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Top Bargain Buys

Ocean State Job Lot

Ocean State Job LotFifteen locations across Rhode Island including 361 Reservoir Ave.Providence461.1181

From protractors to toilet seat covers to accessories for your Sea Monkey, you may not want it, but Ocean State Job Lot certainly has it. And at dirt-cheap prices too. Self-described "opportunistic merchants," this discount retailer sells manufacturer's overstocks, discontinued products and other goods that have been bumped off other retailers' shelves for one reason or another.

Set in a strip mall on Reservoir Avenue, the Providence OSJL, as its devotees (or at least its Web site) call it, is one of 78 in New England. It's like a messier Wal-Mart, with grannies and rat tail-wearing women roaming the aisles in search of bargain prices. Once you steer past the dented garbage cans and the "best-selling" novels you've never heard of, OSJL offers a treasure trove of quality finds.

The store is a gold mine for household necessities. Some of the goods are irresistible bargains: Tupperware ($1.19!), toothbrushes ($0.99!), comforters ($15.00!) and oodles of toilet paper ($6.99!). Has saving energy left you cold? Try an OSJL fleece blanket. Need more silverware? No problem, OSJL has plenty. It's the stop to make before Bed Bath & Beyond, so you can save money on light bulbs and area rugs in order to splurge on that George Foreman grill.

Though no one would confuse it with Whole Foods, OSJL also has a food section worth checking out. In addition to a bevy of brands you've never heard of, are name-brand goodies at half the price. Just be sure to check the expiration date before opening that Snack Pack. And with a huge assortment of spices for as little as $0.88, OSJL makes gourmet cooking a bit more manageable.

Sprinkled between the useful items are the items you desperately want and just don't know it yet: axes ($3.99!), bobble-head dolls ($2.99!) and alcohol-removed wine ($3.99!). Pet lover? OSJL has some pig ears for your dog. Going all out for Christmas this year? They've got a kit to help you hang your lights.

Maybe you weren't in the market for a new granite tabletop. But at these prices, who can say no?


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