I don't know if other parts of the US had stores called the ".99 Cent" stores, but in Southern California we sure did. The 99 Cent stores had a reputation too.
Anyways, coming from a lower-middle middle class family we didn't really need to shop here much. In fact, the only time we went there was to pick up novel gifts for whatever reason. I remember I bought some shady looking pillow happened to end up being my fart cushion for my chair; 99 cents well spent.
Digression again. Yes, there are 99 Cent store equivalents in Japan, but they aren't of the shady caliber that they are in southern California at least. In fact, there are quite a few and they happen to be quite popular with most of the Japanese people. In Japan, they are called 100 en ("yen") shops and lord are they fun.
In any given 100en shop there will be at least a minimum of a million different items for purchase. These stores are crawling with tons of stupid kids toys, makeshift laundry drawers, cute faced sponges, horrible English translated products and anything else you can name under the sun.
I make it a point to pick up a new one each time I visit.
I don't know how these 100en shops survive from a business stand-point either. I mean shoplifting here would be cake, but I think the Japanese are too proper for that.
Honestly, I don't have much to say because I didn't spend enough time taking pictures of all the individual items. Take a stroll below to see a couple more photos and imagine how many fucking things there are to buy at these places.