I use to be a snob and would not go to these types of store. It took 3 visits with my sister in law in tag and I was hooked.
It is a place to find good buys and your dollar stretched longer. With our current economy, the fruits and vegetable surplus that would otherwise go to food banks and food pantry’s are now sold to a wholesaler and is supplied to retail 99 cents store. Not everything sold in 99 cents store is good but some are. You need to check the product expiration date & the condition of the cans.
When the economy is good, the yuppies and the baby boomers will not wink an eye to buy limestone lettuce which retails at $5-8.00 a head. With the tight economy, people are holding on to there cash and looking for good buys. 99 Cents store reminds me of Woolworth, except there is no soda fountain and it sells produce. Of course you can not find truffles or saffron here but if you are looking for basic canned goods, like black beans, enchilada sauce,spaghetti sauce and noodles, they have it. Quantity and type is sporadic. One time I found basil & tomato pasta ,an upscale brand in one pound box for 99 cents. Another time I went, I found white fresh asparagus (argenteuil) for 99 cents a bunch which will otherwise sell for over $6.00 a bunch or more in upscale stores, and then there was a time I found haricot vert in one pound box, I wish I can freeze it but experience tells me the taste is diminished when frozen. I bought 5 -1 pound bags which I prepared in different ways and ate with abandon for a week.
Lets talk about the produce. The produce of course are not organic,but the nutrient content is equal to the ones you buy from the regular supermarkets. The tomatoes,cucumber, peppers, zucchini,other squashes are number #2 or mishapens. This means that the size is not uniform but the nutritional value is not diminished with the shape. The romaine lettuce hearts are excellent. Baby spinach is a bargain at 0.99 cents a bag. Somehow I have bad experience with bananas , I get brown spots when they ripen, so I scratch it off my list.
Did you know that if you wash and rinse the produce, you get rid of most of the pesticides. I buy my package salads from either Costco or Trader Joe and I still wash them. Cooking also destroy the pesticides. Eat variety of fruits and vegetables so you are not constantly consuming the same vegetable treated with the same pesticide, which can have a cumulative effect.
Also buy only produce you can consume within 3 days. Buying lots of produce because it is cheap, but will linger in your refrigerator to rot is not a wise thing to do. First, the nutrient content is diminished ,second, did you know that vegetables can also turn toxic? Rotten vegetables emits odor and can permeate the smell to other food in your refrigerator
Except for the frozen fruits and vegetables I stay away from the refrigerated and frozen items at 99 cents store, but you may want to look and see if you find something of interest to you. Also the meats and the fish (frozen) are not worth your time.
See for yourselves.