Bliss Thru Shopping: Wiffle balls and gerbil furniture — bargains abound

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Once, after having gifted her with a beautiful wooden tic-tac-toe board complete with little metal cats and mice to serve as Xs and Os, Shopping Siren’s best friend revealed that she’d bought it at a secondhand store for less than $1.

It was, and remains, the cat’s meow.

It also best explains the lure of a secondhand shop. At every turn, it’s magic. Vintage Care Bears. Those-are-too-small-to-be-real toddler ski boots. A three-piece gerbil bedroom set.

Like we said. Magic.

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This week, feeling adventurous and thrifty, we hit Sports Trader in the former World Over Imports on Main Street and The Once More Store on upper Lisbon Street, both in Lewiston. A two-for-one column.

Hey, we believe in giving a bargain, too.

Sports Trader

The store seamlessly mixes new with gently used, including mountain bikes, Wiffle balls and skate boards — basically, all manner of motion-able goods. Great for the sports enthusiast or the 7-year-old who wants to try baseball . . . no, wait, hockey . . . ooh, skating!

* Gott Industrial orange cooler, $12.99

We are not sporty people, but even we recognized the cooler one uses to douse one’s coach with sports drink after a win. Plan ahead for an amazing season.

* Bauer hockey pads, $389

The eye-catching part: “Originally $800, Wow!!” Half-price and two exclamation points? Score!

* Vigor extreme sports helmet, $19.99

In different colors and decals. Are you more of an eagle or a crazed court jester? Decisions, decisions.

* L.L. Bean sled, $59.99

Wooden with a red cushion seat. Sure, we didn’t get much snow this winter, but what are the odds that’ll happen again? Prepare for the blizzards (and snow days) of 2013.

* Wiffle bat and ball, $1.99 and 99 cents

For the little David Ortiz wannabe who can’t quite heft a real bat yet. Plus, the Wiffle balls come in small and large, both 99 cents, so your kid can get that all-important sense of accomplishment by graduating from whacking a grapefruit-size ball to an apple-size ball. Our advice: Drag out the Wiffle phase as long as you can. Your windows will thank you for it.

The Once More Store (closed Sundays and Wednesdays)

In a Bliss first, we’re anointing this shop The Retail Find (So Far) of 2012. It’s hard to tell while driving by —  it looks average-secondhand and stroller-heavy — but on the inside, it’s ceiling-to-floor Unexpected Random Goodness, almost all of it near-pristine and reasonably priced. There are little sections for shoes, books and even prom dresses, plus a lot of baby gear, clothes and toys. And more. It’s an aptly named shop. We’ve fallen in love.

* Shopping cart covers, assorted brands, $7.99

An extra layer between your wee one and the shopping cart, for the protection of both kiddo and cart.

* Sleep-N-Bedroom three-piece plastic gerbil furniture set, $7.99

One of the three pieces is a gerbil-sized lamp. Um, can you say awesome?

* Pack’N Play, $20

A spare for grandma’s house never hurts. Laying down $20 for it hurts even less.

* Prom dress, Size 5, $39.99

Strapless, white with decorative puckering and gold accents. We couldn’t see the tag to find a designer, but whether a teen prom-goer comes for this dress or the store’s two others, it’s worth a look. (Like Shopping Siren said last week, there’s no reason to spend $2,000 on prom.)

* Vintage stuffed animals, about $9.99 and up

By vintage we mean early ’80s. Cabbage Patch Kids, Care Bears, Popples, Little Orphan Annie with a small stuffed Sandy in her dress pocket, ALF and more. Some cost a bit less ($8.99 for a large Monchhichi doll) and some cost a bit more ($14.99 for a Cabbage Patch boy). Gen Xers can both relive their childhoods and make sure their offspring know the joys of Rainbow Brite. If that’s not a reason to stop by The Once More Store before your next shower, we don’t know what is.

Bag Lady and Shopping Siren’s true identities are protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who refuse to pull sleds, no matter how many blizzards we get) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach them at baglady@sunjournal.com and shoppingsiren@sunjournal.com.

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