Monday, October 22, 2012

The Legend of the Dollar Tree Giant Lawn Spider!

Presenting the Absolute WORST Thing I Have Ever Spent A Whole Dollar On...

You have to be an unbelievably petty person to complain about losing a stinking dollar on an unwise purchase, but as we all know by now, next to Tom and Richard, I’m pretty much the pettiest person on this planet.

The legend of the “Giant Lawn Spider” begins as so many of my misadventures begin: with me, hanging out at the local Dollar Tree, at 9:00 p.m. on a weekday. It being the Halloween season and all, an absolute ton of All Hallows Eve decorations were on display, ranging from the really crappy (some plastic severed feet and a Styrofoam pumpkin you can practice carving) to the mind-numbingly crappy (think, “bloody” translucent banners that are impossible to nail to the wall and poorly assembled “squishy” bats that fall apart after about five minutes of light handling.)

It was there, amidst all of the Jack O’ Lantern sippy cups and witch stickers and public domain DVDs that I saw it. Right there, next to the cheap-o synthetic spider webbing, and right underneath the light up ghost toy that didn’t light up or really resemble a ghost, for that matter…it was there, staring directly into my pupils. Nay, more like it was gazing into my soul, scouring my conscience for the blackest, bleakest recesses of my humanity. It was the kind of life-shattering, time-displaced moment that one simply cannot shake off nor ignore. I mean, how could any conscionable human, when THIS is within grasping distance?

LOOK AT THIS ABOMINATION OF CAPITALISM. I’ve seen some crappy decorations in my life, but this thing is so unbelievably, unconscionably shoddy that I was left drooling in a state of sheer stupefaction.

You know, I’ve seen a lot of spiders in my day, and I don’t think I’ve ever encountered one that looked like the bastard offspring of a garbage bag and neon green duct tape before. Calling this thing a facsimile of a spider is sort of like calling a brick Spray-Painted grey a “to-scale model” of the White House. I mean, yeah, it resembles a spider as far as basic geometry is considered, but even then, it’s by the absolute thinnest strand imaginable.

The instructions on the back of the bag are bad, as in, “instruction manual for an Electronic Arts-published game bad.” You get a diagram that loosely explains how one is to assemble the art project, totally glossing over the fact that the consumer ALSO needs to have access to a bunch of shredded newspapers to stuff into the body of the spider to make it look like anything other than a vast pool of electrical tape.

Basically, they want you to tie a couple of sandwich bag twisty-thingies around the head area and and the proverbial arse of the spider (but only AFTER you fill it with whatever debris you deem fit, of course.) Actually, you’re going to need three twist-ties, since you also have to segment the spider in half to make it look like an arachnid as opposed to a deflated kiddie pool.

Before plopping down my hard-earned Washington on this incredible piece of shit, I joked about the final product being nothing more than a plastic garbage bag with eyes painted on to it. And when I finally opened the package, what was there to greet me? A thing that looked suspiciously like a plastic garbage bag with eyes painted on to it.

Really, the only thing that makes this “toy” anything other than a garbage bag that been opened on both ends are the glowing, lime-hued eyes of the spider. I think it’s safe to say that without those, this thing would be a living, breathing FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection nightmare. And in case you’re wondering? Yes, of course this thing was made in China. It HAD to be made in China, and you know that.

What you’re staring at here are the “tendrils” of the spider. You may be saying to yourself, “wow, Jimbo, those things look more like nondescript slivers of black plastic than insect appendages!” and you know what? You would be right, and hard. Shit, these guys can’t even rip you off in a full three-dimensions, for crying out loud!

To be fair, though, the manufacturers at LEAST had the decency to throw in a few complimentary sandwich bag twist tie thingies. Well, more like they gave you A sandwich bag twist tie thingy, as you had to individual rip off pieces of this one long-ass twist tie for your three vital enclosure spots.

And after a week of amassing disposable print literature that nobody would miss, THIS is what I ended up with. Alike Charlie Brown’s piss-poor Christmas tree, I think I’ve officially uncovered the Halloween decoration equivalent of a dead sapling in a potted vase.

There really isn’t an excuse for this thing. Yeah, I guess it would look a little bit more “in place” if it were buried underneath a mound of auburn and gold leaves, but even then…shit, man. Just shit. There’s no way you can make anything stand erect with those floppy, thinner-than-spaghetti “legs” and if you’re somehow able to jerry-rig the prop so it does, you sir, ought to be out building bridges for the UN or something instead.

To add insult to injury, the final product didn’t even resemble the right goddamn insect, more closely looking like a mosquito than a Black Widow. “Giant Lawn Spider,” my ass, because there’s no way anybody can get this the thing to look like anything other than a “Mediocre Carpet Termite,” I attest.

Is there any saving grace to be found here at all? I guess you could say that it would make for a great conversation starter, but every time someone sees it, they just think it’s a freaking garbage bag left out in the den. I guess you could sprawl it out in front of the fireplace like some sort of ironic bearskin rug or something, but inside humor of the sort only goes so far. In hindsight, I would’ve been better served spending my one dollar bill on an oxidized nickel.

Really, what more can be said about this stupid thing? The fact that I was even able to stretch this thing out into a 1,000 plus word essay is a minor triumph of human nature, because I think most Pulitzer Prize winners wouldn’t be able to muster more than three sentences on the utter irrelevancy of the product. It’s not just shameless, it’s glaringly, eye-searingly shameless, a prop that wallows in its own inherent shittiness like a naked mole rat or something. Even for 100 pennies, I feel like I was molested as a consumer; it’s quite possibly the single worst thing I’ve ever spent legal tender on, and as god as my witness?

 I swear I’m going to keep this thing on display all year round at Casa de Internet Is In America.

1 comment:

  1. I came across this looking for another stupid thing to spend money on : twist tie halloween sandwich bags. I'm laughing hysterically and can't wait to get a Giant Lawn Spider of my very own.


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