- Vitamins: Consumer Reports found that some of the dollar store vitamins had truth gaps. Not every ingredient listed on the label was actually used and the vitamins weren't properly absorbed in a test. Best Buy: ShopSmart recommends name brands: Bayer One A Day or Centrum. "In our tests, those brands dissolved properly and had all the claimed nutrients," ShopSmart said. Or read labels for verification from U.S. Pharmacepia and NSF International.
My personal pet peeves: vitamins with artificial colors. I purchased one drug store brand and was surprised and annoyed to find Yellow and Red dyes on the label. Yuck. Now, I look for brands with no dyes or harmful chemicals. So it pays to read labels at standard stores as well.
- Electrical Products: At some dollar stores there are electrical products (holiday lights, fans, and extension cords) with bogus safety labels. That's dangerous because "undersized wiring" could spark electrical fires. Look for: certification from Underwriters Laboratories and make sure the certification is real by checking for a hologram on the UL logo. UL also has a link (http://www.ul.com/) where we can check out product certifications.
- Toddler Toys: Beware of imported items with small or sharp parts.
- Name Confusions: For example, beware of "Dinacell" batteries, which are packaged like name brand Duracell. Bogus or almost-name brand products are usually counterfeits. And it's more than a name game, ShopSmart found some bogus batteries that leaked acid.
- Vinyl lunch sacks: Some dollar AND DEPARTMENT STORES sell vinyl lunch boxes with traces of lead. Best Buy: soft sacks lined with nylon instead of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), ShopSmart recommended.