I Taste Tested the Entire McDonald’s Dollar Menu and Lived to Tell the Story

August 4, 2020 by Kyle
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As most loyal readers know, I’m a huge fan of secret menus at restaurants and fast-food joints. Delicious stuff that only people “in the know” can order. So I figured I would expand my horizons and taste test some “value or dollar menus” from various joints and grade the quality of the chow. What better place to start than with the legendary McDonald’s dollar menu. They break down their menu into price categories, $1, $2, and $3 items and I tried them ALL and somehow lived to write about it. Let’s get to it…

I Taste Tested the McDonald's Dollar Menu and Lived to Tell the Story

$1 Menu:

Sausage Burrito

This comes stuffed with scrambled eggs, pork sausage, cheese, green chiles and onion.

On first bite I was impressed, but then again I LOVE me a breakfast burrito.

I got a mouthful of melted cheese goodness with a nice touch of salt from the sausage and a bit of kick with the chiles.

Add salsa if you can as it adds a bit of huevo rancheros vibe to it.

I’d need at least 3 for a full breakfast because they definitely are on the smaller side.

Grade: A-

See Also: McDonald’s Secret Menu: Mickey D’s in a Whole New Light

McChicken Sandwich

OK, I realize it’s only a buck, but wow, it ain’t good folks, even for 100 pennies.

The “crispy” chicken is flavorless, the lettuce is soggy and the mayo is just plain gross.

The only redeeming thing is the bun which was toasted perfectly in my case.

Also, it’s a chicken “fillet” which means it’s basically a large McNugget and not real chicken breast but rather chicken parts molded together.

Grade: D

Cheeseburger

The Mickey D’s cheeseburger is a classic and the 2 cheeseburger meal is one of my go-to meals when I’m traveling and need a quick meal that’s not messy.

So the $1 cheeseburger holds a special place in my heart.

If you’ve never had it, it comes topped with American cheese, mustard, ketchup, pickle, and chopped onions.

I usually ask for it sans ketchup cuz I’m an adult and it ensures a freshly made burger.

Grade: A

4 Piece McNuggets

Not every dollar menu has this but I’m lucky enough to live near a McDonald’s location that does.

At 25 cents each, this is a good value for sure, even if the McNugget is no chicken tender which is usually made from 100% white meat.

But the 4 piece McNugget is a great add-on to one of their value meals, especially if you’re really hungry and want to get your grub on.

Grade: B

Any Size Soft Drink

Any size drink for a buck? Wow, that’s a really affordable way to get diabetes.

The medium size should suffice for most unless you’re splitting it with 3 other adults or hosting a kid’s birthday party later in the day.

Grade: A (for value alone)

Dollar Menu

$2 Menu:

Sausage McGriddles

If you’ve never had a McGriddles they are kind of like a pancake with a taste of sweet maple syrup mixed in.

Then you add the sausage in between the griddle cakes and you get a nice mashup of sweetness and saltiness.

Pretty darn good actually and for only 2 bucks they are worth a try.

Grade: B+

See Also: These 10 McDonald’s Menu Prices Provide the Most Bang for Your Buck

2 Piece Buttermilk Crispy Tenders

OK, now we’re finally talking real chicken, unlike the bastard chicken known as the McNugget.

These Buttermilk Crispy Tenders have a nice crunch to them and are loaded with 100% white meat.

Mine were a little dry but it probably just depends on how long they stay in the fryer.

Ask for the “Signature sauce” as it makes for a fantastic dipping situation.

Overall I enjoyed them and would definitely order them again.

Grade: A-

Bacon McDouble

Any time you can get a double burger with bacon for $2 you’re clearly winning at life and the road to obesity.

So if your local McDonald’s has the Bacon McDouble on their dollar menu you GOTTA try it.

Aside from the extra patty and bacon, it comes with all the toppings you get on their regular cheeseburger.

