$10 at a dollar store can change everything.

Let’s say you’re bored. Let’s say it’s the weekend. Let’s say there’s no one around and nothing to do.

I’m here to help! My suggestion may sound a little flat at first, but it’s something I believe in, and something I’ve done myself. All you’ll need is $10 and access to a dollar store.

(Or $5, if you’re bored and broke.)


Your goal? A dollar store shopping spree, limited to $10. (Okay, $10 plus tax.)

Now, I don’t mean a random dollar store shopping spree. We’ve all done that, and while it’s fun to pluck out the stupidest novelties for a quick Instagram session, that’s not going to go very far in salvaging your horrible night.

No, on this shopping spree, you’re to specifically hunt things that will keep you entertained for one whole evening. You want a mix of snacks and “stuff” that — with their powers combined — won’t just satisfy your cravings for five minutes, but for a full five hours.


To demonstrate, I purchased ten bucks’ worth of garbage that — on a stretch — could be described as a Party For One.

Items include:

– Hardcover book about ancient history, with LOTS OF PICTURES.
– Hardcover book about animals, with LOTS OF PICTURES.
– Three-pack of Nissin Cup Noodles.
– Box of “Honey Buns,” which are basically slimy stale donuts.
– Bottle of extremely blue VeryFine juice.
– Mystery bag containing two random comic books.
– Drawing pad.
– Pack of many low quality markers.
– Impossibly large bag of cheese balls.
– Twizzlers, but not real Twizzlers, in a “cherry watermelon” flavor.

Should you attempt this activity, your spread probably won’t look much like mine. That’s fine. Heck, it’s encouraged. But I still suggest that you actually read the rest of this post and not just look at the photos, because learning the reasons why I chose this exact mix will provide tips on how you can make the most out of yours.


Let’s start with the food. My selections are embarrassingly unhealthy, but that’s kind of the point. Two reasons:

1. If you’re going to spend the night partying alone, you may as well get something out of it. Nobody’s going to see you eat these things. No one will bat an eye when you make a sandwich out of shit-shaped donuts and fake Twizzlers. This is your chance to indulge, and I encourage you to do so while wearing pajama bottoms and your lamest t-shirt.

2. A great side effect of eating a wheelbarrow’s share of absolutely terrible food is that after you’re done, you won’t want to go out. You won’t spend your happy night of solitude with an eye on the phone, secretly praying for an invitation to do anything else. If you do this right, you won’t want to go out the next day, either.

It’s kind of like recreational valium, but with a different sort of guilt.

Now, if you’re living cleaner, or if you just don’t want this experiment to come with ten extra pounds, sure, go healthier. Dollar store food has a bad reputation, but if you search hard enough, you’ll find things with reasonable nutritional values. It’s totally your call, but IMO, a can of weird beans just isn’t as much fun as 462000 cheese balls.


Then we have the “entertainment” items. This is where you have to be careful. Dollar stores are full of interesting chachkas, but most of them only stay interesting for a minute. The inflatable alligator looks great, but that’s all it does.

If you’re lucky, your dollar store will carry DVDs. Mine didn’t, so I went all-in on the books. Honestly, I can’t think of many activities better than reading about killer whales while eating Cup Noodles. 99 times out of 100, whatever I’m doing, I’d rather be doing that.

When I got tired of the books, I moved onto my drawing pad and markers. (The “drawing” pad was actually intended to help 1st graders write the alphabet, but I liked the super soft paper too much to care.)

I started making some kind of robot monster dude with errant spouts of pink hair, but then I got distracted by the comics.

Many dollar stores carry those “mystery bags” containing two comic books and a trading card, and I’ve long been a sucker for them. This time, I really hit the jackpot. Aside from an issue of the always great Infinity Watch, I got motherfucking GHOST RIDER #15. The one with the scritchy-scratchy glow-in-the-dark cover! I’m not sure I could name a better pair of comics to represent my brief but all-encompassing Marvel obsession of the early ‘90s.

The items you choose needn’t be anything like mine, of course. Pick things that appeal to you, but make sure they’re things that will be fun for more than five seconds. Say what you will about my choices, but four books, a pad and a pack of markers kept me busy for a good long while.


When you’re through, you should feel stimulated by your entertainment items, yet blissfully slothish on account of the junk food. That’s a great mix if you want your nothing night to seem welcomed.

I know this sounds like nonsense, and I guess it is, but it’s effective nonsense. Think about it. For $10, you get the thrill of a game show shopping spree, and the actuality of a second grader’s birthday party.

And cherry watermelon fruit twists.

If money is no object, toss in a cheap bottle of wine, and the deal is sealed.

Good luck! You’ll thank me when you’re bloated and bedridden and trying to figure out what to do with a pack of 300 “Animals from the Zoo” stickers.