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Best Dollar Store: Wisest way to stretch a buck 

Dollar Tree

There's no better place to find something for (nearly) nothing than a dollar store, and the brand-new Dollar Tree on Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley eliminates any of the stigma associated with shopping in one. Clean and well lit, cheerily decorated with a smart green color scheme, it feels more like a pharmacy or grocery than a dingy dollar store. The spacious interior — eight aisles, four well-stocked walls, and four checkout stands — offers an impressive inventory that rotates weekly. A recent trip turned up an astonishing array of items that not only seem strange stocked side by side, but usually sell for far more. To name a few: mops, cat litter, ceramic plates and mugs, batteries, picture frames, baby bibs, silverware, pound cake, cereal, nonstick frying pans, grill accessories, headphones, sunglasses, steak knives, car care products, and pet supplies. The catch? Dollar Tree's products are generally either a little aged, off-brand, or slightly damaged. The store is fairly busy just about any time you stop by, serving a diverse clientele of college students, families, and avowed bargain hunters.

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