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Shoppers Are Turning Away From Dollar Tree—Here's Why

They cite a few ongoing issues with the dollar store chain.

A haven for bargain shoppers, Dollar Tree is one chain where you know what you're getting—and what you're paying for it. You can stock up on food, craft supplies, and even greeting cards at these stores, often paying only $1.25 per item. But while Dollar Tree certainly has its benefits, especially if you're on a budget, there are a few drawbacks to shopping at these retailers. In fact, some shoppers say they've been frequenting their local Dollar Tree locations less and less. Read on to find out why.

RELATED: Shoppers Are Turning Away From Lowe's and Costco, Data Shows—Here's Why.

It's not always more affordable.

dollar tree items for $1.25
ZikG / Shutterstock

With a name like "dollar" in the head, it sends a message to shoppers that they can expect lower prices. But in reality, you can sometimes find better deals elsewhere.

In a video posted in May 2022, TikToker @JennaMena posted a video of shelf pricing at Walmart, all of which is lower than the standard $1.25 you pay at Dollar Tree.

"Just a few reasons why I will never shop at the Dollar Tree again," text overlaying the video reads, then panning to artificial flowers priced at 95 cents and name-brand Ajax dish soap at 98 cents.

Several Great Value products, Walmart's in-house brand, were also featured in the video, including two-packs of vanilla pudding for 92 cents, honey Dijon mustard for 92 cents, and frozen broccoli for 98 cents.

RELATED: Shoppers Are Turning Away From Home Depot, Data Shows—Here's Why.

Store conditions can be unsafe.

The exterior signage of a Dollar Tree store

Dollar store chains haven't exactly made the best name for them in terms of store safety. Like other chains, Dollar Tree ran into issues with the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for dangerous store conditions.

In an April 24 press release, the agency said that Dollar Tree is facing $770,136 in proposed penalties due to issues at two Rhode Island stores, including obstructed exits, unsafe storage, and blocked access to fire extinguishers. Similar issues have been cited at Dollar Tree stores in Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Speaking with GoBankingRates, Scott Lieberman, founder of Touchdown Money, identified this issue as a main reason why he doesn't rely on Dollar Tree anymore.

"They've repeatedly violated OSHA laws that are meant to protect employees," he told the outlet. "You'd think a billion-dollar company would care about the safety of its employees, but their actions prove otherwise."

Another customer also posted a TikTok video of store conditions featuring products and boxes blocking items.

"Are we in the warehouse? This gotta be a warehouse. This can't be a store looking like this," she said. "You can't even really walk."

RELATED: Dollar Tree and Amazon Are Selling "Deceptive" Supplements, New Lawsuits Claim.

Some products may contain chemicals.

woman reading product description at store
Daniel Jedzura / Shutterstock

While you may save a few dollars by shopping at bargain stores, you'd likely shell out some extra cash if it meant keeping you and your family safe. Now, some shoppers are doing just that and skipping these retailers entirely.

In Feb. 2022, the Campaign for Healthier Solutions and the Ecology Center Healthy Stuff lab released a joint-product screening report that found the presence of hazardous chemicals in items sold by popular dollar store chains, including Dollar Tree.

According to findings, 52 percent of screened products (226 in total) from different Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Dollar General, Five Below, and 99 Cents Only stores in several states and Canada contained one or more chemicals of concern, including lead.

"Don't buy anything from a dollar store that goes in your mouth or holds anything that goes in your mouth," a Redditor cautioned. "Also never buy anything electronic."

Another wrote, "I remember years back them finding some toxic stuff in dollar store toothpaste…I would not trust a lot of dollar store products. I go there pretty much for cards and wrapping paper and stickers."

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Stores might not have working air conditioning.

air conditioning duct
Krit Kongcharoenpanich / Shutterstock

This summer is breaking records in terms of heat—and many of us are saying a word of thanks for our AC, which is working overtime. When you're shopping, you also expect some relief in the form of cooler air than outside, but shoppers report that's not always the case at Dollar Tree.

"I have heard customers complain that our store is too hot to stay and shop," a Dollar Tree employee wrote on Reddit last month. "[Store manager] says the A/C is on, thermostat is set to 80 degrees."

Other employees chimed in to say they've contacted Dollar Tree's corporate office about the issue, with little success.

Abby Reinhard
Abby Reinhard is a Senior Editor at Best Life, covering daily news and keeping readers up to date on the latest style advice, travel destinations, and Hollywood happenings. Read more
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