I enjoyed the burger, not gonna lie. The cheesy goodness really accented the saltiness of the bacon.

In case you’re wondering, I DIDN’T eat all of these items on the same day, not sure I’d still be here to write this if I did.

I spaced them out over a couple weeks.

Grade: B

Small McCafe

Looking for an afternoon pick me up?

The McCafe Frappés, iced coffee, or Latte fits the bill perfectly, especially for only $2.

The small size is basically the same as Starbucks Grande making it a great value for only $2.

See Also: 10 Starbucks Prices That Actually Make Their Coffee Affordable

Grade: A-

$3 Menu:

Sausage McMuffin w/ Egg

$3 items…starting to get into Daddy Warbucks territory now.

But I must say, the Sausage McMuffin with Cheese is one of my all-time favorites.

For starters I love English Muffins, WAY more than toast.

Then you throw on that perfectly cooked round egg and sausage with a slice of American cheese and fo’get ’bout it.

I actually ordered two of these and made quick history of each.

Sure the $6 price tag was a bit steep but my fat cells were screaming as I drove up to the drive thru and I was a bit gluttonous.

Grade: A+

Classic Chicken Sandwich

The Classic Chicken Sandwich at Mickey D’s, not to be confused with the Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Sandwich, is a mainstay on their $3 menu.

Along with the crispy chicken, it comes on a toasted hamburger bun with pickles and their Signature sauce.

I liked this sandwich, not as much as Popeye’s version, but I liked it.

The chicken was moist and the meat to bun ratio was perfect.

I would have liked a little lettuce and tomato added to mine just to offset the large piece of chicken, but overall it was a good sammy.

Grade: B+

Triple Cheeseburger

The Triple Cheeseburger is 3 beef patties, 2 slices of American cheese, ketchup, mustard, and diced onions.

It’s a good burger, especially for meat lovers.

But for me it was simply too much beef and my bowels are still trying to recover.

I’d rather have 2 single cheeseburgers for $2 then this meat mountain.

Grade: C

Happy Meal

To the chagrin of many parents, I’ve been told the Happy Meal has been removed from most dollar menus in recent months.

Where else will parents find cheap toys to step on in the middle of the night?

Toys that seem to be kept way too long and inexplicably end up being stored under couch cushions until the kid moves away to college.

Don’t get me wrong, Happy Meals are not going away, just be prepared to pay closer to $5 for them.

Grade: B

Ask the Reader: What’s your go-to item off the McDonald’s dollar menu? Does your local “golden arches” have different items on their dollar menu? Let me know.


By Kyle James

Photo credit to Mike Mozart.

All the Major Stores that Now Require a Mask to Enter

Updated August 3, 2020 by Kyle
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As large national retailers like Walmart, Costco, and Target unveil new COVID-19 rules that require masks to enter, it has many other major stores following suit. So I went out and researched all of the stores that currently require customers to wear a face covering to enter. I hope this information helps.

All the Major Stores that Require Masks to Enter

American Eagle Outfitters

American Eagle was one of the first clothing stores to require face masks to be worn at all times in any AE or Aerie store.

They have masks available at the entrance if you need one.

Apple Store

All Apple Stores have required face coverings since May 17th.

They are also performing temperature checks at the door and limiting store occupancy.

Best Buy

As of July 15th, all customers entering a Best Buy location are required to wear a mask.

They will provide one for you if you show up without a face covering.

See Also: 7 Insider Tips to Save Money at Best Buy (That Just Might Blow Your Mind)

BJ’s Wholesale

Effective July 20th, all customers entering BJ’s are required to wear a facial covering that covers the mouth and nose at all times.

This does not apply to children under the age of 2.

They ask you to shop their website if you have concerns over wearing a mask.

Costco

Costco was one of the first national stores to require customers to wear a mask.

This does not apply to children under 2 and those with a medical condition that prevents them from wearing one.

