30 Things You Should Never Buy from Any Dollar Stores

Olivia Carter

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what should you not buy at dollar tree

Every now and then, we need to buy something quickly. However, we don’t always have the cash in hand to make such a purchase. In such cases, the first thing that comes to our mind is a dollar store.

Actually, a dollar store is an ideal place to pick up amazing stuff at really low prices. In fact, I buy quite a lot of things at my nearest dollar store. They offer certain good products at a fraction of the price they would cost elsewhere.

However, I can’t say that all the stuff from a dollar store is high quality. Indeed, some things I bought at different dollar stores were clearly inferior.

In this article, I will write about the 30 things that you should not buy at dollar tree. I will begin by first explaining a bit about how a dollar store functions. That would give you a clear idea of what stuff to buy and what should you not buy at dollar tree?

Understanding Dollar Stores

The concept of a dollar store has prevailed in America since the 1950s and 1960s. They began functioning at a time when China and other Asian countries began mass-producing goods at an economical rate. These things eventually found their entry into the American market through unorganized and small Chinese traders.

Since the price of buying and importing them from Asia was much lesser than American made products, these goods found some acceptance in the US. And as acceptance of such stuff grew in the USA, the demand rose, leading to the first few dollar stores opening in the country.

The main attraction was lower prices and quality goods. Actually, the term ‘dollar store’ nowadays is a bit misleading. Initially, a dollar store would sell everything at $1 or less.

However, in our times, we can find a lot of reasonably priced products at such stores that cost more than $1. Of course, there’re still quite a few items priced at $1 that are available at these stores, but due to the high turnover of customers, they also stock pricier goods.

While shopping at a dollar tree can indeed be a pleasant experience, it’s worth remembering that all the dollar store items you buy might not meet the quality you expect.

30 Things to be Avoided at Dollar Stores

In this article, I will write briefly about the 30 dollar store items that you should never buy from any dollar store. This list could help you make better decisions the next time you visit a dollar tree to buy something that you require.

In fact, avoiding these dollar store items can save you some money and also ensure that neither you nor your loved ones suffer from any health-related problems.

Also read: Biggest Shopping Mistakes & How to Avoid These Mistakes

1. Food Products

Food Products

Food products are best avoided at dollar stores. That’s because it could be imported from some country and made by companies with dubious standards.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) checks such stuff for germs and other issues. However, they test only samples and not the entire cargo of such goods.

2. Batteries


Over the years, I’ve come across several fake dollar tree batteries. In fact, some of the battery cells were smart copies of famous brands such as Duracell, with the outer casing resembling this world-famous product.

Remember, cheap battery cells are made of inferior quality material. Hence, they can leak and damage your expensive gadgets such as remote controllers and toys or clocks.

3. Electronic Items

electronic items

That cheap hair dryer or even a hand-held blender or charger might look very attractive for the price. But look at the flipsides. Often, parts of such electronic items are made with cheap stuff and can stop working at any time.

Worse, they could explode or cause a short circuit, plunging your house into darkness or even give you a deadly electrical shock. Therefore, avoid electronic items at dollar stores.

4. Makeup

make up

Makeup means a product will come in close contact with your skin and remain there for a few hours. In fact, the product will linger on your face, which is one of the most sensitive parts of our human body.

Therefore, cheap makeup items such as lipstick or mascara should never be bought at a dollar tree. They’re made of cheap ingredients and can damage your facial skin permanently or even cause severe allergies.

5. Tools


We use tools for repairs and other emergencies. We also use them to create something. Tools can prove very dangerous if they break while we’re working with them since they can cause serious injuries or even death.

Therefore, never buy cheap tools from any dollar store. Such tools are made of inferior material and prone to break while using it. The price may seem attractive, but the risk isn’t worth taking.

6. Cutlery


Like with cheap tools, cheap cutlery can also cause injuries while you’re eating. Forks, knives and spoons at dollar stores aren’t really the quality that we would like to use. Not only do they look cheap, but they are also made of low-quality materials.

In some cases, such cutlery can also cause food poisoning, especially if they’re plated. Knives used for cutting and chopping fruits, vegetables and meat also come in this category.

