Pondering the past decade or so, I can’t honestly remember my first dollar encounter. Dollar stores have become second nature; more prevalent than corner groceries, dollar stores crept into the market place like stealth bombers. The lure of inexpensive wrapping paper, household gadgets and craft supplies presented themselves as the bee’s knees. My dollar marriage soured around the time a cheap “energy saving” dollar store lightbulb burst into flames. Burst may be a bit of an exaggeration – it was more like toxic smoke spewing from the coil as alarming heat snaked it’s way to the business end. I wasn’t surprised, I was mad at myself for being stupid – you get what you pay for.
Dollar stores have become one of the fastest growing businesses in North America. Once upon a time people wanting to invest in a franchise looked at fast food – move over hamburgers – dollar stores now trade on the stock exchange. Not content with gift wrap and plastic tubs, they fancy themselves as grocers, pharmacists and home décor specialists. There was a time when WalMart meant the end of small retailers – now Wal Mart has dollar stores to fear.
The web is ablaze with stories on WalMart; debate over the percentage of goods made in China surface every other day. Wal Mart may have started the cheap at any cost craze – dollar stores close the deal. Dollar stores have become such a way of life, I see no turning back.
I can’t decide whether to laugh or cry; consumers have become so stupid, all that matters is the sticker price. It doesn’t seem to bother anyone that suicide nets are being installed in Chinese factories – conditions being so abhorrent, workers jump to their deaths rather than face another day. Nary a thought is given to banned chemicals or pesticides in food products – as long as that bag of garlic powder or honey bear is only a dollar, everybody is happy. Dangerous levels of lead in children’s toys or cosmetics – who cares, it only cost a dollar.