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Dollar Store Shopping


FoodMan
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Last week I accompanied my wife to pick up some balloons at a dollar store, called something like “Dollar Tree” but I am not sure. I was truly surprised but how many kitchen “stuff” you can buy for a dollar each. I picked up nice sturdy measuring spoon/cup (8 piece set), wax paper (Reynolds brand), stainless steel with plastic handle ice cream scoop and small stainless steel “ramekins” called Sauce Cups but I am thinking about using them for small cakes- test pending (set of 4). Of course all the bigger items are not a good purchase (knives, pans, pots,…) and I will not buy them at this place. But all the other stuff including tupperware, measuring cups, aluminum foil, plastic wrap sounds like a very good deal. I figured I’ll test the stuff and see if it is not worth a dollar, I’ll see if that ice cream scoop breaks on me or something. Worst case scenario, I am out a single dollar!

Does anyone else shop at the dollar store for kitchen supplies? What good bargains have you found? Is there a reason not to buy the stuff there?

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Does anyone else shop at the dollar store for kitchen supplies? What good bargains have you found? Is there a reason not to buy the stuff there?

Elie

It's been a gamble and I won some and lost some! I bought some bar towels there that were superb - 2 for $1 and they washed and washed and lasted and lasted and were absorbent - needless to say - they stopped carrying these! I always buy the flexible cutting mats there - they save clean up for some things and at 2 for $1 cannot be beaten. Two half-sheet pans as good as ones I paid $30 each for, I got for $9 each. On the other hand, some stainless steel shaker tins had lids that simply would not fit properly - they either cross-threaded or would not stay on. A set of measuring spoons and cups that lost their markings first time through the dishwasher! So I still go and still look but I think that lots of things deserve a pass no matter how cheap!

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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I have bought plastic baggies at the dollar store, they are decent, but I am spoiled by the good gladlock zipper bags. For wooden spoons, spatulas, measuring cups, etc, the dollar store can't be beat.

Trash bags from the dollar store are utter crap though. The only thing I use now are the ultra-heavy duty Glad contractor bags, way overkill, but they don't rip open from broken beer bottles thrown into the trash, and they won't bust open dumping rotten chicken guts into the back of my car when I am dropping off the trash at the dumpster.

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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I once read an article about the store's in the LA area called 99 cent only stores. I personally love that store, but I wont get much kitchen stuff there( aside from bamboo skewars). For instance. The reynolds foil sheets are sold in a pack of 25 for 99 cents at the most dollar stores, but the supermarket pack is 50 often for 1.99( or even less with a coupon). People just think "oh, one dollar, what a bargain". but they are not looking at the whole picture.

I've used those generic baggies and I hate them, they are thin, flimsy and the seals often dont line up. I stock up when they're on sale at Target.

Food is another thing. I make exceptions for baking soda and when they have name brand spices. I once picked up some lawrey's chicken seasoning that was very good. If you need a small bottle of capers that is also a good deal. I dont find their canned goods to be that great of a bargain either.

The best bargain I've found is candles( BUT ONLY ONES THAT ARE MADE IN THE USA). I love candles and I burn them everyday. Dont buy any candles made in China, the quality is just terrible.

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Last week I accompanied my wife to pick up some balloons at a dollar store, called something like “Dollar Tree” but I am not sure. I was truly surprised but how many kitchen “stuff” you can buy for a dollar each. I picked up nice sturdy measuring spoon/cup (8 piece set), wax paper (Reynolds brand), stainless steel with plastic handle ice cream scoop and small stainless steel “ramekins” called Sauce Cups but I am thinking about using them for small cakes- test pending (set of 4). Of course all the bigger items are not a good purchase (knives, pans, pots,…) and I will not buy them at this place. But all the other stuff including tupperware, measuring cups, aluminum foil, plastic wrap sounds like a very good deal. I figured I’ll test the stuff and see if it is not worth a dollar, I’ll see if that ice cream scoop breaks on me or something. Worst case scenario, I am out a single dollar!

Does anyone else shop at the dollar store for kitchen supplies? What good bargains have you found? Is there a reason not to buy the stuff there?

