Hand going through stuff in a bag(l), TJ Maxx storefront(c), Coach bag and tag(r)

Joseph Hendrickson/Shutterstock @glamourddive/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘An employee was 100% coming back for that bag’: TJ Maxx customer finds a bag filled with brand-name products in dumpster outside store

'You got to the bag before the employee clock out.'


Jack Alban


Posted on Oct 11, 2023   Updated on Oct 18, 2023, 1:40 pm CDT

In a world where retail prices and inflation are soaring, dumpster diver and TikToker Ella  (@GlamourDDive) takes to the dumpsters, uncovering what some might call a treasure trove of discarded goods from TJ Maxx. With a staggering 3.8 million views, her video captioned “Wait until you see what I found in this dumpster,” takes viewers on an unexpected journey through bags of allegedly discarded items, sparking a lively debate about the lengths to which folks will go to snag a good deal.

“So I’m dumpster diving at TJ Maxx, and I ripped open this bag, and it is so full. There’s a Coach purse right there. There’s a ton of stuff,” narrates Ella in her POV video, her excitement palpable as she reveals item after item, from Calvin Klein boxer briefs to a seemingly pristine Coach purse with the original $275 tag still attached. Her haul also includes a Calvin Klein sweatshirt, BioSilk shampoo and conditioner set, candles, skincare items, and even another purse from Steve Madden.

@glamourddive Wait until you see what i found in this dumpster.. #dumpster #dumpsterdiving #insane #coach #glamourddive ♬ Glamorous – Fergie

The dumpster dive debate: a fun exchange

The comments section of her video quickly transformed into a hub of conspiracy theories, giggles, and shared experiences. Several users speculated that a TJ Maxx employee might have strategically placed the bag for later retrieval. “An employee was 100% coming back for that bag. Good find sister,” commented one user, while another chimed in, “That poor employee finding out their prized trash bag has been taken.”

One user, claiming to be a TJ Maxx employee, added fuel to the speculative fire. “I worked at TJ Maxx yeah definitely seems like a stash, because we never throw them out we will keep marking down until employees just buy for like $2,” they wrote. Another user humorously noted the retailer’s reluctance to trash items, stating, “Listen there’s no way… they won’t even toss the broken Easter bunny from two Easter’s ago sitting on clearance marked down from $15.99 to $15.98.”

A light-hearted look at creative cost-saving in the face of inflation

Ella’s dumpster-dive adventure, while providing a hearty chuckle, also casts a light on the creative lengths to which individuals might go amid rising retail costs and overall inflation.

In the end, whether it was an employee’s secret stash or a bizarre retail anomaly, Ella’s dumpster dive has certainly provided viewers with a good laugh, a dash of mystery, and perhaps a nudge to keep an eye on the clearance aisle (or the dumpster out back) for their next great find.

Update 2:15pm CT, Oct. 17: Ella’s video has now been viewed 8.4 million times, and she has since posted a follow-up in response to critics who accused her of staging the video. In response to one viewer who speculated that “she bought it and put it in there lol,” Ella aimed to prove how TJ Maxx often throws away “insane things,” like “name-brand and expensive items.”

In the latest video, which was viewed 308,000 times, Ella rummages through the dumpster and discovers a ton of shoes that still have their tags attached. She says she found at least 20 pairs of Tommy Bahama slides in addition to a few pairs of Juicy Couture and Rae Dunn shoes. She also finds summer toys and baby stuff—”all with tags” still attached.

In the same video, she also shows what a dumpster dive looks like right after the fall season. The dumpster is full of “30 or 40” fall-themed pillows. She finds a similar bag full of goodies, just like the one she finds in her other video. It contains a $150 necklace, and she notes in the text overlay that she wouldn’t be able to stage a video like this. “I wouldn’t be able to afford buying/faking all this,” the text reads.

The Daily Dot has reached out to TJ Maxx and Ella via email for further comment.

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*First Published: Oct 11, 2023, 3:19 pm CDT