I needed a comb.
When I got my hair cut short, I didn't need the large brushes I used when my hair reached my shoulders. But when I went to the drug store, the cheapest combs were in packs costing upwards of $10-- much more than I expected for something I used to get free on school picture day.
So I went to one of my neighborhood's dollar stores. I easily found a pack of eight combs for about 2 bucks -- and the combs were sparkly, too.
I'm not the only one who relies on dollar stores for some basics.
A New York Times article reported that "while most big retail chains are closing stores and radically cutting back on new outlets, the dollar chains are planning to open hundreds of stores this year in some of the best locations to which they have ever had access."
There's no need to be a dollar store snob. I've purchased everything from greetings cards, loofahs, plastic cups and even glow-in-the-dark maggots. (My cousin was the lucky recipient of that last one at my grandparents' annual bingo extravaganza on Christmas, but you get the idea.)
If you haven't stepped in a Dollar Tree or its kin for years, now might be the time to give it another shot. According to the Times, some stores are even installing refrigerators and freezers to offer a wider selection of food.
It'll be awhile before I depend on Dollar General for my groceries, but perhaps the future is closer than I think.