Most people know of the main discount stores across the country; Poundland, the 99p store, Poundworld; you name it, there is bound to be at least two in every city. Now when news of Poundland coming to my town arrived after the demise of Tesco, some people were delighted; after all, more jobs would occur for those who lost theirs after Tesco’s demise and the fact there was the opportunity for people; working families to save money on branded goods they may not necessarily be able to afford. I am one of these people.

Now let me tell you about the other half of the debate; the half that hate these stores. Some argue that they “lower the tone” of the town; that it encourages obesity and “chavs” and they only sell “cheap tat”. Now in some cases, the argument is understandable, that perhaps the selling of “treat food” at such low prices is going to encourage obesity but then again, how is it the store’s fault for people not having a good understanding of nutrition?

As a university student on a low income, the arrival of Poundland has been a Godsend for my family and I; I have managed to secure all of my stationery and other supplies at a fraction of the cost; a fair amount of said items I have secured being sold at 4 times the price in some cases in stores such as Sainsburys and Morrisons.

I was somewhat lost for words at some of the conversations I heard from some people whilst I was in the store; certain people who told their young children “careful now, we don’t want to be seen; also put that tat down, nothing here is good anyway” as they load up their baskets full of items all the while sounding off about the poor quality of the store and the staff who run it. If this is how they feel, why is it that these people are flocking to these cheap stores? Now I know not all low cost items may be of good quality; but why is it that society has demonized cheaper products?

Another classic example being cheaper shops for cards and gifts; such as the Card Factory; every time I have been past one of these stores; their queues are out the door no matter what time of the year it is. I for one find them a great alternative for finding really nice cards that would normally set me back three or four times more money if I went to one of their rivals. Since the arrival of our local Card Factory, I have noticed our local Clinton’s has made a point of trying to compete by selling their products at a reasonable price to attract customers once more.

So surely these cheaper stores are not a bad thing after all? After all in these times of austerity, is not good to save money on goods we love? Regardless of how society perceives me, I know that this “lower class” citizen shall be heading to Poundland tomorrow to pick up some more paper. Just a thought…