See Also: 8 Brilliant Ways to Save Money and Time at Costco (Shhh, Some Are Kinda Secret)

CVS

While CVS employees will not be asked to play the role of “enforcer”, they ask all customers to wear a mask when entering.

Not sure if they provide masks to customer. Let me know if you have any information on this.

Dollar Tree & Family Dollar

Both stores are owned by the same company and both strongly request that you wear a mask upon entering.

They no longer mandate the mask wearing, but rather request it.

H-E-B

As of July 3rd, all H-E-B customers in the state of Texas are required to wear a mask.

Exceptions are made “for children and individuals with health-related issues.”

Home Depot

Starting July 22nd, all Home Depot customers will be required to wear a mask to enter the store.

Exceptions are made to small children and those with a “valid” medical condition.

Masks will be made available to customers who need one.

See Also: 7 Highly Clever Ways to Save Money at The Home Depot

Kohl’s

Starting July 20th, all Kohl’s locations will require a face covering if you want to enter the store.

They’ll have an employee at the door to remind shoppers of this new store-wide mask mandate.

Kroger

Kroger joined the growing list of stores now requiring face covering to shop for groceries.

This goes into effect starting July 22nd, 2020.

Lowe’s

Similar to Home Depot, Lowe’s will require face coverings starting Monday July 20th.

Masks are free at the customer service desk for those who don’t have one (while supplies last).

Menards

If you have a Menards in your neck-of-the-woods, be prepared to wear a mask if you want to get in and shop.

They have “single masks available for purchase for a nominal charge at the service desk by the store entrance.”

Publix

Publix grocery stores will require customers to wear masks as of July 21st.

The coverings must cover the mouth and nose.

Starbucks

In early July, Starbucks mandated that all customers who enter a location must wear a mask.

This does not apply to drive-through customers.

See Also: 7 Starbucks Menu Hacks Guaranteed To Save You Money

Target

Target has also joined the ranks of stores that require a face covering to enter.

This policy goes into effect on August 1st.

Trader Joe’s

What started as a “request” that all customers wear a mask, Trader Joe’s now requires them to enter.

Young children and those with a medical condition are exempt.

See Also: The 9 Best Buys at Trader Joe’s According to Employees

Verizon

You must now wear a face covering to enter a Verizon store.

They encourage people to shop their website if they don’t want to wear a cloth mask.

Walgreens

Starting July 20th, Walgreens will also require shoppers to wear a mask.

Their press release did not mention if they will provide mask to those who need them.

Walmart & Sam’s Club

Starting July 20th, both Walmart and Sam’s Club requires customers to wear a mask.

They will have “Health Ambassadors” staffed to help those who show up without a mask.

These ambassadors will be wearing black polo shirts, so seek them out if you need assistance.

Whole Foods

Also starting July 20th, all Whole Foods locations require a mask to enter.

They will provide free masks at the entrance if you need one.

Ask the Reader: Did I miss any stores? Let me know in the comments and I’ll get them added ASAP. 


By Kyle James

Photo credit to Jernej Furman.

REI Return Policy: Make Your Next Return a Walk in The Woods

July 10, 2020 by Kyle
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The REI return policy is the stuff of legend, especially pre-2013 when they had a lifetime guarantee on all the products they sold. But as with any return policy there are always caveats, pitfalls, and road bumps that you need to be aware before making a significant purchase. So before you buy that $545 tent or $3,200 kayak at REI, here’s everything you need to know about their current return policy.

REI Return Policy: Make Your Next Return a Walk in The Woods

COVID-19 Response (7/10/20)

REI has reopened most of their stores and they’ve amended their return policy slightly to help you out since they had to close all their stores in mid-March.

Here’s what you need to know:

Electronics purchased after 12/15/19 – If you’ve gone past the 90 day return policy on electronics you can still return the item to REI.

All other merchandise purchased after 3/15/19 – If you’ve gone past the 365 return days you can still return the item.

I called REI to verify this and was told that as of right now the number of return days is “indefinite”.

