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Dollar Stores Can Disappoint – Part 1 of 2

{ Posted on Aug 13 2010 by Marcus Alston }

The “Dollar” Store often presents the consumer with a hit or miss scenario: Either save a bundle or leave with a “lemon”.  Yes, unfortunately, not all products are a bargain at the dollar store if you factor in the quality and safety of the product into the purchase equation.  Below are several things to consider when shopping at a dollar store along with what I would buy.

Potential Savings are Huge.  Many products in dollar stores such as Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Fred’s Super Dollar and 99 Cents Only are priced up to 70% less than the prices found in drugstores and supermarkets.  It should be noted that Wal-Mart and Target can compete with the dollar stores on many items so be sure to shop around and don’t assume the dollar store has the cheapest prices.

$1 Dollar Items—Not Always.  Not all dollar stores price items for a dollar or less.  Some sell items for several dollars. Be careful.

Quality.  Many products are the same products you will find at other stores if you find the name brands.  If you can find name brands in the dollar store, this is a safe bet.  If you are buying off brands or knock offs trying to trick you into thinking they are the real thing (i.e.”Everyready” Batteries instead of “Eveready” Batteries), be careful.  The quality in these cases may be diluted, weaker, or even dangerous.  There are some name brands that also make cheaper versions of their products just for sale to discount stores, dollar stores and outlets.

Disappointment.  Lately I have been disappointed.  I bought a screw driver and  2 UBS plugs that go in the outlet of a computer and can charge various electronics.  The screw driver neck turns when you try to tighten a screw really tight which means you can only turn the screw so tight and the UBS plug does not charge my Blackberry even though it looks like it is charging it.

Things I buy from the dollar store:

1.  Gift Wrap.  Prepare to save 50% to 80% versus the supermarket or Wal-Mart.  You can generally find a large assortment of gift bags, wrap, ribbons, bows, and packaging at a fraction of the cost and the quality is solid.  I really love the gift bag savings.  Instead of paying $3-$6 bucks for a gift bag, you pay $1.  And you don’t eat or put these items on your body, so they are pretty risk free.

2.  Aluminum Foil, Aluminum Pans, Containers.  The dollar stores carry a large assortment of these items.  Reynolds Wrap is almost always sold, the aluminum pans are good quality (safe?), and you can find a variety of plastic, glass and basket containers of varying quality, at a fraction of the normal cost.

3.  Kitchen Tools.  Serving spoons and utensils, spatulas, timers, big binding clips, magnets, measuring cups and spoons, tongs, graters in all sizes and can openers, just to name several, are the types of small kitchen tools can buy for a dollar.

4.  Books.  You can find some decent books for adults and kids a like for up to 95% off the retail price.  The selection is not great, but it’s worth taking a look.  Children’s workbooks, coloring books, and activity books are particularly plentiful in dollar stores.

5.  School Supplies and Scrapbook Material.  It’s that time of year again and you should check out your dollar store for school supplies such as paper, pencils, pencil sharpeners, crayons (name brands) erasers, pens, glue (name brand only) scissors, calculators, binders, organizers, stickers, etc.  You might want to avoid the backpacks as I do not know if the quality is good enough to withstand the abuse kids put their back packs through.  You are better off getting a backpack and anything that needs to last from Wal-Mart.

In my next blog post, I will write about what to avoid in a dollar store.

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2 Responses to “Dollar Stores Can Disappoint – Part 1 of 2”

  1. My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

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