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  #1  
Old 11-13-2011, 06:19 PM
ThelmaLou ThelmaLou is offline
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Where does the stuff in the Dollar Store come from?

They have plenty of brand name stuff. Is it damaged, out of date, sub-par somehow? Especially the groceries. They are VERY interesting. Some odd-ball brands, but some mainstream stuff, too. How does it wind up there?
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  #2  
Old 11-13-2011, 06:33 PM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
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As I understand it, most of the grocery products at the major "dollar store" chains (such as Family Dollar and Dollar General) isn't out of date or damaged...it's simply lower-cost products. Even when you find "name brands" there, the prices are often lower than you'd find at a regular grocery store, largely because dollar stores operate on even thinner profit margins than normal grocery stores.
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Old 11-13-2011, 06:41 PM
johnpost johnpost is offline
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sometimes damaged (at least packaging or the carton or case), some times past freshness. overstocks. maybe the liquidator type stores compared to national chain.

usually they buy from dime stores and mark it up. easy profit.

Last edited by johnpost; 11-13-2011 at 06:45 PM..
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Old 11-13-2011, 07:07 PM
Prelude to Fascination Prelude to Fascination is offline
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I can't speak about groceries, but a lot of it's overstock. I used to work for a company that made tools, and we'd pitch to Dollar General, Harbor Freight, that sort of place. Most of the items we pitched fit the price point the stores were looking for, and often they were discontinued items we had a wagonload of. We didn't make a big margin, and sometimes we sold the lot at a loss, but it was better than paying tax and storage fees, etc. Not to mention it freed up space in our warehouse for faster turning merchandise.
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  #5  
Old 11-13-2011, 07:25 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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Some or all of it comes from wholesalers like this one.
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Old 11-13-2011, 07:42 PM
Nawth Chucka Nawth Chucka is offline
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Originally Posted by kenobi 65 View Post
As I understand it, most of the grocery products at the major "dollar store" chains (such as Family Dollar and Dollar General) isn't out of date or damaged...it's simply lower-cost products. Even when you find "name brands" there, the prices are often lower than you'd find at a regular grocery store, largely because dollar stores operate on even thinner profit margins than normal grocery stores.
Neither Family Dollar or Dollar General are 'everything costs a dollar' stores. Dollar Tree is. Many of their off-brand food stuffs come from China or (even worse) New Jersey. Their pickle products come from India and I'm hopelessly hooked on their sweet relish.

Last edited by Nawth Chucka; 11-13-2011 at 07:42 PM.. Reason: Not that hooked.
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  #7  
Old 11-13-2011, 08:01 PM
chiroptera chiroptera is offline
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I have a client who owns a couple of dollar stores - not the big chains, but a small regional operation although his two stores are very large and he sells just about anything, as long as it's cheap.

He buys containers from China - like shipping trailers - without knowing exactly what's in them; he bids on them at auction. Each one contains a wide range of products, anything from clothing and cleaning products and food to gift wrapping, silk flowers and knick-knacks. Some of it may be counterfeit, like fake name-brands such as "Crest toothpaste" or whatever.

I don't think that is his only source for inventory but from the way he talks it's a good part of it.
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Old 11-13-2011, 08:09 PM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is offline
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Originally Posted by ThelmaLou View Post
They have plenty of brand name stuff. Is it damaged, out of date, sub-par somehow?
It certainly shouldn't be "out of date" in the sense of being expired or no longer safe to use, but sometimes you'll see stuff in the dollar store where that particular variety has been discontinued.

And some of the stuff seems to be there precisely because it costs a dollar. I'm thinking, for instance, of those 8-packs of fun-size name-brand candy bars. There's nothing wrong or different about them, compared to what you'd get in a grocery store, but you wouldn't expect to pay much more than a dollar for that particular item anywhere else.

I have no special knowledge, though; I'm just going by what I've observed.
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Old 11-13-2011, 08:25 PM
silenus silenus is offline
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A lot of the stuff sold is also established name-brand item that do zero advertising any more. Bon-Ami cleanser, for example. Still exists, but they don't advertise and you can only find it at the $.99 stores.
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Old 11-13-2011, 08:53 PM
joebuck20 joebuck20 is offline
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I've also noticed that a lot of dollar stores have smaller versions of name brand name items than what's sold at other places.

At the Dollar Trees where I live, for example, they have bags of Utz potato chips, one of the big name brands here in the South, but they're smaller than what they carry in the regular grocery store. Same with Irish Spring soap. They sell it at Dollar Tree, but the bars are smaller.

