TikToker influencer Drew Gunby went viral with a new video where he directly shared his experience shopping at his local Dollar Tree store — only to have his debit card declined, leaving him to put his groceries back on the shelves.
“Sitting here at 25 years of life, I’ve had my fair share of shame and embarrassment — but having my debit card declined at Dollar Tree and having to put back essentially all of my f–ing groceries, that’s a new low,” Gunby said in the clip for his 1 million followers.
The cause of Gunby’s card declining is unknown. Though — from TikTok comments in solidarity — when occurrences like that happens, they could stem from a low account balance or the store’s register machine simply glitching.
Regardless, Gunby has clarified the embarrassment of the situation, stating in the clip that “spontaneous human combustion” would be a preferred solution to this episode.
Additional TikTok users stated Gunby’s gall and confidence at recording the video inside Dollar Tree immediately after his card was declined — with many emphasizing the affordable retailer’s typical in-store silence and loud machine noises in the comments.
“The store silence and occasionally beep kills me while you say this so loudly and proudly, preach it dawg,” one user commented.
Another user blamed Dollar Tree’s price hike for the situation, “Not to be dramatic, but that extra 25 cents they added on ruined my entire life.”
There are steps shoppers can take, however, when in a similar situation, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The most important is to confirm if they have entered their information correctly at a register, and — if the problem continues — to call the customer service number for their bank or credit union that issued the card. If solving the issue will take time, shoppers may need to find an alternative payment method.
To reduce the chances of their card being declined, the FTC also advises that shoppers know their card’s expiration date and account balance. The organization’s website also advises shoppers to regularly monitor their accounts by keeping track of their spending. Shoppers are also encouraged to sign up for fraud flagging if it’s a service their bank offers, in order to further understand what might trigger a decline — including large purchases, charges from foreign countries, or unusual activity.
Gunby’s video is the latest instance of Dollar Tree making headlines in recent months. In January 2022, the affordable chain announced it would be raising prices on all items in stores from $1 to $1.25, sparking controversy online. Later in the year, a nationwide hiring event was held amid plans to hire thousands of new employees. 2023 also started with headline-making news for the brand, with Richard Dreiling — the former CEO of Dollar General — named Dollar Tree’s newest CEO in January, according to a brand statement.