Contrary to belief, the £1 and $1 stores are not as bad as people think they are. You don't have to be dirt poor or skint to walk into a dollar or pound shop in search of the item you want. They can be a great place to find inexpensive items and good bargains, but also, there are times where you feel cheated and you end up getting what you paid for. That if you pay low prices, you expect it to be crap. Still, most of - if not all - of the public overlook these shops and assume that because the price is cheaper, everything in these stores is tat & is therefore, not as good as the big name branded goods you'd normally find in supermarkets.
That is not the case....
19 things worth purchasing at a £1 or $1 store
- Personal Hygiene/Toiletries - these cost more in a convenience store, pharmacy and supermarket, so it's great to stock your bathroom cupboards with these
- USB Vacuum Cleaner
- Docking Station with USB cable
- USB Data transfer Cable
- iPhone and Android Phone chargers
- Mini fan
- Food storage containers, plastic Tupperware
- Plastic bins, baskets for laundry, clothes, toys etc
- Plastic cutlery
- Branded candy, snacks
- Party supplies - table cloths, paper plates and cups, napkins
- Gas lighters
- Wrapping paper - you might not get as much paper out of them, but most of it ends up in the trash anyhow and becomes un reusable
- Earphones - that's if you don't want to splash out a lot of money for a pair of earphones or headphones. But remember, £1/$1 earphones don't tend to last very long.
- Stationary and office supplies such as books, pens, pencils, erasers, coloured pencils
- Seasonal decorations
- Umbrellas - I realise some of them are crap and will eventually stop working, but it should last you for a couple of months still. I bought a small umbrella for 99p at the 99p store 2 months ago and to this day, it still works.
- DVDs - if it's a good quality movie, then sure, but those are rare to find. If I saw a movie that I've seen before, but i've yet to own it and I really liked it and wanted to get it on DVD and it is there, then sure i'd pick it up for a pound.
12 things not worth purchasing at a £1 or $1 store
- Toys - branding you don't recognise, made in Taiwan, China, or some other part of Asia, they look out of place and is of poor quality, posing safety hazards. To be perfectly blunt, the vast majority of £1 and $1 toys are junk. So it's best to avoid them.
- Soda, fizzy drinks - despite the fact most of the ones are unhealthy and loaded with sugar and calories, you can get these for under a £1 and $1 elsewhere, so there's no point splurging on these.
- Food - canned and tinned food, biscuits, cakes; it's fine only if you buy 1, 2 or 3 of these. But still, you're paying £1/$1 for the same size and amount as you will find in a grocery store/supermarket when that same item costs less than a dollar or quid. Canned soup, beans, vegetables you can pick up for say 80 something pence/cents at Tesco, Wal-Mart.
- Bath towels - apparently, they shrink & the colours seem to fade
- Anything with a plug or uses a plug, i.e. extension socket
- Sanitary towels - in discount stores, you'll find these in a pack of say 8 or 10. In Britain, why pay £1 when you can buy a pack of 14 or 16 sanitary towels (known in America as maxi pads) for approximately the same price, or less if it is store branded in a supermarket?
- Vitamins - obscure brands are the most likely offenders that you are better off buying them from a health food shop or pharmacy.
- Toilet and kitchen paper - if it has less sheets and has only 2 rolls, you have to ask yourself whether it will last you for a couple of weeks or months. Most likely the answer will be probably not.
- Washing powder, detergent, cleaning products unless it is popular, well -name brand
- Clothing, underwear
- Make-up - may contain toxic chemicals that may be harmful to your skin, eyes
- Batteries that aren't called Duracell - I remembered long ago I bought a pack of miscellaneous branded batteries, put them in my then cassette player and by a week, the power was gone. After that time, I thought to myself 'never again'. & I haven't bought any of them since.
You have to remember that when you are in a £1 or dollar store, every item you pick up is £1 or $1 each; therefore, if you buy 10 things, you end up spending £10 or $10. And believe me, though it sounds cheap, buying 10 things from the dollar or pound store isn't cheap. It's okay if you are purchasing 1 or 2 items; it is when you go over that limit that you realise when you contrast and compare prices with your local supermarket, that the supermarket is your best bet instead of a pound/dollar store. It turns out that if we look at the whole picture, you'd save money at a supermarket than at one of these variety chain shops.
Like I said earlier, it costs more buying 4 or more food, beverage items all valued at £1/$1 each than buying these same items that would cost less in a supermarket or grocery store.
But unlike all the other stores, items in a pound or dollar store remain £1, $1 and stay the same throughout. No matter how many times you visit their stores. They don't go up and increase each month.
Overall, as promising as it sounds, not every thing in the pound and dollar stores is a good deal. For every say 10 good quality items, there will always be 3 or 4 bad quality ones lurking in there too. Is there a need for these types of stores? Yes. Should we rely on them all the time and do all of our weekly shopping on a regular basis and rely only on these bargain discount outlets? Absolutely not.
They don't stock every single item; meat is expensive, fresh fruit and veg would look out of place and you won't find a bakery or patisserie section, either. Although some of them would stock bread and packaged cakes.
But you can't dismiss pound and dollar stores altogether by assuming that because it is cheap, everything on sale is terrible and of poor quality, because that is not the case by any means necessary. Having said that, they, like every other type of store isn't perfect and are very much a hit-or-miss experience.
We all love a bargain; but we just don't like being ripped off, and nor do we like paying over the odds for things that we feel do not reflect their use & exchange value.
As long as you don't rely on them too much, be open-minded and aware of the good quality items that are available, then these pound, dollar and cents stores are no bad thing.