7. Plastic Items

plastic items

Personally, I believe that plastic items are best avoided at dollar stores. Here, I’m talking about stuff like plastic bottles, ice trays, plastic trays, hangars and other items we use daily at home. Such low-priced bottles aren’t suitable to store water or juice.

The same with ice trays and other plastic stuff. These will release toxins in the food and water and, over a period of time, cause severe diseases, including cancer. Hangers can leak colour and ruin your expensive clothes.

8. Baby Products

Baby Products

Your baby is definitely very precious to you. Therefore, you would like to protect it against any harm, even the slightest. If that’s your case, never buy baby care products from dollar stores.

The baby lotions and oils can cause severe allergies to your baby. Feeding bottles, bowls and other stuff are often made of non-food grade colors and items that can lead to food poisoning, at worst.

9. Hair Care Items

Hair Care Items

They say hair is the crown of every woman and man. Indeed, it is. Therefore, never buy hair care items at dollar stores. Here, I specifically mention hair dyes. Often, hair dyes at dollar stores can cause a lot of damage to your hair.

In most cases, this damage will be permanent and irreversible, caused by potent bleach and other materials. Also, avoid shampoos.

10. Sunscreen Lotions

Sunscreen Lotions

Maybe you’re aware that sunscreen and sunblock lotions work on something known as Sun Protection Factor or SPF. The SPF of sunscreen and sunblock indicate the level of protection for your skin against harmful UVA and UVB, as well as other factors such as pollution. You might not get the right sun protection from a cheaper product.

11. Soaps


This refers to both bathing and washing soaps. As a matter of fact, almost every soap on this planet contains some level of causticity. That’s why soaps have foam when applied.

If this causticity is very high, you could end up with sore palms and sore soles because high alkaline content is harmful to the human skin.

12. Clothes


Perhaps my worst experience of stuff from dollar stores is with clothes. I bought a T-shirt and a pair of shorts there. To be honest, they didn’t survive their first tryst with the washing machine. The shorts got torn while the T-shirt lost its shape after the first wash. They also bled colour and tainted other clothes.

13. Herbal Remedies

Herbal Remedies

Usually, dollar stores are the best places where you can get herbal remedies, especially exotic ones, from Asia and other parts of the world. Unfortunately, these enter the USA as food supplements and dietary supplements.

There is no known medical evidence to prove they work. While some of these herbal remedies may be harmless, others can cause severe health issues in the long run.

14. Pet Food

Pet Food

Just like babies and kids, our pets are also dear to all of us. Pet food at dollar stores I’ve seen tends to be imitations of expensive products. It’s obvious that cheaper products will contain substandard substances.

If your pet consumes such food, you would end up spending a small fortune on the wet.

15. Feminine Products

Feminine Products

As a woman, you surely wouldn’t like to use tampons that fall out or sanitary pads that leak or stink. If that’s your case, never buy feminine products from a dollar store.

A lot of women falsely believe that such products offer value for money. They don’t. The material isn’t exactly what you should be using, and it can lead to rashes, infections and other complications.

16. Toys


All kids love toys, and parents struggle to meet their demands for newer and newer ones. You may have seen that kids get fed up with their toys pretty fast.

However, that’s no reason to put your child’s health and life at risk with cheap toys. Parts of these toys can come apart and choke your kid if they suck it. Also, the colours used in such toys are not food grade.

17. Skin Care Products

Skin Care Products

Have you ever wondered why skincare products from Sephora or other top companies such as Avon are pricey? That’s because these companies take immense care to test their products before they hit the market.

They make sure that the product delivers what it promises and hence, use only expensive ingredients. Sadly, I can’t say the same about skincare products from dollar stores.

18. Electrical Goods

Electrical Goods

Electrical goods are another no-go at dollar stores. Those economically priced wires have the flimsiest cores that I’ve ever seen on the market. As a result, they can burn out easily, even without a strong electrical current. Sockets and plugs are also known to burn out since the materials they’re made from can’t stand the heat and usage.

19. Mobile Accessories

Mobile Accessories

Your mobile phone is your companion in everything- studies, work, business and even bank transactions, shopping or entertainment. Surely, such a vital gadget deserves much better. Cheaply priced mobile phone accessories such as chargers can explode. The outer casings aren’t sweat-proof or provide any protection against the weather, as you would expect. They’re cheap and serve only for showy purposes.

