Most discount chains and big box stores have their respective stans; we all know about the Target enthusiasts who call it “tar-zhay” and the Kirkland heads who are on top of all of the fresh Costco drops. We’ve got the YouTubers who are all in on IKEA, and the Home Depot regulars who want to bang its 12-foot decorative lawn skeleton. But you know what chain we should talk about more? Cost Plus World Market.
Tucked away at the far end of your local mall, overflowing with wicker baskets and imported candy, CPWM is a bustling destination for rug-seeking college students and eccentric tchotchke aunties alike, and wandering its linoleum-floored halls is like perusing an international bazaar—if that bazaar had fluorescent overhead lighting and sold tinned meats of mysterious origin alongside mass-produced Persian rugs. Its offerings are a truly confounding intersection of the highly practical with the bafflingly impractical; for every mid-century coffee table, there is an upsetting banana wine bottle stopper. (There are, of course, some problematically colonialist elements about the store concept, but when it comes down to it, it is above all just a discount store with a mix of woven raffia wall decor, cat anus magnets, and Calamansi-Ade.)
Cost Plus World Market has actually been around since the 50s, when a “San Francisco businessman” started the brand as an import business specializing in wicker. “Today we continue to search the world for unique artisan goods and handicrafts, international food favorites and design inspiration for our furniture and home décor,” reads the company bio. It’s both a fantastic place to buy novelty snacks and indisputably one of the best places to shop while stoned. (These things are not, of course, mutually exclusive.) Join us as we spelunk through its sale section and bring you, dear reader, only the most memorable of only-at-Cost-Plus-World-Market finds. Without further ado…
Redneck Cafe Bacon Hot Chocolate
This is a true shining-star example of a Cost Plus World Market sale bin item—like something you’d see once at a gas station in the Ozarks that somehow just caught wind of the bacon-everywhere trend of 2006. The reviews indicate that half of buyers purchased this as a gag gift while the other half simply enjoy the smoky flavor of pork fat in their morning beverage. There are assessments of it being both “terrible” and having “great flavor.”
Redneck Cafe Bacon Hot Chocolate,
$1.99 $1.39 at Cost Plus World Market
Heinz Baked Beans Fridge Pack
Have you been trying to find a more spatially efficient way of fitting 2.2 pounds of baked beans into your apartment fridge? Well, great news for you, likely-British-person—the Heinz Baked Beans Fridge Pack is here to meet your needs. If you and your roommates are caught in constant disputes about one another double-dipping in the Baked Bean Vat, you can also get these serving-size “snap pots” that are like individual pudding cups of—what else?—Heinz baked beans.
Heinz Baked Beans Fridge Pack,
$8.99 $6.29 at Cost Plus World Market
Hampton Popcorn Mojito Popcorn Set Of 2
Unclear why, but there are many food products that you can only buy from CPWM in multiples. One such item is this popcorn that presupposes that one might want the flavor of a minty Cuban rum drink in the form of a crunchy snack. “Savor the flavor of a mojito with this grown-up twist on sweet and salty kettle corn. Just like your favorite boozy drink, this cocktail-inspired popcorn tastes of refreshing mint and lime,” the description reads. Did... someone... ask for this, let alone in a set of two?
Hampton Popcorn Mojito Popcorn Set Of 2,
$7.98 $4.78 at Cost Plus World Market
Sage Green Avocado And Apple Pastel Tin Filled Candle
What does an avocado smell like? I know what a bad avocado smells like—New York sidewalk garbage bags—but what aroma doth a good avocado emit? When I Googled “what does an avocado smell like,” the first result was a page called “When Is An Avocado Bad? 5 Ways to Tell” and the second result was this:
For these reasons, it seems curious to make, or desire, an avocado-scented candle. Even if apples are involved. This is a World Market exclusive, by the way.
Sage Green Avocado And Apple Pastel Tin Filled Candle,
$4.98 $4.48 at Cost Plus World Market
Pork Clouds Rosemary And Sea Salt Kettle Cooked Pork Rinds
Nothing wrong with pork rinds… classic snack. However, “pork clouds” makes us think more of an odorous cumulus of pig farm scent than a crispy treat. Despite the Dr. Bronner’s-esque approach to branding here, the reviews are rather grimace-y, with a sub-three-star rating accumulated from 53 reviews. “The olive oil disagrees with the rinds in the most horrible way,” writes one buyer. “Stop stocking this.” “Hideous flavor. Tastes rancid,” added another. And several shoppers offered the same one-word review: “Horrible.”
