Smalltown America finds ecstasy at Dollar General


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/10/18/smalltown-america-finds-ecstas.html


#2

Man. What we need are Japanese style hyakuen shops.

Dollar stores in the US manage to be cheap, plentiful and crappy. Hyakuen shops manage to be cheap, plentiful and actually pretty good quality stuff! Not to mention weirdly cool trinkets like a door sign with a drunken panda bear, which reads in Japanese, “I drank too much. Hungover person lies within; (honorific) please let me rest.”


#3

Dollar General sells X now? Fanfuckingtastic! I’ve long said small town America needs to rolllllllll with it


#4

I was totally expecting this to be a story about how Dollar General now sells dildos.


#5

I’m sure that a permanent class of the jobless and angry will lead to no problems whatsoever that can’t be solved with satisfyingly priced tat.


#6

Daiso! They have useful things I can’t get anywhere else (like shoe-polishing mittens, albeit not in ideal sizes for me).


#7

Agreed; Daiso puts the dollar store to shame.


#8

“Essentially what the dollar stores are betting on in a large way is that we are going to have a permanent underclass in America. It’s based on the concept that the jobs went away, and the jobs are never coming back, and that things aren’t going to get better in any of these places.”

Not only the dollar stores but also payday loan outfits, pawnshops, rent-to-own stores, liquor and pot shops, mini-casinos, evangelical churches, etc. Since the choice offered these days is free-market fundamentalism or neoliberalism-lite and automation continues its march forward, the trend toward the unnecessariat makes this a likely vision of main street America in the near future: Hill Valley in the timeline where Biff Tannen becomes POTUS.


#9

“…the jobs went away, and the jobs are never coming back, and…things aren’t going to get better in any of these places.”

Well, shit.


#10

Plus they have really cool employees.


#11

While you’re shitting, the other guy sees an opportunity to get rich.


#12

When I was working at a firm in Norton, Kansas they had a Dollar General there that was the only other place besides the local grocery store and the ShopKo where you could get buy food (The IGA in the area closed just before I left in 2014). And wow they really did try to make it look nice compared to Dollar Generals in my home town of Wichita (much larger city by comparison, 2k vs 400k+). It bothered me that this was considered okay by the locals considering how all their other options were extremely expensive by comparison (I think the average markup I saw was around 30% what I would pay if I were in Wichita). I don’t know how folks in rural America afford the prices they pay but it’s no surprise Dollar General is going to jump at those markets.


#13

And this is hardly limited to rural areas. A Dollar General store is going in on my route to work, replacing, of all things, a Family Dollar store. This is in Cambridge, MA, halfway between Harvard and MIT.


#14

Don’t we already live in that timeline?


#15

Welcome to the early stages of the Jackpot, I guess.

Start learning how to make drugs now?


#16

Dollar General: the anus that all that is craptastic flows.


#17

<pedant>
From the article:

(Dollar General hasn’t technically been a dollar store for decades, and only a quarter of its products sell for that amount today.)

</pedant>

Much in the same way that places like Woolworth’s, Moses, and Newberry’s still called themselves 5-and-10-cent stores, years after inflation surpassed what are no longer even gumball prices. Thus I’m not sure why the “I love dollar stores” comparison of DG with Dollar Tree, Everything’s 99 cents, etc. DG (and Family Dollar) are less festooned with worthless crap and per-unit flim-flam* than Dollar Tree.

*For example, 5 units for the low price of $1.00 versus 100 units at the princely sum of $5.00.

Having said that, I figure it was some kind of indicator for our local shopping center when the Pier 1 store closed and a Dollar Tree opened in its place.


#18

Is it terrible that after reading this, my first thought was “huh, I ought to invest in Dollar General stock”?


#19

I guess I’m the only one who shops there?


#20

A guy I worked with ended up quasi-homeless (priced out like more and more people in this city), and to save money he ate at the dollar store almost exclusively: ramen, off-brand cereals, peanut butter, and cookies (actually, off-brand everything.) It was both admirable and disgusting, I’m sure it wasn’t healthy.