When I first moved to Seattle, I heard Archie McPhee's was a fun store to check out, one of Seattle's must-visits. I thought it sounded cool, but I never made it out that way. I saw the store featured on the Food Network. Still, I didn't go. And when I learned it was within a mile of where I used to get my hair done, I shrugged and thought one day. Perhaps its because of all the hype, perhaps I'm just lame and don't get it, I don't know. I finally went in yesterday and, well, Archie McPhee's just didn't do it for me.
Yes, there are a lot of fun things to look at. If you were ever in need of a plastic wedding couple, plastic baby or other plastic figurines (perhaps of woodland creatures with which to decorate your car, a la the van in Pike Place Market), then I would say Archie McPhee's is the best place to go. Outside of that, it's worth a browse or two and that's it. There's a section of weird apparatuses that seem more geared for a costume shop (pulley and plastic tubes, anyone?), but I couldn't tell if they were functional or purely decorational. I saw some funny things that would work as a gag gift (bacon bandage strips, for example), but even with the collection of small and unique goods I left without buying a single thing.
While I was disappointed, I didn't dislike Archie McPhee's. It's great for party gift bags, favors and stocking stuffers, just limited if you're looking for actual gifts. I mean, where else am I going to go and get a hot-dog clock for $5?