"I found a Hello Kitty coin purse!" and other exhortations are guaranteed to spring to your lips after you're finally able to crawl out of this sinkhole of sale items, this quicksand of quirkiness. Or if the mouthless cat isn't your thing, just substitute another favorite only-a-buck goody: a bag o' confetti, perhaps? How about some glow-in-the-dark aquarium rocks? Don't miss the Auto Aisle! Never pay $1.49 for plastic ice trays ever again or $1.09 for a votive candle. Not at the 99 Cents Store. Best of all, the large selection of merchandise priced over a buck -- but rarely more than a fin -- yields discounted finds like glass cabbage heads, aluminum paella pans, cheap cologne, and all sorts of other utterly useless but nonetheless completely fascinating totems of our disposable society. Most dollar stores deal in down-on-their-luck junk, but this formidable array of low-budget items is in a class by itself.

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