Franklin Students after a review of Dollar Tree goods; from left to right: Annabel Semro, Andrew Metz, Josh Wright, Zafer Courcelle, and Thinh Tran. Their purchases ranged from chocolate animal crackers, to goofy string and a whistling football.

Inflation seems to be impacting everything lately, upping gas prices, food prices, and worst of all, horror of horrors … Dollar Tree prices! Rates have gone up as high as $5, according to Business Insider. When I heard the news, I knew within my very core that I had to make a trip back to that pivotal place, the store from which my character was molded, the store that made me who I am today. Looking back on elementary school, I can recall the many hours spent marching to and fro, scrounging the aisles for the best candy deals, and searching for knockoff makeup with which I could express my fifth grade artistic talent. My friends and I would beg our parents to let us walk by ourselves, arriving home later with bright lipsticks, cheap eyeliners, and powdery eyeshadows. We would mar our faces with truly memorable looks and revel in the candy haul. It was there that I learned independence; it was beneath those fluorescent lights that I learned the freedom of self expression. So of course, the dollar store on Foster, next to the Dutch Bros and down the block from Atlas Pizza holds a very special dollar-shaped space in my heart. A visit to the store of my youth was less a lighthearted expedition and more of an inner calling, if you will.

Here at the Post, we don’t interview peers unless they’re qualified, but I was lucky to “run into” some of my favorite Franklin peeps, who happened to convene at exactly the time I chose to investigate the store. These Dollar Tree experts gave their hot takes on new prices, the assortment of goods, and even sent me updates about the quality of their purchases. After traipsing the aisles and observing a shockingly wide array of wares, we were surprised to find that the Dollar Tree contained far more than we expected. According to my extensive research — a quick glance up and down the rows and a three-minute Google search — the dollar store stocks cleaning supplies, food and beverages, holiday decorations including Christmas merch in mid October, and personal care items. We were fans of the candle aisle! On top of the basics, the Dollar Tree shelves various toys, games, puzzles, and books, including multiple versions of the Bible; they have supplies for crafting, cooking, baking, and of course the very finest “dinnerware [and] serving essentials,” according to their website.

“I love the Dollar Tree,” said Annabel Semro (12). She explained that raising prices has really upgraded the quality of the goods in store. “I found an off-brand Lego shark, so what more can you say?” Other students agreed with Semro’s thoughts on the raised prices. “I think it’s a smart idea,” said Thinh Tran (12), “but they need to change their name because this is false advertising.” When asked what the name could be changed to, Zafer Courcelle (11) suggested “$1.25 Tree.” “I’d gladly go there,” emphasized Tran.

When we first walked into the store, we found ourselves in an aisle containing a colorful collection of plates, napkins, eating utensils, and plastic tablecloths. “I really liked that chrome tablecloth,” noted Andrew Metz (12), who spent a good five minutes discussing the dimensions of said tablecloth and assessing its value. We also found plastic shot glasses, confetti, and some truly fantastic hats, including a sparkling blue and silver top hat that fit Metz particularly well. It read “Happy Birthday” in a multicolored font. Conversely, Courcelle found a beige safari hat bearing the words “Let’s Get Wild!” If you’re ever in need of some party gear, we’ve found the spot for you.

I am happy to report that the snacks are as great as ever; however I had never before toured the food and frozen sections. We were surprised to find that Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, Talenti gelato, and Breyers ice cream now inhabit the shelves of Dollar Tree’s frozen section. They go for $5 apiece and are reflective of the Dollar Store’s shift towards name brand and higher quality products. We also found a frozen steak for $3, which almost became the subject of a bet. Tran adamantly declared that he could eat seven Saltines in a minute, and I bet that he most definitely could not do that. The loser of the bet had to eat the steak, but to my great relief, no one actually had the guts to purchase it. The steak still sits there, alone and waiting for the next unsuspecting store-goer. I love the Dollar Tree, but it too has limitations.

At the end of this memorable journey, I asked the Quintessential Quintet to reflect on what they had observed. Joshua Wright (12) said that “the whistling football” was the best thing he found. Tran and Metz agreed that by far the best item for sale was the $3 frozen steak. A vacuum sealed spectacle, this gray hunk of meat was surely high quality. “It was 180 calories for almost 30 grams of protein!” emphasized Metz, who didn’t actually buy the steak but claimed if someone cooked it he would eat it. Courcelle concluded that the Fruit Rings he bought were fantastic, and well worth the purchase. He also gave the Goofy String a solid 7/10, which came in handy when he decided to spray some “abstract shapes” in the parking lot. The two circles and an oval were a beautiful addition to the Dollar Tree parking lot decor. I asked what he could possibly be representing through his intellectual artwork but he wouldn’t tell me. Alas, the mind of a mysterious artist. I suppose we shall never know.

Thus concludes the very latest update on Dollar Tree’s finest merchandise. The five Franklin students left with Fruit Rings, a nerf football that whistled as it flew (it was easy to locate my interviewees because all I had to do was look for the football as it sailed over the aisles), Saltines, Spicy Corn Rolled Tortilla Chips, and Animal Crackers. I myself rediscovered some items I would definitely buy again, and was pleasantly surprised by a couple others. I found the small and functional items to be of good value. For example, elastic bands which always seem to go missing right when you need them, clothing hangers, and a particularly tasteful pink folder decorated with strawberries were some of my favorite finds. I left with a couple of trusty eyeliners, for old times sake. I look forward to testing them out and I’m certain that they will deliver, as they always have.

%d bloggers like this: