How dollar stores score the highest profit margins

In those cases I still buy a product of reasonable quality and either take it Roth me (like a nice cereal bowl we needed for our kid‘s musli) or I leave it at the rental.

I am super cheap - won’t buy coffee on the go, for example, or take our with the colleagues - but “donating” a $5 item the owner forgot about doesn’t bankrupt me and will benefit dozens of families after me.

I often think about this with the property ladder. I could pay less a month than I pay in rent right now if I got a mortgage and bought an apartment with it and I would have a real estate asset at the end… if only I had enough money to pay a deposit first.


Then you have never been anywhere rural. Not the kind of rural where you have no cell service, or houses, and the road hasn’t seen any repairs since it was put in +50 years ago. The kind of rural my parents grew up in. A county one of two over from a major city, ones that don’t have major interstates or highways going through them.

Below are two Google Maps snips of the area my parents were raised in.
Dollar Generals weren’t there 20 years ago. And in fact there used to be a local grocery store in East Bend, but it’s changed owners multiple times and I think it has finally closed due to the building falling apart. People who live there are land rich and money poor.


I wouldn’t say I was painting Walmart as the good guy. I was sharing an excerpt, that was comparing two different kinds of problematic businesses.


And those are Dollar General, which, while they have ‘Dollar’ in their name, are not an actual $1 store but a direct competitor of Walmart (just in smaller sizes). They’re why Walmart is making smaller Neighborhood Market style stores.

In rural neighborhoods, Dollar General is referred to as “The Mall” because they’re the only store for miles around. I’ve found they have decent quality products for the most part, but are also probably working the margins in every way possible. For SURE they are understaffed and probably vulnerable to crime.


And Dollar General has an aggressive expansion plan, targeting areas that are too small for a Walmart.

Dollar Tree and Family Dollar are owned by the same company. I’ve noticed in my travels around the state that Dollar Trees are in small strip malls in cities and suburbs, Family Dollars are in the cities and suburbs in neighborhoods without a Walmart and compete directly with Dollar Generals.

I regularly shop at our neigborhood Dollar Tree. Things like coffee filters and parchment paper for a dollar? Sure! Small amounts of party supplies, weird craft items, and Xmas toys are all things that are worth a dollar. The fancy plastic and cloth fans I use for hot flashes come from there, as do the many many pairs of sunglasses that the family needs (apparently there is a black hole for sunglasses in our house).

Yes, it’s an exploitative place, but in my mind better than Walmart, if only because the employees are nicer.

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This feels like an “outraged Karen” post. Dollar stores fill a need, much like Target, Costco, and even convenience stores which will charge you $3.29 for a Coke. Bargains do abound in the dollar stores for careful buyers. As opposed to the buy in bulk deals, sometimes the small, single use products are just what you need, and they’re often only a dollar.

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Outraged Karen?
I read it more as an author telling us about some interesting info he discovered while writing his most recent book.

Also, if only “Karens” got outraged by unsustainable business practices instead of “existing while Black,” amiright?


I have to say, I’ve never seen a story with Dollar Store in the title that doesn’t include Dollar General as if it is a dollar store. The authors think they have something to offer. They don’t. As you say, it’s just embarrassing.

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OK. That’s it. This is for everyone who has posted this.

Look, Terry Pratchett was a very, very good author. Not going to dispute that. And his books are filled with a lot of humor and wisdom.

But here’s the problem: While everything he says here about boots is right, the underlying inference is wrong.

The reason why the rich are rich isn’t because they buy $50 boots instead of $10 boots.

The rich are rich because they have found ways to exploit other people and transfer their wealth to them. Period. That is how you get rich: you find a way to transfer the value other people make to yourself. You cannot save your way into wealth, you can’t spend your way into wealth with your consumable goods. In order to be wealthy you have to figure out how to transfer other people’s wealth to yourself.

The primary path to wealth is to exploit other people’s labor so that you take a chunk of the value that they produce with their labor and take it for yourself. You really can’t get rich working on your own. You can become less poor; but not rich. Working for yourself can make you less poor, but not rich. In order to really scale up and become rich, you pretty much have to some how exploit other people’s labor.

This really, really needs to be understood.

If you shop carefully and spend money well, yes, you might be able to make a more comfortable life for yourself. And you should save so that you can have money when you need it.

Without investment you cannot save your way to wealth or spend your way to wealth. You cannot save money at a store; you can only spend less. Spending less is not “saving money”.

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If you don’t know the difference between Dollar Tree and Dollar General

Well, drop the facts, how does Dollar General fix food deserts and/or not be a dollar store?


It depends on your definition of the word “Dollar Store”. If you use it to mean a store that sells goods priced in dollars, then yes. But there wouldn’t be many stores in the USA that aren’t.

I would argue that Dollar General is more of a general store: a store that sells a little bit of everything. They have a very limited selection of the top items that people in the area need or want most often. They have intentionally low price points, but their price points vary between $1 and $50. They do tend to price on the whole dollar ($4 instead of $3.97) or coin amounts ($3.75 or $3.50, not $3.49 or $3.69)

Technically, they do “fix” food deserts in that their model allows them to do business in locations with very few people who will shop their store. They have exceptionally low overhead and low staffing requirements. (And thus return little economic activity back to their community.) They locate their businesses in locations that have barriers to their customer base getting to a different shop; in rural areas, that’s a longer car ride, in urban areas that may be streets that are not designed for walking, intimidating anti-pedestrian features (like train tracks, rivers, highways, etc), or other areas where the average customer would find value in not going elsewhere, even though the selection is worse and the prices are higher.

I would not say they are a good fix for food deserts because they rarely stock unprocessed food. Most of their food is either frozen or shelf stable. I think almost everyone, including DG customers, would prefer to do their grocery shopping at a real grocery store with fresh food, meats, and dairy… but that takes more effort. So some will do the big shop at the nearest grocery store and buy forgotten or impulse things at DG; other people don’t have the resources to do that so they make do with boxed food indefinitely.

They have a very different marketing strategy. I doubt if anyone considers them to be the best store, but… they are right there, I don’t want to drive 30 minutes to the Walmart and spend that much time shopping, or I don’t want to walk the three miles and under the interstate with the homeless guys to get to target for my one thing.

The Dollar Tree, on the other hand, almost everything in it is literally speaking $1. That box of soap? $1. That bottle of pop? $1. Probably 95% of their SKUs are sold for the same price - one dollar. That is what I define a “dollar store” as. There is rarely a “captive audience” effect at the Dollar Tree, and I bet almost no one uses it as their primary store.

Dollar Generals are basically high priced, low selection convenience stores that stock more actually needed stuff. They are a half step up from a rural gas station’s grocery and T-shirt departments…

Dollar Trees are normally not located in food deserts, they are normally (at least in my experience) located in a shopping center near other retail.


And that’s at all what was Pratchett was writing about in that paragraph. It’s about the unfairness that the rich are not only rich, for whatever reason (is Rowling rich because she exploited people?), but that that get better bang for buck On top of that.

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Okay; distinguished it from Lard Gentile (fiat tallow price or we eat our hat!) then.

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