Happy 99-cent store Mother’s Day!

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Between the mothball-scented air freshener and the lead-dipped pacifiers, 99-cent stores do have their charms. (Foremost among them, the $1.99 pregnancy tests, and assorted other treasures here.) Not ones to let dubious manufacturing practices stand in the way of a bargain, we wondered: amid the off-gassing shower curtains and scratchy washcloths, could we find something mom would love at our local 99 cent store?

The answer, after a brief scouting expedition, is a resounding “not really,” but we did find a few things she maybe might not hate, starting with some yuppie-hued kitchen utensils in orange, the universal symbol of urbane good taste since 2002. If you squint, these kitchen utensils look like… better ones. More desperation-only ideas include a hairnet wardrobe, wine goblets of thick glass and no design distinction and the following other “finds”:

POLYESTER DRESSES, $5.99 and up. Only recommended if you’re sleeping with mom.

SEED PACKETS: Festive, springy and only 59 cents an envelope. But be prepared to wind up spending the day helping to plant them.

MISC. PLASTIC WARES: We know the South Pacific is swirling with plastic giblets, but have you ever seen an albatross choke on a two-quart bowl? Moms can never have enough plastic food storage, even the kind you probably shouldn’t put food anywhere near.

VASES: Put some silk orchids in these not-too-shabvy vases and she’ll always feel like she’s at Hunan Garden.

In sum, unless your mom has exceedingly low standards, you shouldn’t count on the 99-cent store to solve your Mother’s Day gift dilemma. Better to try elsewhere — like an auto-parts store or bodega.

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