While the grocery stores are busy fighting it out over the price of milk, less advertised bargains have been sitting on the shelves for years.
For a long time, Kmart has maintained a range of cheap, durable crockery at $2 each. I first noticed this range while shopping for a Secret Santa gift in late 2009. I was suprised to find a range of nicely patterned mugs at only $2 each, so I bought one with a butterfly pattern and filled it with chocolates (a safe bet when most of the secret santa group are female!). The gift was well received at the Secret Santa draw (I received garden soap), so at the first opportunity I went back to the store and bought two butterfly-pattern mugs and two striped mugs for myself. One butterfly mug became my standard work mug, and it is still one of my favourites.
After that I often walked through the crockery aisle at Kmart to check the latest range. In late 2011 I had searched high and low for a decent cat bowl for my new kitten, and found only cheap plastics or ridiculously priced ‘premium’ bowls that were shallow, and had sloped edges that mean half the food will probably be dragged or nosed out of the bowl. After giving up on pet stores, I checked at Kmart, but the pet range at the local store is pretty woeful. Thankfully I took my usual detour through the crockery aisle, and found a set of spotted and striped cereal bowls that worked perfectly. Crockery bowls make great pet bowls as they do not scratch like plastics and some metals (scratches can hold bacteria) and are heavy enough not to be knocked over. The steep sides of the bowl also mean food stays in the bowl, rather than being dragged out onto the floor.
This year, while some of the spotted and striped range remain, most of the new items are solid colours. These appear to be more cheaply made than the earlier items, and it’s worth picking them carefully to avoid manufacturing flaws. The glaze also isn’t as glossy and smooth as the earlier range. But all the items are solid and durable, and come in useful sizes and shapes. I recently bought two of the tall mugs, as they are great for the giant cups of tea that I prefer, and two of the enormous soup mugs in preparation for winter. To date, none of my Kmart crockery purchases have chipped or broken or faded, so at $2 they make a great bargain, and even come without the annoying grocery store jingles.
See the gallery below for images of the crockery range in the store, and the items I have purchased.