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7 things to NOT buy at the Dollar store

Thursday, January 30, 2014

This info is from an article on my web page.

1. Electric cords and other electric devices

If you're looking to bring a fire hazard into your house, you should definitely buy cords and other electric devices from dollar stores. If you would rather not reduce your home to embers, we suggest you steer clear.

That may be a bit overly dramatic, but dollar stores don't have a great track record of quality control when it comes to cords and electronics. All the way back in 1999, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warned about faulty power strips, extension cords and surge protectors being sold at discount stores. Made in China, the products failed to meet established U.S. safety standards.

However, the problem appears to persist, with recalls for extension cords, holiday mini-lights and portable heaters all occurring in recent years.

2. Toys

Dollar store toys could be a safety hazard, and some have been recalled for posing a choking risk. But the bigger issue here is dollar store toys are, quite simply, junk.

It's not that the toys have so-so quality. No, we're talking so cheap they'll break if you look at them wrong. The wheels will fall off, the batteries won't work, or your 3-year-old will snap it in two before you've even hit the parking lot. Then, you'll be left with a broken toy, an upset child and a lesson in never buying toys at the dollar store again.

Your experience may differ but unless you're looking for cheap party favors that don't pose a hazard, we say you're better off paying a little more and not dealing with the tears and frustration.

3. Shampoo and beauty products

Opinions seem to be mixed on dollar store shampoo and beauty products, but they get a thumbs down from us. Not because of any safety concern but because they often don't provide great value.

Lipstick © Stockbyte/PictureQuestDollar stores may sell brand-name products, and there has been some healthy discussion on the Internet about whether what you get at the discount store is the same as what is sold elsewhere. The comments against dollar store shampoos range from them being watered down to being the result of diversion, which can mean you are buying outdated or expired products.

However, leaving that aside, we find that many dollar stores stock itty-bitty bottles compared with what you get in other stores. So you may not be paying a lot, but you're not getting a lot either. A better value might be to combine coupons and deals at drugstores where shampoo, conditioner and other beauty products are practically being given away.

4. Kitchen knives

Quality concerns also get kitchen knives placed on the do-not-buy list.

Dollar stores knives can be flimsy and dull. Both are bad when you're trying to cut your food and not your finger. We hear the knives sold at dollar stores overseas aren't much better either.

5. Paper products

You're welcome to try dollar store toilet paper, but we don't recommend it. Often having fewer fibers than other brands, using no-name paper can make for a less than ideal situation.

As for the brand-name toilet paper, tissues and paper towels at dollar stores, you may find the same problem we discovered with shampoo. Small sizes and fewer sheets mean the dollar store price isn't much of a bargain. Try hitting your warehouse club or otherwise buying in bulk to get the best quality for the lowest per-unit price.

6. Canned and boxed foods

Most dollar stores carry a selection of canned, boxed and bagged foods that may include many brand names. Some stores may even have a full grocery section complete with meat and produce.

While the dollar pricing may seem like a bargain, you could find many of these items on sale at your grocery store for less. In particular, grocery supercenters like Walmart seem to win on the price war for canned and boxed foods.

To learn more, you can read one Tampa Bay Times writer's experience living on dollar store food, and Rachael Ray offers some dollar store food buying tips on her website as well.

7. Batteries

Finally, we come to batteries. In a pinch, dollar store batteries will work just fine, but don't expect them to run like the brand names.

Rhett Allain, an associate professor of physics at Southeastern Louisiana University, put Dollar General batteries to the test against Duracell and Energizer ones. He discovered the dollar store batteries contain significantly less energy and see their voltage drop off quickly. Apparently, a major difference between the brands is the fact that Dollar General batteries are not alkaline and likely zinc chloride instead.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thanksf or the tips! I would add light bulbs! They never seem to last as long from the dollar store. I bought CFL bulbs there that lasted less than a month.
    1520 days ago
    Oh, I see now, ... 7 items to NOT buy and 15 items TO buy, at the Dollar Store. Happy shopping, y'lall!

    1540 days ago
    Robert is not allowed to buy cheap toilet paper! emoticon emoticon
    1540 days ago
    "15 things you can buy at the Dollar Store" listed 7, what are the other 8?
    1541 days ago
    Wait, love the dollar stores, so what DO you buy there? BTW, Really like your new background picture, kudos!

    1541 days ago
  • DIANE7786
    Don't buy toothpaste at a Dollar Store! I bought a tube of Crest. As I was opening the box I noticed a list of cities in another part of the world. It seemed odd so I called the number on the box. The phone rep said that the box I bought shouldn't be sold in the US. Manufacturers in different countries use different formulas. The one bought had harsher cleaning ingredients than those sold in the US. She sent me a package with coupons for Crest products and a postage paid box for me to return the toothpaste and receipt.
    1541 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/30/2014 10:40:58 PM
    I love the dollar store hahaha but I do agree a lot of the things you listed shouldn't be bought at the dollar store
    1541 days ago
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