Tj Maxx(l), Woman talking(c), Marshalls(r)

Brett Hondow/Shutterstock @itsolgavi/Tiktok Joseph Hendrickson/Shutterstock (Licensed)

‘They manufacture it to lesser standards’: Woman shares how T.J. Maxx and Marshalls are scamming customers with ‘deals’

‘They make it seem like you’re getting a good deal…’


Stacy Fernandez


Budget shoppers, this TikToker has got some bad news for you. Those “deals” you’re getting at Marshalls and T.J. Maxx may not be so great after all.

Places like Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, and Ross Dress for Less are shopping havens for people looking to get good-quality (and fashion-forward) items—including clothing, shoes, and handbags—within their budget.

These stores are known for offering popular brand names at discounted prices. Frequent shoppers know that the price point often hovers between $15 and $50, depending on the item and brand.

While many people are under the impression that all of the merchandise in these stores is just what didn’t sell in the flagship stores, this TikToker has a hard truth to reveal.

Are T.J. Maxx and Marshalls upcharging ‘outlet’ items?

Olga (@itsolgav), who primarily posts shopping content, claims these overstock items account for a mere 10% of these stores’ business. The Daily Dot was not able to corroborate this figure.

The rest are items made by brands specifically for outlet locations and discount retailers. So, while the label may be that of a big brand name, the quality and design aren’t necessarily the same.

“[They] make it seem like you’re getting a good deal, however, they manufacture it to lesser standards, they manufacture it with worse quality, and then they’re going to give you a lesser price for it but put the real retail price of that brand on the tag somewhere so it looks like you’re getting a good deal,” Olga says.

And that retail price that makes you feel better about the price you’re actually paying? Fake numbers, she claims.

“The price that they’re selling it at is the price of the item because they are manufacturing that item or they are private labeling that item themselves,” Olga adds.

Olga specifically called out Michael Kors and Kate Spade, saying they’re “notorious for doing this.”

“Totally defeats the purpose of these bargain stores because you are supposed to be selling overstock items that you were not able to sell in your regular retail stores,” she says. “You’re not supposed to be manufacturing more items.”

And Olga isn’t the first person to call these stores out. Earlier this year, a designer and retail expert gave a detailed explanation of how the business side of this somewhat deceitful practice works.

In a follow-up video, Olga posted articles to back up her claims for all the people who didn’t believe her. The Daily Dot fact-checked her sources and found that every article she shared was not only real but came from credible sources.

On its website, TJ Maxx admits that “Some of our merchandise is manufactured for us and some is designed by our own fashion experts, particularly when what we are seeing in the marketplace isn’t the right value for our customers, meaning the right combination of brand, fashion, price, and quality.”

Chase Bank reported that outlet stores don’t only sell overstock items, instead they also fill their stores with items made exclusively for the outlet.

@itsolgavi Replying to @Alyssa the truth about outlet and discount stores #fashiontips #fashionhacks #tjmaxxfinds #tjmaxxshopping ♬ original sound – olga

How to spot ‘outlet’ designs at T.J. Maxx, Marshalls

On top of that, a local ABC News channel and the Krazy Coupon Lady shared some alleged ways shoppers could tell whether an item was part of a brand’s flagship merchandise or if it was an outlet design:

  • Banana Republic, GAP, and J Crew (all under the same company) – Outlet items have three diamonds under the Banana Republic name on the tag, three squares under GAP, and two diamonds under J Crew.
  • Kate Spade – Bags have a square with a hollowed-out spade on the front.
  • Coach – Bags have an “F” in the serial number or a bullseye stamped on the interior leather tag.
  • Ralph Lauren – The Chaps, Lauren by Ralph Lauren, and Polo Ralph Lauren are the brand’s lower price point brands.
  • Brooks Brothers – This one is easy. If the label says “346” instead of “Brooks Brothers,” it’s an outlet piece.
  • Ann Taylor – The label will instead read “Ann Taylor Factory.”

The Daily Dot reached out to Olga, Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, and Ross Dress for Less for comment via email.

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