September 30, 2013

The Shopper’s Thrill of the Great Bargain Find: Dollar Tree and Great Books (For a Buck)

 I’ve been living the Voluntary Simplicity lifestyle for many years now, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve lost that thrill of stumbling upon a great bargain while shopping. It’s just that the store names have changed, and the amount that I’m willing to pay is lots (LOTS) less now.

That zing in your heart strings, or purse strings, when you find something great for a low price? It’s still there.

Like it was for me last week.

Go back with me, Dear Reader, as I was pushing my little green shopping cart through the aisles of my local Dollar Tree, which in my opinion is the nicest dollar store out there. (At least in my neck of the woods, San Antonio.) Sure, there’s the need to eagle eye the products here, as in any bargain paradise (be it thrift store, flea market, garage sale, or WalMart) - you have to discern quality from crud.

Dollar Tree is My Favorite Dollar Store -- I Shop Dollar Tree Once a Month for Bargains

There are quality items to be found at Dollar Tree, and the reason that I prefer this chain to the others is two-fold: if I pick it up, I know it’s $1.00 or less (unlike some other “dollar” stores) and there’s more quality stuff at the Dollar Tree chains. At least, this has been my experience. Plus, they’re clean and their workers are friendly and helpful.

I visit Dollar Tree once a month without fail because I find great things there, like this week: 

  1. Brillo sponges (not pads), blue, with a scruffy surface on one side (package of two for a buck). 
  2. Index cards (200/$1.00)(I love using index cards for lots of things, it’s Old School, I know). 
  3. Plastic flowers for my outdoor wreathes (amazing quality, these plastic blooms - very slow to fade). 
  4. Betty Crocker kitchen stuff (got a primo pasta spoon for $1.00). 
  5. Baskets and bins (sweet, big reed basket for a buck - perfect for a gift basket). 
  6. Gift bags (this store doesn’t have the great selection I have seen in other D-Trees, but big bags for a buck is still nice). 
  7. Tape (got Scotch brand clear tape, enough to last me a year at least, two rolls for a buck). 
  8. Del Monte canned vegetables (two regular cans for a buck). 
  9. Dog toys (I don’t buy their edible offerings, but the small stuffed toys are safe and my pups love them - for the 30 minutes it takes for them to tear them apart outside in the grass.) 
  10. Books. That’s right, Dear Reader. BOOKS. 

My local Dollar Tree has some wonderful finds - and I thought I’d share with you the books I’ve bought this month at Dollar Tree: 

Is This Unfair to the Author? Geez Louise, I Hope Not 

I’m not the only one who has discovered great reads at the dollar store. Lynn Viehl writes of buying up some of her author/friend’s books upon discovering them at a dollar store in her April 2005 blog post - and she explains the reasons why finding books in a dollar store might make an author cringe.

 I love authors, I love books, I don’t want to hurt writers in any way. However, without Dollar Tree I would not have known about Richard Lupoff - nor would I read Linda Fairstein (even though I have heard of her name before).

Are these writers making money off my Dollar Tree buys? Nope; these are “remaindered remainders” as Viehl explains. Jance, Fairstein, Evanovich, Briggs, and Lupoff will make no more from their artistry and hard work on my copies than if I’d borrowed their books from the library.

However, they’ve gained a fan in me through DollarTree, and that’s got to be worth something, right? Especially when you consider that these are all series reads, where I’m going to be searching for the rest of the series? (Well, except for Plum. I’ve got almost every Stephanie Plum already.)

Plus, I like to think it’s better to scoop up these great finds at the Dollar Tree than to leave them there. I mean, the only thing worse than finding these books at the dollar store would be to discover that no one bought them there, right?
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