Rebecca Garland
Rebecca Garland
Business and Education Expert

When it comes to saving money, consumers often consider Dollar Tree vs Dollar General. Which store offers the better deals? Which one will actually help you save money? While there are similarities between the two, they are not identical and have issues, according to online reviews.

Dollar Tree logo Dollar General Logo

Number of Dollar Tree reviews – 2.3K

Number of Dollar General reviews - 3.2K

Dollar Tree rating – 2.6 ⭐⭐⭐

Dollar General rating – 2.6 ⭐⭐⭐

Claimed losses - $1.5M

Claimed losses - $1.3M

Successful calls – 7%/9.8K

Successful calls – 8%/6.1K

Resolved issues - 15

Resolved issues - 23

While both sell many overlapping items, they are not direct competitors. Many products in Dollar Tree stores cost just over $1, at $1.25. This means they are essential and inexpensive but have a limited selection due to the cost point required at dollar stores. On the other hand, Dollar General, which has become the parent company of Family Dollar, operates as a discount store resembling small grocery stores. You can find a range of groceries, hardware, cosmetics, toiletries, and home goods with a range of discount price points, most of which are higher than the $1.25 of all items at Dollar Tree stores. 

Concerning dollar stores, consumers often ask questions regarding their services, product quality, and reliability. They read feedback, including Dollar Tree and Combo stores - Dollar General and Family Dollar reviews

Customers want to know: Which is better and more reliable, Dollar General or Dollar Tree? So, we took customer reviews on our platform to compare the stores and identify the top complaints about each. 

Key Insights

  • Despite convenient locations, only 16% of customers would recommend Dollar General to friends or colleagues.
  • 70% of Dollar Tree shoppers claim they won't use these stores in the future.
  • Both stores face poor customer service, expired products, rude employees, and price issues. 
  • To shop smartly at Dollar Tree or Dollar General, check price tags, use coupons, focus on quick-use items, and avoid unnecessary browsing. 

Substandard Customer Service and Rude Employees

In the Dollar Tree vs Dollar General discussion, there doesn’t seem to be much difference when it comes to customer service. Consumer complaints center around customer support in both locations. In fact, 50% of store customers believe that Dollar Tree customer service needs improving. Shoppers specifically cite employee attitudes in their complaints.

For example, in one of the Dollar Tree reviews, a customer explained their issues with the staff representative, whose behavior they considered“disgusting” and “embarrassing”:

…She was giving me eyes like she was ready to fight me over something like that night…

It happened after the reviewer refused to "to put the green cart away," which was left by another customer, and mentioned that "its your [shop employee] job to put it back."

Dollar Tree complaints aren’t alone in mentioning bad customer service and rude employees. 

In one complaint about Dollar General customer service, a frustrated customer explained that they arrived at a store at 9:41 only to be told they had "four minutes to shop" despite the posted closing time of 10 pm. When the customer went to the car to get their driver's license, as "the system was down," the manager closed the door with the customer's arm. In the attempt to return, the store's employee "pulled the door." 

The customer filed an official complaint about the treatment to corporate Dollar General customer service, claming: 

 I think I have been discriminated because of my age... I feel hurt and let down…I have never been treated this way.

Dollar Tree store conditions

Poor Dollar Store Conditions

While the stores function slightly differently in terms of price, their range of merchandise is wide. So, regarding Dollar Tree vs Dollar General on store offerings and cleanliness, it’s not a surprise that both have complaints about items being out of stock, shelves being blocked by boxes and clutter, and overall dirty conditions. While Dollar Tree receives complaints about stock and blocked shelves, its opponent fields most of the complaints about dirty stores.

For example, a recent complaint about a Dollar General in Pennsylvania explained that the store was hard to move in as you “almost trip over those boxes to get somewhere.” The customer also noted that

you almost trip over those boxes to get somewhere and you have to move their crates in order to get what you need…the floors are dirty all the time.

 When the customer brought the concerns up to an employee, the employee said she couldn’t help it and “started bombing [the customer] underneath her breath.”

Dollar Tree complaint has a similar tone, explaining that almost “every isle was cluttered with shopping carts, empty carts or store cards full of [merchandise] that needed to be stocked.”The aisles were so cluttered that the customer started to move them to access items on the shelves and was told, "Don't touch things."The situation escalated to the point that the customer was followed into the aisles, and police were called. The customer does not plan to return to the store and claims it is not the first issue with this particular place:

I'm fine with NOT going back to shop there. This is something I have heard from others within the last couple of years about just how bad this store has gotten [Montana].

Dollar Store issues with products

Expired Products and Other Quality Concerns

The conflict over the better deals at Dollar Tree and Dollar General isn’t going to be solved by considering the freshness of the food items. Both stores have complaints about expired items being sold. 

