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Recently, when I heard that Cheaper's Dixie the Dinosaur was being renamed "Bennie," I called Cheaper to verify the story. The person I spoke to, who was apparently not thrilled with his public relations portion of his job assignment told me, "They can name the darn thing anything they want. It's just fiberglass and steel." Oh, put needles in my heart! How could he, Dixie's press agent, speak such unkind words? I was crushed by his callousness.

But... he did tip me off that Cheaper had a store in Lathrop which a flying saucer that had crashed into the store, with little Martians all over the place. 

The roof of the building shows part of a huge flying saucer. There are three or four little guys standing on it. (Apparently these are the source of some friction with the local government. The architectural plans submitted and approved had only the saucer - not the little guys on the roof. Officials want to see proof that the figure - made of 30 lbs. of fiberglass - can stand a 75 mph wind, or want to see them come down.) Unfortunately, the ship isn't lit at night, which is why we don't have a picture of it here.

The inside of the store, as you can see, is literally overrun by the cute little guys. They hang from the ceilings by their suckers, shoot whipped cream all over themselves, cover themselves with bread, hoard milk... All pretty darn amusing.

When we visited Dixie (or Bennie), we felt conflicted because she was so wonderful, and yet she was owned by a cigarette company. I didn't see any conflict with the aliens in the grocery store. The little buggers were so delightful, and I didn't even notice if cigarettes were being sold at all - also, the gasoline there was, in fact, cheaper than most anyplace else, too.

Site visited 1/99. On I-5. Take the Lathrop exit (a little south of Stockton), and it's right there.


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