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Our government suffers from the Dollar Tree syndrome

June 27, 2011

Have you ever shopped at Dollar Tree or any of its competitors that offer their wares at a dollar or less?  Aisles and aisles of myriad products to be had for one sawbuck.   Need a pack of lightbulbs, or batteries, or a toy, or some lunch – bring a dollar and its yours.  The stuff you can find in one of those stores is pretty amazing.  But it poses a problem to those without control.

If you don’t go with a particular item in mind, it’s very easy to blow your budget.  Around every corner there is something that will catch your eye, just begging to be tossed in your basket, and why not?  “It’s only a dollar.”

My wife manages just such a store, and she can relay anecdote after anecdote about people spending upwards of $50 dollars at her store in one swoop.  That’s great for her, but imagine, someone is buying 50 particular items (or more, a lot of things are less than a dollar).  That’s a lot of stuff!  But hey, “its only a dollar.”

Blowing your budget aside, the real problem with the dollar store is perceived value.  When “its only a dollar” becomes the mantra, whatever you buy becomes almost worthless in your mind.  It becomes throwaway.

Perhaps an anecdote will suffice.  Today, my wife and I were planting some flowers in our front yard.  After we finished the planting, she broke out the waterhose and started watering our newly planted babies.  I remember a week ago, she brought a couple of bags home from her store (almost a daily occurrence), and one of those bags contained a water hose sprayer thingy (no idea the technical name for that thing).  You can imagine my wonderment as to why my wife was not using it to water the flowers a week later?

Long story short, she doesn’t know where it is, and wasn’t gonna bother looking for it since “its only a dollar.”

This is the dollar tree syndrome.  A combination of buying more than you need because “its only a dollar” and not caring for what you buy because “its only a dollar.”

Imagine if you were allowed to go on a shopping spree in a dollar store with other people’s money, do you think you would be a more conscientious shopper or less?  As Congress shows almost daily, the latter is the answer.

As far as our government is considered, they suffer from the billion dollar tree syndrome, but the symptoms are the same.  We can fund a study of shrimps on treadmills, why not?  “Its only $600k.”  And since “its only $600k”, we can do a lot of these studies.  Why not, it’s not like we are talking billions or anything?

Obviously, if you suffer from dollar tree syndrome, whether individually or as part of Congress, you are wasting money.  I don’t care what you do, but Congress is a different story, they are wasting my money.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. June 27, 2011 9:07 pm

    How do you blow your budget at a dollar store? Seriously!

    • June 27, 2011 9:47 pm

      Well, not your whole budget for the household. I meant the budget you set for yourself before going in like, “I am only gonna spend 5 bucks” or something like that.

      • June 27, 2011 11:00 pm

        Yeah it’s why gum and soda are at the checkout line… impulse buys. At least it’s not the $100 store then the budget could take a big hit!

      • June 27, 2011 11:20 pm

        Considering the tariffs the dems want to put on Chinese imports, it might be soon.

  2. June 28, 2011 5:53 am

    A great analogy Fleece! The governemnt doesn’t spend their own money–they have none–they spend our money and because the government doesn’t earn the money they don’t value it and are willing to throw it away.

    • June 28, 2011 10:20 am

      Not only that, but because what they waste it on is “only a couple 100k” that its a drop in the bucket. When we are talking in trillions, 100k is a pittance, but its still a lot of money. Just because THEY devalue it doesn’t make it true.

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