For example, at Dollar Tree review #5321083, a customer discovered that they are "selling, expired milk" - the expiration date was 09/18/2023, and the accident happened "on Saturday November 11th." When she called, she also learned, "the phone lines are down so I cannot get a hold of anybody."

In a similar Dollar General complaint, a customer discovered that items they purchased at one location were expired. When she went to a different location, “the same products were expired also.”The customer called corporate, and the company called back a week later to reassure them that they "could dispose of the bad products" since the consumer had receipts. Unfortunately, later she was told

now that I didnt have the products (which was many many days later) that I couldnt get a refund…So Im just out of the money I spent at the store for bad unusable inedible products.

Raising Prices and Discrepancies

Comparing Dollar Tree vs Dollar General, they are discount stores, but both have their share of pricing questions and complaints. At Dollar General, a customer complained about the items stocked in the cooler, as well as rising prices on all of the merchandise. The customer couldn’t understand:

 DG prices are climbing higher than WalMart's prices, something that really surprised me. The reason I started shopping at DG was for the lower prices plus availability of products.

Dollar Tree doesn’t escape the complaints about prices, however. A recent reviewer claims in feedback #5518585 that the store recently 

Raised prices without notifications to public or stating on door of price increases.I was charged $150 more than I anticipated due to price increases.

Dollar Tree vs Dollar General coupons

Coupon Challenges

Many customers know that shopping with coupons can save quite a bit of money. When you combine Dollar General or Dollar Tree coupons with the already low prices, customers can save even more. While Dollar Tree accepts manufacturers’ coupons, per their FAQ on the company’s website, there are no specific Dollar Tree coupons for customers to clip. 

Dollar General, on the other hand, accepts both manufacturers’ coupons as well as specific Dollar General Coupons. On the company’s website, there are Dollar General coupons you can “clip” electronically and coupons that can be printed before shopping in the store. Perhaps it is these store-specific coupons that boost the number of complaints. Currently, there are more coupon complaints at Dollar General than at Dollar Tree stores.

One Dollar General customer accused the company of “ripping people off” when they tried to use a digital coupon that didn’t work in complaint #5514579. They explain 

a digital coupon did not give me a discount and there was no manager in the store that could refund me my money for the product. The customer service was awful and it happens every time I go in the store

Tips for Smart Shopping at Dollar Stores

Want to be sure you will have a positive shopping experience at Dollar Tree or Dollar General? Consider these tips:

Watch the price tags. Not everything is a dollar at dollar stores, and your bill can creep up quickly if you’re not watching the actual price on many of the items.

Use coupons. Use digital or manufacturer’s coupons to get even bigger savings on already inexpensive items.

Don’t look for quality. Dollar store items are cheap, and they aren’t made to last. Focus on finding items you are going to use quickly or only use two times to avoid constantly replacing something you need to use for years or even weeks.

Avoid temptation.  It’s easy to spend extra money in dollar stores because everything seems cheap. Work with a list and avoid browsing the aisles because you’ll easily pick up an extra ten, twenty, or fifty items that explode your final bill.

Finding What Works for You

Everyone likes saving money, but to make the most of shopping at dollar stores, you need to be practical, understand how the stores work, and avoid the temptation to buy things you don't need that might run up the bills. If you've had a great experience, or perhaps one that wasn't so good with Dollar Tree vs Dollar General, leave a review on PissedConsumer or join the conversation in the comments below this article. 

Legal disclaimers:

  1. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide any legal, medical, accounting, investment or any other professional advice as individual cases may vary and should be discussed with a corresponding expert and/or an attorney.
  2. All or some image copyright belongs to the original owner(s). No copyright infringement intended.

