5 Warnings to Shoppers From Ex-Dollar General Employees
You might love dollar deals, but you'll still want to read about these red flags.
Dollar General is a discount retail chain headquartered in Tennessee that operates more than 18,000 stores in 47 states. The company first started in Kentucky in 1939, before becoming the Dollar General Corporation in 1968. Now, it's one of the most profitable stores in the country (even though not everything is just $1 anymore). But even if you're a regular shopper, there are certain red flags you'll want to be aware of. Keep reading for warnings from ex-Dollar General employees, from the place that's not very clean to why you should double-check your receipt.
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There have been reported rat problems in warehouses.
In a Reddit thread about experiences working for Dollar General, an ex-employee claimed that when they visited a warehouse to help clean it, they found "maggots in dog food cans, black mold, stuff in rolltainers so out of date it went directly into the dumpster." Another person asserted in the same thread, "I worked at a DG warehouse and stray cats were having a buffet tearing open food every day, so rats were scarce but still, gross."
And it seems this is not just hearsay—in Aug. 2022, a Dollar General distribution center in Bessemer, Alabama was shut down after three videos from employees went live on Facebook, showing rats in food and dead on the floor.
You might get overcharged.
In Nov. 2022, Dollar General Corp. was sued by the state of Ohio for charging customers higher prices at registers than what was advertised on shelves at 20 different stores.
Later that month, ex-employee Lynda Swank gave an interview with WHIO warning shoppers that store associates are not allowed to change prices at the register. Instead, she explained, higher-ups designated one day a week to be devoted to correcting price discrepancies. "There's a thing called Super Tuesday and nothing is supposed to be done that day until changes are done," Swank said.
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There's a good chance the store will be understaffed.
If you need assistance at Dollar General, it might be hard to find, as many of the stores are understaffed according to former employees.
"It was standard practice to have the cashier stocking merchandise while also running the register, because we were always short staffed. A couple times I had to run out back to get everything ready to unload a new shipment while I was the only one on the site and had customers waiting…" said an ex-employee on Reddit. "…there was literally a rule set by corporate to save money that only 2 employees can work at a time," said another.
In her interview with WHIO, Swank confirmed that stores usually only had two employees at a time, except for delivery days (which were never Tuesdays when more people were needed to deal with pricing issues).
The aisles may be cluttered with boxes… and pose a tripping hazard.
If you've ever walked into a Dollar General and wondered why there are boxes in the aisles, it's because there's not always enough room for storage.
In a Reddit thread complaining about how hard it is to navigate the aisles, an ex-employee said this is because the stores are built with very small back rooms. "Chances are the back is completely full and they have nowhere to put this stuff," they explained. "I know in my old store you had to play Tetris with those things to move around in the back."
Because the aisles are so jam-packed, they can pose a tripping hazard, especially for customers who use a walker, cane, or wheelchair. On TikTok, former Dollar General manager @whskybnt shared a video of how her store had trash on the floor, misplaced items, and aisles blocked by towers of boxes—all of which can be dangerous.
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Make sure to bring your ID with you.
If you're trying to buy tobacco products or beer, make sure to have your ID handy, no matter how old you are.
"I worked at dollar general in high school/college and one time I sold these two ~50 year old men cigarettes and the next day got in trouble for not carding them and the way my [sic] manger knew was because those two men also worked at a dollar general and called to let him know," @christianarnder tweeted. Another former employee confirmed in a Reddit thread that everyone had to be ID'ed to buy beer or cigarettes.