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Sunday, September 7, 2014

The 'Dollar' Store

Dollar stores are popping up everywhere in Canada – there are even chains of them: Dollarama, the Dollar Tree, etc.  They offer very inexpensive stuff and can be very tempting, or off-putting for some.
I have found some very good deal on some things at dollar stores, and yet there are some things I refuse to buy there.  Dollar stores operate, it seems, on getting the cheapest stuff from China and offering it to you at a low price.  Sounds too good to be true? For many items, it’s great.  For others, I tend to be a cynic and would rather pay a bit more in order to ensure I’m getting a higher quality, and perhaps safer, item.
For one thing, I don’t ‘trust’ food containers at dollar stores.  They all come from China, I don’t know the content of the glassware or the plastic that is used and in a word, I’d rather not use it every day.  For containers from which I drink every day, put my lips around, I’d like to ensure, as much as I can, that it does not contain lead and other potentially dangerous chemicals.  So I do not buy lunch containers, glasses, cutlery or other food-container items at the dollar store.  But that’s just me.   For the same reason, I also stay away from most skin care products (soaps, lotions, lipsticks, even nail polish) from the dollar store unless I recognize the brand name (and I usually don’t).  I will also avoid food from the dollar store if I do not recognize the brand name.  After the scare in China with baby formula being contaminated, I don’t trust the Chinese government to have safety checks for my food if it’s not a brand name I recognize (and yes, maybe I should not trust these either – but I’m assuming the large food companies, based in Canada and the USA, have good oversight of what happens in their factories – time will tell if I should or not).
I am, however, very fond of the dollar store for inexpensive paper products like notebooks and index cards, decorations like Halloween d├ęcor, craft materials like scrapbooking supplies and embroidery threads, and plastic items that do not touch food directly: plastic baskets to organize ‘stuff’, shower curtains, toilet brushes, etc.  I also find them great for buying hair accessories: metal hair clips are much cheaper than anywhere else and seem to be the same quality as the more expensive ones and hair elastics are great too (and they will be lost before they break in our house!).  I was at one today and found fun stickers that would look great on a laptop computer cover for $1.25, artist’s canvases for less than $4 (probably not the quality required for a fine art major, but fine for a hobbyist), funky patterned Duck Tape (brand name) for $3 (instead of the usual $7) and a shower curtain for $2 (the choice there ranged from $1 to $3 for shower curtains).
My last dislike for dollar stores is that they make me spend more!  What happens is that I typically find all kinds of neat little things at such low price that I pick up a few things that I didn’t really NEED.  Oh, oh, I better stick to my list!

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