FunCity Stuff received an invitation to attend the Saturday, August 1, grand opening for DAISO, a Japanese variety dollar store opening its first location in Carrollton, right off the PGB. I’d never heard of the chain until now, but it’s very popular in California and other parts of the globe. Huh. So I’m imagining an Asian supermarket mated with a Hello Kitty franchise and the babies are born in a five-and-dime. It wasn’t that far off, really.

Originally published in 2015.

So I mapped what turned out to be an easy drive from the mid-cities (I pay tolls without a second thought if it gets me somewhere faster/easier/less construction.) There’s plenty of parking — the store is in a new strip mall.  It’s high noon, so I could tell my retinas were building up heat on the concrete outside. The drummers out front were actually very talented, but not so talented that I wanted to wait out in the heat. I went up to the front of the line and tapped the tallest clipboard-girl on the shoulder.

“Hi, I’m here to see Jon Kim, the manager,” I said as authoritatively as I could muster. She looked at me like a bouncer at a Hollywood club, but then: “Ok, I will get him.”

She will!? She will! She left her position to get him! Suddenly the red carpet in my mind was being unfurled and glitter fell from the sky as I stood at the front of the longest shopping line I’d seen since Black Friday several seasons ago. While the waiting had benefit of shade from the overhang, it was still stupid hot. I snapped a couple of pictures of the ballooned entry, the drummers and the long line. I admit, I was trying to figure out why anyone (99% women and young girls) were losing their minds and their electrolytes over this place.

Mr. Kim floated to the surface of people in about a minute and I told him who sent me. He said, “Ah, you’re the blogger.” The crowd went wild…a sea of cheers went up…I felt like a rock star.

“Yes, FunCityStuff dot com.” I said. He looked at me blankly. “Um, yes, THE BLOGGER.” I drawled.

Frisco DAISO Grand Opening

UPDATED FOR 2018: North Texas now has SIX Daiso locations, with a new one opening in Frisco very soon. The grand opening celebration will be on Friday and Saturday, November 2-3, 2018, at starting at 10am. RSVP at their Facebook. Rather do your shopping online? You can find their DAISO online store here. 

He escorted me in and said I could take pictures – he was harried but cordial, then swallowed by crowds and disappeared. I stood in place for a moment and rotated to look around – half in awe and half because it was elbow to elbow in there with DAISO products. You know that line that let in five people at a time outside? It was nearly as long INSIDE for the checkout lanes. Full disclosure: I’ve never been thrilled with shopping unless it’s at a specialty food store when no one else is there — which is never. But this was like an amusement park for the eyes: Bright white shelves and pink signs and colorful packaging — even from a distance made this a distinctly light-hearted and fun place to shop.

japanese-dollar-store

Japanese household, novelty, party supplies—so much fun STUFF!

Fortunately, I’m tall, so I could pretty much look over the heads of people three deep in order to see the goods. I realized that if I walked too fast I could miss whole sections of tiny or tightly packed products, so I slowed my roll. Faux florals, decorative – rows and rows of the waving good-luck cats – dolls, household stuff, snacks, drinks and candy. I felt like people were orbiting Me the Planet, but I shuffled on. It became a bit disorienting to look for prices as well as determine what I had in my hands. It wasn’t always easy to tell, but I imagine this will improve over time. Everything in there is supposed to be around $1.50, but there were some things that were far from it, like a $10 doll, which didn’t seem to be of a quality that would call for it.

Daiso-Carrollton

One turn after another and there it was – a greeting card mecca. Journals and stationery and stickers. I’m such a fiend for paper things and suddenly wanted the place to myself so I could just touch and read all of them. The packaging was an endless source of amusement – this is a store that manufactures in Japan, right, so the English is famously broken on more items than I can count. For a language buff like me, it’s hilarious. 

japanese-dollar-store

It says: “Jurassic Period dinosaur has a dynamic way of running”

There are school supplies and household goods for cheap and people had full baskets and smiles. It was hard not to, actually. Looking back at the checkout, it seemed to be slow going so I would come back later to do REAL shopping. Mr. Kim appeared again and handed me two goodie bags “extra special – has about $10 of merchandise each” he said. I took it gratefully, actually, feeling like a kid at Christmas. 

Daiso-Carrollton

I’d say that for actual back to school, DAISO probably doesn’t have a “hearty” or practical selection but it would make for a really fun sendoff. It was a really fun slice of Asian culture even as it pandered to our Texas desires for retail therapy. Dudes, not sure this is something you want to visit as part of your bucket list, but if you get dragged along, keep an eye out for the snacks. My only cautionary tale is that sometimes things aren’t clearly marked, and the Yen is on the packaging, while the $ amount is on the shelf, but this isn’t consistent. Don’t assume something is a buck-five or you could end up with a basket full of regret. Same goes if you have a food allergy – it’s in Japanese, you guys. If you aren’t sure, ask. 

UPDATED FOR 2018: North Texas now has SIX Daiso locations (North Fort Worth, Arlington, Irving, Carrollton, and Plano) with a new one opening in Frisco, Texas, very soon. The grand opening celebration will be on Friday and Saturday, November 2-3, 2018, at starting at 10am. RSVP at their Facebook. Rather do your shopping online? You can find their DAISO online store here. 

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