5 Worst Things to Buy at Big Lots, Retail Experts Say
The quality and prices aren't up to par.
Big Lots typically has big deals—especially if you shop strategically. The retailer sells a little bit of everything, and while you might not find everything on your shopping list, you could stumble upon a hidden gem at an incredible price, whether you were originally looking for it or not. That said, when you visit the store, there are some things you probably shouldn't buy, either because the quality isn't great or the prices don't match up to other discount stores. Read on to see what retail experts say are the worst things to buy at Big Lots.
The makeup on offer at Big Lots might be tempting, but experts caution against stocking up on it.
"It's similar to shopping at dollar stores in that the products could be expired or unknown brands where quality may be dubious," says Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com. "Rather than skimping on these products, it's better to find more affordable drugstore brands at stores like CVS or big-box retailers like Target and Walmart to save on your beauty routine."
While Big Lots is great at providing odds and ends, you'll want to skip it for things that need to hold up, including heavy-use furniture like couches, sofas, recliners, and dressers.
"You'll find that the padding is often deceptively thin, the cushions will quickly become lumpy, the frame will sag or break, and the fabric will puncture or tear away from the sides," says Daniel Szczesniak, founder, owner, and gift expert at All Gifts Considered.
Szczesniak says he had a personal experience buying such a couch, which came at an unbeatable price from Big Lots. "Sitting in it for more than a few minutes caused a noticeable depression in the seat, and the cushions began to feel lumpy and uncomfortable," he says.
However, he notes that some of the store's furniture items are a good bargain, like its side tables, TV stands, and solid wood or plastic chairs.
It might seem like a bargain to pick up a pack of pens or highlighters for a staggeringly low price at Big Lots, but Ramhold says you'll likely save money in the long run by purchasing them at stores like Target and Walmart—often for a similar original price.
"Cheaping out on office supplies can mean having to replace them more frequently," says Ramhold. "There's no need to skimp when you can find good deals elsewhere at any time."
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If you're craving snacks, Big Lots shouldn't be your top destination—you'll likely find a better deal somewhere else.
"The best value on these items is probably going to come from warehouse clubs like Costco or Sam's Club, but even traditional grocery stores can offer excellent savings and buy-one-get-one promotions in their weekly sales."
Condiments are another grocery aisle item that you'll find a better deal on at spots that aren't Big Lots.
"It's best to look to stores like Target and Walmart to stock up on ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce, and salad dressings along with things like peanut butter and jelly," says Ramhold. "Stick to these kinds of retailers and shop generic brands you trust or stock up during sales to stretch your dollar further."
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