At some point this temporary policy change will go away and I’ll be sure to update this article when that happens.

How Many Return Days Does REI Allow?

365 days.

This only applies to products that were bought new.

REI calls this their 100% Satisfaction Guarantee and it used to be a lifetime guarantee but got dialed back in recent years.

Can I Return Stuff That I Used for 364 Days?

Yes.

But if the reason for the return has to do with normal “wear and tear” or damage caused by improper use, you CANNOT make the return.

Can You Return Without a Receipt?

Hold on to those receipts because it’s the easiest way to make a return on in-store purchases.

Without a receipt they can try to lookup your purchase using the credit card you used, but it’s not a guarantee.

Debit card and cash purchases are virtually impossible to lookup without a valid receipt.

For online purchases be sure to login to your account and print-out your receipt or online invoice.

Any Exceptions to the 365 Days?

Yes, there are two exceptions.

1. Outdoor Electronics – Things like “activity monitors, GPS-enabled devices, bike trainers, emergency-communication devices, and cameras” must be returned within 90 days of purchase.

2. Used Gear – Anything that you buy used from REI comes with a 30 day return policy.

Is There Anything I Can’t Return to REI?

Yes, you CANNOT return any REI Garage Sale Merchandise as it’s all final sale.

Garage Sale stuff is used and sold “as-is” and if you try to return something it will be mailed back to you.

Is There a Different Policy on REI-Branded Items?

No, it doesn’t matter if the product was made by REI or not, the same return policy applies.

What About Returning Worn Boots and Clothing?

Yes, you can absolutely return clothing and boots that you’ve worn but decided you didn’t like.

As long as the reason for the return is NOT due to normal wear and tear you’re good to go.

This policy is very generous and essentially lets you “test drive” stuff to see how it fits before you decide to keep it.

Does REI “Grandfather In” Certain Products Into the Lifetime Warranty?

As most avid REI customers know, their return policy used to be a Lifetime Warranty but was switched to 365 days back in 2013.

So the question arises when it involves products that were purchased before their policy switched to 365 days, are they eligible for the lifetime warranty?

The answer is a definitive MAYBE.

Meaning that if you’re willing to stand in the store and argue your case to the manager you may have some success.

But it’s safe to assume that your mileage will vary depending on how nice the manager on duty is that day.

Can I Have My Return Refused?

Yes.

REI will monitor your returns and if they feel you’re abusing their lenient policy they reserve the right to deny your return.

This happens most frequently when a customer claims an item “didn’t satisfy their needs”, even when they’ve worn the shirt or boots for 6 months and the item appears clearly “worn out” from extensive use.

Can I Return Online Purchases In-Store?

Yes, just bring the item in for a refund or even exchange to any REI location.

Not only can you return online purchases in-store, but you can return any item by mail regardless of whether you bought it online, in-store, or via the phone.

Are REI-Outlet Returns Handled the Same Way?

Since REI Outlet stores don’t exist anymore this question is mute.

The REI Outlet is now online only and is essentially a clearance department, but the savings are pretty darn good with deals ranging from 20% off all the way up to 75% off the original retail price.

REI Policy Hacks:

Used gear at REI

Become a Co-Op Member: For only $20 you become a lifetime member with REI and you’ll NEVER need to keep your receipt again.

This is because your purchases will be automatically tracked and you’ll even earn 10% back on all full-priced purchases.

Used Gear Bargains: When used items get returned, they go to their Used Gear Program and are sold at a major discount.

Take advantage of these deals! Many of the items are basically brand new and the savings goes up to 75% off the original price.

Don’t Abuse their Policy: According to this Reddit thread, an REI employee actually had a guy try to return a water filter that he had urinated in and claimed it didn’t remove the “flavor of his urine” from the water. Don’t be that guy.

Ask the Reader: Are you a fan of the return policy at REI? Let me know if I’m missing any pertinent policy tidbits.


By Kyle James