.
Probable Customer Logic: “I mean, who really has the time to buy their sexual stimulants and hoagies at different places.”
Product Description: With this unintentionally hilarious marketing ploy, Master P has managed to pull of the most successful hip-hop/snack crossover to date. Attaining the widely sought after title, “The official snack of hip-hip,” Rap Snacks offer inspiring flavors such as Lil’ Romeo’s Barbeque N’ with My Honey or Master P’s Platinum Barbeque. Notice that Rap Snacks also provide useful advice for disadvantaged inner city teens such as “Stay in School” or “Start Your Own Business.” With great advice like this, it’s a wonder inner-city kids still struggle with adversity. Visit www.rapsnacks.com and witness the most pitiful website every created.
Probable Customer Logic: “I’m tired of eating boring, non-hip-hop-inspired snacks that don’t even bother to make generic assumptions about my life choices.”
Product Description: There are so many cereal knock-offs to love but Cocoa Drops is the only cereal with enough attitude for my breakfast. The phrase, “Keep it simple” on the front of the box essentially scolds you for even daring to think about eating any other brand name cereal. In addition the line, “Pay only for taste,” lets you know that Cocoa Drops lovers aren’t the type of cereal eaters to get pushed around by phony-baloney breakfast execs charging high prices for ingredients other than taste.
Probable Customer Logic: “My kids need to earn the right to eat brand-name cereal.”
ST. BARBARA SPRAY
Product Description: As far as theologically inspired aerosols go, St. Barbara spray will meet every one of your metaphysical cleansing needs. Its power resides in a sacred ancient recipe including: grains of paradise, cloves, patchouli and sandalwood. By bonding with the odor and neutralizing the bacteria St. Barbara spray is able to “…gain power over others and as a symbol for sensual pleasure.” Congratulate anyone buying this product because that means they were able to escape the Dark Scarab Lord’s evil spell trapping them in their own home.
* Buyer beware, do not mix this product with Horny Goat Weed or you may break a hole in the love/space/time continuum.
Probable Customer Logic: “Finally, a mystic spiritual spray that gets rids of those pesky pet odors and enables me to control souls on the astral plane.”
MY LOVELY PONY
Product Description: More of a cruel joke than a children’s toy, this cheap imitation includes not one, but two combs for you to comb Lovely Pony’s non-existent hair. A wonderful way to teach your children about the letdowns of real life but still a complete failure when it comes to the top-of-the-line pony products standards I expect from a manufacturer.
Probable Customer Logic: “It’s a great way to tell little Jenny that she may be going bald sometime soon.”