This Dollar Store Taunts You With The Past

Can there be any sadder indication of our toilet-water economy than a dollar store that references its own happier, cheaper past? This New York City dollar store has pulled down its old sign, “Everything 99¢ Or Less,” and rebranded.

Sometimes truth in advertising hurts, especially when you can still see the outline of the former sign above the new one.

Update: The new sign may have actually gone up a while back, in which case it’s more an illustration of NYC’s high cost of living than current inflation. Even if that’s the case, you’d think they’d do something about the remnants of that old sign taunting everyone.

Update #2: Another reader, David, sent us a picture he took last summer of the same store. It appears “99¢ Dreams” is in a constant state of naming flux:

We sort of like “OR LESS OR MORE” as a slogan—makes it seem more like a carnival game, somehow.

(Thanks to Larry!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Reeve says:

    I was wondering what these stores were going to do. You knew the day was coming.

  2. floraposte says:

    I love “Everything a dollar and up.” A friend of mine thinks that some store should use the slogan “Why pay less?” This is as close as you’ll get.

  3. 99¢ dreams of being a dollar like the fortune teller machine wishes it could weight people. I sometimes get depressed when I think about the hopes and dreams of inanimate objects.

  4. jimmypopjr says:


  5. bsalamon says:

    anyone else notice the “$1 and up” right under the 99 cent dreams?

  6. wiggatron says:

    “Everything one dollar and up”

    That pretty much covers everything that I buy. My car, over 1 buck. My house, many many bucks. TV, quite a few bucks.

    More places should start using this tag. This would be great for Best Buy or CC as they sell 1 dollar items, multiple thousand dollar items, and everything in between.

    • ShadowFalls says:


      What can you get for $1 at Best Buy and Circuit City? Not even the 20oz sodas in the cooler that cheap…

    • Boogerhead says:

      @wiggatron: This would be great for Best Buy or CC as they sell 1 dollar items, multiple thousand dollar items, and everything in between.

      It’s been done, to a customer’s regret. Some years back a lady called the Car Talk guys. The conversation was pretty close to this: “Oh, so how much is this going to cost to fix?” “Pennies!” “Oh…” “Buckets of pennies! Wheelbarrows of pennies!” The lady didn’t seem amused.

      But that sort of comment is popular: Type the phase “measured in pennies” into Google and up will up a New York Times story on a tax cut’s impact. Guess what? All tax cuts in this country, as well as others that use pennies, are measured in pennies. There’s just a lot of rounding and estimating going on. The price of a nuclear aircraft carrier can be, and probably is, routinely measured in pennies by accounting software.

      Type “measured in seconds” on, and up pops a political diatribe about loyalty measured in seconds. So what? You can prove someone’s loyal all their life, and still time their life in seconds: Just get the death certificate and the birth certificate, and you’ll likely be within 50 or 100 seconds of the exact truth.

  7. readams says:

    As in, “You’re dreaming if you find something under a dollar” ??

  8. sharonlives says:

    Um, I think this article is wrong. I’ve worked across the street from that store forever. The “99 cents or less” store closed and reopened as “99 Cent Dreams” about 5 years ago.

    If you ask me, they should have called it “99 Cent In Your Dreams”. Aside from a few snacks, most of the stuff there is definitely above a dollar… still a good deal though compared with the rest of NYC.

  9. damitaimee says:

    there are a lot of fake 99cent stores in la/orange county area.

    they have all said 99cents and up for well over 3-5 years.

    so weird.

  10. vladthepaler says:

    Awesome. I hate stores that charge less than a dollar for things.

  11. HogwartsAlum says:

    I remember dime stores. When you could actually get stuff for a dime. Or less. We had a great one in my tiny hometown. Sometimes I dream about it.

    I’m only 43. Oh, how quickly things change.

    • gatewaytoheaven says:

      @HogwartsAlum: Wait, dime stores? What?!

      • VeeKaChu says:

        @gatewaytoheaven:He speaks the truth- the F W Woolworth’s chain of stores were often generically referred to as “dime” stores back in the day. It was a shortening of the colloquialism “five and dime”, as that was their model as a retail discounter.

        So even though by the 60’s, when I was a sprout in Ponca City Ok and Woolworth’s didn’t sell everything for a nickel or a dime, they were still called “the dime store” as a matter of course.

