Dollar Tree shopper shares which food items she’ll never purchase again

@mhouser12/TikTok Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock (Licensed)

‘Toast Ems are the ORIGINAL pop tarts’: Dollar Tree shopper shares which food items she’ll never purchase again

'I swear everyone’s dollar tree are better than mine.'


Jack Alban


Posted on Jan 25, 2024   Updated on Jan 25, 2024, 3:26 pm CST

Inflation in the U.S. has become a massive problem, especially in recent years. Ever since 2021, more and more families have been looking for alternative ways to ensure that they’re able to make ends meet, even when it comes to keeping their pantries and refrigerators fully stocked.

As a result, folks have been turning to budget retailers like Dollar Tree and sharing how they’ve been able to purchase a week’s worth of groceries at a discount. Still, the nature of how Dollar Tree operates—getting inventory from liquidated and overstocked goods from other retailers—means that not every single store is necessarily going to get the same products.

But some Dollar Tree shoppers appear to be more #blessed than others, like Melissa Houser (@mhouser12) who posted a now-viral TikTok delineating all of the groceries she loves buying at her local Dollar Tree, and a few she thinks folks should avoid.

Numerous commenters remarked that their own Dollar Tree locations don’t look anything like this, but if you happen to live in the vicinity of one that is similar to Houser’s, you might be able to save a lot of money on your grocery bill.

She begins her clip by jumping right into the products she enjoys buying from the popular budget retailer chain. “Their coffee is great I usually go with the K Cups and I usually get the hot chocolate and it looks like they’re out,” she starts.

Houser then focuses her attention on Toast Ems, which look like a type of Pop-Tarts rip-off. According to the TikToker, if you like Pop-Tarts, then you’re going to like these. “I got these before for my daughter and they taste just like Pop Tarts,” she adds.

Next up are bags of chocolate chips: “These are great for baking, and the quality is super good, super chocolatey. These cake mixes are amazing for cake mix cookies if you need the recipe just let me know.” Houser then turns to a brown bag of organic coconut flour and says, “This was terrible, skip it.”

Her clip transitions to her holding up a bag of organic chopped walnuts. Houser says that in general, Dollar Tree’s nuts are “good for snacking” so those get her approval, as do their baking mixes. She pans her phone over a variety of Betty Crocker cookie mixes. According to Houser, if you want to get something baked without breaking the bank, Dollar Tree is an option.

Food coloring and graham crackers, the latter of which she calls “pretty decent” also get her seal of approval. But something else pops up in the aisles that probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been following the rise and fall of the viral product’s trajectory: The Pink Sauce. This went from an internet craze to an item lining the shelves of Dollar Tree, in what appears to be a last-ditch effort to get rid of any remaining inventory. “This looks disgusting,” House describes.

Onion dip also gets her approval, alongside A1 steak sauce, Olive Garden branded Italian dressing, and a “great deal” on Frank’s Red Hot sauce. When it comes to other condiments, she says that both French’s and Deli Market mustard are great deals folks should try out.

If you’re looking for fruit cups and other little goodies to pack for your kids’ lunches, Houser says that Dollar Tree has a great assortment for shoppers to choose from as well. She also recommends buying dry seasonings here as well, especially the “everything bagel” variety which she calls a dupe for the Aldi and Trader Joe’s variants.

Kraft Mac & Cheese boxes were also on sale which Houser calls a “great deal”—unlike the Eat Regal bags of Jasmine Rice that she said were “gross” and wouldn’t break apart despite cooking it. The larger, dry bags of Omega brand rice are a better option, she says, as were the Golden Home prepared pizza crusts, which she calls “pretty decent.”

If you’re a fan of the Girl Scout Cookies Thin Mints, then you might want to pick yourself up some boxes of the Fudge Mints sold at Dollar Tree. She called the Stauffer’s Animal Crackers at Dollar Tree “the best” ones you can get.

Vacuum-sealed bags of pre-packaged tuna, including a “dill flavor” that gets Houser very excited are another recommendation for some quick protein. If you want some imitation Ritz crackers, the TikToker also recommends the Snak Time brand, along with Club Crackers.

Houser went on to show off an impressively stocked shelf of canned soups showing varieties offered by both Campbell’s and Healthy Choice which she calls “pretty decent.”

Dark chocolate Reese’s Thins got a thumbs up, as did the beverage refrigerators near checkout that she says often carries Alani. Pre-packaged pickles also received high praise from Houser, and it looks like the store carried a few different options when it comes to brined cucumbers. When it comes to more sweet treats, she said that Welch’s Strawberry Fruit n’ Yogurt gummies are worth checking out.

Wonderful brand pistachios in single serving pouches were also on deck, getting a 10/10 from the TikToker, along with bags of Craisins she calls “such a good deal.” If you’re a fan of energy drinks, then you’ll be happy to know Dollar Tree also sells C4, which she showed off in a fridge as well. Her store also carries Pop Secret microwavable popcorn and Houser says that they’re perfect for a “movie night.” Her clip transitions to show a multi-pack of Snyder’s pretzels—a staple for her “daughter’s lunch.”

@mhouser12 #dollartreefinds#dollartree#dollartreehaul#dollartreehacks#dollartreehaul#dollartreedinners#dollartreegroceries#fyp @Dollar Tree ♬ original sound – Melissa Houser

Other snacks that get Houser’s approval: buffalo-flavored Snack Factory flat pretzel bites, Pirate’s Booty Cheddar Blast! puffs, and mini honey mustard pretzel bites. As for flavored drink powders/shots, she says that the Peak H20 brand and Welch’s Passion Fruit and Sonic drink mixtures are delicious as well. Sonic also makes plastic popsicles in pouches you can throw into your freezer, and Houser says they’re a great treat worth trying out. If you like the Ice brand of flavored drinks, Houser shows that she’s able to get them at her Dollar Tree and that they’re a good buy, too.

If your Dollar Tree has a frozen food section with fruit options, she says that the chain’s “frozen blueberries are a must, and the little mini Ben & Jerry’s” because they’re “such a good deal.”

She caps off her video by stating that “anything in this plus section,” which she uses to refer to a segment of the freezer that is reserved for name-brand products that are offered for a limited time, is a spot for potential deals.

Numerous commenters who responded to Houser’s video were shocked at the offerings she showed off in the video, stating that they’d never been inside a Dollar Tree that was as stocked as hers.

“I swear everyone’s dollar tree are better than mine,” one person wrote.

“Can we talk about this fully stocked Dollar twenty-five tree? Never been in one,” another remarked.

Someone else wrote that they don’t even feel safe shopping in their Dollar Tree, let alone enjoy the same kind of variety she has in hers: “Your dollar store is nice!!! You have to have pepper spray to walk around mine.”

One commenter claimed that Toast ’em’s came out before Pop Tarts, technically making the Kellogg’s brand the “dupe.” As it turns out, their statement is true. Although they did come out in the same year, Toast’em’s were released in February of 1964 and Pop Tarts in September, just a few months later. No wonder why there are Redditors so adamant about not referring to the product as a “crappy off-brand.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to Dollar Tree via email and Houser via TikTok comment for further information.

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*First Published: Jan 25, 2024, 11:00 pm CST