Why You Should Never Buy Chips From The Dollar Store

When you stroll into a dollar store with a wad of singles and everything on the shelf is a buck, it might seem like there's no way you can't get a bargain. Food is a huge part of the sales formula for dollar stores, after all, and while they might not be what most people think of when they picture a grocery store, they actually sell more food than Whole Foods — though, let's be honest, you can probably expect a lot less of it to be labeled "artisan." 

A lot of what makes up dollar stores' food sales would fall under the snack category, but it turns out that grabbing chips from the dollar store shelf may not be such a score after all. Here's what you should know about dollar store chips before your next snack attack. 

Are dollar store chips a good deal?

Money Crashers set out to see just how great the deals were when it came to food at a typical dollar store and noticed pretty quickly that customers weren't getting all that much bang for their buck. That bag of Doritos, Lay's, or some other name brand chip just isn't going to have much in it. On an ounce-by-once basis, the chips sold at dollar stores for $1 don't compare well with what you might pay at a grocery store. Basically, dollar store chips are just as bad of a deal as buying chips at a gas station — which, by the way, isn't a good deal on your dollar either (via Popular Mechanics). 

Need more proof that your dollar doesn't go too far when it comes to buying chips at a dollar store? Consider a bag of Takis Fuego Hot Chili Pepper and Lime Chips. At Dollar Tree, a bag might only set you back $1, but you're only getting 3.2 ounces – barely a handful. At Walmart, a bag of the same flavored Takis will cost you $2.68, but you're getting 9.9 ounces. Dollar Tree charges you 31 cents per ounce, while Walmart only charges 27 cents per ounce — and depending on where you live, that Walmart price might be as low as 20 cents per ounce, while the dollar store is still charging $1, regardless of location. 

Do dollar store chips taste good?

Price and quantity are only two factors one has to consider when shopping for chips to snack on at the dollar store. There's also the very important factor of taste. Obviously there's no reason to suspect that your Doritos from Dollar General are going to taste any different than if you had bought them from Publix — assuming the bag isn't four years old and full of stale, sad tortilla chips. 

You'll notice pretty quickly strolling through the snack section of a dollar store, though, that they also happen to carry chip brands that you've probably never heard of. For example, Dollar Tree carries its own brand of potato chips under the Home Style Select label. As food reviewer Chip Professor pointed out, Dollar Tree didn't get particularly creative with the logo design. "They didn't even try," he said. "It's like an egg yolk with a ribbon on it." Then again, who cares about a logo? How do these dollar store chips really taste? 

Well, the old saying "you get what you pay for" happens to be true when it comes to potato chips, too. "I don't think these are potato chips, I think these are more like, um... oil chips," Chip Professor said. "There's more oil than potato here." 

On the plus side, a bag of Home Style Select chips does offer you a little more portion-wise than the Takis, as it comes in a 5-ounce bag. Of course, Dollar Tree also sells 5.34-ounce canisters of actual Lay's Stax chips. This begs the question of why would you pay a buck for the knockoff brand of chips when you could pay the same price and get more of the name brand chips?

When it comes down to it, buying chips from the dollar store really doesn't add up to be much of a good bargain when you factor in price, quantity, and taste. Just something to think about next time you're searching for crumbs in the bottom of that bag of dollar store Takis.