Quote:
Originally Posted by silenus View Post
A lot of the stuff sold is also established name-brand item that do zero advertising any more. Bon-Ami cleanser, for example. Still exists, but they don't advertise and you can only find it at the $.99 stores.
This too. At Dollar Tree, they also carry Pear's soap, apparently another one of those legacy brands that most people nowadays have never heard of.

Last edited by joebuck20; 11-13-2011 at 08:56 PM..
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  #11  
Old 11-13-2011, 10:02 PM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is online now
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joebuck20 writes:

> . . . Utz potato chips, one of the big name brands here in the South . . .

Not just in the South. Utz is based in Pennsylvania:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utz_Quality_Foods,_Inc.

Apparently they're available all over the eastern half of the U.S.
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  #12  
Old 11-13-2011, 10:08 PM
Tom Tildrum Tom Tildrum is offline
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Last time I was in a dollar store, there was a bunch of toothpaste of American brands with Arabic script on the labels.
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  #13  
Old 11-13-2011, 10:09 PM
Jophiel Jophiel is offline
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I haven't bought a lot of food at dollar stores but the stuff I've seen hasn't been out of date... but some has been rather close. One time I saw a display of 2 liter bottles of Pepsi Twist that were "two for a buck". But it was about a week away from the freshness date. For a bottle of soda, that means it was bottled about a year prior. I'm guessing they bought it at clearance from a wholesaler.
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  #14  
Old 11-13-2011, 10:20 PM
MPB in Salt Lake MPB in Salt Lake is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jophiel View Post
I haven't bought a lot of food at dollar stores but the stuff I've seen hasn't been out of date... but some has been rather close. One time I saw a display of 2 liter bottles of Pepsi Twist that were "two for a buck". But it was about a week away from the freshness date. For a bottle of soda, that means it was bottled about a year prior. I'm guessing they bought it at clearance from a wholesaler.
I am no expert, but on something like soda, even if it was a couple of months past the "Freshness" or "Best By" date, it would still probably taste just fine.

Meat, poultry, seafood or dairy products are obviously a whole different story.
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  #15  
Old 11-13-2011, 10:52 PM
VOW VOW is offline
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I saw "Pepsi Spice" at 2 for 99 at the 99 cent only store.

A month later, it was 3 for 99.

I think a LOT of the stuff at the 99 cent only store is packaged just for them. The packages contain much smaller amounts than you'd find at Walmart or Target.


~VOW
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  #16  
Old 11-13-2011, 11:01 PM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
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Originally Posted by MPB in Salt Lake View Post
I am no expert, but on something like soda, even if it was a couple of months past the "Freshness" or "Best By" date, it would still probably taste just fine.
If it's diet soda, made with aspartame, it might be sketchier. Aspartame can quickly lose its sweetness, and was the reason that the big soft-drink companies began putting "freshness" dates on their products.
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  #17  
Old 11-13-2011, 11:14 PM
Bartman Bartman is offline
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I think a LOT of the stuff at the 99 cent only store is packaged just for them. The packages contain much smaller amounts than you'd find at Walmart or Target.
Exactly right. The local Dollar Tree has Gallon size Ziploc brand bags. And while they are just a dollar rather than the $3 or so they would be at Wallyworld, they also only have 7 bags per box rather than the standard 20.
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  #18  
Old 11-14-2011, 01:53 AM
astro astro is offline
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Originally Posted by chiroptera View Post
I have a client who owns a couple of dollar stores - not the big chains, but a small regional operation although his two stores are very large and he sells just about anything, as long as it's cheap.

He buys containers from China - like shipping trailers - without knowing exactly what's in them; he bids on them at auction. Each one contains a wide range of products, anything from clothing and cleaning products and food to gift wrapping, silk flowers and knick-knacks. Some of it may be counterfeit, like fake name-brands such as "Crest toothpaste" or whatever.

I don't think that is his only source for inventory but from the way he talks it's a good part of it.
This makes no sense to me. The Chinese are loading shipping containers with random assortments of low end retail dollar store type merchandise and these are being offered for sale as blindly purchased shipping container grab bags?
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Old 11-14-2011, 02:09 AM
constanze constanze is offline
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Originally Posted by astro View Post
This makes no sense to me. The Chinese are loading shipping containers with random assortments of low end retail dollar store type merchandise and these are being offered for sale as blindly purchased shipping container grab bags?
Well, why not? It seems to work for the Chinese to get rid of their surplus - what they haven't sold at higher price to Walmart and their first-line customers -, and for the dollar store buyers, a container full of surprise grab bag can still be sold. They don't especially need silk flowers over mini-sized bottles of shampoo, or must have Barbie over Kens; the only requirement is that the buying price is low enough to make a profit when selling it for 1$ a piece.

