Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I've always found it weird that most products sold in the Dollar Store (or any other value store) that are made by external companies (as opposed to some hellhole in China then imported by Greenbrier International, Inc.) have actually been around for several decades. It seems that the value stores have only been at full force for about twenty years. My assumption has always been that these seemingly lower quality products (and possibly the companies themselves) were a byproduct of value stores.

Ameriplus' is the only bio I've ever read while researching their Mister Plumber drain opener product. Ameriplus' has been around since '59 as Crest Chemical Corporation, and in the '90s they decided to expand new household products directly to supermarkets and other stores. If I recall correctly, not only were the '90s the launch pad for value stores but that's also when store-brand products were introduced. The only "store-brand" products I remember before supermarkets plastered their logo on them were the ones that came in all white containers with black letters on the front indicating what resided within. If you read the back for ingredients the label read, "Read the front!"

As I’ve reviewed products that actually have ingredients (excluding edible goods), I've noticed that most of the products are comparable in quality to their brand-name counterparts. This is the case with the ingeniously named “Mister Plumber”. Apartment living, especially in my community, comes with “amenities”. One such “amenity” is an easily clogged bathtub, which is exasperated by the fact that I have mid-back length hair and I shed like a fuckin' dog.

Because my bathtub would fill up to nearly overflowing when I showered, and draining took what seemed like hours, I ended up with nasty crust around the bed of the tub and hair all over the place.

Against Becky's advice I decided to try out Mister Plumber in an effort to update the blog and pretend that people actually read this crap. The bottle comes with 32 oz. of product and you must use half the bottle the first time and, depending on the severity of your mess, potentially repeat the process. So ultimately you will probably not get more than two uses per 32 oz. bottle which seems to be the standard size for name-brand products as well.

I've honestly never had to use liquid chemicals to clean a drain but the Dollar Tree came through again. I used the entire bottle but the drain was clean as a virgin's honeypot afterward. I took a shower and barely half an inch of water pooled near the drain.

I found and compared Mister Plumber's Material Safety Data Sheet(MSDS) to Drano's MSDS. I found the product to be identical with the only minor differences being the percentages of the liquid's two main ingredients; Sodium Hypoclorite and Sodium Hydroxide. Mister Plumber contained less than 3% of Hydroxide where Drano had less than 2%. On the other side, Mister Plumber contained between 1 and 5% of Hypoclorite where Drano put less than 10% of the chemical which turns out to be just bleach. I really don't know what any of this shit means but I thought it would look interesting on the blog. Below is the label I found online... just for kicks.

click to enlarge

At $1 per 32 oz. bottle compared to the $5 average that a brand name bottle of the same size runs you this is a great find and one that, should the need arise again, I will revisit.


Thursday, November 19, 2009


I am not very picky about what I put in my mouth… Wait, that came out wrong. I am a rather adventurous eater (yes, that’s better). Aside from beer, gastronomy is one of my biggest passions. With that said, I am also very reluctant ingesting ANYTHING that comes from the Dollar Tree (or any other similar merchant). I am not entirely sure why, since I know that it can’t possibly be any worse than the street vendor tacos and hot-dogs I used to eat in Mexico or, for that matter, any weirder than bear meat chili, deer soup or the variety of bugs I’ve eaten disguised as delicacies.

Going against my common sense, I finally decided it was time to give the Dollar Tree’s frozen food section a try. And what better way than with one of my favorite snack-sized treats: Stuffed JalapeƱos. I’ve had several variations of this Mexican/Southern Fried dish, finding, by far, Skyland Restaurant’s to be the best.

Today’s tasty treats come to us from Snapps Snacks and Appetizers in their Cream Cheese and Mild Jalapeno variety. For some odd reason their splash page welcomes the inquiring user with a pretty cool country-meets-Saturday-morning-cartoon (for those of us who remember those days) jingle. All I learned from the page was that SNAPPS is a compound of SNacks and APPetizers. As their page clearly states:

“SNAPPS™ are delicious, restaurant quality SNacks and APPetizers. The best ingredients...perfect flavor combinations, ready to serve hot from the oven.”

And that for some odd reason my box of fried gold came with 4.25 oz. of product when all their products come in 5.5 oz. I don’t know much about calorie intake given that I’m pretty much a lazy fat-ass, but all in all I consumed approximately 400 calories out of my 1866 calorie per day allowance with about 250 coming from fat. I also ingested, per serving (2 pieces) so multiply by 3 and a half servings (plus the blue cheese):

3.5g of Saturated Fat
15mg of Cholesterol
190mg of sodium
3g of Protein

According to Becky, a serving of the Jalapenos have almost as much fat as a whole Snickers bar - and a Snickers bar has more protein, iron, calcium and fiber, and less sodium. So, if you’re looking for nutritious eating, skip this product.

Right out of the box they look like any other battered and fried frozen product I’ve ever tried. They are shaped kinda like frozen mini drumsticks, and left behind the expected frozen fried crumbs on my cookie sheet.

Preparation is also pretty standard; heat oven, insert frozen goodies, turn halfway through cycle, remove, cool-off, enjoy.

After I flipped them in the middle of their cooking cycle, I was not particularly thrilled with the look of things. I noticed a thin crisp mark running down the middle of my otherwise uncooked Jalapenos. For a split second I considered just putting my hunger aside, and opting for a less threatening bowl of Basic 4.

Fortunately, when I removed them from the oven after the full cooking cycle they had cooked to a beautiful golden brown with a split down the top where the cream cheese and Jalapeno stuffing were deliciously oozing out.

With renewed faith I slopped some bottled blue cheese dressing on a plate and anxiously sat down to try my first Dollar Tree meal.

Breaking the first nugget of fried goodness in half the filling smelled incredibly good and was still bubbling, as I’ve found most good stuffed Jalapeno dished to do right before consumption.

Sadly, the first bite I took was extremely bland; I was only able to taste the blue cheese dressing I’d dipped the critter in. The texture was as expected, crunchy immediately followed by the melted smoothness of the cream cheese, but without any real taste. The heat of the Jalapeno was definitely present and I was pleasantly surprised that it packed enough of a punch to make me notice.

I tried the second bite without any blue cheese and there was absolutely no flavor to them. At this point, since my taste buds were still a little tingly from the first bite, the heat from the Jalapeno was barely traceable.

In the 4.25 oz. box you get 7 pieces for a buck, which is ultimately not bad when you’re just trying to get a quick snack (and don’t give a rat’s ass about nutrition) while watching a game or your favorite CSI soap opera. On the flip side, the product is too bland to consume alone, so make sure you get a lot of your favorite dipping sauce as well.