Dollar stores vs name brand products

toomuchglassOctober 4, 2007

I love my Dollar Tree store. I get so many great things there - you can't tell the expensive stuff from the dollar stuff. One thing I've always wondered about -- is Name brand "knock-offs" .(I don't know what else to call them.)

Example -- I have to use "Sensodyne" toothpaste --- it's over $4 at the grocery store ... But "Sensitve" toothpaste at the dollar store is packaged in the same color box - the same style ~~ after trying it - you can't tell it from the real thing. Mouthwash ,too. "Antiseptic Mouth Wash " HAS to be Listerine. Dog chews -- the exact thing that's over $3 in a store - is a buck there. Are they the same product ? Do you know how "generic " works ? I'm dying to know how they can do this ! My DH always says "Same factory - different door" .

Do you know ?? ~~ Thanks in Advance ~~ !!

** PS - there are a few generic products that I dislike enough that I would pay for name brands - but not many.

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In recent months there was a recall of dollar store toothpaste that contained the same ingredient as antifreeze, that was made in other countries.

Having said that, I live for dollar stores, and some items they sell. As with ANY store and ANY product you buy, you must be diligent that you are getting a good item and a good deal.

I have great deals on items that are the EXACT same thing that is sold in high priced retail stores, under fancier names, with large prices.

I have never been very brand loyal. Since I struck out on my own, I always looked for items that I liked, that were a good price, and rarely bought because of advertising and labels. Food being one of those items. Generics have always found their way to my cart.

I am leery with the China (and other countries) imports being tainted. I lost pets to the poisoned food. I got fooled, as many did, because I was buying trusted names, and still, these were not safe.

I personally wouldn't buy food or personal care items that I don't in some way recognize the name. Grocery stores, as well as Wal-mart and Dollar General stores have their own 'generic' brands. These are not 'imports' but usually made by the 'name' brand manufacturers, changed just a bit in the flavor and with a less flashy packaging.
These I have trust in. Wal-mart, Dollar General and the grocery chains are not going to knowingly put their name behind a bad product, and will be eager to recall any bad products that might slip into their stores. They strive more for customer loyalty and trust than the dollar only types stores.

I am not big on plastics for food storage. (I only use glass) But if I did, I would also steer clear of the items in dollar only stores. There are some plastics safer than others for food storage, and most of us can't tell. If I bought those items, I would go with a name brand that I recognized.

Being frugal is smart. Being frugal but endangering health with products that may not be safe is not smart. It is just another way we must read labels these days, and use our common sense. We must be very careful in our choices.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 11:19PM
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Kickingandscreaming ......... I am sooooooo sorry that you lost pets from that damn Chinese stuff . My heart goes out to you . (((( Hugs ))))
You aren't alone . Thousands of others are outraged. We DO have to read labels. It's up to us .
You are right . We have to be careful.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 11:42PM
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I no longer shop in dollar stores. I'm afraid since all the recalls, lead paint, etc.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2007 at 9:01AM
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I'm not a big an of dollar stores. I don't usually shop there unless I have to. One thing I do go for is the children's work skill books like learning the ABC's or printing letters. The books I buy are made in the USA and make great gifts for the little ones.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2007 at 11:20AM
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Something totally inert is not a problem, like a metal wastebasket for my bedroom. Batteries are awful. I bought some marked "Toseba" brand. knock-off of Toshiba, get it? None of them worked. The store won't give refunds, only exchanges. I threw out the third batch I exchanged. Better off buying in reputable stores. And Buy American.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2007 at 11:34AM
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"And Buy American."

Uh, these days, do you even know what's "American"? And what do you consider "American"? Whirlpool's top end washers, the Duets, are built in Germany. Chrysler's bigger cars are built in Canada, Ford Crown Vic is built in Mexico.... Are these "American"?

Now let's see, Toyota and Volvo are built in eastern US as is several of the Bosch lines... Does that make them "American"?

And brand loyalty is a dangerous thing too. Iams, Eukanuba, Science Diet, Natural Balance and many other high-end pet foods were all made at the Menu Foods plant, which is the one that got the tainted gluten. Just like Sears doesn't make any of it's own stuff, they contract it out and have it made by other manufacturers.

The last myth is that the major manufacturers make it and put a different label on it... Very seldom true. For instance "Trend" is NOT "Tide" even though it comes in an orange bottle, is blue and smells. Huish makes it and most of the "imitation" aka store brand laundry detergents, just packages them in a bright orange package to make people think it's the same as the big guy. And the gullible buying public figures it must be the same so they buy it. Same thing with the antiseptic mouthwash... It is NOT Listerine, nor is Sensitive Sensodyne. Nor are the Walgreens brand of medications made by the big name places.

