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Dollar Stores Can Disappoint – Part 2 of 2

{ Posted on Aug 14 2010 by Marcus Alston }

In my last blog post, I wrote about how I have been disappointed by the quality of some items in the dollar store and some of the products that I find good to buy at a dollar store.  Below are some categories I suggest avoiding in a dollar store and why.

7 Things I stay away from at the dollar store:

1.  Food, Snacks.  I am not comfortable buying food from the dollar store.  These items are going in your mouth.  I do not trust the quality.  If you are going to do it, definitely buy a name brand and stay away from off brands.  You may be able to save 50% or more versus snacks in supermarkets.

2.  Vitamins.  Did you know that vitamin supplements are not regulated?  The label may not be completely accurate.  If you are going to buy them from a dollar store, at least go with the name brand.

3.  Shampoos, soaps, lotions, bath products, toothpaste.  Again, I do not trust the quality, and these items are going on your body.  If you are going to do it, definitely buy a name brand and stay away from off brands.  You may be able to save 50% or more versus snacks in supermarkets.  Several recalls of name brand toothpaste have been made in recent years, some of which specifically impacted dollar stores, so be careful.  You can get a 6oz tube of Aim toothpaste for about $.89 at Wal-Mart or Target.

4. Cleaning Products.  Unless they are name brands, I generally stay away from these products because I do not trust the manufacturers to create a product that is safe to breathe.  Witness the quality issues we have had with toys from China containing unsafe levels of lead.

5.  Toys, Baby Items, Kids’ Jewelry, Lunch Boxes. See Cleaning Products.  I do not advise buying toys from a dollar store.  Even name brands make me uneasy as kids often put toys in their mouths.  Manufacturers from China were found to have manufactured toys with unsafe levels of lead that even went to mainstream toy sellers.  I can only imagine what manufacturers catering to dollar stores might be tempted to do.  Also, the quality is often poor.  Some kid’s jewelry and lunch boxes sold to mainstream and dollar stores have also been found to contain lead.

6.  Electrical Products.  Many electrical products, such as extension cords, may cause fires and other hazards due to poor quality.  If you are going to buy, the safer root is a name brand or a store such as Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot or Lowe’s.

7.  Batteries. This is a tough call for me.  The batteries sold in the dollar store are known generally to last a shorter period of time than batteries you would buy in maintain stream stores.  This reduces the savings in the long run.  Even the name brands are usually a different model than you would find in a mainstream store and are often inferior in quality.  If you are going to buy batteries in a dollar store buy an alkaline battery by a name brand manufacturer in order to maximize your value.  Also, if you are using the battery for a product that does not require a lot of battery power, batteries from the dollar store (especially sold in bulk) may be a good solution.

Conclusion. I love to save a buck and that’s at least partly what this site is all about, but I want you to do it wisely.  It does not always pay to go cheap in the long run.  Sometimes, it is worth it to pay a little more for quality and safety.  It’s up to you to make that cost benefit analysis for yourself given your budget and your goals.

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  2. Dollar Stores Can Disappoint – Part 1 of 2 | ConsumerMiser.com
  3. Save on Back to School Essentials | Deals Finder
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