Don't buy these 7 things at a dollar store
Dollar stores lure us in with their rock-bottom prices but is everything really a bargain? We suggest you steer clear of these items.
This post comes from Maryalene LaPonsie at partner site Money Talks News.
Dollar stores can be great places to pick up inexpensive items, but sometimes you get what you pay for.
Rather than ending up with a bargain, you could end up with junk or, even worse, something dangerous. Here are seven items it's best to avoid at a dollar store.
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.
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.
Dollar 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store shampoos range from them being watered down to being the result of diversion, which can mean you are buying outdated or expired products.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.
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.
If you want to read all the science behind Allain's experiments, you can head to Wired for his article. If you'd rather leave all the graphs and math behind, check out Stacy Johnson's video on Money Talks News that discusses it.
Of course, dollar stores vary widely, but we think your best bet is to stay away from these seven product categories. Do you agree?
More on Money Talks News:
I can't help but wonder if the author of this article owns quite a bit of stock in WalMart?
"The comments against dollar store shampoos range from them being watered down to being the result of , which can mean you are buying outdated or expired products."
I would be beyond p*ssed to get home and discover my Irish Spring was outdated or expired.
I save quite a bit of money buying at Dollar Tree etc , but just like buying anywhere else , use good judgement . Some sizes may be smaller , so knowing price per ounce etc is important . Dollar stores actually have a lot of different items that are a very good buy , compared to most grocery stores , department stores , and even walmart . Most items , including many name brands , are overstock items the warehouses need to cut back on , so that is the reason that many times items are limited and not always offered . Many of the snack foods and boxed items can be as much as half the cost somewhere else , just watch the expiration dates etc. I buy well known disposable razors (8-10 per pack) that last for 4-7 shaves each, for a buck . Why would anyone want to pay $10-25 for fancy razor blades at another store? Sure , there are things you don't want to buy at the dollar stores , but the same can be said for the other stores also .
our 99 cent store has fresh produce and I think it is just as good as what you get in a grocery store. Granted, the selection is limited, but I can get a 5 pound bag of potatoes, 2 good sized portabello mushrooms, a bag of onions, 3-4 garlic heads, peppers, 4 pears, salad mix and such for 99 cents each. I have had no problems with quality either.
I think it is a matter of being careful of what you buy and checking expiration dates and such.
Certain dollar stores have the Panasonic batteries, they are much better than those crappy family dollar ones.
Don't know who thinks this stuff up, but the last article was what you should buy at the dollar store for a dollar and those things are not a dollar any more.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
ABOUT SMART SPENDING
LATEST BLOG POSTS
If you worry about money after the streetlights come on, these actions may help you rest easier.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
BLOGS WE LIKE
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'