Dollar Tree foods you should never buy

The best thing about shopping for groceries at Dollar Tree is that you don't have to roll your cart up to the counter wondering, "Uh-oh, how much have I spent this time?" Instead, all you need to do is look down in the cart: One, two, three... number of grocery items = how much it's going to cost. Easy peasy! If you can count, you can budget.

The worst part about grocery shopping at Dollar Tree is that the selection is somewhat limited. Okay, very limited. It's a dollar store, after all, not a full-service grocer or even a tiny neighborhood bodega. It isn't even a gas station convenience store, since those tend to feature more ready-to-eat foods. What Dollar Tree is, is a kind of so-so oasis in any food desert. They do offer some items that are well worth your $1 investment, including ribeye steaks that are surprisingly good in sandwiches and stir-fries, and cheeseburgers that aren't much worse than anything you're likely to get off a fast-food dollar menu but spare you a trip through the drive-thru (or $10 worth of tacked-on delivery fees).

Not everything at Dollar Tree is going to be worth eating, though. The following are a few items you should probably skip, even if they were to start giving them away for free (which they won't, they've got to make a profit, too).

Dollar Tree cheese is the worst

One of Dollar Tree's most dubious products is its cheese. Just what makes this cheese so sketchy? Well, for one thing, it isn't even dairy. YouTuber Sensational Finds points out that nowhere on her package of Sunny Acres American Slices does it say exactly what these are supposed to be slices of – instead, they are characterized as "sandwich slices." She also demonstrated the fact that this "cheese" not only wouldn't melt, but she couldn't even set it on fire! (Maybe they should try making kids' pajamas out of the stuff.)

YouTuber CassieTV had a similar experience trying to melt her Dollar Tree shredded cheese, the Sunny Acres Mexican Blend Shreds (which, again are technically not cheese, but instead a "Pasteurized Process Topping"). She baked a small pile of the shreds in her oven, and the baking did not seem to alter their consistency one bit. Another Dollar Tree shopper posted to the Lipstick Alley blog about the shredded, er, product, saying they could not melt it in the oven, on the stovetop, or in the microwave... OP was promptly roasted by an 18-page comment thread by readers incredulous that they'd even purchased such a cheap cheese imposter in the first place.

Dollar Store beef stew is just bad

Dollar Tree's Southgate Beef Stew is meant to be a knockoff version of Dinty Moore, but it fails to live up to even this low standard. At some point in the past a reseller was offering it on Amazon, but the reviewers (most of which admitted to having purchased it at the dollar store, since it's not the kind of thing you'd ever pay shipping and handling for) gave it 1.8 out of 5 stars. The one semi-positive review was from a former military member who said it was better than some of what they'd eaten in the chow hall, but the other reviews said it was "just awful tasting," and "not even beef lord knows what that rubbery stuff is!!"

The answer to the rhetorical question posed by that last review may have been answered in a post on the Stupid Evil Bastard blog. Blogger Les actually took a close look at the label, and saw right there under beef stew the words "textured vegetable protein product added." Yep, TVP, that stuff vegans eat — although as one of the blog commenters noted, "as soon as they slap 'Vegan' on the label, it costs three times as much." Which is something Southgate might actually want to consider, since their stew's not impressing any carnivores. The best Les could say about this stew is that it "did the job of Food-as-Fuel...ensuring that I'll survive long enough to see better days with more flavorful foods."

Don't wake up and smell this Dollar Tree coffee

Instant coffee isn't anyone's favorite, really, but you can do better than Greenbriar International Instant Coffee. In fact, you could hardly do much worse, unless you decide to brew up a mug of pencil shavings or floor sweepings. One reviewer on the BirdEye business review blog, disappointed that they were forced to award this coffee a single star instead of the zero they felt it deserved, said the product "doesn't even taste like coffee, and confessed she "threw it away and... will never buy it again."

Another dissatisfied customer, commenting on the Yellow Pages listing for Greenbriar International's HQ in Chesapeake, Virginia, agreed that this instant coffee that she'd purchased at Dollar Tree "doesent [sic] even taste anything like coffee." She characterized its flavor as "blah," and found herself wondering what imitation substance had been used in place of the 100 percent coffee imported from Mexico promised by the product label.

These Dollar Tree cookies will disappoint

Dollar Tree sells some name-brand cookies such as Keebler and Oreos that have been repacked in smaller sizes for the dollar store market, but they also offer a wide variety of generic cookies. While these tend to have mixed reviews, there are two types of cookies which are pretty much guaranteed to disappoint. Of the two, the Stauffer's Iced Animal Cookies do have their fans, but quite a few of the product's reviews mention that they really skimp on the frosting, and one reviewer said, "These animal crackers had a very hard texture. It felt as if I was biting into rocks."

The Lil' Dutch Maid Chocolate Chip Cookies, however, had more one-star reviews than they did favorable ones. One purchaser thought there was "something not quite right about these cookies," and claimed they "felt queasy for hours after ingesting only one of these," while another agreed "these made me feel sick," and still another said the cookies made them "want... to puke. They tasted so fake." Like the animal cookies, these cookies also drew complaints for their texture, with a fourth reviewer finding their purchase to be "horrible stale and old and hard."

Dollar Tree's American Classic snack cakes are anything but

Dollar Tree offers a line of snack cakes ironically called "American Classic," but the only thing classic about them seems to be that they are classically awful. The Gourmet Banana Pound Cake, the Carrot Pound Cake, and the Original Gourmet Pound Cake all have one star reviews on Dollar Tree's own website, with comments like "tastes like chemicals! Even the dogs would not eat it!, "pure chemical taste, hard to describe," "Burnt taste dry and unpleasant," "so dry I couldn't even swallow it," and an unambiguous "literally the worst thing I have ever eaten... the only worth this item has is as a weapon."

The Gourmet Whoopie Pie didn't get much love either, with one reviewer complaining that these skimped on the filling, while another was horrified that their unexpired Whoopie Pie nevertheless had a moldy center. Blech! Sounds like these "Classics" are worth paying a dollar — or more — not to have to eat.