15 Things to Avoid at the Dollar Store
The old adage "you get what you pay for" certainly applies to dollar-store toys. While a $1 price tag seems like a low-cost way to give your child a treat or add to the stash for a nephew's birthday, don't bother. Katie Curtis of Logan, Ohio, posted a picture on Facebook of her 3-year-old holding a dollar-store imitation Barbie that was dismembered in less than 10 minutes.
Dollar-store toys are not only poorly made -- they may be safety hazards. Several toys from these chains have been recalled in the past: a toy gun that posed a choking hazard, a remote control tank that could overheat, and a dart gun that caused the deaths of two children. In 2016, Dollar General recalled a toy truck deemed a fire hazard.
If your kids play with lots of battery-operated planes, trains, and other such toys (and inevitably leave them powered on), loading up on packs of generic batteries at the dollar store may seem like a swell idea. The problem, as Wired showed through a series of experiments, is that the batteries are packed with less energy than name brands. They may be adequate for something like a flashlight that is used infrequently; for heavy use, it's dollar-wise over the long haul to save the hassle of constantly replacing power cells by spending more upfront on higher-quality batteries. Moreover, cheap batteries are known to leak, which can damage electronics.
Another way to tell if dollar-store batteries are a good buy: Check the label. If the batteries contain carbon zinc, be sure to pass. This component is inferior to the lithium used by name brands.