Dollar Tree Is Under Fire for Having This in Stores, New Report Says
The dollar store is facing significant backlash for an ongoing controversy.
As prices go up across the U.S., more and more of us rely on dollar stores for their unbeatable prices. Dollar General and Dollar Tree are the two major chains you're probably familiar with—the latter also owns Family Dollar following a merger in 2015. But Dollar Tree could end up losing some of its loyal customers due to a major problem affecting the company's locations across the country. Recently, the backlash has grown even worse. Read on to find out what Dollar Tree is under fire for having in its stores.
Dollar Tree workers have complained about rodents in the company's stores.
In a new report from Insider, 12 former and current Dollar Tree and Family Dollar workers spoke out against the company for "unhygienic and disgusting" conditions in the company's stores. Jayson, an employee for the company who did not wish to share his full name, told the news outlet that he has had to dispose of dead rats in the stock room of his store and regularly finds rodent droppings.
"My location is constantly dirty, floors not maintained, dirt and dust everywhere, and completely infested with spiders," he told Insider.
Richard Kirschke, a former employee who worked for a third-party logistics company that delivered stock to Family Dollar stores between Oct. 2020 and Jan. 2021, confirmed that you could clearly smell rodent activity in Family Dollar's backrooms. "It's some of the worst retail real estate," he told Insider. "They just didn't care about anything related to stores, the upkeep, and maintenance."
The company reportedly has an inventory problem that is contributing to the bad conditions.
Scott Mushkin, the CEO of consultancy firm R5 Capital, told Insider that a large issue comes from inventory pile-ups at the company's stores. Mushkin said that he visited more than 60 Dollar Tree stores between fall 2021 and Feb. 2022 and saw backrooms that were unlike anything he's ever seen in his more than 20 years as a retail industry consultant.
"To call it chaotic is really an understatement, their inventory system is completely out of control from our perspective," he told the news outlet. Mushkin added that the amount of boxes in the backrooms were likely providing cover for rodents to hide and live in. "Rodents are a symptom of the disease, not the disease," he said.
Jayson confirmed that this issue is present at his own store. "There is so much stuff in the back room that you can't move it all to clean, even if we had the time or were asked to," he told Insider, adding that the company allegedly knowingly understaffs locations to keep costs down which results in not enough workers to empty back rooms.
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This comes right after a Family Dollar warehouse was investigated by the FDA.
The complaints from workers follow a serious investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). On Feb. 18, the agency posted an alert informing consumers that an inspection of a Family Dollar distribution facility in West Memphis, Arkansas, had uncovered unsanitary conditions that included a rodent infestation. According to the FDA, the investigation—which ran from Jan. 2022 to Feb. 11 following a consumer complaint—found live rodents, dead rodents, and rodent feces and urine among other issues, as well as products being stored in conditions that did not protect against contamination.
"Families rely on stores like Family Dollar for products such as food and medicine. They deserve products that are safe," Judith McMeekin, PharmD, the FDA's associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, said in a statement at the time. "No one should be subjected to products stored in the kind of unacceptable conditions that we found in this Family Dollar distribution facility. These conditions appear to be violations of federal law that could put families' health at risk. We will continue to work to protect consumers."
The company says it's committed to selling safe products.
As a result of the FDA inspection, Family Dollar temporarily closed more than 400 stores in six states that were connected to the distribution facility: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. The company also issued a voluntary recall of certain FDA-regulated products for the stores in these states, including medications, medical devices, cosmetics, dietary supplements, and food products.
The Family Dollar stores have slowly reopened over the last month, but Dollar Tree has not spoken directly about recent worker complaints. Instead, Kayleigh Campbell, a spokesperson for both Dollar Tree and Family Dollar, told Insider that the company is "committed to providing safe and quality products" for customers. At the same time, she said they are "complying with all applicable federal, state and local occupational health and safety laws."