Now don't get me wrong, I buy a lot of generics. To me, 5 grain aspirin is 5 grain aspirin and I'll take the 29¢ Walgreens brand over the $4 Bayer (even with the $1 off coupon!! LOL). Works the same. Same with Ibuprofen and other stuff. But I realize that I am NOT getting a repackaged item that is the identical formula. I find what works and use it. Sometimes I'll be brand loyal, but seldom.

I'm very cautious in dollar stores. They're not always the bargain they appear. Often it's smaller quantities requiring higher amounts to do the same job so it's not the same deal as you think.

Oh, the metal wastebasket is a good example, but then again, if you have a crawling chewer going around the house, the chance of lead paint is much higher in a China manufactured wastebasket than on a plastic one. You just have to be a prudent shopper.

Don't fear dollar stores because of recalls either. For reasons above, there's recalls in any store. Anyone bought Mattel toys lately???? They don't sell them in dollar stores, but I wonder how soon they will! LOL And if you recall, Listerine had a recall earlier this year, but hey folks, recalls are a part of life. Don't fear life because of a few recalls.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2007 at 6:48PM
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Some generic items are the same as more expensive, sometimes brand name items. Here it is often a legal requirement, but to some extent there is also industry standardisation for the production of some products.

Household liquid bleach is all the same stuff here, although it probably doesn't all come from the same factory. Some are scented and have nicer packaging and advertising, but this has no effect on cleaning ability or the fact that they're otherwise chemically identical. There is no advantage to customers spending over £1-2 a bottle when you can buy a big store brand bottle for 39p.

Salt, both for table use and dishwasher use is another similar item. With the exception of low sodium salt, and some of the sea salts which contain impurities that give a slightly different flavour, it is all the exact same stuff, sodium chloride molecules, and the percentage of them is controlled by law when you sell it in packet labelled 'salt'. When buying plain granular salt, as used in many recipes, there will be no noticeable difference between a 25p packet and one costing more than £1.

Many over the counter drugs are the same. A 300mg aspirin tablet is the same whoever you buy it from. It will contain and effectively deliver 300mg of the exact same aspirin molecules, this is a legal requirement in Europe. Other non-patented drugs like paracetamol are the same. I always buy the cheapest store brand for these items. Pain killers marketed as things like "paracetamol plus" usually mean they have included caffeine as it boosts their effect, but they also boost the price a lot.

Combination medicines like those used to treat cold and flu are highly comparative to brand name items and in my experience work the same. The ingredients they use tend to be similar, but they are not normally identical and are not made by the same people. However, there is nothing to suggest to me that the formula used in products with higher prices, nicer packets and better advertising actually work better than others.

Regarding household chemicals and cleaning products, most the major brands here are made only for their sales. Factories are often centralised and distribute to many countries, which partly explains their higher prices. You may find remarkably similar looking and smelling products, but they are copies. This doesn't mean they won't work as well, but they may contain more water or in the case of powder products more fillers. I would try them objectively and not focus too much on just price per bottle or box. However, I personally can't stand most the major brand name washing powders here and find my clothes always come out cleaner with a generic store brand powder that is less than half the price. Anyone can make their brand popular and well known, but that doesn't inevitably mean they make good products.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2007 at 12:16PM
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I'm glad I Asked. I've always wondered how generic brands of 'whatever' can so closely resemble the brand name item - - be so cheap and they can get away with it. I never knew who to ask. "Almost" everything that I used that is generic ,I have been satisfied with. ( Except my Toilet paper - I won't give up my Northern ! ) LOL

******* As a side note - I worked in a well known factory
that made paint rollers and paint pads .... So many parts were stamped "Made in Taiwan" - we were taught how to assemble them so that wording would be hidden. And the boxes were stamped made in USA. I guess you can't take anything for granted anymore.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2007 at 1:44PM
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Well toomuchglass, I guess they were telling the truth... I'm sure the box *was* made in USA! :)

Reminds me of the Are You Being Served episode where a customer wanted to return a sweater that shrunk when washed. They told the clerk "it says right here on the label, guaranteed not to shrink" The clerk took a new sweater out of a box, and showed it to her, "See? The labels are exactly the same size - THE LABEL DIDN"T SHRINK!"

