If you go into Dollar Tree and spend $100, you might be a redneck.
— Overheard in Dollar Tree
I love Dollar Tree. There, I said it. Despite some of the reservations I have, at the end of the day, I absolutely love it.
The place is like methadone for recovering consumerists, of which I certainly am one. If you ever get an uncontrollable shopping itch, run for the nearest Dollar Tree and go nuts. They’ve got all kinds of wacky stuff, and you can just about O.D. on impulse buying in there, without doing any serious harm to your bottom line 1.
It’s also a great place for a lot of everyday basics. Here are just a few of the things I’ve found there for $1. I think you’d be silly to pay more for any of these elsewhere:
- Dish Soap
- Aluminum Foil
- Holiday Decorations and Christmas Ornaments
- Wrapping Paper
- Various cables (coax, ethernet, even HDMI)
- Tape Measures
I personally find many of the consumable items they carry, like detergent and soap, indistinguishable from their counterparts at traditional outlets, which can cost up to 10x as much, or even more in some cases. So I am happy to get them on the cheap. (They’re indistinguishable to me, at any rate. If you’re a dish soap connoisseur, feel free to buy yours elsewhere with my blessing.)
Of course Dollar Tree also carries a lot of second-rate crap from China, destined for the landfill. Then again, much of the stuff you’ll find in more “upscale” establishments is also landfill-bound crap from China, only with better branding and a bigger price tag. So who am I to judge?
Still, much like the former junkie furtively leaving the methadone clinic, once you’ve started down the road to financial enlightenment, it can feel slightly dirty walking out of the place with lots of crap you know you don’t really need, even if it was dirt cheap. And of course both the environmentalist and the frugality enthusiast in me take issue with cheap stuff that doesn’t last 2. So it’s best not to go overboard.
But Rome wasn’t built in a day. If you’re going to give in to temptation, might as well keep the damage to a minimum, and for that, Dollar Tree is your friend.
- Nowadays I’m not much tempted by such things any more, even in Dollar Tree. Stores of all varieties are sort of like museums to me, now. I find I can pick up silly stuff I might once have bought on a lark, show it to DW, have a laugh, and move on. I get about 90% as much enjoyment out of the item that way as I would have had I brought it home, at 0% of the cost. ↩
- When it comes to consumables, though, it’s six one, half dozen the other as far as the landfill is concerned, so go to town. ↩