This week we wistfully walked the Kmart aisles in Auburn for likely the last time, nostalgic for the toys, household goods and Jaclyn Smith activewear bought over the decades, never to walk this way again after its closure in December and the chain’s total exit from Maine.

Then we discovered a poop emoji plunger for 10% off.

Reverie broken, it was time to shop.

Bag Lady and Shopping Siren were disappointed but not super surprised when the Kmart news broke last month, given how many other Kmarts had folded across the country. The temporary good news: If you go in this week, the Auburn store looks pretty much the same as it always has, with the exception of a handful of very picked-over shelves and of a sea of bright percentage-off signs.

The largest markdowns are on jewelry and lawn furniture (50% to 70%), and the smallest on food and paper goods (10% to 15%). Toys, clothes and kayaks — really, they sell kayaks — were all somewhere in between.

It seems like a fabulous time to get in a little pre-holiday shopping, or, heck, even pre-summer shopping: Summer toys are 60% off. And the racks of bikinis are right next to the winter coats. So Maine.


We’ll miss you, Kmart.

• Cuddle Friends pillow and blankets, $17.49

You’ve surely seen the concept — a stuffed animal rolled up into a pillow and holding a super-soft blanket — but you might not have seen this cute array, which includes a unicorn, an adorable green dragon and a white llama giving heavy side-eye. Llama don’t play.

• Wave Sports snorkel, mask and flippers set, $8.80 to $10

Does your future Jacques Cousteau like pink? Fabulous, because pink is both a terrific color and the color of all remaining snorkel/mask/flipper sets at Kmart.

• Glow-A-Lot Care Bears, $13.99


Talk about nostalgia! They still had Bedtime Bear, which was Bag Lady’s bear eons ago because she was afraid of the dark. Turns out there are all sorts of things lurking in the dark (killer clowns, mice, ghosts), so fear = valid! But still, the bear was cute.

Squatty Potty’s poop emoji plunger is among the everything on sale at Kmart. Think you’ve seen everything now? You have.

• Squatty Potty poop emoji plunger, $16.20

Whatever image you’re conjuring up right now, yeah, that’s what it looks like. This plunger has a four-out-of-five star rating on Amazon, signaling high overall satisfaction, but there was still some debate over whether the plunger head actually, well, plunges. Our new favorite review headline: “Looks cool, doesn’t work for $?@*!”

• Propel trampoline kit, $23.99

Includes a small backyard trampoline, ladder and mist sprayer that “makes jumping enjoyable even on the hottest of days.” Because that’s what we want to do when it’s 90 degrees and sunny — jump on black synthetic material and get spritzed. Thanks anyway, we’ll just be over here watching from the shade, drinking something chilled and topped with a tiny umbrella. (Oh, summer, how we miss you already.)

• Me Jane winter jackets for juniors, $29.99


Puffy jackets from small to XXL, in Army green, maroon, cheetah print and metallic silver, among other colors. Shopping Siren was particularly entranced by the metallic jackets, which looked a lot like those emergency blankets you take hiking in case you get lost in the woods overnight and need to conserve body heat. It’s probably not one of those. But we’re thinking you won’t get cold anytime soon, either.

• Goodtimes pong game kit, $7.49

Includes four pingpong balls, 20 red plastic cups, two nonslip mats, a pen and players’ list. We’re not saying this is a drinking game. We’re not. So if you fill these red Solo-like cups with beer, that’s totally up to you. We’re just saying we’d like to be invited.

Best find: Halloween costumes, $22.49 and up

Want to celebrate this Halloween as a kick-butt Wonder Woman? Would you love to dress your little one as an adorable Baby Boo from “Monsters, Inc.?” Does your older kid want to go trick-or-treating as a zombie skeleton? That feels a bit like undead overkill, but, hey, she doesn’t want to dress as a vampire mummy for the third year in a row, so maybe this is progress. Kmart’s got your back. And a ton of costumes, all 25% off. If you like Halloween at all, it’s worth checking out. If you don’t like Halloween at all, it might be best if we don’t speak until Thanksgiving.

Think twice: Smart Swab, $9

This double-take-worthy device comes with 16 corkscrew-shaped swabs to bore into your ears and root out ear wax, which seems like such a questionable idea. We do not endorse this. (Unlike beer pong, which we also still do not endorse but kind of do, if the beer is good or substitutable for strawberry margaritas, everyone drinks responsibly and there are pretzels.)

What do we wholeheartedly endorse without reservation? Checking out Kmart one last time. It’ll be a bittersweet shopping trip, but you’ll almost definitely leave with something to remember it by.

Bag Lady and Shopping Siren’s true identities are protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who think the emoji plunger is evil and must be vanquished) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach them at and

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