REI customer speaking in car (l) REI sign hanging (c) REI customer speaking in car (r)

Tada Images/Shutterstock @deepfriedtroyesivan/TikTok (Licensed) Remix by Caterina Cox

‘Is that policy?’: Customer says retail worker smelled the crotch of the shorts he was trying to return

'I get you have sweaty clientele.'


Parks Kugle


Posted on May 24, 2023

Stores can have some questionable return policies, like only receiving store credit for the return or being given a 15-day time limit. But, a recent TikTok from Stephen (@deepfriedtroyesivan) shows that at least one REI store’s return process may just take the cake.

In the video that’s amassed over 284,000 times, Stephen says a worker at the outdoor recreation retail store did something unusual while he was trying to return a pair of shorts that he just purchased the day prior. “Uh, REI, if you’re watching this, I don’t know if this is your policy, but is it your policy for your associate to smell the crotch of your shorts?” he questions.

@deepfriedtroyesivan #fyp #foryou ♬ original sound – stephen

“I get you have sweaty clientele, like outdoor people, I get it. But in front of me, they went, ‘OK, thank you,'” Stephen continues as he mimes bringing the shorts to his nose and sniffing.

He says the worker then turned the shorts “inside out where the nuts sit” before taking another deep whiff. “Anyway REI if you’re watching this, is that policy?” he questions again before bursting out in laughter.

Viewers who claimed to be REI workers joked that it is “not policy, but it is job perks.” A few speculated what was going through the worker’s head when they did that. Viewers chalked it up to “muscle memory” and simply forgetting “they were at the store.”

The Daily Dot reached out to Stephen via TikTok comment and REI via email.

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*First Published: May 24, 2023, 5:07 pm CDT