Discount Crap, and lots of it!

I can't be the only one who's seen this magazine.

Where else can you get "Vinyl SMILE FACE SHAMROCK NECKLACES", "12'' Wire BUNNY PATH MARKERS" or a "50'' x 60'' EASTER INSPIRATIONAL THROW"?

Never have I seen a magazine so packed with holiday-themed trinkets, all complying to the same low standard of quality -- guaranteed to break within a week of arrival.

My sister and I grew up sampling these fascinating wares, begging our parents for colorful knick-knacks, some of which still remain in our possession, many years later. OTC was quite an educational tool for us as children, in more ways than one -- it was here that we first learned that 1 gross was "144 pieces", and through ordering plastic toys that we were taught the fundamentals of budget management.

I was surprised and happy to learn that the magazine now has a website, www.oriental.com, on which I discovered that Oriental Trading is "the World's Biggest Toybox!"

I learned other things, too, such as: "Oriental Trading is one of the nation's leading direct marketers of value-priced novelties, toys, party supplies, crafts, gift items, home décor products and garden accents."

I guess it should surprise me that the magazine followed my family from New York to Virginia, but it doesn't. OTC is ubiquitous, unavoidable. According to the website, "Oriental Trading's products, catalogs, Web sites and entertaining tips have been featured in print, online and on television through well-known media including: Martha Stewart Living, In Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Child, Parents, Sesame Street Parents, Seventeen, Family Life, FamilyFun.com, Woman's World, First for Women and CNNfn's "Business Unusual."

OTC is quite an institution, a gigantic monument to the mountains of junk that people are actually producing somewhere on this good earth.

Presumably somewhere in the Orient.

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