My parents go to Scratch & Dent Liquidators every day: during the week, post-work; weekends, post-workout. Invariably, they return with some crazeee deal, like the $29.99 Crock-Pot that they gifted to me four months ago, which I mean to use as soon as I clean my kitchen. They tend to shop as a means of relaxation and generally leave with at least one nonessential purchase. I, however, must go with a strict list, since Scratch & Dent is a place that, like a good dollar store, can easily compel you to leave with several bags of impulse buys. Last Saturday, my list consisted of a toaster. Still, I like to browse.
Scratch & Dent, which has had several locations over the past decade or so, currently resides in a two-story space just north of Eastern Ave. on Broadway, next to an open lot with plenty of metered parking for the faithful. It carries overstock merch, floor models and minimally damaged or unpackaged items. The store gets fresh inventory Wednesday through Friday and every other weekend. Prices are deeply discounted from retail and are extremely competitive with national chains like Marshall’s and Big Lots in that Scratch & Dent carries items currently being sold in retailers as opposed to last season’s closeouts.
The first floor has four aisles, roughly divided into nonperishable groceries/cleaning supplies; small appliances/kitchenware; bed & bath/clothes; and finally, more clothes. The fourth aisle should only be attempted by professional salvagers, lest casual shoppers be swallowed in a mountain of everything from workout wear to designer jeans. (My stepmom is a pro, though, so she did once score me a pair of Lucky Brands for $15. Yay!)
Situated at the ends of the aisles are things like over-the-counter medicine and cosmetics in the front and jewelry in a locked case in the back. The windows of this Upper Fells Point store entice passers-by with a trove of musical instruments, power tools and leather handbags. The bottom line is that whatever you need, Scratch & Dent either carries it or has just sold the last, and likely only, one.
This latest trip didn’t involve going to the basement, which houses another metric ton of clothes, but my friend and I did venture upstairs to the furniture section, among which we discovered mantelpieces, a stone fountain, several bicycles and an array of office chairs. I longingly eyed a 3” memory-foam mattress pad ($101.24) for my full-size bed, but alas, it wasn’t on the list. When I paused over the car seats, not out of necessity but because they were such great deals ($80 – $120), I knew it was time to go.
As for a buying a toaster, I spied an unboxed, chrome one by Hamilton Beach for $14.99. Score.