99 cent stores have a lot of benefits. They sell the basics that everyone needs. Cleaners, kitchen supplies, tableware, makeup, electric cords, and a lot more. And what is more, they sell it at a very cheap price. Hence the name. Whereas regular supermarkets will sell different brands of the same product at varying prices, allowing you to compare and match. But those prices can not match up against the 99 cent store prices. The thing is, much of what 99 cent stores sell you are pretty much cheap knock offs of the original product. These cheap knock offs are also made with very cheap material, which can be bad for you health and the environment as well. While a lot of the deals are great and perfect for a family on a budget or a broke college kid, there are some products that you will wand to avoid.
99 cent stores are essentially stores that offer products for sale at 99 cents or less. There are many different kinds of these stores all over the place. They can go by names like Dollar Store, 99 Cent and Up, or Less, 5 Below, all specializing in a certain price range and clientele. Name brands in 99 cent stores actually show up in a number of ways manufacturer surplus, company overstock, new packaging, product renaming, misprint labels, and much more. When any of these hiccups happen, the product is then sold to dollar stores at a much lower price, essentially, to get rid of it. A lot of the “no name” products actually have some relation to some brands you would recognize. Usually the difference between the two products is just the price, however, sometimes the quality or ingredients will change as well.
Another way that 99 cent stores keep their prices low is by selling “off brand” products. These are brands that do not pay for the added overhead of national advertising. This is what leads to the trouble about inspiring brand loyalty for these products.
Deals Over Quality
99 cent stores can save you a ton of money. However, the products you are buying probably do not have the best quality. In fact, they could actually contain toxins that can be extremely harmful to you or whomever you are buying them for.
Researchers recently made a test of 164 products from four of the largest U.S. dollar store chains. The test was to find out if the products had any questionable chemicals. The chemicals in question are lead, phthalates, and polyvinyl chloride plastic (PVC or vinyl). The result was surprising and horrifying. More than 80% of the products had at least one hazardous chemical, way above the safe levels. It turns out, children are the most in harm’s way.
99 Cent Store Products to Avoid
Obviously, there are some products sold in 99 cent stores that you should just plain stay away from. Yes, they are much cheaper than the name brands, but the quality is not the same and they should not be trusted at all.
Batteries– most 99 cent store batteries are carbon zinc, which drains power very quickly. Alkaline batteries are much better. Remember to recondition your batteries when they die, instead of simply throwing them away.
Toothpaste- some toothpaste are made in foreign countries. They can contain a higher amount of Fluoride than is standard by the American Dental Association.
Vitamins– in 2004, a Consumer’s Report study found that more than half of the dollar store multivitamins were missing at least one nutrient that was on the label. Several of the vitamins also did not dissolve properly.
Electronics– these products can contain undersized wiring which has a risk of overheating. This can lead to an electrical fire, do not need to tell you why that is bad.
Toys– unfortunately, kids toys are a serious risk at 99 cent stores. Many have sharp edges or pieces which kids can swallow easily. A lot of the “no name” brands of toys have minimal information on the packaging and do not include the age range of the toys.
Another big issue is that many dollar store toys have been recalled for containing lead paint as well as containing phthalates.
Jewelry– many jewelry items have also been recalled by the stores for containing high levels of lead.
The chemicals in question have been linked to various health issues over the past. Phthalates are found in many inks, paints, and other materials. They can: interfere with the body’s hormone system which can cause birth defects, reduce fertility, contribute to prostate and testicular cancer, create learning disabilities, cause asthma and allergies, and lead to diabetes. Lead which companies use in PVC and in production of metal products like jewelry, can harm brain development. It has been shown to have links to learning disabilities, lower IQ, and behavior and attention problems. PVC is found in many plastics and releases harmful chemicals, like mercury, vinyl chloride, and dioxins. These chemicals contribute to everything from liver damage to cancer.