You might want to get some low-priced merchandise — but you might not be able to get to it.
According to Insider, several Dollar General stores have shut down lately after an excess of inventory caused a space glut, and, in many cases, led to safety violations.
Chris Key, director of public safety in Pittsylvania County, Virginia told Entrepreneur that two locations in the county, Gretna and Mount Hermon, received numerous complaints over merchandise being stacked in the aisles with no clearance or room to move around. Exits and exit routes also cannot, generally speaking, be blocked for fire safety. Those two stores were the only ones in his jurisdiction that had to be visited in person for inventory and safety issues.
“I don’t know if they don’t have enough time to get supplies on the shelves [or] don’t have a big enough storage room,” Key said.
“You gotta keep the area in front of the electric panel clear,” he added.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) which is the federal agency that oversees workplace safety in the U.S., has issued numerous citations to various Dollar General locations for years, according to the report. Dollar General and its subsidiary, Dolgencorp, have received over $12.3 million in initial penalties for “numerous willful, repeat and serious workplace safety violations,” since 2017, the agency said in a press release in November.
“During the past five years, OSHA found unsafe conditions that expose workers to the possibility of being struck by falling boxes of merchandise or trapped or unable to exit the store safely in an emergency in more than 180 inspections at Dollar General stores nationwide,” the agency added.
At least one user has noted the effect on Twitter (Entrepreneur did not verify the photo). It’s also been a topic of conversation on TikTok, with users making short videos of towers of stored merchandise in Dollar General stores.
“Why are all Dollar General’s like this?” one user wrote. “Doesn’t matter what location you go to, they are full of carts and boxes!”
@addicocci Why are all @Dollar General. ‘s like this? Doesn’t matter what location you go to, they are all full of carts with boxes! #dollargeneral #dollargeneralfinds #dollargeneraldeals #shopping #employeeproblems #boxes #mess #messes #thegreatresignation #nc #messy #generalstore ♬ original sound – Addisen
Insider noted some stores closed due to inventory issues based on public records, conversations with officials on the ground, and news reports in Pittsylvania County, Virginia; Watauga County, North Carolina, Cadott, Wisconsin; Maple Lake, Minnesota; and Mount Pleasant, Texas.
In North Carolina, Watauga County Fire Marshal Shane Garland closed two stores because they had “aisle and exits blocked,” according to The Watauga Democrat.
OSHA announced last week it had proposed over $200,000 in penalties for the Texas store for “allowing storeroom merchandise to block exits and walkways and stacking boxes high enough to fall on workers,” the agency said.
One delivery driver told Insider that when they make deliveries to Dollar General in their Midwest territory, sometimes the stores are closed for excess inventory — causing them to sometimes have to bring the delivery back.
Dollar General did not immediately respond to Entrepreneur‘s request for comment, but it told Insider that when the company finds out about safety issues, it “work[s] to timely address the issue and ensure that the company’s expectations regarding safety are clearly communicated, understood and implemented.”