Pork Clouds Rosemary And Sea Salt Kettle Cooked Pork Rinds,
$2.99 $1.79 at Cost Plus World Market
Coral Slurring My Words Flask
Wuh oh! This is one of those wine mom products that takes casual daytime alcoholism humor to such an extreme that it makes us feel a little uncomfy inside! Hopefully, this is mostly a gift for the most lovable trainwreck of the bridesmaid bunch and not for anyone who is supposed to be operating heavy machinery or caring for children. Look, most of us have been in The Slur Zone more than once, but few of us have bought an accessory to commemorate our sloppy behavior. But FWIW, this product has a solid FIVE STARS, so those who are buying it are loud and proud of all the brunches they’ve ruined.
Coral Slurring My Words Flask,
$7.48 $6.73 at Cost Plus World Market
Braswell's Sloppy Joe Slow Cooker Cooking Sauce
Sloppy Joes are food for small children. If you are a man over the age of 22, it’s time to graduate to another sandwich. If the fact that the number-one maker of designated Sloppy Joe sauce is called MANWICH isn’t evidence that the patriarchy is a joke, what is? We do not need to be gendering our sandwiches. This is one step above buying those Big Az Cheeseburgers at convenience stores. Sloppy Joe apologists, please stay out of my DMs. This is simply the truth. No disrespect to the Braswell family or the hardworking burger-makers of Big Az.
Braswell's Sloppy Joe Slow Cooker Cooking Sauce, $8.99 at Cost Plus World Market
Giovanni's Chicken Spread
At first glance, this chicken spread (which by the way, is made out of “mechanically separated chicken,” milk, salt, oil, and MSG) is troubling, but the can is actually so amazing the longer I stare at it that I’ve decided this product is actually… blessed! [*slams gavel* ] Who is Giovanni? Even with the implication that he lives on Woodward Ave., it’s unclear whether that’s the one in Queens or Detroit or even somewhere else. In case you were wondering what the reviews say about the chicken spread’s flavor and quality, some choice comments include “Pair along with baguette,” “on German bread and very delicious” (??), and “Not bad if mixed with cheese.” And people say you can’t do charcuterie plates on a budget!
Giovanni's Chicken Spread,
$2.99 $1.79 at Cost Plus World Market
Plentiful Pantry Cheesy Enchilada Soup Mix
Why are Americans always taking something perfectly delicious (i.e. cheese enchiladas) and needing to pulverize them into gruel? This is violence. Just add water.
Plentiful Pantry Cheesy Enchilada Soup Mix,
$5.99 $4.19 at Cost Plus World Market
Herr's Cheese Balls Barrel
There are two kinds of people in this world: cheese ball people and people who think they’re too good for cheese balls. Yes, of course there is the obstacle of watching your fingers become entirely coated in a fluorescent-orange, sludgy tar that requires multiple hand washings to remove and makes you feel like one of those photos of an infant in a high chair smothered in spaghetti sauce. But the flavor? The crunch? The sensation that you’re eating the forbidden Cheddar-powder-coated styrofoam packing peanuts you always craved? Simply unbeatable. Of course, you could always just use chopsticks. This is for those who need not a jar of cheese balls, nor a bag, but a BARREL. It is cursed, but it is also desirable.
Herr's Cheese Balls Barrel,
$6.99 $4.19 at Cost Plus World Market
Gustaf's Double Salted Dutch Licorice
We give Scandinavians credit for so much, because they have mastered some really lovely things—the hygge lifestyle, hot tubbing in the snow, the most terrifying black-metal bands, getting drunk in their underwear, their successful implementation of democratic socialism. But what we haven’t really found a way to embrace stateside is their obsession with salted licorice coated in ammonium chloride. To quote an old VICE article on the matter, written by a Swede who is a fan himself: “One of the most popular types of candy is salmiak, licorice flavored with ammonium chloride—a salty chemical compound resulting from the reaction between hydrochloric acid and ammonia. The salt is mixed with sugar, starch, wheat flour, and extracts from dried licorice root, and then heated to reach the desired consistency. It has anti-inflammatory and laxative properties. Overconsumption will not only make you shit yourself, but also raise your blood pressure, disturb your sodium balance, and cause edema.” It’s a truly demented form of candy that can also be really addictive once you lean into the masochism of it. Plus, it’s goth.
Gustaf's Double Salted Dutch Licorice,
$1.99 $1.39 at Cost Plus World Market
Herr's Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup Cheese Curls
Honestly, these sound good.
Herr's Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup Cheese Curls,
$2.99 $2.09 at Cost Plus World Market
Correction: A previous version of this story erroneously stated that Cost Plus World Market would be closing 200 stores in the next two years. This is incorrect; Bed Bath & Beyond, Cost Plus World Market’s former parent company, is closing stores. We regret the error.
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