I mean, the stuff they offer in those stores is pretty jumbled and not a normal cross-section like a normal store. You don't go to a dollar store to buy toothpaste, milk, bread, onions and detergent; you go there and look what's available now.
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Old 11-14-2011, 02:11 AM
constanze constanze is offline
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Exactly right. The local Dollar Tree has Gallon size Ziploc brand bags. And while they are just a dollar rather than the $3 or so they would be at Wallyworld, they also only have 7 bags per box rather than the standard 20.
Which is of course why dollar stores in general are such a rip-off, preying on people's instinct for "A bargain! I will buy!". Consumer advocates here warn against them: if you do the price per ml (ounces for Yanks) calculation, most non-food items will be more expensive than at a regular drugstore, and the smaller size of shampoo, toothpaste etc. are only useful if you are going to travel. (Even then, it's recommended to buy one small bottle of shampoo, and refill it next time from a normal size if you want to save money).

I've never seen food like groceries there, though, only a few staple food like chips and some sodas.
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  #21  
Old 11-14-2011, 02:15 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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If you're ever in Houston, you can take a drive down Harwin Drive. It's the wholesalers district. There are blocks of warehouses that are sell cheap goods - but not to customers off the street. They sell in bulk to discount retail stores.

I assume plenty of other cities have similar businesses.
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  #22  
Old 11-14-2011, 02:16 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Originally Posted by Tom Tildrum View Post
Last time I was in a dollar store, there was a bunch of toothpaste of American brands with Arabic script on the labels.
Grey market goods
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  #23  
Old 11-14-2011, 03:06 AM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
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Originally Posted by astro View Post
This makes no sense to me. The Chinese are loading shipping containers with random assortments of low end retail dollar store type merchandise and these are being offered for sale as blindly purchased shipping container grab bags?
Sure. Half Price Books gets pallets of new books, software, movies, and music this way, too. Most of these items are closeouts. I bought a copy of the first Farm Frenzy game. There's Farm Frenzy 2, and FF 3, FF 3 Ice Age, FF 3 Pizza Party, and I don't know what else. But apparently someone had quite a stock of FF 1, and it was part of a pallet of software. Now, HPB sells mostly used stuff, but if they can buy a pallet of discontinued software or remaindered books at what they consider to be a great price, then they'll do it, and they'll probably be able to move the merch out if they price it low enough. But they don't get to specify what they'll get, other than something like "PC games" or "Recent hardback bestsellers". So they can specify the category, but not the specific titles.

So I imagine that dollar stores can order stuff like "toiletries", "makeup", or "paper goods", and they'll just take whatever they can get.
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Old 11-14-2011, 04:14 AM
An Gadaí An Gadaí is offline
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Originally Posted by Tom Tildrum View Post
Last time I was in a dollar store, there was a bunch of toothpaste of American brands with Arabic script on the labels.
Yeah that's common here too. Soft drinks with ever so slightly different labelling, and then the small print is in various languages with the products coming from Eastern Europe or Asia usually.
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  #25  
Old 11-14-2011, 04:26 AM
Asympotically fat Asympotically fat is offline
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The 50 cents wholesale outlet
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  #26  
Old 11-14-2011, 06:13 AM
TruCelt TruCelt is offline
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A lot of the things they sell are just marked up a little bit less than usual. For instance, many of the children's, and party items you'll see therer for a dollar are actually 30 cents or less at http://www.orientaltrading.com/ . Anyone can buy there if they are willing to buy in bulk.

Contrast that to www.alibaba.com where you can get a silk wedding dress for 50 bucks, but you'd have to have a business liscense to re-sale. Well, maybe $100.00 http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/34...er_single.html or maybe you'd prefer some West Man Toothpaste ?

Last edited by TruCelt; 11-14-2011 at 06:15 AM..
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  #27  
Old 11-14-2011, 07:02 AM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
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I'd be concerned about foodstuffs and drugs from China-is any of this stuff inspected?
The Chinese are known to use substandard ingredients, and I'd hate to use toothpaste componded with wood alcohol.
In general, "dollar store" merchandise is cheap and low quality-avoid the batteries in particular.
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Old 11-14-2011, 07:07 AM
chiroptera chiroptera is offline
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Originally Posted by astro View Post
This makes no sense to me. The Chinese are loading shipping containers with random assortments of low end retail dollar store type merchandise and these are being offered for sale as blindly purchased shipping container grab bags?
Apparently so, according to someone who owns two large dollar stores.
I imagine the containers are full of stuff tailored to end up in dollar stores so it's not like he's buying them completely blind.
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  #29  
Old 11-14-2011, 07:50 AM
thelabdude thelabdude is offline
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It varies. I once drove by a no name dog food factory and noticed a Dollar General trailer at a dock. A lot of their stuff has their own name on it or lately Rexall. A lot of what I buy there is commodity type stuff where the technology is well known. How much does their brand of aspirin vary from anybody else's? I have checked their prices. package sizes, and price against Walmart and Walgreens. In some cases the package may be smaller, but the unit price is still less.

