Thursday, August 17, 2006

Brush, Spit but Don’t Swallow: Shopping at the Dollar Tree

We Southerners like a good bargain. Why else would there be Bill’s Dollar Store, Family Dollar, Big Lots, Fred’s and my favorite, Dollar Tree? Shopping at Dollar Tree is simple. No need for price tags, because everything really is a dollar.

Yesterday’s shopping spree garnered the trash bags I went in for plus 22 other impulse items. How could I pass up the stretch book covers or a 16-month desk calendar that starts in September? Ever the optimist, I got a 2007 planner too.

I then headed down the aisles to find framed prints that I rip apart for my own artwork. They only had an odd assortment of document and photo frames. But I did find a cool nylon leopard print “handbag” which would be cute filled with gifts for someone yet to be determined. Continuing around the store, I couldn’t pass up two pear scented candles for the kitchen. You might think we’re a very dirty family from my purchases of dish soap, hand soap, bar soap, body wash and bleach. I was just stocking up. And lastly, I found a jar of dill pickle slices 44 cents cheaper than at Wal-Mart. Woohoo!

After I finished patting myself on the back and a little Internet research, I found out that some dollar stores have been under scrutiny for some of the products they carry. Toothpaste for example, had higher levels of fluoride. Although bearing top U.S. brands, it had been made in foreign countries. This was a couple of years ago, and I don’t know if it still holds true.

However, there’re still many great, safe bargains. The pickles were excellent, but I think I’ll skip the toothpaste.


natalie said...

I love Big Lots and the Dollar Store. I think it's so much more rewarding to find something cheap than to pay full price. I'm still a little too scared to try any food at these retail outlets, though. A trend I've noticed is that the retail world is polarizing. Discount rules and so does ultra-expensive. Retailers are rushing to reformat their stores to be either one or the other. That makes me worried, though, because I wonder if the reason is because it's so much harder for middle class families these days. You're either super rich or just getting by. And, if the dollar store can offer all these products so cheap, why is everyone else marking up these items so high?

Sheila said...

Thanks, Natalie for your perspective about retailing. I can share your reluctance to try food. The pickles I got were fine, but I noticed they came all the way from Bangalore, India. I might just stick to non-food items from now on.