Thursday, April 12, 2012


As you wander up and down the aisles of any given store, you spot them. A pack of socks tucked next a box of Cheerios. A DVD shoved atop the Crest toothpaste.

If the Island of Misfit Toys had a retail location, they would be on it.  They are the items that shoppers decide they just do not want over the course of their shopping trip but never quite return them to their proper location.

For me, it is always a fascinating psychological study of what was it exactly about the deodorant that made you realize that you didn't want the organic oranges? And did the 400 thread count sheets say something to make that neon pink t-shirt scream "Fashion Disaster" to you?

Call it laziness, embarrassment, or on-the-fly overbudget analysis, but it happens.

And I could totally judge people the do it. Except, huge confession here, I totally do it to. I am a Rejected Item Tosser.

Working in retail, I know that Rejected Item Tossers can be annoying to the staff but yet, I still do it, though I am not a constant offender. In fact, my Rejected Item Tossing happens in exactly two scenarios.

Scenario Number One: I Would(n't) Walk 500 Miles.
Scenario One involves extraordinarily large stores where after I have trekked a mile around the perimeter, I realize "Oh wait, I forgot my coupon for this mineral make-up. I am going to wait to buy it."  Rather than trek all the way back to the other side of the store which seems miles away, I just slide the item on whatever shelf I am near.

Scenario Number Two: I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
Scenario Two happens when I wander into a store with a general goal of what I need but nothing specific in mind. It is best demonstrated by a recent trip to The Container Store.

I needed some sort of organizational tool for my cosmetics. Currently, they are splayed all over a shelf in my bathroom and it is only a matter of time before I end up accidentally using a lipstick as a concealer. But I was was not sure what exactly I wanted. So to The Container Store I went!

The store is relatively large and while a heaven for organization fan like myself, it is also overwhelming with all of its options. You find one thing and walk through five more aisles and find something better but then do not want to walk back to put the other one back to its place because you then you might decide that you actually like the first item better. And you end up walking in a circle of indecisiveness between the two items. And sometimes on that walk, you find a third item and find yourself in the Bermuda Triangle of Decision Making So, in the interest of time, it is better to ditch the first item on the shelf of the second item and keep moving forward in the store.

Which is exactly what happened during this trip. I had one container in my hand and walked down a few more aisles and found a better container (that was on sale!) that I wanted instead. I stashed the first item discreetly on the shelf of the second item and kept walking, pleased with my find.  A few minutes later, I was lost in thought in the gift wrapping aisle when a Container Store employee approached me with the first item in his hand and asked "Ma'am, did you forget this back on the shelf?"

I was 100% busted.

It was the first time in a lifetime of being a Rejected Item Tosser that I had been caught in the act. I was so busted that I could not even create a valid cover story. So I just laughed (and turned bright red, I'm sure) and said, "Oh no, just didn't want it! And just decided to set it there."

He laughed and said "Totally understand."

I have not been able to toss a rejected item in a store anywhere since then.

Well played, Container Store, well played.  You not only sell organizational items, you create more organized shoppers.


  1. I've worked in retail and that drove me nuts, but I'm guilty of doing this as well. Sometimes my kids have a meltdown and whatever I have in my hands goes to the nearest shelf and we book it out of there...happens more often than i'd like to admit

  2. Busted. I very, very rarely toss unwanted items just anywhere.... my OCD is too out of control!!

    I can't believe Container Store busted you!!

  3. LOL this is hilarious, can't believe someone approached you unless he did it on purpose to catch people out. He might've been sick of putting the items back, hehe!

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