In December of 2020 the roof of the Dollar Tree store at Sixth Avenue’s Highland Hill in Tacoma collapsed. It happened at night during a heavy rain. No one was hurt. I have been waiting for Dollar Tree to re-open there ever since. I pestered clerks at the other local Dollar Tree stores about re-opening. No one really knew anything, although one clerk flat out told me they would not be re-opening.
Two weeks ago, as I drove by the still closed store, I noticed the plywood covering the windows had been removed and a sign was added “Dollar Tree Coming Soon!” Peg and I were thrilled. We have been forced to deal with the Dollar Tree by Target on South Union (a very small and crowded store) and the stores in University Place and Lakewood Towne Center. Forced to deal means long lines, items piled outside of where they are supposed to be, and fewer products. We’re hoping that the renovated Dollar Tree at Highland Hill will be much larger and more like the one in Lakewood near Western State Hospital.The Lakewood store is a pleasure to shop it. They offer more variety and they seem to have more clerks.
Looking through the windows, the new Dollar Tree looks clean and perfect. I’m sure that won’t last. Once you add in shoppers, everything becomes more crowded and less fun. The biggest problem at Dollar Tree is the birthday balloons. If there is only one or two clerks, everything comes to a screeching halt (the screeching part is usually under my breath) when mothers are buying enough balloons to fly the kiddies to Oz and back. Each balloon has to be filled and takes time. I usually walk out when I see someone eyeing the balloons.
The Dollar Tree has just raised their prices from a dollar to a dollar and a quarter for each item. Some people do not like the Dollar Tree because they import many of their items like the apricot jam (from Egypt I believe) that I liked and mentioned to a friend a year or two ago. The complaint is that they are hurting our own economy. I disagree and the first thing I point out is that ships bring in goods to be sold at various place around the world and we buy them. But those ships don’t just deliver their products, they return to their home ports with our goods. Ships don’t sail until they have a full load. It’s called trade and we humans have been doing it for thousands of years.
Other people complain that the products at Dollar Tree are cheap and poorly made. Our kitchen sink stopper broke. We bought a new one at Dollar Tree ($1), but it only lasted about six or seven months. We bought another one from a reputable hardware store. It lasted less than a week before it started letting hot water seep out of a full sink of dishes. We bought another Dollar Tree stopper to replace that one.
With food products you need to consider what you are getting and look at alternatives and make the best choices, just like anywhere else. One of our favorite food items is Farmer John Pork Sausage Links. You get eight links in each frozen package. They cook up nicely and quickly. We fry them up occasionally for breakfast, but mostly what we buy them for is tacos. Instead of buying hamburger and frying that, the links cook more quickly and we can chose to eat one or two in each taco, letting us save calories. We also buy the corn tortillas at Dollar Tree. They last for ages and we get two dozen for $1.25.
You also need to consider that people who are not wealthy enough to go to Metro Market or other stores with similar prices. To buy milk, bread and dishwashing soap for a dollar or now a dollar and a quarter means that rent is easier to pay and feeding kids may be less expensive. Don’t mock if you’ve never had a hard time putting shoes on your kid’s feet. The working poor are among us and they need the help that the Dollar Trees and Grocery Outlets offers.