Leave a Reply

DIAN LOVE #14323
I shop at Dollar Tree in Columbus 2 stores on west broad st. I heen shopping there for years and i have never had a problem. The employes are nice and helpful and even the manager help me carry out quite a few items cause you are not allowed to take carts outside I did not ask him to do it but he asked me would like him to help me. Of course I said i would appreciate it.. I dont shop at General Dollar - they have some one follow you all around like you are going to steal something, which I understand that but to be followed all through the store acting like they are shopping and watching you I understand that to a certain point but all the time your in the store NO
dofaust #14361
For the much lower prices, these customers are whining unnecessarily. And, common sense suggests to check the expiration dates! Both retailers have been known for years to sell, expired or nearly-expired food. Use common sense. Both have many bargains not available elsewhere.Be civil to the employees of both companies: they need these jobs, which are often the last-resort. Consider more kindness!
John Wilkerson #14374
We have a nice big new Dollar General store. A lot faster than parking and walking into a Walmart store. Only had good experiences.
default #14402
should really watch last season (season 10) video of last week with john oliver re: dollar stores. the working conditions are horrific. NOT that i ever condone rudeness, but i do believe pay, way workers are treated, et al (list goes on) by corporate, does not help ANYONE.
Diane L Burks #14417
I shop at DG in Delta, Ohio. The store manager is rude. She acts like she doesn't see you and definitely doesn't want to be bothered. They have installed self checkouts, so most of the time there is no one at register. You can ring the bell but just recently 3 people were waiting. We saw and asked an employee who was working cash register. Her answer : someone should be there" She then ran to back storage room. We loudly said no one was at register. She finally begrudgingly came and checked people out. I used self checkout but not everyone wants to do that.
Pat Oz #14799
I get the same treatment at Lowe’s Home Store. All self checkout, not one register open. Employees standing around if you need help self checking out. I tell them if they got on a register and did their job, there wouldn’t be any problems. Then they have the nerve to check your receipt to make sure you aren’t stealing!
Kat #14426
I've had nothing but good luck with my local dollar general. Every associate there is super polite and helpful, even going out of their way to look for something for me. They never act bothered and they're always extremely polite and kind. If there is a discrepancy in the price that's shown on the shelf and what I saw in their ad online, they always give me the lower price.They even help me carry bags out to my car.Good people!
Country girl #14503
I am mostly in at night, however, my fiance’ shops daytime & has same complaints. Both stores have VERY poor customer service, expired products, rude employees, and price issues. In the closest Dollar Gen. to us is in Jay, FL. They mostly operate with only 2 staff members on any given shift & are expected to be cashier, answer phone, put up stock on days 18wheeler brings a full TRAILER Load of items!! Jay, Fl’s store looks better than the other 3 located near me..(Two in Century, Fl & one in Flomaton, Al) …They also argue about taking their coupons, or items with a sale sign on it. What items that have a sale tag, Thwy most times will not ring up as a sale price & clerk argues with customer! BEWARE of items NOT ON SALE!!! They constantly are significantly bumping up prices-when it’s NOT on sale!
Margaret Larson #14763
I LOVE Dollar Tree! They have great prices especially on things like cards, gift bags, toothpaste to name a few. Vheck the dates on food products before you buy if this is a concern. A high end grocery store near me has expired items. It's not just the inexpensive stores. There are lots of bargains on everyday items that can save money. Their cleaning products are good too. Know local prices and compare, be a smart informed customer. I do not shop at Dollar General as there is not one close to me. They often are located where there are not many opportunities for people who do not want to travel outside their neighborhood, so I think they do a service for underserved areas.PLEASE be kind and considerate to employees. They are often understaffed and may be paid the minimum wage. They are doing their best, I think them for being there. The stores are often messy and boxes of new stock are waiting to be placed. This is because they sell a lot of merchandise each day and are understaffed. The products are often the same products you can buy elsewhere for much more money. That's why they sell a lot and have trouble keeping shelves stocked.If you have such problems shopping there, go somewhere else and pay more.
Charlotte King #14770
I shop from time to time in two of our local Dollar Tree Stores I made a comment to them that they needed to change their name to either Dollar and 25 Cent Stores or nothing over $1.25 like they used to post at the original $.88 cent stores of the 60's. As for service, its not great but my store do not allow the aisles to get cluttered. One of my complaints is they usually have only one check stand open unless lots of customers are lined up. I go their mainly for candy, greeting cards because they are Hallmark, either 2 for 1.25 or 1.25 each really good cards and selection, Its been since January when I buy my 6 months of cards so I am not sure, they might still be 1$ OR 2 FOR 1$ The other items I get there because of the price is batteries, either AAA or AA cell... best price and their $1.25 reading glasses or sunglasses, I buy several pairs at one time.I also buy their gift bags especially during holidays. Yes they have issues. charging for cash back upsets me, so I don't use their cash back but all in all they are pretty good stores. Its the manager that seems to be the one who sets the level of Customer Service.. The staff is far more friendly than the manager.
Pat Oz #14798
The Dollar General in PA where I’ve shopped was always a wreck. Very dark, dirty and products not displayed right. Then they had a huge makeover. Cleaned, painted and much better lighting. Shelves fixed and products displayed the right way.The last time I was there, I mentioned some trash in one of the aisles. The cashier told me that every day people take food and drinks off the shelves, eat and drink, then throw everything on the floor. Or stuck on a shelf. They aren’t paying for anything. Definitely stealing. There’s nothing he can do to stop it. They have security cameras but people have to be caught in the act not on camera.This is about as disgusting as it gets! It’s not always the store employees that are rude. Plus who else wants to work in that atmosphere?I’ve been in big name grocery stores and found expired food.It’s up to the shopper to check everything before you buy.