Holding used sandal at TJMAXX, Store front of TJ MAXX, Woman laughing hysterically inside of store

JHVEPhoto/ShutterStock @anaxli_/TikTok (Licensed)

‘Not the old switcharooo’: Customer finds someone’s used shoes swapped out with new ones at TJ Maxx

“The Bible said ‘thou shall not steal’ but never said ‘thou shall not swap.'”


Jack Alban


A Maxxinista found what looks like evidence of a successful retail bait-and-switch scam while shopping at the off-price retail chain TJ Maxx.

The TikToker, Ana (@anaxli_), uploaded a clip that’s garnered over 6.3 million views as of Saturday capturing not only the shoe swap, but her “infectious” laughter elicited from the incredulous find so many other users on the app found delightful.

@anaxli_ tj maxx chronicles.. i promise i washed my hands after touching it lol #foryou #fypage #omg ♬ original sound – anaxli 🧫

The TJ Maxx shopper records a pair of white slippers hanging on a display in front of some pink and black Puma slides. A text overlay in the video reads, “Brooo” followed by a skull emoji. They then flip the pair of slippers over to reveal that the bottom of the footwear is caked in black gunk, indicating that they were well-traveled previously.

Ana writes in a caption for the video, “Tj maxx chronicles.. i promise i washed my hands after touching it lol.”

Many commenters thought it was pretty evident as to what was going down in the video—Ana had come across a person who swapped out their old pair of slippers in the store with some fresh new product, and users found the situation to be hilarious.

One viewer penned, “The bible said ‘thou shall not steal’ but never said ‘ thou shall not swap’ stay blessed.”

According to another user in the comments section, it seems these types of finds are common for anyone who works in the shoe section of a clothing retailer.

“I used to work in a shoe department and let me tell you the amount of times I went to go open a box and found a pair of raggedy, filthy swapped out,” a user said.

Another user admitted to engaging in this type of activity themselves at the behest of their mother when they were a child, writing, “My mom had me do this once when I was like 7.”

There have been several cataloged incidents of this online, like this one Reddit post uploaded by user @bighag to the site’s r/trashy sub. They posted a photo of some crusty, seemingly ketchup-stained white slip-on boat shoes that were swapped out for a crisp new pair of shoes of the same or similar design. The Redditor simply titled the post: “Swapping your nasty shoes with new ones at the store.”

Swapping your nasty shoes with new ones at the store.
by u/bighag in trashy

However, unlike the pair of white slippers that Ana showed off in her TikTok, commenters thought that the r/trashy kicks were actually new, but that they were just stained, noticing that the item’s logo on the insole wasn’t worn in and that the elastic on the sides still appeared to be entirely intact.

It turns out that there are (or maybe were) legal ways in which folks could swap out their shoes without having to purchase a new pair. In 2019, Cision’s PR Newswire wrote about a service named ‘Shoe Bank’ that allowed folks to upload photos of pairs of shoes online and their respective sizes, letting users share/swap kicks of approximately equal value with each other. Roni Harel, the company’s CEO, said in the press release that the service allows customers to have a diversified wardrobe without having to spend out the wazoo, while ensuring shoes that would otherwise just be chilling in a closet would instead be put to good use.

“24 Billion pairs of shoes are purchased every year, most of them are sitting in our closets unworn. Women today are conscientious consumers – they want fashion, they want to help the environment, they don’t want to waste or overspend. Shoe Bank gives today’s women the best of all worlds,” they said.

As of this writing, it appears that the Shoe Bank website is currently under construction.

There have also been other item swap incidents that have previously gone viral, like another shoe swap that occurred at a Marshalls, and this Walmart jeans debacle documented by another TikTok user.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Ana via TikTok comment and TJ Maxx via email.

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