My 6 and 7 year old daughters, who follow their spendthrift parents into these chains every week, quickly learn that if you have a little money, the dollar store is heaven, like Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.
This image has nagged at me for a long time, and I need to put it down. The top cons are that dollar stores:
Smack of socialism
While the enterprises are certainly capitalistic, the notion that we collectively invest in a truckload of crap so that products can be redistributed at a flat price borders on socialism. Store patrons act as a collective, taking what they can from the socialized goods at a regulated price.
Yes, a few gems lie in the rubble, but they are few. The goal of the store is to lure us in with a diamond or two, knowing that we will fill our little baskets with the inferior products.
Suggest that all items for purchase are of equal value
Leveling the price arbitrarily to a dollar suggests that products are actually worth one hundred pennies or more. However, all the products vary greatly in worth, and many, such as cheap crayons, soap, shampoo, rubber snakes and balls, candy, and cans of dog food, can be found cheaper at Walmart, the store we love to hate.
Simplify everyday finance superficially
Oversimplifying finance may seem insignificant, but in a culture that uses magnetic cards as if the plastic holds infinite resources, further distortion of budgeting is a big deal. Children are learning how parents use magnetic-card-money, and manipulation of prices leads to more careless purchases. Even coupon hunting, which might be a learning experience for children, is eliminated because everything is a bargain already. All is equal.
Satisfy immediate wants in place of longterm needs
Our children learn that parents buy lots of stuff because it's only a dollar. Let me tell you, when the kids get their own green bills, the first thing they want to do is head to the dollar store. They spend their money on cheap, poor quality trinkets when they could save up and purchase something of real value. A baseball and bat purchased for a dollar has far less quality and durability than the real deal. My house is full of hollow plastic garbage.
I might be satisfied if they would at least stock a healthy selection of $1 books, a feat easily accomplished, so my children could leave with something of value instead of soap bubbles and those damn plastic Cinderella crowns. The book selection is as ridiculous as the whole lot.
In the end, I know the answer lies in quality parenting and choices. As a parent, I refuse to support stores that water down selection, distort value, and encourage careless purchases.
Feel free to disagree, with kindness.