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Also known as 99 cent stores, dollar stores are, in essence, the island of misfit merchandise. From French Canadian foodstuffs, to tie-ins for unpopular, and therefore cancelled Saturday morning cartoons. Also known to have some crappy radio format piped through the speakers. Much like normal retailers, but why shop at your normal, monolithic Wal-Mart, when you can shop at a Dollar Tree or a Family Dollar?

Being employed in one for what seemed like months, I came to appreciate the time and effort it takes to keep a dollar store running. People from all walks of life: young and elderly, poor and less poor, all willing to buy sub-generic products, and even some quality brands, for the cost of a pack of Twinkies*.

On the other side of the balloon counter, shopping at a dollar store can be an adventure, and a bit of a gamble. The six-pack of Sunny Delight you see today might be replaced by a pile of Stop and Shop Kitty Litter next week. Even so, dollar stores are worth at least spending part of your spare change on.

*If you do see Twinkies sold at a discount in any dollar store, please let me know.

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