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Best and Worst Dollar Store Purchases

Updated on April 15, 2014

The worst products to buy at the dollar store

These range from the almost useless to completely useless, utterly annoying and disgusting. Enjoy!

#13 Single Use Playing Cards

My wife and I enjoy playing cards together from time to time, so once we decided to buy this double pack of playing cards, WHAT A STEAL!!

After the first days use the corners were fraying and ripping, the the layered cards began to separate. Then came the phrase that most everyone will mutter from time to time after making a purchase at the dollar store.

"well, at least it was only a buck."

#12 Leaky Fragile Drinking Cups

You go to the kitchen to get yourself a nice cup of ice water, sit back down to relax after a hard days work, wait, you have to struggle for a good five minutes to get the lid on correctly. So you sit down and relax, taking a drink from your new dollar store drinking cup, and OH NO, your water is now all over the front of your shirt because the lid actually was still not on correctly.

And if that wasn't enough to steer you away from this product, the first time you drop it more than an inch or two it's going to crack and become even more useless.

#11 The Lidless Container

If the title didn't say it all, the lids do not fit correctly or stay on these containers. Enough said, so if you need 5 non microwavable bowls, it's a decent deal.

#10 DRY Erase Markers

Single day use, only remove the cap for VERY BRIEF periods to quickly write something. If you leave the cap off for more than a minute or two they become completely non functional. They also stain your dry erase board unlike true expo markers.

#9 Pencil Breakers, I mean Sharpeners

It would be a much better deal to get ONE GOOD pencil sharpener than 12 really terrible ones that are either sized incorrectly to even fit a pencil, or break after the first use. Not one pencil was properly sharpened by the use of this product.

#8 I think this is Supposed to be Twine

This "twine" is actually more like dyed, recycled plastic bags that snap under even moderate tension. Not to mention the fact that they dye your hands, and or whatever you are tying down whatever color the "twine" is. FUN!

#7 Anti Suction Cups

These give the illusion of functionality for about two, sometimes three seconds.

#6 Non Functional Grooming Kit

Very nice packaging design is about the best thing to be said about this product. The nail clippers are good for cutting. . . . The play dough, maybe, once. The pumice stone leaves your foot covered in green debris and slightly dyed the same color.

As a secondary note, my dog likes these better than actual dog treats, so you can take that for whatever it's worth.

#5 Stinking Sleeping Pills

Not certain how WELL these products work, because none of us could stomach the smell enough to get a pill down our throats.

If you like sleep medication, and have no sense of smell, this is kind of a good deal, though they do have 3 mg Melatonin at Wal-Mart for 88 cents.

#4 This is NOT Cheese

Through all of our best efforts there is no logical way to cause this cheese to melt. Pasteurized cheese food product does not equal cheese.

On a more personal level, my wife says they taste like earwax.

And my dog who loves pumice stone and actual cheese will not eat it.

#3 Flushing a Dollar Down the Toilet

You may have better luck taking an actual dollar bill and flushing it down the drain than this product. Seems like a good deal as actual liquid plumber is pricey, but you get what you pay for.

#2 Stick with Rubber

And if you purchased these "plungers" along with your dollar store liquid plumber your toilet and or sink are still going to be clogged when you're done.

Best case scenario, you've bought several of them finding none of them work, but your children use them as swords or stick them to the wall.

#1 - The Messiest "Play Dough" EVER

The consistency of this stuff is more like sticky cookie dough than play dough, and the more you work with it, the more it falls apart dying your skin.

This product equated to a half hour clean up project and the phrase "never again"

On a personal note, my wife says it's smells like the beach after red tide.

Top 10 Best Values at the Dollar Store

Now that we've seen what the worst of what the dollar store has to offer, now let's look at some of the things that we find as being the best bang for your buck.

#10 Kitchen Utensils

While some are of sturdy design and perfect functionality, there are some that are poorly crafted (can opener and pizza cutter) that in a best case scenario are going to last a month before beginning to fall apart. Overall most are hit or miss, but will work in a pinch.

#9 Index Cards

As a homeschooling family, we go through a lot of index cards, and at 1/3 the cost of most other retailers, it's definitely a good deal if this is a product you would use.

#8 Electronics

Though again here most items are hit or miss, and are probably not going to last for any decent amount of time, they will definitely work in a pinch.

#7 Flash Cards

Large selection of subjects for a varying age group. A very good deal, the only requirement is that they stay out of the hands of children, or will get shredded.

#6 Spices

At a grocery store, they usually have a handful of off brand spices for around a dollar, but the selection is typically very limited. The name brand prices jump up to between four and six dollars a bottle. At the dollar store, they usually have a very wide selection of daily use spices and at only a dollar, this is my go to place for buying spices.

#5 Sunglasses/glasses

If you're anything like me, sunglasses disappear, reappear, get left at the restaurant, get destroyed, etc. I will probably never be one of those people that spend a hundred dollars on a pair of sunglasses, and because of this fact, this is again my go to place to purchase my shades. Then when they disappear, it's not a tragedy.

#4 Toothpaste

Name brand toothpaste (slightly smaller package) 1/3 the cost. Need I say more?

#3 Frozen Fruit

My family loves to make smoothies, but buying fresh and frozen fruit adds up quickly at the grocery store, The dollar store has a handful of different varieties, and is large enough to make about 4 smoothies.

$1 Steaks

These are frozen 3.5 OZ thin cut rib eye steaks. They are surprisingly good, and enough portion for one. Particularly like using them for steak and eggs.

#1 Pregnancy Test

At close to 1/15th the cost, these tests are surprisingly accurate. They have definitely informed us of two of our pregnancies. Just wish we would have known about them sooner as we had previously purchased tests at the grocery store for nearly 15 dollars.


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    • Janellegems profile image


      6 years ago

      Great hub. Thanks for the heads up on the worst products to buy at the dollar store. This was very helpful. Dollar stores have some good deals on things, but other stuff are just not good.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      6 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Good hub mcrawford. Yes I have found some items to be good value at the dollar stores, but some of the items are cheap rubbish. You have covered a good variety of items and advice.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      6 years ago from California Gold Country

      Great idea for a hub -- and a great lesson in "buyer beware" strategy. I like your tips


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