If you aren't familiar with Big Lots, they are a liquidation store. Say, a company goes out of business, discontinues a product or changes the packaging. It has to unload that stuff somehow, and that's where Big Lots comes in. They buy it up and sell it in their stores.
So, if you're looking for an upscale shopping experience, don't come to Big Lots. But if you're looking to save beaucoup bucks and possibly score some really good items for a fraction of their original cost, this is the place for you.
I love the all-natural foods and toiletries, but they are pricey. Tom's of Maine recently sold out to P&G (that's not so good, but topic for another post) so stacks of my favorite Tom's All-Natural Fennel toothpastes appeared at Big Lots. I snapped them up and I won't need toothpaste for a good long while. ConAgra discontinued their yummy Big Johns beans last year, but I knew that if I was patient they would show up at Big Lots. Yep. I stocked up on them. I also get high-quality brands like Annie's (deluxe mac n cheese sells for 3.50 or more, I got for 99 cents a box) or Cascadian Farms products.
You just have to look and be patient. There's a lot of dreck, but jewels to be had. Their garden section is wonderful, too. The people who work there are fairly nice, but let's just say that customer service is not the point of Big Lots. Saving money is the point.
You may have gone to some other Big Lots stores in St. Pete (the one on 34th St. comes to mind) and can't believe that I would write something positive. This store, in the Tyrone Gardens Shopping Center, is the biggest and best of the bunch. Give it a whirl. You'll be hooked, like I am.