A Dollar Tree devotee is saying that newcomers and influencers are appropriating “broke” culture by shopping at the budget retailer.
Kirst (@klehmma5), a personal wellness coach on the platform, said that more affluent newcomers who view the Dollar Tree as some bespoke and intriguing new experience are clearing out inventory of items that she and other shoppers rely on purchasing out of financial necessity.
In a viral TikTok that’s garnered over 233,000 views as of Sunday, Kirst urged these shoppers to “save some for the poor folks.” She says many of their videos centering on the neat and nifty products they get at the Dollar Tree for a steal is severely limiting retail options for her and other shoppers who have no other choice in where to shop.
Kirst begins her video with a simple thesis to all TikTokers who are posting Dollar Tree-related content: they should stop doing so immediately.
“To all the girls out there who are making these Dollar Tree finds, Dollar Tree hacks videos. As someone who actually shops at the Dollar Tree, because they have to, I’m here to say politely stop,” she says. “Just stop making those videos. Those of us that shop at the Dollar Tree, we shop there because we can’t afford these items at regular stores.”
She shares a scenario where she makes a run to the Dollar Tree to pick up some items, only to be greeted with “bare shelves.”
“And it just so happens that I saw a video pop up on my For You Page—two or three videos actually—of girls going down, grabbing 10, 20, 30 items, Dollar Tree finds,” she says. “And that’s just crazy by itself because you guys are going there, literally spending $30, $40, $50 at the Dollar Store, [and being] like, ‘Oh my God. I got all this for 50 bucks.’ I walk in there with a $10 limit, OK?”
@klehmma5 Don’t take me too seriously I felt like being a Karen today 💁🏼♀️ But fr it is high key annoying when your go to affordable products start “trending” and you stop having access to them 😩 #dollartreefinds #dollartreemakeupfinds #ballinonabudget #fyp ♬ original sound – Your free life-coach||Kirst 💕
After delving into the fiscal discrepancies between herself and Dollar Tree influencer shoppers, while she did concede that different people shop at Dollar Tree for different reasons, she listed off the demographics that are primarily served by the retailer and said that wealthy influencers are destroying the experience for “poor” people.
“I get it. We’re not all there for the same things, but elderly people, people who are retired, living on social security, single mothers, single parents, large families, low-income families—we go there to shop because we cannot afford things at regular stores,” she says. “You guys are blowing up the spot and ruining it for all of us poor people, OK?”
One item that Kirst says is in short supply ever since the Dollar Tree content boom is a popular beauty product that she otherwise can’t afford at another store.
“For example, lashes, I see lashes blowing up all the time,” she says. “The ones I would get at the Dollar Tree, and they’re not there anymore and, like, I cannot afford lash extensions. I’m already shopping at the Dollar Tree for a reason. And now my lashes aren’t there? Like what do you just want us all to be like ugly? Look bald all the time? Like please you guys just like save that stuff, save it for us poor people, please.”
One commenter who saw Kirst’s video didn’t seem to take too kindly to her rant and wrote, “Really – you want to control how people shop and where? The audacity.”
It’s a viewpoint that seemed to befuddle Kirst, who wrote in a reply, “Interesting that’s what you got from this.”
The TikToker also did say in a caption that she wasn’t being entirely serious in her criticism, adding, “Don’t take me too seriously I felt like being a Karen today But fr it is high key annoying when your go to affordable products start ‘trending’ and you stop having access to them.”
The glamorization and usurping of poor culture from richer individuals is a topic that’s been oft-discussed. In the world of fashion, the Columbia Political Review has called this phenomenon “cosplaying poverty.”
In 2017, Nordstrom found itself in a bit of an online controversy involving Mike Rowe from the TV series Dirty Jobs, who called out the clothing retailer for selling the pair of fake muddied jeans for $425. He criticized the pants as “a costume for wealthy people who see work as ironic — not iconic.”
The Daily Dot has reached out to Dollar Tree via email and Kirst via TikTok comment.