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The Dollar Store is the Macy's of the Recession

YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia , News Feature//Audio, Erricka X Posted: Dec 31, 2008

Editor's Note: With the slew of layoffs in California by the end of the year and a sketchy economy, many shoppers have begun going to their local Dollar Store, versus the bigger, expensive outlets like Target and Macy's. YO!Radio headed over to a few local Dollar Stores in the Bay Area and talked to customers about the advantages of the Dollar Store in these trying economic times. Erricka X is a content producer for YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia. Malcolm Marshall is a producer for YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia.

The National Bureau of Economic Research recently said that the U.S. has effectively been in a recession since December of 2007, but you didn't have to tell me that. In these rough economic times, the Dollar Store is the new Macy's.

Alright, alright, I'll be the first to admit it: when I was in high school and my mom would go to the dollar store for the occasional personal or household item, I hated it. I would stay in the car, duck down in the passenger seat, blast the radio and pray to God nobody saw me in the parking lot.

AUDIO: News Report from the dollar store and live in the studio with Street Soldiers Radio.


(5m 30s, mp3,4.5MB)Download File

I am of the generation of frugal, yet trendy, shopping experts who hawk places like Nordstrom and Target (affectionately called Targ-et). But with the economy getting worse and my recent move into a new apartment, my bargaining has taken on epic proportions.

So, a few weeks back, my limited funds and need for simple household cleaning supplies left me only one logical option the Dollar Store!

When I walked into the Richmond Dollar Tree, I was pleasantly surprised by the smell of a display of colored candles to my right, and a silk flower display to my left. Once fully inside, I glided around the store and was comforted by how well labeled and clean the store was. This wasn't as embarrassing as I thought it would be, in fact it was downright awesome

I found my items, and was lured by the low cost of double and triple A batteries and those Gillette razor cartridges that cost a million dollars at the regular stores. "Hey, this is alright," I thought self-assuredly as the cashier rang up my total. Only $29 bucks for four packs of batteries, two razor cartridges, dish soap, rubber gloves sponges and a couple of candles.

My recent epiphany left me wondering just how many other people are feeling the pinch of the super tight times. In a recent Barron's online report the stock market titan unleashed the sad news that the holiday season would be the slowest since 2002 due to increased unemployment and weak consumer spending. They speculate that value based stores like Dollar Tree, Big Lots and 99 Cents Only stores will be the only retailers to have a happy and profitable Christmas season.

Spurred by this knowledge, I decided to go out to the Fruitvale Dollar Tree and ask people what was in their Dollar Store Shopping Basket.

To my surprise, the first man I spoke with Dave Montgomery, an Oakland resident who, like me, patrolled the stores and braved a good sized line for cleaning supplies.

The second woman I spoke with was Eloise Stevenson who traveled all the way from Oklahoma to the dollar store well actually she is a traveling nurse and says she buys stuff from the dollar store because she travels a lot, and can throw away the things she buys.

Lisa, the mother of Xavier, a cute and rambunctious four-year-old boy echoed the sentiment of Dave and stated that she buys cleaning supplies at the dollar store but she says she finds value in the fact that they take EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer), and now sell food as well. She was gracious enough to share some of the clothing bargains she is often able to find.

Acacsia Chaddie stood in the parking lot waiting for her sister, her hands full of three white plastic bags hanging from her shoulders we struck up a warm conversation as she too marveled at the ample discounts the dollar store provided.

We shared our previous reservations about shopping in such an establishment when suddenly it dawned on me with no end in sight to California's budget crisis and more than 1 million projected layoffs to hit the state by years end, the dollar store isn't just a novelty place to shop anymore - it's a necessity.

More from YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia:

Wanna See My Girlfriend Naked? Look at my Phone

Cold as ICE -- San Francisco's Immigration Identity Crisis

Customizing Your Kicks -- Nike jumps on the bandwagon

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