Bliss Thru Shopping: Hanging with the Holiday Bargain Outlet

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Looking for One Direction perfume? Or sweet deals on gourmet honey, fleece-lined rain boots and bottles of sparkling Perrier?

Miss the shopping experience that was Caswell’s Liquidation Center

Well, welcome to the Holiday Bargain Outlet.

Shopping Siren and Bag Lady started seeing commercials for the new discount shop on outer Main Street in Lewiston a couple of weeks ago and, clearly, plenty of others have, too. When we dropped by on a random afternoon this week, the parking lot was packed. Like, Christmas-shopping-at-the-mall packed.

But there are a few things to know before you join the crowd.

First, despite the name, nothing feels particularly “holiday” about the Holiday Bargain Outlet. The enormous inside is filled with hip-level tables as far as the eye can see. On one table, there is a lot of every-color hair dye. On another table, all-green veggie V8. On yet another, enough makeup to bedazzle all of L-A.

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Second, do not go looking for anything specific. Inventory is a mishmash, and we have a feeling it changes often.

Be Zen. Let the bargain find you.

• NYC makeup, assorted, 2 for $1

We are talking boxes and boxes of eye shadow, lip gloss and nail polish, among other things. Bag Lady has always wondered about “BB Creme” — it stands for beauty balm, it’s tinted and it’s somehow different from concealer? But she’s not sure how? For 50 cents, we’re finding out.

• Baseboard Buddy, $4.99

A cloth-on-a-stick, “As seen on TV” contraption that allows you to dust baseboards from an upright and walking position. Nobody likes to dust. Psychologically, adding “buddy” helps.

• One Direction’s “Our Moment” perfume, 1 oz., $9.99

According to one Amazon reviewer, “It actually smells really good,” which seems like all we need to know considering we’re probably the last two people on the planet who couldn’t pick Louis or Harry out of a line-up. We definitely could not tell you how they smell.

• LaCroix sparkling water, 6-pack, $1.99

In flavors like peach-pear and lime. Bag Lady’s LaCroix knowledge is limited to knowing that they buy lots of advertising time on the podcasts she listens to. Here’s a chance to taste its glory! With five friends! For less than 34 cents each! She wasn’t looking for it, but it found her.

• Perrier sparkling water, 16.9 oz., 50 cents

In plain, watermelon or green apple. Perfect for drinking alone. (Which we don’t recommend for Scotch but figure is OK for anything green apple.)

• Kids fleece-lined rain boots, $11.99

In car, camouflage or pink flower prints. Groundhog be darned — we are convinced spring is just around the corner.

• Buzz + Bloom spreadable blueberry honey, $1.99

Spread on warm biscuits or dip apple slices in it. Buzz + Bloom products are usually $5 or so at the grocery store, so buy a few at this price and stock up. After all, you can never have too many warm biscuits with honey. And if you do, we will be by at noon. 

• Energy bars, assorted, 50 cents

Protein bars. Energy bars. Granola bars. So. Many. Bars. And so many of them expired. But take heart! According to an NPR story last year, food safety experts say out-of-date foods may not taste as fresh but aren’t generally hazardous. So if you want to give your energy bar budget a break, now’s your chance.  

Best find: Marvel T-shirts, $2.99

What looked to be a dozen-plus different styles and colors with Thor, Iron Man, Wolverine and other Marvel stars in brands like Children’s Place, with the $14.99 tags still on them. Expect to dig and paw for the size you are after, but it is time well spent.

Think twice: Kodak and Fuji 400 film, $3.99

Yes, camera film. Like the kind you need to get developed. We know! We were floored, too. It is one of those things you want to grab just for the novelty. But unless you actually have a film camera, these little canisters will just sit in a box gathering dust. Kind of like they always did, now that we think about it. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Bag Lady and Shopping Siren’s true identities are protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who love bargain food), and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach them at baglady@sunjournal.com or shoppingsiren@sunjournal.com.

Normally about $5 at the grocery store, Buzz + Bloom spreadable blueberry honey can be had for $1.99 at Holiday Bargain Outlet in Lewiston. If that is not worth some buzz, we do not know what is. 

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