        And I’m sure many of my contemporaries will recall their inferior competitor, Kresges…

        • balthisar says:

          @VeeKaChu: Yeah, I’m late to this thread, but YES! I remember Kresge’s! Anyone remember “Ben Franklin” five and dime stores?

          (Kresge’s went on to start K-Mart.)

          • zibby says:

            @balthisar: Hell yeah, we had a Ben Franklin in my town; they taught me a valuable lesson. See, I bought one of those huge “Rambo” knives there – the kind with the compass on top and the hollow handle with the survival kit inside – for $7.99. Hard earned money in those days. Needless to say it fell apart after a week, just as my old man predicted. Just because something is inexpensive doesn’t mean it will be a bargain.

      • BeeBoo says:

        @gatewaytoheaven: Yes, and why do you think Motel 6 was called that? All rooms were $6 a night. Super 8 was $8 a night.

      • HogwartsAlum says:


        Dime stores. Five and ten. Two-cent candy. Styrofoam forms for crafts. Paper dolls! Mops! Those ugly old lady scarves made out of nylon! Rain bonnets! 50-cent gaudy jewelry and cheap bubble bath you could get your mom for her birthday! Stuffed animals! Little plastic toy soldiers!

        THE NOSTALGIA!! *weeps*

    • RandomHookup says:

      @HogwartsAlum: My hometown had 2 Five & Dime Stores right across from each other. At one time, Sam Walton had owned one of them, but was too successful and lost the lease to my neighbor. Wal-Mart #18 took care of the 5 & 10 stores pretty quickly.

    • TechnoDestructo says:


      And I thought globalization was supposed to bring lower prices?

  12. cmdrsass says:

    Yup, it sure is a sign of the “toilet-water economy” when a store changes hands and its name … five years ago.

  13. BeeBoo says:

    Jack’s near Penn Station is still 99 cents plus tax, at least everything on the ground floor is, bought a tube of caulk there today. Today besides the caulk they had 6 oz bags of pita chips, a selection of gas station shirts with names like “Saul”, and more school supplies than usual.

  14. mewyn dyner says:

    What about the 33¢ store? You know, the one that sells plankton in tins that the Mexico food board says expired 2 years ago, and sells green lady’s dresses? :)

  15. SumanolataWabba says:

    I have really noticed a dearth of 99 cent stores in the past few months, as well as other close-out stores (viz., Mace’s Closeout City – I liked to pronounce it Macy’s). And the chain 99 cent/dollar stores are awful. There were lots of 5&10 stores around when I was a kid, also John’s Bargain Stores, where my mother used to like to shop. I still have a set of 4 mini Santa Claus mugs from there, and I put them in my china closet every Christmas. They are a treasure!
    In Paris, we saw a “Two Euro ” Store — that’s inflation!

  16. springboks says:

    Stuff that goes for 99cents or less can be found at Taco Bell. I shudder to think what a 69cent/79cent taco looks or even tastes like.

  17. Yoooder says:

    “99c Dreams, $1 & up Reality”

  18. DH405 says:

    Hey, isn’t this the one next to the “1 Hour photo.. or whenever” shop?

  19. sharonlives says:

    My mistake I guess… I remember when the store closed down and changed names, but I never paid attention to the sign above the sign.

  20. Parapraxis says:

    I don’t know… when I see that kind of neon sign advertising it, I think adult video shop or something…

    99 cent dreams include:
    *skinny chicks*
    *fat chicks*
    *fat guys*


  21. BrianDaBrain says:

    I like the “Or less or more” slogan.They should’ve kept that.

  22. rreimund says:

    That’s awesome.. this store is right across the street from my office.. :-)

  23. Triborough says:

    I saw this more depressing ad for a 99¢ Dreams in Red Hook going home from Ikea last month

  24. TechnoDestructo says:

    How about a store where everything is over 99 cents, and the inventory consists of nothing but things that one USED to be able to get for 99 cents or less.

  25. veronykah says:

    That’s my FAVORITE dollar store name.
    Ah, 99 cent dreams…is this the one under the J/M/Z trains or are there MORE!!!!

  26. battra92 says:

    The local “A Dollar” sells some items for $1.29, $1.49 etc. I actually don’t mind as they have a lot of cheap stuff not offered at other dollar stores (300 index cards for $1.29!)

    Dollar Tree is still all priced at a Dollar. :)

  27. BiZarRroBALlmeR says:

    Too bad they didn’t lower quality instead of increasing prices.