Thursday, January 28, 2016

Trusting the dollar store.

Reviews of products found in the dollar store used to appear on the old version of this site with tedious regularity---I enjoyed them, anyway. What I found over time was that the items I reviewed were as good or pretty close to as good as the same items found in hoity-toity stores like Walmart.

In some areas the size of the product was just smaller, making it cheaper---often $1 cereal boxes are comically small---but that's mainly in dollar stores like Dollar Tree that try to stick to the everything-is-a-dollar philosophy. (Dollar General, on the other hand, is a discounter but along the lines of an everything-is-rounded-down-to-the-nearest-dollar philosophy, which you could use to sell everything from candy bars to Cadillacs.) The quality of the products I tested ranged from Pretty Okay to Meh, with but a few Blecchs. You don't expect much; Quality is Not Job 1 at the dollar store.

And then, while waiting to check out recently, I saw this:


Home pregnancy test from the Dollar Tree?


This staggered me for any number of reasons, but those reasons would include:

1) It's on the impulse-buy rack by the cashier. Is this really an impulse buy, along with candy, small lint brushes, Star Wars toys, and notions kits? One of these things is not like the others. "Oh, that's right, I wanted to get that because I might be PREGNANT."

2) Despite all the good stuff I just said about dollar stores, I think whatever drives you to want to get a pregnancy test, your #1 concern must be accuracy. You either want a baby desperately or you are horrified that you might be carrying one, but I doubt any woman is completely indifferent to whether she is with child, and if one was indifferent, then she wouldn't care enough to buy a test. Accuracy is by far the top claim made by manufacturers of these things, so it's obvious you'd want to get the best. This test might be fine... but still. CVS charges about five times as much for its store-brand test. I would think it would be important enough to spend a few more dollars.

3) The other function of the impulse counter is the larceny arsenal---the fave spot for your five-finger discounter, whether the target be candy or lip balm or anything else. I imagine a terrified and humiliated kid swiping one of these tests, scared of being seen, and running out of the store. But that doesn't explain why the store hung these here. Unless they're trying to get rid of them and they don't care if it's through theft.

On the whole I think I'd recommend sticking with the cheap cereal, peanut butter, and hand soap and leaving the pregnancy tests to the drugstores. Sometimes it doesn't pay to pinch pennies.

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