Dear Readers: I promise I will respond to your many wonderful comments eventually. Soon. (Except for the robot whose comments I delete. These are the ones with Asian characters. My son couldn't believe I didn't know these were--p-----gra---. Do not click on them.)
The comments piling up on my last post--on dollar stores--are mostly in the YUCK category. Really, folks, Big Lots is great for food.
GOOD REASON. There is a good reason to go to dollar stores--one reason I myself go in now and again. If you need something, say aspirin, you can get some in the dollar store for cheap and get out of there quickly. Your other options are drugstore chain (ridiculously expensive, unless on sale) or the dreaded Walmart (huge store with long lines and slow checkout). I once read that dollar stores contain some large percentage (the usual 80% of the Pareto principle perhaps) of the items for which people must make a special last-minute trip to the store. Things that have fallen into that category for me: poster board, construction paper, salt, Santa hat. I have two dollar stores closer than Walmart, by the way: I wouldn't drive 10 miles for that Santa hat. I am a great stockpiler, so I seldom run out of crucial ingredients like baking soda or baking powder or things like toothpaste. But lots of people do.
BAD REASON. Now for the bad reason. This is not the result of any scientific or other research. Just a hunch. I think the reason the "Everything for a Dollar" stores are popular is because of growing INNUMERACY. You would think that, as an English teacher, I would be writing about illiteracy. Both forms of literacy are of concern. When I tell my students that a test is 10% of their grade, out come the calculators. When I just put the 10% number on the exam, to ease their life, they say "What is a 7? Is that good?" I have had students truly shocked at failing a course: when I explain that a 40% on the final, which is worth a good chunk of their grade, can knock their grade to an F, they simply cannot believe it. So-to return to the subject-I think that dollar stores may appeal simply because customers can add up their purchases. No surprises. Easy math.
I will refrain from going on a tangent about how innumeracy may be why people take out loans that are too big (especially when a bank is willing to lend)...oops. I will cease.
Do you see any instances of innumeracy?