12 Things Dollar Store Employees Won’t Tell You
Learn why everything is usually cheaper, and what items are the best deals at your local or chain dollar or discount store.
We know everyone buys unnecessary things
Whether you shop at a chain dollar store such as Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Family Dollar, or your local 99 cents store, not everything that’s on sale is necessarily worth purchasing. Bryan Waring, a former Dollar Tree employee, says that you’re not alone in buying more than is necessary from these stores. “It seems basic, but everyone falls for this trap,” he says. “You go into a store where everything is cheap, and you walk out with things you don’t need.” He suggests going into a store—yes, even the dollar store—with a checklist of things you truly need. Plus: These are the workshop supplies you should always buy at the dollar store.
It might be less expensive to buy in bulk
In a Reddit AMA, an Assistant Manager at a Dollar Tree says most hand soaps for sale smell nice and work well—but there are probably better deals buying these products in bulk, rather than at the dollar store. Here are 9 things you should never buy in bulk.
Everything is cheaper after the holiday season
Patricia, a seasonal worker at a Dollar Tree who prefers not to share her last name, says that the post-Christmas season means even more deals on everything from decorations to sweets. “After Christmas, all the gift wrap paper went to 50 cents, and all Christmas items were half price,” she says. “Even candy bars are 89 cents versus $1.” Check out our favorite things you can get at the dollar store for the holidays.
Products are less expensive because of their size
In order for dollar stores to keep their prices low, product sizes are usually smaller than normal, according to Cheapism. Dollar stores aren’t the only ones guilty of this hack. Cheapism also reports Walmart is guilty of doing the same thing to lure in customers.
Higher-earners shop at dollar stores, too
Earning more doesn’t necessarily mean shopping at pricey stores instead of dollar stores. More than 22 percent of dollar store shoppers make more than $70,000 per year, according to the New York Times. Another report found that 29 percent of millennial households earning more than $100,000 per year shop at Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and Family Dollar, Forbes reports. The same report estimates that these shoppers represent 25 percent of total sales from the three combined chains.
Employees are Jacks and Jills of all trades
Dollar store workers often take on multiple responsibilities and roles. A few of the chain dollar stores previously came under fire for giving managers too much responsibility to keep staffing costs low, per HuffPost.
Household products are the best deals
Dollar stores are a catch-all for everything from cards to balloons. The most popular and best things to buy, however, are household items, Waring says. This includes toilet paper, cleaning supplies, dish rags, and paper towels. “Regular stores sell these items for prices five times what it should be,” he says.
Avoid buying brand name items
Although you can find name-brand products at dollar stores, you can usually find these products for less at other stores, Business Insider reports. These are 32 almost invisible ways stores trick you into spending more money.
Always check expiration dates on food
Make sure to check the expiration date on any food items you might buy from the dollar store. Some of the best options to buy include baking mixes, canned beans, and chicken broth.
More chain dollar stores are on the way
Chain dollar store locations are growing, fast. A 2011 study found at the time that dollar store locations outnumber drug store locations in the United States, TIME reports. The two biggest dollar chains, Dollar Tree and Dollar General, have more stores combined than the six biggest U.S. retailers, according to Forbes. Plus, between 2010 and 2013, Family Dollar opened1,500 new stores—more than one a day, per the Guardian. Data from Statistia predicts the increase in dollar store locations will continue to rise between 2018 and 2021. Next, learn the real difference between Dollar Tree and Dollar General.
The inventory constantly changes
Chain dollar stores including Dollar General, Family Dollar, and Dollar Tree, constantly have rotating items, so customers don’t get bored. “The fun thing is that items are constantly changing, I think that’s what excites the customer,” Patricia says.