Elie

I love those dollar stores. I always buy stuff from them; namebrand toothpaste, namebrrand aluminum foil, ziplock bags, etc.. They also sell paper "lunch bags" which I use for mushroom hunting. As far as I know they're a great deal and I am a true bargain hunter! It's definitely worth a dollar since the same stuff at the supermarket down the block is usually 2x or 3x the price. :wink:

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A convenience store where I often stop had a Dollar Store annex for awhile. I bought garbage bags, aka "bosas para la basura y para jardin". They were so flimsy I needed to use two at a time, so I didn't really save much.

I found it interesting that the Caution about "plastic bags can cause suffocation ..."

was only provided in English.

They also didn't come with twist ties.

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My mom shops at the 99 cents store constantly. Unfortunately, she buys a lot of food from them which is the one thing you really shouldn't buy from there. They get a lot of passed-expiration or near-expired items and bulk lots of food that weren't good enough to be sold as generic.

The last time I visited my mom she gave me a 12-ounce can of V-8 to drink with my lunch. I opened the can and out came tomato water, not V-8 juice.

There's a reason why they were selling these at the 99 cent store and not the regular grocery store. :hmmm:

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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My mom shops at the 99 cents store constantly.  Unfortunately, she buys a lot of food from them which is the one thing you really shouldn't buy from there.  They get a lot of passed-expiration or near-expired items and bulk lots of food that weren't good enough to be sold as generic.

The last time I visited my mom she gave me a 12-ounce can of V-8 to drink with my lunch.  I opened the can and out came tomato water, not V-8 juice. 

There's a reason why they were selling these at the 99 cent store and not the regular grocery store. :hmmm:

That is pretty bad. We never buy any food items there, not even candy bars. So far all the stuff I bought is doing ok though. Well I have not tried the small sauce cups to make cakes yet but the scoop and measuring cups seem ok.

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I've purchased two useful items from dollar stores. The first was a $1 rubber

mallet which has been designated the "kitchen" mallet and the other was $1

cotton side towels that I use in cooking class.

I know it's stew. What KIND of stew?

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In LA we have 99 cent stores, Shim's, Kenkos (I think that's the name) and The Dollar Tree (or is The Dollar Store?). They carry different types of merchandise. Alot of the stuff is just junk. But there are some great bargains. As for food I was afraid to buy food at any of them for a long time, still am a little but some of them carry regular supermarket brands that seem ok. In general I don't eat packaged foods so it's not something that I've investigated.

Overall these places seem more hit than miss with the bargains. If it's crap you're only out a buck, ya know?

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My favorite dollar store here is King Dollar. They have some amazing food items. I have gotten really good olive oil, some interesting vinegars and weird canned goods. A friend gave me this big can of short sections of corn cobs for a joke gift one time. The can and label is so interesting I can't make myself open it. It looks really cute sitting on the counter. :laugh: Toiletries are my favorite snag at the place but I always spend time in the food section and am amazed. If I were into canned sardines and such it would be a fun place. Most of the equipment I have left alone but have found name brand wrapping materials and such. I have seen the bar towels but I get those at the restaurant supply so I haven't compared them.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Some of the food products there are great deals. If you can find name brand stuff that is just near/past expiration or sell-bye dates, you have a hot score. Most of that stuff will last a good couple months past that date anyway (depending on the type of item obiviously).

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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I don't buy the food products from the dollar store, but I've bought:

-dish towels for the kitchen

-pastry brushes

-sponges/scrubbing pads

-kitchen magnets

-waste baskets (this was actually 8 dollars, but dollar stores in Vancouver seem to sell items up to the 10 dollar range)

I bought a set of measuring cups from the dollar store, but they were of such cheap quality that the couldn't even support the weight of flour when I used them (the handle would start bending). I threw those out right away and got a better set.

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If any of you guys come to Honolulu, Hawaii, you have to shop at our "dollar stores" here -- they're Japanese and carry all manner of great Japanese housewares that I'd happily pay five times as much for!

Gadgets like dumpling presses, lacquer-lookalike plastic bowls and trays, gadgets to clean hard-to-reach spaces like the spouts of teapots, and all manner of plastic storage containers.

One chain is called Marukai 99 cent (darn--my keyboard doesn't have a "cent" key) stores, and the other is a section within Daiei, a Japanese supermarket chain.

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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(darn--my keyboard doesn't have a "cent" key)

If you're using a PC, the keystroke combination for the ¢ symbol is Alt+0162 (hold the Alt key down and use the number pad to type in the number combination).

I've never heard of some of the food brands being sold at these dollar/99¢ stores.