20. Vitamins


It still remains a mystery to me how cheap vitamin supplements find their way to the shelves of dollar stores. Check the price of a bottle of Centrum and compare it with those available at dollar stores.

Centrum comes from one of the most respected and trusted American pharma companies. This company won’t cheat you. The cheaper vitamins you buy will not provide you with the same nutrition as Centrum or any renowned brand.

21. Medicines


I have a firm policy when it comes to buying medicines. I buy them only from a duly licensed pharmacy and ensure that they come from the best medical companies in America.

I apply this policy also to non-prescription drugs. Usually, medicines at dollar stores make tall claims and don’t deliver what they claim. Read the fine print, and you’ll observe that even the makers of these medicines don’t take responsibility for giving you the desired effects,

22. Sunglasses


When it comes to sunglasses, I agree that I am biased. My favourite brands are Ray-Ban and Polaroid. There are pricier ones too, but I stick to my two favourite brands because of the comfort that I get knowing they won’t harm my eyes and eyesight.

Sunglasses at dollar stores aren’t made of glass or lenses. Instead, they’re made of plastic material that doesn’t protect your eyes against sun rays or pollution. They can damage your eyes and eyesight.

23. Reading Glasses

Reading Glasses

Ask yourself. Why do you require reading glasses? That’s because you have some vision problems. Therefore, the proper lens type for your reading glasses can only be found by an optometric expert or ophthalmologist. They can prescribe the correct reading glasses for you.

In stark contrast, reading glasses at dollar stores aren’t made specifically for your eyes. They’re made to fit a broad category of people. Wrong lenses will definitely damage your vision.

24. Plumbing Fittings

Plumbing Fittings

Nobody wants to wake up in the middle of the night because some fitting in the plumbing of your home has broken, causing leaks. This is something that can definitely happen with cheap fittings that are available at dollar stores. While prices are tempting enough, these fittings often break during installation or later when in use, causing leaks and giving you a sleepless night or unwanted expense on a plumber.

25. BBQ Charcoal

bbq charcoal

I’m very fond of a BBQ in my garden. I usually buy charcoal from a reputed store. That’s because these shops know how to store charcoal. However, BBQ charcoal at most dollar stores isn’t kept properly. Charcoal attracts moisture rendering it useless for BBQ. The charcoal I found at dollar stores was often moist and hence, couldn’t be lit easily for that BBQ evening.

26. School Stationery

School Stationery

Students always need stationery, and parents can sometimes find it hard to meet their almost non-stop demands for new pens, notebooks and other stuff. Dollar stores know this and stock very cheap stationery.

Such stationery causes various problems. The pens you buy will dry up. The pencils break frequently. Notebooks are made of low-grade paper. The colours and paints for your kid’s art classes can be dangerous and cause poisoning.

27. Polishes


We polish a lot of things, from our shoes to silverware, furniture to vehicles. We polish them because we like these things to appear as new as possible and prevent them from getting mouldy or rusted.

Therefore, buying expensive polish is the only best option. Cheap polishes from dollar stores barely provide these qualities since they’re nothing but wax and some cheap dye.

28. Footwear


Shun all kinds of footwear at dollar stores unless you want an accident or embarrassment. Shoes and slippers at dollar stores are made of absolutely third-grade material. Your bathroom slippers will lose their treads, causing you to slip and get injured.

Those jazzy looking shoes can tear at their soles, causing you embarrassment in public places or offices.

29. Computer Accessories

Computer Accessories

High-quality computer accessories cost more for a reason. They’re durable and can withstand your usage. The same cannot be said of cheap products available at dollar stores.

My personal experience was the roller on my mouse got jammed while working. The mouse pad started tearing and sagging within just a week of purchase.

30. Cups


Cups and saucers at dollar stores are very cheap, like other ceramic products. But surely, these aren’t worth a penny, if you ask me. These cheap cups and saucers, as well as ceramic products, are pretty fragile.

Worse, the dyes used in them are prone to leak into that hot cup of tea, coffee or milk. And over a few weeks, that lovely design starts fading.

In Conclusion

Before concluding, I’ll emphasize that all stuff available at dollar stores isn’t bad or substandard. In fact, dollar stores do offer excellent things too. This list is only made to alert you about what things can prove harmful or dangerous because they’re made of inferior products and hence, priced cheap.

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