Everyone loves a bargain. But are you really getting your
money's worth at the dollar store?
Special Reports Archive
Shopper Jim Schwarze told NBC 7/39, "You canít beat it for 99 cents -- the
stores are about twice that."
"I start off in the food aisle and then go around the store. Then I stop in on
the cleaning products," Schwarze said.
In fact, people of all walks of life admitted a bargain is a bargain no matter
where you find it.
"I think we have this misconception that these stores primarily are located in
low-income areas and they appeal to low-income consumers and thatís just not the
case," said George Belch, marketing professor at San Diego State University.
So where do the products come from? And why are they so cheap?
"We buy things on closeouts," said Marla Flores with 99 Cent Only Stores.
"And usually we get pallets, but a customer may come in the day that it comes in
and a few days itís pretty much gone."
But according to Shop Smart Magazine from Consumer Reports, there are discount
store deals you want to avoid.
Top on the list are vitamins. They can be outdated and of poor quality. Next,
keep clear of electrical products, like Christmas lights and extension cords
that are not UL listed.
Consumer Reports also said watch out for toys for kids under the age of 3,
especially if they're made in China where they may be mislabeled. Avoid
sound-alike products that lack in quality and donít buy soft vinyl insulated
lunch boxes that may be tainted with lead.
While there are products to avoid there are five items youíd be foolish not to
buy, according to Smart Money. They include cleaning supplies, gift-wrap, food
and snacks, shampoo and kitchen accessories, such as knives, spatulas and
Itís important to note that there are many different dollar stores, each with
its own inventory and standards. Consumers are urged to check labels and judge
what the real bargains are.