Mike Brown: The DI

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Photo: Martín Rivero

You can criticize the Mormons all you want. As far as organizations go, they are easy to hate, but you can’t argue with some of the great things they do for the community … and I’m not talking about free cheese. I’m talking about the Mormon-backed retail outlet that draws numerous consumers to its stores every day but Sunday. No, not City Creek. I’m talking about the stores that shut down early on Mondays for family home evening. I’m talking about everybody’s favorite place to buy infested used furniture and board games with missing pieces. Of course, I’m talking about Deseret Industries (the DI).

The DI provides many positives for our community—whether it be a job for the disadvantaged or a cheap suit for the down and out. Local hipsters have long seen the advantage of maximizing their trust funds with the abundance of ironic T-shirts that adorn the store by shopping at the DI. Nothing says thrifty like wearing a $2 pair of pants to a show at Urban Lounge where you end up dropping $80 on booze—but seriously, you can’t put a price on scene points, so don’t worry about that shit.

Needless to say, the DI embraces the spirit of charity unlike any other consumer-based retail outlet we have around here, so I thought it would be nice to encourage all you loyal SLUG readers to do your Christmas shopping there instead of anywhere else. This can save you time and money. Really, if anyone in your family starts bitching about the fact that their gift came from the DI, have them Wikipedia that shit and make them feel guilty as fuck for not liking something that helps so many people.

If anyone is shopping for me, all I really want this year are VHS tapes. I’ve been building my collection backup via the DI. Seeing how they don’t even make VCRs anymore, I’m hoarding VHS tapes like a squirrel on meth. They are the perfect form of entertainment for me—old, washed-up, grainy and indestructible. Once you sift through all the Disney and old Mormon shit, there’s actually some pretty awesome gems that you can take home to rewind and relax with, and a great gift idea for anyone all the while. A Star Wars box set that isn’t digitally remastered is pretty much a given at any DI. Give that shit to anyone as a gift and tell them that this is the only way that Star Wars was meant to be seen, because it’s true.

Christmas gifts are so much about where the item came from. Like, you can always make your parents a piece-of-shit anything, and they will have to like it because you made it. If you are like me and terrible at making anything, then the DI has plenty of shit that you can buy for a buck or two that looks like a blind kid made it in shop class. You can always buy something along these lines—say, a misshapen birdhouse—and tell your parents that you made it for them. No one has to know, it’s just a little white lie on a white Christmas to make everyone happy and keep you in the will. Not only did you save a ton of time and money on a gift, you lied to make someone happy, which is the true essence of the holiday. If it weren’t, we wouldn’t tell stupid kids that Santa is real.

For those of you afraid of getting on Santa’s naughty list and who would like to stay truthful, but still want to shop at the DI for Christmas and put some effort into it: Go to a DI that’s not in the Salt Lake Valley. This way, you can say that you went all over the state looking for the perfect gift all while turning your Christmas shopping into a mini road-trip adventure.

If you’ve never done this, put shopping at the Brigham City DI on your “Things to do in Utah before I die” checklist. You know how awesome a regular Salt Lake thrift store is—now just imagine one in a small, Utah meth town. The peoplewatching alone is worth the drive, even if you don’t buy anything. Inbred Mormons and crystal meth will always have an intriguing output of humanity.

As far as actually saving even more money once you get in the store, here are some tips. The price tag switcheroo is super easy to pull off at any DI. Although I never do this myself, it’s pretty easy to turn a $10 candle holder into a $2 candle holder at these places without getting in trouble. I, honest to god, saw a guy use counterfeit $1 bills at a DI, and when the clerk busted him, he just played dumb. The manager came out and explained to the man that he could get in a lot of trouble for using this illegal currency at another store and let the man buy his stuff anyway.

A small but astute “fuck you” to the federal government it was, but it left me with a warmth in my stomach that makes me want to continue shopping at the DI for the rest of my life.