Marlene Alexander will buy pretty much anything, at least once, from her local dollar store. Then depending on how well it holds up, she might write about it to warn others. She’s put together a list of some of the biggest dollar store failures she’s encountered over the past year.
You can see from her list—which includes pillow protectors, wall appliqués, a can opener, and light bulbs—that it’s not like any one category is more suspect. Instead, the theme that emerges is that build quality is a real issue:
The can opener is a copy of the Star Frit one that leaves no sharp edges on the lid of the can. It’s attractively packaged in a window box that’s probably worth more than the can opener. The first time I tried to use it, it went completely to pieces and it hadn’t even made a dent in the can.
It may seem self-evident that you shouldn’t buy complicated or electronic items from your dollar store, but Alexander also found a package of 400 cotton swabs that wasn’t worth the buck: “The sticks bend in half with very little pressure making them kinda useless.”
Alexander notes that her local store doesn’t offer a return policy, so she ends up having to eat the cost of these experiments in cheapness. One of her commenters, however, points out that Dollar General stores do offer refunds. You might want to make sure your own local dollar store is willing to back up shoddy merchandise before you buy it.