Ex-Dollar General Employee Gives New Warning to Shoppers
She cautions customers to pay attention and ask for something specific thing at the register.
Dollar General has quickly become a go-to spot for bargain shoppers as well as those looking to save some cash amid ongoing inflation. The discount retailer is always expanding its reach and store count, while also introducing new options for shoppers, like fresh produce and innovative experiences. But despite its reputation as a more affordable chain, Dollar General has earned a significant amount of backlash lately due to allegations that it has been actively overcharging customers. Now, one ex-employee is speaking out on the issue, and offering her own warning to shoppers. Read on to find out what she advises.
The prices at Dollar General are a hot topic of discussion.
Dollar General made national headlines this month when it was announced that the state of Ohio was suing the chain for charging customers more at the register than what was listed on the shelf. Multiple counties in Ohio launched investigations, with Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds, of the Division of Weights and Measures, identifying error rates ranging from 16.7 to 88.2 percent at local stores, Journal News reported.
Eight of 10 Dollar General stores in Franklin County also failed inspections, prompting a warning from County Auditor Michael Stinziano. The auditor cited specific examples where a Bic Click Shaver scanned for $6.50 when the shelf price was $6, and Comfort Bay Shower Hooks that scanned for $5 when they were priced at $2 on the shelf.
The Ohio Attorney General's Office announced the formal lawsuit in a Nov. 1 press release, with Attorney General David Yost dubbing the issue "appalling behavior." According to the release, Dollar General is in violation of Ohio's Consumer Sales Practices Act, specifically its rule about "bait advertising."
Compounding the issue, customers have been told that Dollar General employees cannot change prices at the register. Ohio resident William Anderson, who first sent a letter to the Butler County Auditor's Office, told officials that a store in Hamilton posted a sign that stated "Prices cannot be changed at the register. All prices are final," per Journal-News.
Now, an ex-employee in Ohio is warning customers about this store policy, and what they should do if pricing issues arise at the register.
The former employee says that workers at Dollar General stores aren't at fault.
In an interview with WHIO, former Dollar General employee Lynda Swank spoke out on the chain's policies, stating that problems are coming from higher-ups, as opposed to individual store associates and managers.
"They put their employees through way more than they should," Swank, who worked at Dollar General for four years, told the outlet.
She added that there is a designated day each week, called "Super Tuesday," where inconsistent prices are supposed to be adjusted. "Nothing is supposed to be done on that day until after price changes are done," Swank said. However, staffing policies interfere with employees' ability to accomplish this.
According to Swank, the Dollar General stores she worked at weren't permitted to have more than two employees working, except "sometimes" on truck delivery days. Those aren't usually Tuesdays, when price matching is supposed to occur, meaning that there are only two people able to stock shelves, ring customers up, and perform other duties.
Swank warned customers not to back down.
On top of price change requests from customers, Swank said that she's also experienced "alleged price swapping" as a shopper at Dollar General. "I confronted the manager and I said, you know, change it, [and she said], 'Oh, we're not allowed to do price changes anymore, not at the register,'" Swank told WHIO.
The outlet spoke with an Ohio official, Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith, who said that the law requires prices to match between the shelf and the register. If you receive pushback, Swank encouraged shoppers to stay firm and warned them not to go through with a purchase if price discrepancies arise.
"Make them make it right—if they don't make it right, don't buy it, go on somewhere else," she said.
The limited number of employees has created other issues.
Staffing issues affect other aspects of the shopping experience at Dollar General, beyond just inconsistent pricing. A video recently posted by @_mesmerizeyou on TikTok showed the social media user trying to squeeze her cart down an aisle filled with boxes of products. Shoppers were quick to say that they've had similar experiences at Dollar General stores, with one commenter saying that they "refuse to go anymore" due to the jam-packed aisles.
Dollar General employees also added to the discussion. One employee said that their store receives truck deliveries twice a week, and due to limited spacing, boxes end up in the aisles. A separate comment echoed Swank's claims about the apparent two-employee policy.
"I work at dollar general and we aren't allowed to hire just stockers at my location so we only have a manager and a cashier working," the employee wrote, while yet another store associate said that managers can only give so many hours out, meaning there's just not enough time to "make a dent in inventory."
Best Life reached out to Dollar General for comment, but has yet to hear back.