I quit watching TV when Remington Steele turned into the same trash as everything else. Ads are easy to ignore in print and I manage to pay little attention to banner ads on the net. No I haven't seen a ad for Bon Ami in a long time or Ajax, Spick and Span, Old Dutch Cleanser, or whatever is paying for everybody's news and enertainment. I will accept that Bon ami doesn't advertise much.

Dollar General cuts costs different ways. They advertise less and sell a lot of stuff that isn't advertised much. They have shorter hours, smaller stores with less selection, less fancy decor, and some of their stuff is cheap junk. Still, I can get in, get out quickly and cheaply, and with quality that meets my needs for many things.
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Old 11-14-2011, 08:47 AM
Jophiel Jophiel is offline
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Originally Posted by thelabdude View Post
Still, I can get in, get out quickly and cheaply, and with quality that meets my needs for many things.
I don't buy food and consumables there but I do stop in once in a rare while and buy stuff like cheap (ultimately disposable) "Tupperware", laundry baskets and similar bric-a-brac. A slotted spoon is a slotted spoon for my purposes.

They also have greeting cards for 50 cents each which is great to stock up on for kid's parties so I don't wind up dropping $3.00 on a card some five year old will tear open, check for money and throw over his shoulder.

Last edited by Jophiel; 11-14-2011 at 08:47 AM..
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  #31  
Old 11-14-2011, 11:34 AM
MissTake MissTake is offline
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Originally Posted by Jophiel View Post
I don't buy food and consumables there but I do stop in once in a rare while and buy stuff like cheap (ultimately disposable) "Tupperware", laundry baskets and similar bric-a-brac. A slotted spoon is a slotted spoon for my purposes.

They also have greeting cards for 50 cents each which is great to stock up on for kid's parties so I don't wind up dropping $3.00 on a card some five year old will tear open, check for money and throw over his shoulder.
Not only greeting cards, but gift bags, too. TheKid made blankets for gifts last year, XL bags were $6.99 at Target. Nope, stocked up at the dollar store. Granted, they weren't as pretty as the Target ones, but who cares? When TheKid was little, Santa shopped at the dollar store for stocking stuffers, too.

TheKid and her friends go there for munchies - they're all teenagers, really do not care about quality, generic cheese doodles taste the same to them. They also love the 3l bottles of soda.
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  #32  
Old 11-14-2011, 12:53 PM
Skammer Skammer is offline
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I work for one of the dollar store chains mentioned in this thread. We are not one of the stores where everythin is $1 -- most stuff is a couple dollars. I'm not sure we have anything more than about 8 to 10 bucks.

In our chain we do not sell damaged goods or odd lots. We do sell mostly regular brand names for lower prices, or older brands with low advertising costs (like Rexall drugs or Bobby Brooks clothes). Because we represent a large segment of the retail market, manufacturers are often willing to shave their margins to get on our shelves. We also sell inexpensive (cheap) stuff from India and China and the like, although not generally in consumables like food.

In other words, the Crest toothpaste or Haines underwear or Stovetop stuffing mix or Coke you buy at our store is exactly the same you would get at a larger store, but we have a lower markup and a more convenient shopping experience. What you give up, mostly, is selection -- we might only have 2 brands of bar soap at any given time insead of 8 you might find at Wal-mart, because our stores are about 5% the size of theirs.
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Old 11-14-2011, 04:04 PM
ThelmaLou ThelmaLou is offline
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Originally Posted by Skammer View Post
I work for one of the dollar store chains mentioned in this thread. We are not one of the stores where everythin is $1 -- most stuff is a couple dollars. I'm not sure we have anything more than about 8 to 10 bucks.

In our chain we do not sell damaged goods or odd lots. We do sell mostly regular brand names for lower prices, or older brands with low advertising costs (like Rexall drugs or Bobby Brooks clothes). Because we represent a large segment of the retail market, manufacturers are often willing to shave their margins to get on our shelves. We also sell inexpensive (cheap) stuff from India and China and the like, although not generally in consumables like food.

