My (slightly disappointing) Kawaii haul

Today was the definition of Chicago's wonderful weather. Drizzly, snowy, rainy, cloudy, overall yucky. And on top of that, it is Friday, the day we all just want to head home and curl up in our jammies.

To cheer myself up, I decided to stop at the Kawaii Japanese Outlet after work. I work really close by, yet have never been. Ever since Sandra and SNARLing went on a mini Midwest meetup, I've been dying to go. Especially since I had to miss that meetup because of a work deadline.

I digress.

Since my niece's birthday party is tomorrow, and Kawaii is supposed to be filled with awesome, kid-friendly ware, I decided it was the perfect excuse to stop in. It seems that the owners are changing the store around quite a bit, and moving more towards a small convenience store rather than what it used to be. While there were still some stationery items, dishes, and Bento Boxes, there was way less than I was expecting. The stationery section (honestly the whole reason I came) was pretty tiny and didn't have anything too exciting. I was really hoping for some washi tape, but no such luck.

In the end, I did get a few things...


I knew I had to make a purchase when I saw the Botan Rice Candy- these stupid things have been a favorite of mine ever since I was little. I also saw a few colors of the Pilot Hi-Tec-C, a pen that Zoe raves about. I also found a pack of small round stickers (over 1,200 of them, in fact) and decided that for $1.69, they would find good a good home. Finally, I threw in some cool colored, rubber coated paper clips, and headed to the checkout.

This is  where I really got disappointed with this store.

The guy at the register was not only super slow, but super incompetent (and before anyone accuses me of being racist, the dude was white). He rang me up, and told me my total was six bucks and change. I thought it should have been a bit higher, but decided to go with it and handed him my card. But of course they had a $10 minimum for credit/debit cards. So, I decided to grab a pair of chopsticks, since you can never have too many. Which brought me up to $9.34. Are you kidding? So I grabbed another pack of rice candy, got my total to $10.34, and figured I'd call it a day.

As the guy is bagging my items, he picks up the pen that I assumed I bought and says "Oh, did you want this too?" Are you friggen kidding me??? I told him I did, but not to worry about it, since I wasn't about to buy another seven dollars worth of stuff to use my card again. I was super bummed- I had really wanted to try out that pen! But as I walked out of the store, I realized that the pen and the chopsticks were the exact same price. Since I had only purchased the chopsticks to get my bill over $10, I went back in and asked if I could just swap the two items. Fortunately he said it wasn't a problem.

Overall, I am happy with my purchases. I think I just had this place so built up in my head that I was a bit let down by the reality. Not to mention that horrible customer service can really ruin an experience.

Oh, and my favorite candies? I just opened my first (of four) boxes, and they are stale. Boo.

I guess next time, it is worth the trek to Chinatown- so sad since this place is so close to where I work.

Have any of you built up a shopping experience in your head, only to have the reality stink?

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