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 4:43AM
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I was in the hospital recently and saw the cleaning man sanitizing surfaces using dollar-store bleach. It smelled strong to me. I definitely don't buy dollar store food. I prefer to eat locally grown produce and very little meat.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 12:11PM
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Mom always told me to never buy generic bleach. I never have but i do love the Dollar Store. Many items from the store are not genric and a company is trying to get you to use their product. Many other items are discontinued. Heck i even bought tights for my DD that were in a generic package. The tag inside them read "Gap." They are also selling magazines like Family Circle and Good Housekeeping. I love the Dollar Store. Bargains! Bargains! Bargains!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 12:17PM
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I seldom buy anything but store brand/generic bleach. Refuse to pay more for comparable item that performs the same. Things may have changed since your Mom's day, I don't know. But today, I know of no reason other than spendthrift vanity or possibly convenience to buy name brand over store brand/generic. I do, personally, prefer to get one that's a lemon scent or a "fresh" scent rather than the normal bleach smell when using it as a cleaner/sanitizer in the kitchen & bathroom. It's not as powerful.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 3:36AM
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I don't buy anything I consume or drink/eat out of from the dollar store or dollar tree. I just don't trust them There was a recall from dollar tree of brand name toothpaste, to much fluoride. It was meant for another country, not to be sold in the USA.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 8:22PM
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I am new around here, so maybe this has been posted before, but Dollar Tree sells a great household cleaner called Fabuloso (I prefer the blue scent) and have been using it for years. Now Walmart carries it for nearly double the price. One bottle lasts me forever, because I dilute it (according to the label). Home Depot carries it in a huge concentrated gallon jug, which I purchased for $8 thinking it would last a year, but it looks like I ill get at least 6 months out of it. I do have to rinse my countertops and table after I use it, but not the floors- no stickiness at all when diluted (but the smell is long lasting).

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 4:35PM
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For a while there was a lot of buzz about Fabuloso. I see it all over. I bought a bottle and it was OK, but I just couldn't stomach the smell. At the time it was only the purple/blue color available. Now there's different scents so I might try it again. I primarily used it for cleaning the bathroom floor so it lasted a long time. I would refill the WetJet bottles with it. I don't recall what I paid for it, but it is quite cheap as I recall, especially when you consider the concentration. I'm still using up a 5 qt jug of Simple Green I bought from Scam's Club. And I get so many cleaners free after rebate that I don't often have to buy cleaners. Plus I use bleach and vinegar more and more for cleaners.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 5:02PM
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I try to stay out of the dollar store. I'd walk in there, needing nothing, and come out with $27 worth of junk. I stay out, save money, don't clutter up my home or put anything extra in garbage that makes its way to landfills.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2008 at 10:53AM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

I am curious about what one does find at dollar stores. I will admit that I stopped going in. The ones that I had gone to in the past where more super discount stores where not everything was $1 but most of the stuff I picked up was not even worth the ridicously low prices I paid. Some people told me that hair clips for their girls there, when I did, they broke very quickly. The cleaning stuff I bought just seemed to be pine scented water. What am I missing?

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 1:07AM
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Actually, around here many of the dollar type stores have closed up. I wonder if part isn't that people are combining trips more, plus the high rents and low margins cause problems. Family Dollar is the one big exception, however they carry name brand items now. Tide, Gain, Sun, Dawn Palmolive, Sterlite, Pampers, Luvs, Huggies, Scott, Crest, Colgate, Pringles, Folgers, etc. And their prices have gone up a bit. I used to get some bargains there, but they're down to reasonable now. I don't go there very often. I'm not a big "shopper".

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 7:46AM
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We seem to have one on every corner!

I went there to find stuff for the "goody bags" for my DD's birthday party.

They had High School Musical gummies (candy) that I knew the girls would love. I was hesitant because they were from China so I did not buy them. Later in the week I went grocery shopping at Kroger and they had the same candy!

It is amazing how much candy originates in China now.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 8:57AM
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It's amazing how much of EVERYTHING originates in China now! We send a lot of money over there.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 8:26PM
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I shop at Dollar Tree for specific items - they have an oxy-clean knock off that is just as good. I use it in laundry, the dishwasher, cleaning the sink. They are frequently out of it, so when I see it, I stock up. Can't beat the price!

As for toothpaste, read the labels. The Aquafresh in our store is from Glaxo and made in the Philadelphia area. It specifically says where it is produced and MADE IN USA. The other brands do not indicate MADE IN USA and I will not purchase. Same with mouthwash, even though they are made by companies located in USA, they do not indicate that they are made I do not purchase.

Our Dollar Tree sells day old Entamens (sp? - donuts and cakes) and day-old rolls and bread (also local) which are a steal - and the way my kids eat this stuff, it doesn't have time to go stale. The products are all made locally.

Wrapping paper, gift bags, balloons, poster board for school - I purchase this type of item there all the time.

Havertown, PA

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 6:43AM
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The only thing wrong with $tore$ you spend more money to save money.You go in the $tore to buy one thing and you end up with ten.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2008 at 7:26PM
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