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8 Warnings to Shoppers From Ex-Dollar Tree Employees

The bargains are enticing, but there's the occasional catch.

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Dollar Tree may be one of the best places to shop when you need to stick to a budget. Not only do they sell deceptively high-quality items for just $1.25—in some cases, the same products as big-box stores like Walmart and Target—but they also have locations all over the U.S. (which is helpful when you need to make a quick purchase). However, that doesn't mean that the store isn't without its issues. Fortunately, ex-Dollar Tree employees are coming forward to reveal their tips and tricks about shopping at the chain. Keep reading for the top warnings from former workers.

RELATED: 8 Warnings to Shoppers From Ex-Hobby Lobby Employees.

Too much stock can make stores dangerous.

Empty shelf for hand sanitizers at the local Dollar Tree store.

Dollar Tree is always receiving new merchandise shipments, which may seem great, but too many deliveries can make stores hazardous.

In a Reddit thread, a former store manager who goes by u/goats-in-pajamas wrote, "Too much freight coming off the trucks. My store does NOT need 1500 every…week!!!"

Another former employee with the user name u/American-Nidiot added that there isn't enough time to do everything before the store closes. "Issue here is, for people that don't know, is that company policy is that there is to be NO FREIGHTING after 5pm, yet I'm expected to do 2 hours of freight and then clean the store in roughly the remaining 3 hours," they wrote in the same thread.

This build-up of new shipments has even led Dollar Tree to get cited for safety issues. In Feb. 2023, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued violations because merchandise was blocking regular and emergency exits, and storage boxes were piled too high, making it unsafe for both shoppers and employees alike.

RELATED: 5 Warnings to Shoppers From Ex-Big Lots Employees.

The store is filthier than you'd think.

dollar tree store aisle

Dollar Tree is not exactly clean when it comes to, well, being clean.

In 2020, OSHA fined Dollar Tree to the tune of half a million dollars for operating under dangerously dirty conditions. Additionally, in Jan. 2022, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uncovered a rodent infestation at a Family Dollar warehouse. (Family Dollar is wholly owned and operated by Dollar Tree.)

And as Business Insider also reported that year, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar workers described their stores as "unhygienic and disgusting," noting the presence of rats in stock rooms.

Don't buy a full cart during closing.

Dollar Tree Closing

Need to grab a major haul from Dollar Tree? Try to do so during the middle of the day, even if the timing isn't ideal. It's largely a matter of courtesy.

Within 15 minutes of your local store's closing hours (which you can double-check on Google Maps or the like), you're cool buying a single item or two. But a full cart is crossing the line—and you might even find yourself turned away.

"No one wants to be ringing up a lot of [stuff] near closing," an employee explained on Reddit. "We're not going to stay past closing for your convenience."

RELATED: Shopper Reveals the "Most Underrated" Section at Dollar Tree—And 10 Must-Have Items.

Steer clear of the frozen meat.

Freezer Burned Ground Meat
Merrimon Crawford / Shutterstock

Dollar Tree's robust frozen food section might seem like a good deal, and financially, it is. You're probably fine with the fruit, snacks, and any non-perishables that populate the freezers. Steer clear, however, of frozen steak, salmon, and other animal proteins. Even the staffers do.

Several former employees on Reddit shared that they've tried the ground beef but wouldn't recommend it.

A former assistant store manager, u/ImaginaryLettuce1276, said, "It's not bad bad but I wouldn't buy it again." They also added, "Who knows what chemicals and preservatives they put in it."

And one store manager previously told Mental Floss that the steak feels like rubber. "I don't eat any of the frozen fish or rib eyes," another Dollar Tree employee added. "I don't trust frozen seafood or meat that costs a dollar."

And be wary of other food, too.

Dollar Tree Aisle

In a Reddit thread asking, "Employees: Do you shop at Dollar Tree Yourself," one former sales associate who uses the name u/Zeni-chan shared the foods they won't eat.

"I refuse to buy the cheapo brand cold cuts and meat. They tend to be filled with way more fat, salt, and additives than other brands," they said. They also suggest staying away from the toasted oats cereal because it "tastes like you're eating air or cardboard" as well as the "cheapo brand coffee" that they say is "terrible."

"I never buy Celeste pizzas at Dollar Tree because they are always cheaper at the supermarket," the same user added.

RELATED: These Are the Products You "Need to Stop Buying" at Dollar Tree, Shopper Says.

You may have to wait a while to check out.

dollar tree employee in aisle
Victoria Ditkovsky / Shutterstock

If you're waiting for a long time in the checkout line at Dollar Tree, it might be because they don't have the staff to operate more than one register.

In response to a Reddit thread asking, "Why is there only one register open," Dollar Tree employee, u/Amorette3 said, "There's usually one manager and one cashier." She added that things may get more backed up when one person is occupied with blowing up balloons or is on break.

The vitamins might not be what you're looking for.

Vitamin Label
Tero Vesalainen / Shutterstock

If there's one thing you should be 100 percent certain about, it's the stuff you put in your body—specifically, the vitamins. Dollar Tree's, however, aren't always the most reliable.

As reported by Consumer Reports in 2012, the actual ingredients in bottles of vitamins sold at Dollar Tree didn't match the ingredients listed on the labels of those bottles. In some cases—say, if you're stocking up on vitamin D to combat a deficiency—this could have a deleterious effect on your health.

In fact, in June 2023, Dollar Tree was sued for selling allegedly "deceptive" supplements.

RELATED: 4 Dollar Store Items That Are Better Than the Name-Brand, Retail Experts Say.

Check the price tag.

Dollar Tree Aisle

It's called Dollar Tree, and it made its fame selling stuff for a literal buck, but not all items come with such a low sticker price.

In late 2021, the company announced that they'd be raising some prices to $1.25 or $1.50. Then, in July 2023, Dollar Tree announced it would sell more items that cost $3, $4, or $5.

And according to Dollar Tree employees, they get a bit frustrated when customers aren't aware of these changes.

"I've gotten a new pet peeve… when customers bring these higher priced items through my line and they didn't read the price, thinking they are getting all this good stuff for $1.25," one employee shared on Reddit. "Then they don't want it when I ring it up."

NOTE: Best Life only includes information from social media and job boards when there is corroboration from multiple sources. These comments have not been independently verified, however, and are the opinions of the people who posted them.

Ari Notis
Ari is an editor specializing in news and lifestyle. Read more
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