We were curious, like approximately 99.7 percent of the rest of Maine: What is this Dollar General that’s started popping up like the Easter bunny on a sugar high?

(That 0.3 percent of the population being non-shoppers/non-inquisitive people. We don’t get them. At all.)

Is Dollar General like Dollar Tree, where everything is a dollar? Is it like Family Dollar, where it feels like few things are a dollar? Or are we focused too much on the “dollar” when we should be focused on the “general,” expecting military surplus, canned goods and cheap ammo? 

Turns out the answer is no, no and, well, no, though we did find some women’s plus-size camouflage capris. So, there’s that. 

Too curious to stand it any longer (they have been open for days), we checked out the Dollar General on Sabattus Street in Lewiston. There’s also one on Minot Avenue in Auburn and one coming to the intersection of Routes 4 and 117 in Turner. And if the clerk behind the cash register is to be believed  — we found him very trustworthy in our 15 seconds of eavesdropping — more stores will be coming soon as Dollar General sets down a new shop anywhere there’s a Family Dollar.

We discovered Dollar General is something like Walmart, crammed into a space the size of Rite Aid. The Lewiston store contained aisle after aisle of food (including milk and freezer basics), tons of toys, a lot of medicine cabinet staples and housewares, along with what has to be the largest selection of African-American hair care products in the Twin Cities.

Some stuff cost $1. Other stuff was priced closer to Walmart-average prices. And then there are online coupons.

Overall, we found ourselves saying, “We’ve never seen that before!” a lot, what with lavender-scented toilet paper, kiddie mustache three-packs and single-use super glue. Also, turkey-flavored collard greens in a can.

Hey, no store is perfect.

* Single-use super glue, four-pack, $1.25

Teeny-tiny super glue tubes. Use once and toss — no muss, no fuss. And no need to hurt yourself next time trying to pry the cap off the super glue because it’s been, you know, super glued on.

* Paperback books, $3

Romance, mystery, sci-fi and thriller novels with tantalizing titles such as “Dark Nights” and “A Whisper of Eternity.” Perfect for plane, train or beach reading. Really, anywhere you won’t see someone you know.

* Stick-on mustaches, three-pack, $1

The styles are labeled the Shifty, the Rascal and the Outlaw. Your next party — along with all future photos of your children, pets and sleeping parents — must include these.

* Mr. Sketch scented markers, 2 pack, $1.75

We remember these! Fruit-scented markers that smell deliciously like cherry lollipops, watermelon gum or blueberry muffins. Now that we think about it, it’s amazing we didn’t eat them and end up in the hospital. Ah, childhood.

* Adirondack chair, $20

Plastic backyard Adirondack chairs in bright colors, great for lounging outside with a glass of lemonade. When outside is no longer hampered by snowbanks and your lemonade won’t freeze.

* Odom’s Tennessee Pride frozen chicken and buttermilk biscuits, $3.50

One of the items we’ve never noticed around L-A before — snack-sized chicken, sandwiched between snack-sized buttermilk biscuits. We’re torn. It sounds like a heart attack waiting to happen, but also yummy. So maybe you can jog afterward.

* Angel Soft lavender-scented toilet paper, 12 big rolls, $5

We are not on board with scented toilet paper, per se — but we’re also not firmly opposed. It exists. Much like kale or Jimmy Kimmel. Do what you will.

* Fart bubbles, 4 oz., $1

Think wand, soapy concoction, blowing bubbles. But, ah, think fart-scented, presumably. We did not uncap to confirm. Upon telling Mr. Bag Lady of its existence, his first reaction was, “Why didn’t you buy it to find out?”

And so, just like that, Bag Lady and Shopping Siren suddenly discovered where they draw the non-inquisitive line.

* Gourmet Club ice cream scoop, $1

Cute with a little flexible latex back to more easily pop out scooped balls of ice cream. The same section of the store had a multitude of $1 plastic merchandise, including small bins and miniature marshmallow-sized ice cube trays. Basically, all the kitchen items you never knew you needed.

* DG Home standard 60-watt light bulbs, four-pack, $1.50

Bag Lady has gone from standard bulbs to curly CFLs, back to standard and will probably progress next to LED. When she has three out of four bulbs go out in her kitchen soffits, as, ahem, might have happened last week, frankly, any light bulbs will do.

* Faux denim or sweat-pant capris, or tie-dye baby doll T-shirts, $12.50 each (buy one, get one free this week)

The clothing aisle, from baby to 3XL, can be largely summed up in a few words. For kids: “cute” and “everyday.” For women’s wear: “Rave.” “1988.” “Beach/emergency casual.”  

Best find: DG Dark chocolate bar, 3.5 oz., $1

According to the label, “100% of proceeds go to Dollar General Literacy Foundation.” Antioxidants and a good cause. Delish!

Think twice: Glory canned collard greens, 14.5 ounces, $1

Seasoned, Southern-style, turkey-flavored collard greens in a can. Um. Yum?

Bag Lady and Shopping Siren’s true identities are protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who will vehemently protest the fake mustaches, in all likelihood) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].


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