2007 ShortDocs Challenge: Dollar Storeys


In 2007 we teamed up with the Dollar Store Show, a monthly(ish) reading and performance series inspired by items purchased at a dollar store.


If getting inspired by Dollar Store items worked for short stories and art talks, it would work for radio, right? Right. So one freezing cold day in March, we met DSS founder Jonathan Messinger at his favorite dollar store in Chicago and painstakingly selected three items for the Dollar Storeys ShortDocs Challenge. We even recorded the experience. Here's what we picked out:

  • a mug with feisty feminist banter printed on it
  • a 4-pack of wooden mousetraps
  • an old-school bicycle bell


Each ShortDoc had to:

  • be inspired by one of the above items
  • be 2:30 to 3 minutes in length


82 Dollar Storeys were submitted from around the world. Four were chosen as the 2007 ShortDocs, and were presented, with producers on-hand, at the opening session of the 2007 Third Coast Conference. Along the way a few were even presented at Dollar Store Shows.

Listen to the winners below, and hear all of the submissions in our audio library.

Stiff Peaks

2007 ShortDocs Winner! The first step in making cookies is to purchase a metal bike jingle-bell in a western mountain town.

The Trap

2007 ShortDocs Winner! Here's a rumination on the ethics of pest killing and attempts at avoidance of the graphic nature thereof.

How to Be Heard

2007 ShortDocs Winner! Advice for the bicycle bell with aspirations, featuring voice teacher Rachel Nicholson.