5 things to avoid at a dollar store

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      5 things to avoid at a dollar store

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      By the Editors of Consumer Reports

      An aluminum baking pan. Lip gloss. Sewing scissors. Every item $1 or


      Picking through the merchandise at dollar stores can seem like a treasure hunt.

      But investigations by Consumer Reports’ researchers have turned up some dicey

      deals. And let the buyer beware: Dollar shops and closeout stores have become

      destinations for shoddy products, as manufacturers have sometimes cut corners on

      safety, trying to meet demand for rock-bottom prices.

      Here are five items you should think twice about purchasing if you’re shopping

      in one of these discount stores.


      Some multivitamins bought at dollar stores didn’t have one or more nutrients

      listed on the label. Some did not dissolve properly, so pills didn’t break down

      fast enough to be absorbed.

      Get this instead: A better buy are name brands such as Centrum or Bayer

      One-A-Day. In CR’s tests, those brands dissolved properly and all had the

      claimed nutrients. Or simply look for a label that says the product is verified

      by U.S. Pharmacopeia or NSF International.

      Electrical products

      Be wary of off-price items such as Christmas lights, extension cords and fans —

      they could have fake labels vouching for their safety. That means the product

      could, for example, have undersized wiring that can overheat and cause a fire.

      Get this instead: Seek products certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and

      other independent labs, such as Intertek ETL Semko and the Canadian Standards

      Association (CSA), which ensure conformity to safety standards.

      Look for the UL hologram to ensure the certification is real . (The label must

      generally be tagged or embossed right on the product.) You can also check the

      UL’s Web site, at http://www.ul.com, to see if a product’s brand name is certified

      (click on “consumers,” then “certification”).

      Toys for kids under 3

      By law, toys with small parts or sharp edges must be labeled as inappropriate

      for children under 3. But some imported toys, particularly those made in China,

      might be mislabeled or unlabeled.

      Get this instead: To be safe, stick to toys with larger parts. How large? If any

      piece of the toy is small enough to pass through the tube of a toilet-paper

      roll, it could be unsafe for toddlers. That’s good advice, no matter where you

      buy toys.

      Soundalike brand names

      When investigators visited one dollar store, they bought Dinacell batteries

      packaged to look like Duracells. They later leaked acid. Counterfeit goods

      sometimes have brand names that imitate well-known brands, says Travis Brown

      Jr., general counsel for BuySafe, a company that guarantees online transactions.

      For example, a fake Louis Vuitton bag might be labeled “Louis Vitton.”

      Get this instead: The real stuff. You need to look closely at the packaging to

      make sure you’re not getting a fake.

      Soft vinyl lunch boxes

      Several brands of soft, insulated lunch boxes — even those found at regular

      department stores — have sometimes tested positive for lead, which can transfer

      to unwrapped food and your children’s hands.

      The lead levels in these products alone are unlikely to be high enough to cause

      lead poisoning, but exposure is cumulative, so lead should be avoided whenever

      possible. Although several states have issued recalls for these lead-bearing

      products, CR has found them in dollar stores.

      Get this instead: Look for soft lunch boxes lined with nylon, not polyvinyl

      chloride, also known as PVC or vinyl.

      Wherever you shop, be cautious of extraordinary bargains. Products that are far

      less expensive than comparable items sold elsewhere could be cheap because

      they’re counterfeit or otherwise defective. And avoid no-name products. A

      manufacturer’s name and address is no guarantee of safety, but it does mean that

      you or the authorities can track down a legitimate corporation to remedy



      Consumer Reports: http://www.consumerreports.org.

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Budget101 Discussion List Archives Budget101 Discussion List 5 things to avoid at a dollar store