In other words, the Crest toothpaste or Haines underwear or Stovetop stuffing mix or Coke you buy at our store is exactly the same you would get at a larger store, but we have a lower markup and a more convenient shopping experience. What you give up, mostly, is selection -- we might only have 2 brands of bar soap at any given time insead of 8 you might find at Wal-mart, because our stores are about 5% the size of theirs.
Very informative! Thanks!
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Old 11-14-2011, 04:46 PM
salinqmind salinqmind is offline
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Originally Posted by constanze View Post
Which is of course why dollar stores in general are such a rip-off, preying on people's instinct for "A bargain! I will buy!". Consumer advocates here warn against them: if you do the price per ml (ounces for Yanks) calculation, most non-food items will be more expensive than at a regular drugstore, and the smaller size of shampoo, toothpaste etc. are only useful if you are going to travel. (Even then, it's recommended to buy one small bottle of shampoo, and refill it next time from a normal size if you want to save money).

I've never seen food like groceries there, though, only a few staple food like chips and some sodas.
If you're a senior citizen on a budget, living alone, The Dollar Tree will become your home away from home. Things may be cheaper if you buy in bulk, but who needs a giant tube of toothpaste, a bale of trash bags, a hundred baggies, a family size bag of cookies/chips/candy? And they aren't going to tote home a gallon of shampoo from Costco to top up their little bottle. ... I would point out there are dollar stores and convenience stores with the word "dollar" in their name that definitely are NOT all that much cheaper than a supermarket or Walmart. Family Dollar and Dollar General look cheap, but they aren't, really. ... I saw in a Real Deals in the food section plastic bags containing some broken cookies, a cup of brown applesauce, a bag of no-name candy, and a napkin and plastic spoon. Wish I'd taken a closer look to see where that came from, it looked like some kind of emergency rations you'd hand out to poor people who are stuck on a broken down train or something, in a third world country.
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  #35  
Old 11-14-2011, 04:49 PM
chiroptera chiroptera is offline
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I don't know... wasn't there a big to-do about counterfeit toothpaste containing lead and excessive amounts of fluoride being sold at discount/dollar stores not too long ago? Counterfeited products are huge. I am wondering how Skammer knows for sure that he or she is selling authentic product - it's not like TPTB are going to be open about the sourcing when it comes to the peons who ring up the stuff.

Here's just one cite out of thousands:

http://urbanlegends.about.com/librar...lar_stores.htm

I rarely shop at dollar stores for this reason - I admit to having a bias against Chinese-made products, or things made from Chinese-sourced ingredients and do my best to avoid them although I know it's damn-near impossible these days. I can assure you I will not buy anything edible, or anything that may come into contact with mucous membranes, at a dollar store.
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  #36  
Old 11-14-2011, 05:06 PM
Skammer Skammer is offline
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For most domestic products, our merch is shipped directly from the manufacturer to one of our large distribution centers, where it gets put on trucks and delivered to the stores. So we know the Crest toothpaste is real Crest toothpaste because it came from the people who make Crest toothpaste, on their truck to our distribution center.

High turnover products or stuff with a short shelf-life are delivered directly to the store by the brand distributer -- candy, soft drinks, beer, milk, bread, etc. So the Coca-cola comes on the Coke truck and the beer comes on the Budweiser truck and the chips come on the Frito-Lay truck to the store.

I'm not sure what the delivery model is for imported stuff. We source the stuff overseas and they somehow get to one of our import centers, and from there to a DC and then to the stores.
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Old 11-14-2011, 05:08 PM
Skammer Skammer is offline
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Originally Posted by chiroptera View Post
I am wondering how Skammer knows for sure that he or she is selling authentic product - it's not like TPTB are going to be open about the sourcing when it comes to the peons who ring up the stuff.
I don't ring up the stuff, I work at the corporate headquarters.
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  #38  
Old 11-14-2011, 05:27 PM
barbitu8 barbitu8 is offline
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Originally Posted by silenus View Post
A lot of the stuff sold is also established name-brand item that do zero advertising any more. Bon-Ami cleanser, for example. Still exists, but they don't advertise and you can only find it at the $.99 stores.
You can find Bon Ami at any chain grocery store. It is what I use. In fact, I bought a can at Publix just last week.

Many of the items at outlet stores, such as Burke Outlet (which just opened a store two miles from me) contain items that have some minor irregularities. I just bought an 8-pack of athletic socks (NB) for $6.50. The tag stated that they have some minor irregularities. "Tuesday Morning" a similar store in the same shopping mall has had similar items that Burke has, and I suppose many have slight irregularities also.
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