Freakin’ Dumpers!

By Jeremy Meltingtallow

I took this picture during a trip to the grocery store yesterday.  Even though I haven’t officially worked a retail job in almost 5 years now, I still get angry when I see this.

At the craft store I used to work at, this literally happened every single day. The type of drink varied with the weather, but 365 days a year you could count on finding at least one cup of some kind left sitting on a shelf or fixture.

In the grand scheme of things, I suppose there are far worse places that people could (and do) leave trash, but is there a lazier place? In any store you’re never more than 100 feet from a trashcan.  I mean, can’t these people even be semi-unlazy and ask an employee to take their freakin’ ®Frappuccino to the garbage for them?  That always irked me too, but it was definitely preferable to playing “find the cup” later on at clean up time.

Anyhow, here’s a piece from my book “Pretending You Care: The Retail Employee Handbook” on the subject.


Dumpers are customers who discard trash among the shelves and merchandise, sometimes causing product damage in the process.  Dumpers are the epitome of laziness.  Despite the fact that every store and mall has a multitude of convenient trash receptacles, dumpers just can’t be bothered to carry that half-eaten muffin or unfinished coffee back out with them.  Instead, they’ll just toss it inside a rack of clothing, or tuck it behind a box.

In my 15+ years in retail, I never once caught a dumper in the act of dumping, so I have no practical advice on how to deal with them.  Although, I always promised myself that if I ever did catch a dumper, I would pick up their trash and discretely follow them out to the parking lot.  Then as they drove off, I would hum the trash at their rear windshield and book it.

I always imagined the garbage to be something that would explode dramatically on impact — like a large Orange Julius, or a soft drink loaded with crushed ice.