That scares me. :unsure:

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Holiday decorations

paper plates, napkins etc

foil pans 4@ 1

shower curtain liner

vinal table cloth for BBQing

seasonal crap to decorate table

plastic serving bowls that are really really close to my dish pattern

show candles for my wrought iron chandelier

yes I like the dollar store

Edited by rooftop1000 (log)

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Dollar stores in general are hit-or-miss, you can't just grab items at random. In my kitchen I've got a couple of spray bottles for sanitizer, and some squirt bottles that I use occasionally for sauces when we've got company and I want my plates to look nice. I found a little chrome trivet 8" in diameter, which I use when I want to pour ganache glaze over a 9" or 10" cake; that works pretty well and hey, extra trivets are always handy.

I've bought several pastry brushes from dollar stores; they've varied in quality but no more so than the ones from more respectable sources. I've bought various towels, my fingers tell me all I need to know except colourfastness, and I can deal with that afterwards. I've grabbed various bits and pieces from the craft section, too, but I'm tired and my brain is too fuzzy to pull up a f'rinstance. I seldom buy foods there, just the odd time I'll grab some munchies.

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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(darn--my keyboard doesn't have a "cent" key)

If you're using a PC, the keystroke combination for the ¢ symbol is Alt+0162 (hold the Alt key down and use the number pad to type in the number combination).

THANKS! I've made a note of that!

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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Oh, yes, and several little ceramic ramekins for making brulees and pots de creme and suchlike. Fifty cents each.

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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Every store is so different. Bags of wooden spoons for a buck are great. Cheap plates/platters and flower vases to take to parties/picnics etc and just leave them there. The selection of candle holders for tea lights/votives is good for tablescapes. Have found a nice wine bag or two. Of course, kid stuff for parties, small cheesey toys, kid's books, bubblebath soap and sippy cups can't be beat. I found the generic foil to be really thin.

What disease did cured ham actually have?

Megan sandwich: White bread, Miracle Whip and Italian submarine dressing. {Megan is 4 y.o.}

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I've never heard of some of the food brands being sold at these dollar/99¢ stores.

That scares me. :unsure:

I guess you've never shopped at an Aldi or Save-a-Lot no-frills supermarket, then. Most of the branded products these stores carry are private labels you've never heard of.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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The "dollar store" is the modern-day version of Woolworth's original "five-and-dime." Recall that those stores got their name because all the items they carried were priced at 5¢ and 10¢. Adjusted for inflation, today's dollar stores are probably cheaper than the five-and-dime was for the shopper of the 1890s.

Dollar Tree is one of the major national dollar store operators. Another, Dollar General, is actually misnamed, for it sells merchandise for prices above $1.

There is a Dollar Tree in the 1500 block of Chestnut, not far from me, and a couple of independent dollar stores closer to me in the 1200 block. I haven't purchased any food items from them except for snacks (however, buying a 6-ounce bag of potato chips for $1 from Dollar Tree is no different from buying a 99¢ bag of Utz chips from the convenience store around the corner from me; yes, they are the same weight); but I have bought storage containers, plastic pitchers (made in India) and wooden spoons from these stores, and I've gotten my money's worth out of those.

Hey, NulloModo: You want a less-expensive option for kitchen trash bags? I've found that the America's Choice tall kitchen bags (A&P-family stores; that's Super Fresh to us) perform very well. If you are using something larger than a 13-gallon bag, I can't speak to that, though.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Does anyone here live near a DAISO Japanese Department Store?

It's a 100¥ place-nothing for more than-you guessed it-100¥ (allegedly).

There's one in Richmond-a suburb of Vancouver that has a large Chinese population-and these stores are said to be 'all the rage' in Japan.

Some decent deals on ceramic ware custom made in China and a lot of the same old/same old-I suppose if I lived closer I'd check it out more often.

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Does anyone here live near a DAISO Japanese Department Store?

It's a 100¥ place-nothing for more than-you guessed it-100¥ (allegedly).

There's one in Richmond-a suburb of Vancouver that has a large Chinese population-and these stores are said to be 'all the rage' in Japan.

Some decent deals on ceramic ware custom made in China and a lot of the same old/same old-I suppose if I lived closer I'd check it out more often.

No, but the 98-cent and 99-cent Japanese stores in Hawaii are basically the same thing. Except for some American snack foods and candies, all their products come from Japan or China and I imagine most are custom-made for the Japanese parent companies.

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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