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Customer calls out Dollar Tree for upsetting store policy regarding its merchandise: 'It's been over a month'

This is frustrating on several levels.

This is frustrating on several levels.

Photo Credit: iStock

It's always frustrating when stores overstock a product and then throw out the waste. But what might be even worse is when a store is wasteful and then refuses to throw out or even discount the expired items. One Redditor posted to r/mildlyinfuriating about the holiday products at their local Dollar Tree.

What's happening?

At first glance, this Redditor's photo appears to show a charming Valentine's Day display with red, pink, and white heart-shaped helium balloons.

This is frustrating on several levels.
Photo Credit: Reddit
This is frustrating on several levels.
Photo Credit: Reddit

However, a closer inspection shows the balloons are visibly deflating, with large, obvious wrinkles in each one from the lack of pressure inside. The photo is dated March 16.

"Dollar Tree has tons of inflated helium Valentine's Day balloons left over, won't discount them, just trashing them once they deflate," said the original poster, who was a customer at the store. "It's been over a month. Why did they inflate so many ahead of time? … The manager said they can't mark them down. Full price."

Why are hundreds of Valentine's Day balloons important?

This is frustrating on several levels. First, there's the wasted money from all those balloons and the helium used to fill them. When stores lose money, they pass those costs on to consumers — for example, charging $1.50 instead of $1 for a Dollar Tree balloon, which is what this store did.

Second, the energy and resources used to fill the balloons have now been wasted. There have been several shortages of helium in the last 20 years. Plus, wasting resources puts unnecessary strain on the environment.

Finally, the balloons themselves are actually a terrible product from an environmental perspective. They often escape and end up as litter, which is dangerous for wildlife.

Is Dollar Tree doing anything about this?

Each year, Dollar Tree reports on its sustainability as part of its pledge to reach net zero by 2050. In 2023, it says it recycled over 370,000 tons of material rather than sending it to a landfill.

Recycling these tired balloons would be a reasonable solution, but unfortunately, the store seemed determined to keep them on display.

What can I do about litter from balloons?

As it turns out, foil balloons are reusable, so if you happen to receive any, you can deflate them and reuse them later. At the end of their life, recycle them at a facility equipped for plastic sheeting.

Overall, the best option is to avoid plastic products and choose paper party decorations that are easier to recycle.

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