Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Dollar stores and Congress

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Photo: HBO

Given that Black Friday is right around the corner, wasn’t this the perfect time for Last Week Tonight with John Oliver to discuss dollar stores? It is shopping, albeit one you don’t usually think a lot about this time of year.

In a lot of ways, what made this segment so interesting is that we rarely think at all about dollar stores. They are the sort of thing that are convenient, fairly cheap, and pretty much all over the country. Still, there was something pretty startling about some of the data. Take, for example, the fact that there are so many more of these than some major retailers like Walmart or places like Starbucks.

There were a number of angles that Oliver could have taken with this segment and yet primarily, he opted to keep the focus on how the places are actually run — which certainly merits some unique discussion of its own. There are a lot of them that are an absolute mess, and we can say that as someone who has been to plenty of them over the years.

Rather than just focus here on the locations of these stores or the prices, Oliver’s segment focused mostly on the labor, and how many of them are run by such limited staffs that it is one of the hardest jobs anyone can have in the retail sector. You could probably guess where a lot of this was going, but there was still something profound in hearing it spelled out.

In a way, you could say that this whole piece was Oliver at hits best, allowing us to learn more about an important topic while also making us laugh along the way.

Beyond the main segment tonight, we also had a pretty humorous segment that was largely all about Congress and some of the chaos that has happened there over the course of the past few weeks.

What do you think about the dollar store segment on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver?

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