There is nothing quite as thrilling as walking out of a dollar store with a bargain. Whether it's a full size bottle of quality shampoo, or a big bag of name brand pretzels, it's always fun to get just a little bit more than what you pay for. Even at Dollar Tree. And I always try to share my finds with friends and family, because most of the time they get excited too.

But late last year I was visiting Houston, and noticed a trend that disturbed me just a little bit. My favorite Texas dollar store, which is 99 Cents Only, was selling items for $2, $3, $5. Some were even priced at $10. What the heck! I just figured they were getting greedy, because how can you have a store that says 99 Cents Only in their name, and then charge more than that??

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And now comes news from the Associated Press that the folks at Dollar Tree are doing the same. And it's coming to a store near you soon. This is such a bummer.

We know that during the pandemic, and even into this year, prices have been soaring on just about everything in America. Gas, food, grocery items, cars, stamps, shipping costs. Frankly, it's alarming, and it doesn't look like it will end anytime soon. It's hard for the average everyday American to get by, especially since salaries don't seem to be going up as fast as inflation. And people rely on these dollar stores. They are essential in some households. Including mine.

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According to the Associated Press inflation in the U.S. reached 4.2% in July, which is the highest in three decades. And late last month officials at the Dollar Tree chain said that "rising shipping costs would take a bite of $1.50 to $1.60 out of its per-share profits this year." And so they are testing higher prices at their brick and mortar locations across America. The company currently has 8,000 stores, and at hundreds of those the company has rolled out the “Dollar Tree Plus” section. Items will be be priced up to $5, but some will be $1.25 to $1.50.

Dollar Tree CEO Michael Witynski says, via The AP "For decades our customers have enjoyed the "thrill of the hunt" for value at one dollar, and we remain committed to that core proposition. But many are telling us they also want a broader product assortment when they come to shop." I don't know about you, but that sounds like a convenient way to justify raising prices. So I guess Dollar Tree no longer means a dollar. And even though these "Dollar Tree Plus" sections might not be in your local store yet, they are no doubt coming.

 

 

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