Add this to the list of “things I can’t believe actually work” (along with freeways and toilets): Dollar Stores. I was at one the other day and I heard someone say, “I just can’t believe this place. Everything is a dollar!” His shopping partner said, “Yeah, it’s the dollar store” and he said again, “But everything, EVERYTHING is a dollar!”
I feel the same way. And not because I love to buy a bunch of crap I don’t need at a really low price but rather because I can’t believe this business model works. I can just imagine the conversation that lead to the invention of dollar stores:
“Hey, you know how everybody likes to pay as little as possible for everything? Well, what if we made a store where everything was a really low price?”
“You mean like $10? Everything is $10?”
“No, I mean like a REALLY low price.”
“No, a dollar. What if we had a store and everything in it was a dollar?”
“That sounds like a store full of crap to me.”
“No, we’d have pretty decent stuff like greeting cards, party favors, dish towels, wrapping paper and those scented bags for poopy diapers.”
“That doesn’t make any sense. We wouldn’t make any money. Our profit margin would be like, a penny, on each of those items. And those scented poopy diaper bags? Those things are awesome. We could probably only sell two of them for a dollar and still make money.”
And they do. They freakin’ have mylar balloons for a dollar! How do they do it? I mean, I could believe that you could have a store full of dollar products that were yucky. But they have decent stuff. You can get packs of party paper plates, those foil baking dishes, shampoo and food.*
Our dollar store isn’t even gross. It’s very clean and the clientele is quite respectable. I’m not saying these are the same people who shop at Saks but it’s not like they have B.O. (Aside: I walked past a guy at Kroger the other day who had B.O. and I thought, “He gives new meaning to the term ‘dirty old man.’” I forgot to post that on Facebook so I’m using it here.)
Anyway, the people are alright, the products are fine and the price is unbelievable.
I don’t know how you are so successful, Dollar Stores but you have certainly succeeded in perplexing me. I bet you live in a mansion with a pool that’s in the shape of a dollar sign.
*I refuse to buy food from a dollar store.