If you’re anything like me, you have a soft spot for dollar-store finds—tacky goods and random knick-knacks that you buy simply because they’re ridiculous and/or completely stupid. Nestled among a long stretch of strip malls in National City is a magical building where someone can find everything from gaudy belly-dance costumes to Hello Kitty toys to fruit smoothies to two-fingered, 14-carat gold rings that have the phrase “Bitch Pleez” spelled out in shiny, swirly letters. This two-story wonder emporium is called Price Breakers Indoor Bazaar (1021 Highland Ave.). Here are some of the gems you can find there.
As I mentioned, you can get 14-carat-gold jewelry customized any way you like. There are two jewelers in the giant indoor marketplace, but the Jewelry Mart section, which is the first thing you see when you walk in, has a huge selection of gold and silver pieces. It’s been operating at Price Breakers for 30 years. Peruse the glass cases and you’ll find one of my favorite accessories, nameplate necklaces. These necklaces aren’t just for cholas. I get asked by women of all backgrounds where to find them, and I always point them to Price Breakers, where they cost roughly $20 per letter at the Jewelry Mart kiosk. You can even get your name encrusted in diamonds for a bit more cash. If you want to treat yourself to some more jewelry, awesome gold earrings start at $25. Nothing goes better with a nameplate necklace like a pair of big ol’ doorknocker earrings.
After buying some gaudy gold jewelry, grab a quick snack at the Mexican deli just behind the kiosk; there, you can buy delicious tortas, smoothies and even tostilocos. Then get your nails done. Price Breakers has two nail salons. All the way in the back is Nails4Less, which does everything to your nails for much less than anywhere else. A full set of acrylic-art nails featuring sunsets, stripes or other cool designs is $15. Most places I’ve been to charge more than triple that amount. While I can’t promise that you won’t get a nail fungus, I can say the salon was busy, with a line, on a recent Tuesday afternoon. That has to mean something. You can also get your eyebrows waxed for $4.99, a lip wax for $2.99 or a pedicure starting at $9.99. These prices are pretty much unheard-of.
Price Breakers doesn’t just cater to ladies with a penchant for tacky nails and accessories. Fellows can find some useful stuff here, too, like a fresh pair of Converse All-Stars, tube socks, T- shirts in every color and, if you’re into it, a mustard-yellow velour sweat suit. You can take one of those T-shirts and walk over to the decals station located in the back, just across from Nails4Less, and have a design pressed onto your new T in as little as 20 minutes. You want Calvin from the “Calvin and Hobbes” comic strip peeing on the Oakland Raiders emblem? Yup, it can be done.
Within the bazaar is also a little section dedicated to women’s lingerie, where I ended up buying five pairs of seamless stretch boy shorts for $10. This couldn’t have come at a better time since my laundry’s been piling up. Feeling saucy? Check out the various animal-print undies. More demure? Grab some standard white ones. Never worry about laundry again. Well, no. You should still do your laundry.
All of that, plus tons of other random stuff was found on the top floor. Head down to the basement level and enter an area dedicated to colorful, meringue-like prom dresses, quinceañera and bridesmaids gowns and everything you need to adorn them. If you have a wedding to attend, you can find genuinely cute dresses for the occasion—or even the kind of dresses that might make the reverend drop his Bible in shock. Whatever you want. No judgment here.
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