I visited a discount store that sells Amazon and Target returns, and it felt like treasure hunting. Here's what I found.
Everyday Crazy Hot Deals is a liquidation center that buys and resells returned merchandise.
Items from places like Target are sold at a discount, with prices varying based on day of the week.
You can find everything from electronics to kitchenware to furniture.
I visited Everyday Crazy Hot Deals in Bethpage, New York, on three different days in January to see how the products vary.
Source: KJOY 98.3
I went the store, which opened last September, for the first time on an early Saturday afternoon. When I walked in, I was immediately overwhelmed by the sheer volume of stuff available.
Since I went on a Saturday, every item in the store — with some exceptions — was priced at $12. The price gets cheaper as the week approaches Thursday, the day the store gets restocked. Items are most expensive on the weekends once new inventory is added.
The bins weren't organized by product category, so I sifted through piles of random items mixed together. The most common items I saw were boxes of face masks.
I didn't have anything in particular I wanted to buy, so I haphazardly scanned the bins in search of items that stood out to me. Some of the things that caught my eye were a gratitude journal, the board game Operation, cockroach-killing bait, a vibrator, creepy Halloween costume masks, and some wigs.
Many of the packages were ripped, empty, or missing an item.
Customers are not allowed to open sealed packages. If they want to know what's inside, they must bring the items to the customer-service booth, where an employee will open them.
While the majority of bins contained a random assortment of stuff, some items were organized by type with special deals, like this rack of clothing ...
... and this shopping cart filled with notebooks. Five notebooks cost $1.
There were also containers of makeup sold at $3 apiece ...
... and these iPhone and Android phone cases — including popular brands like Otter — that were priced at five for $2.
There were even boxes of Halloween candy like Haribo gummy bears and Reese's peanut-butter cups. The bags of candy I looked at were not expired, though the store has a sign warning customers to check the expiration date before purchasing any food.
Some of the "organized" bins were just as sloppy as the regular ones, like this plastic container filled with tangled-up cords, cables, and laptop chargers.
Exceptions to the set-price rule included items like furniture and big boxes of toys.
The most expensive items I saw were electronics, like a Google Nest Doorbell and a Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, near the cash register. Each was priced at $150.
As I was browsing the store, an employee pulled out a fresh bin of stuff that all the shoppers picked through.
While some people may come just to buy cheap stuff, the store said it encourages shoppers to buy things that they can resell individually at a higher price. There were a few shoppers who looked like teenagers looking up the price of items on their phones and discussing whether they could resell them on TikTok.
Source: Crazy Hot Deals
After spending nearly an hour and a half carefully looking through each bin, I wasn't able to find anything I liked that I thought was worth $12 that day. So I decided to go back on a Wednesday when everything is a dollar.
When I visited again the following Wednesday, the bins contained less stuff, and the things that remained were even more random than before. Many of the items were broken packages or loose parts that came from the original product.
But I was excited to get a sneak peek at the new inventory, which included things like a toy Mustang convertible and a box set of kitchen appliances wrapped in plastic packaging. There were also bins covered by blankets that were filled with fresh stuff.
After I spent roughly 30 minutes browsing the sparse bins with no success, I decided that I would come back one more time on a Friday, when the store is restocked with new inventory.
I arrived at the store on the following Friday around 11 a.m., and it was packed with people. Each bin was overflowing with new stuff.
When I got there, the store was doing its first restock of the day. Dozens of shoppers gathered around the covered bins as they waited for an employee to unveil them.
Speaking through a megaphone, an employee thanked everyone for coming and briefly explained some ground rules to ensure that everyone had a safe shopping experience.
After the employee finished his speech, he told everyone to put their hands up. On a count of three, the employees yanked the blankets away and a horn blared, signaling that shopping could begin.
Shoppers immediately grabbed whatever was available and tossed the items into their carts to sort through later. Carts were filled with boxes big and small — one even contained a bicycle.
As people were hunting for the best items, an employee with a megaphone announced raffle numbers. Winners were given $50 to spend at the store.
This time around, I found many items I was interested in buying, from a box of college-ruled journals to an electric blanket.
Every time I found something I liked, I was hit with a rush of excitement, which only motivated me to keep looking for more stuff with deeper precision.
After I spent an hour flipping through bins, I forced myself to stop looking and went to purchase the items with my family. The cashier counted how many items were in the cart and then multiplied the number by 12 to calculate the price. We were shocked to learn that our bill was more than $300.
Even though I was happy with the things I found, I was left with a nagging feeling that I spent too much money on items I didn't need. But overall, I found shopping there to be a fun, weirdly exhilarating experience.
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