“Eclectic” is too stuffy. “Weird” is too mean. “Goofy” doesn’t really capture it.
Archie McPhee, Wallingford’s toy/joke/gift/party store, is just awesome. If you’re looking to encapsulate the place in a single word, that’s it right there. Awesome.
And Archie McPhee knows it. “We supply awesome stuff to awesome people. From Rubber Chickens to Narwhals, we’ve got it all!”
There’s nothing else quite like it. The store has attracted a cult following that extends throughout the United States and then some. But it’s not a chain—no, Seattle has the one-and-only Archie McPhee. The store earned its widespread fame completely because of its eclecticness. Weirdness. Goofiness.
Now, if you don’t need to encapsulate Archie McPhee in a single word, the best way to describe the place is to present a list of what it sells. Not an exhaustive list, because no one wants to read a list with ten thousand items. Ten thousand might be an exaggeration, but I’m honestly not sure; the place sells a lot of things.
- Fake mustaches
- Rubber chickens
- Bendy people. In all the shapes and sizes and colors and styles you could ever imagine. GUMBY LIVES!
- “Cthulhu fingers”
- Bandages shaped like underpants
- A 2-1/2” round tin that looks like it should hold mints, but actually holds a pair of instant just-add-water underpants. The product description: “Better to have damp underpants than no underpants at all!”
- Creepy horse head masks. You know the ones—the floppy vinyl/latex things that somehow became popular. Archie McPhee started those.
- Creepy pigeon head masks
- Creepy unicorn head masks
- Creepy zombie unicorn head masks with a stump where the horn should be
- Plastic unicorn horns for your cat. Think classic birthday conehat–only pointier, white, and for your cat.
- Librarian action figures. Push a button and they’ll shhh you.
- Sigmund Freud action figures
- Lip balm in flavors like wasabi, bacon, and cupcake
- Floss flavored like breakfast foods
- Bacon body wash. Bacon-scented fake mustaches. Jumbo bacon candy canes. The whole store has a slight obsession with bacon.
These items range in price from one penny to $1,395. Most though, have price tags under $15.
When you walk inside Archie McPhee, hundreds and hundreds of toys/gifts/things will make you wonder, “Who buys this? How would anyone ever use this? Why did someone decide to make this?” But a few signs scattered about the store help explain things. Signs such as:
- Confusing Seattle since 1983
- We at Archie McPhee have devoted our lives to finding and creating awesome
- Mission: “To make your world a better place by filling it with wonderful things that make you happy.”