I have been disgusted by the fact that I have seen food left out on shelves near registers--customers obviously made last-minute decision not to buy items--and they would just sit there half the day and not be reshelved immediately.
Once, I found a bag of frozen shrimp and a cold tub of dip so I gave them to the cashier and told her and the store manager (who was there at the register) that the food needed to be put back immediately as the shrimp was still frozen and the dip was still cold.
The manager said they would be put back immediately, and he just put it next to the register. This was before I was making my purchases, and someone in front of me had her items rung up.
When I insisted that the manager make good on the "immediately" part of his statement, all I got was laughter from the manager and others at the register. Sure, I guess it's a big fat joke when someone cares about the safety of others.
After paying for my non-perishable items, I went home and filed a complaint with the local Health Department. The call-back I got from the Health Department gave me the information that the manager of the 99 cents only store got a good talking-to about throwing out food that has been left out and that was it.
Another thing: they often keep food on their shelves way past the expiration date. I've seen those Tetra-Pack soup containers of organic soup that should have been pulled way back in January 2007 still on the shelves in June.
If you're going to buy shelved perishables from the 99 cents only store, please check the expiration date before purchasing the items. You'll be doing yourselves a great big favor if you do. Also, don't buy refrigerated or frozen items because you don't know how long it may have been sitting out before being restocked.
Because I know this stuff is still going on--last week, I went there and saw a pack of hot dogs stuck in one of those candy display boxes near a register--I will never buy anything refrigerated or frozen from the 99 cents only store again. I have no assurance that they toss this stuff out in the dumpster, and I don't trust them to do the proper thing.
I don't know if this applies to all 99 cents only stores, but just to be safe do not buy perishables from them unless they are shelf stable and you have checked the expiration date. While they do have some great food, most of it is pretty much "buyer beware" stuff.