Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Serendipitous searching at Big Lots

David Pescovitz posted to Boing Boing yesterday concerning a dissertation by ethnologist Erik Ottoson on "serendipitous searching," which Ottoson defines as "open browsing for anything that awakens the person's interest." "Serendipitous searching" seems to be what explains my attraction to Big Lots — a store that I visit in the hope of finding something surprising and worthwhile. Where else am I going to find pocket packs of Kleenex tissues printed in Thai? Without going to Thailand, that is. (88¢ for six packs, ten tissues each.)

If you like tea and live near a Big Lots, you might seek out two excellent bargains of the moment: Good Strong Tea and Hedley's Tea. I'd never seen either, anywhere. The Big Lots price is $2 for a box or tin of fifty teabags. Good Strong Tea is a product of The East India Company, a Sri Lankan company that appears to be related to the original East India Company in name alone. Good Strong Tea lives up to its name: it's a black tea with a full-bodied, winey flavor. It comes in two varieties, for drinking with or without milk. I've tried without, and I would suspect that with is stronger still, to stand up to the white stuff. Hedley's (from Tea Masters Ceylon, also a Sri Lankan company) is available at Big Lots in a number of varieties. I can vouch for Black Currant, which tastes good hot or iced, and has a less artificial flavor than Twinings Black Currant. Founder and chairman Saman Kasthurirathne guarantees every tin.

[Correction: The address on the box is Sri Lankan, but the East India Company is British, as a friendly e-mail from the company tells me.]

comments: 2

Elaine Fine said...

I can second your enthusiasm for both the Good Strong Tea and the Black Currant Hedley's (which tasts a little bit like the Honest Tea favored by Barack Obama). Who'd a thunk that such good tea could be had at Big Lots?

Of course once the stash is bought up by savvy people (like us) it's gone. That's sad.

j said...

I like to shop like that at hardware stores. Not the big nationwide stores- the small locally owned, old fashioned, wooden floored stores.