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Home Depot Shopper's Hack for Getting Items for One Cent

Finding these practically free products can take a lot of leg work.

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Getting the best price can make or break a project when shopping at a store like Home Depot. Some savvy shoppers know how to take advantage of special discounts that can be tricky to find, while others will try to time their purchases with regular sales events. But if you want some serious savings, one Home Depot shopper has a hack to get some items for just a penny. Read on to see how it works and if it's worth trying for yourself.

RELATED: Walmart and Target Have a Secret Hiding Spot for Clearance Items.

A shopper has taken to social media to show off a "hack" to get Home Depot items for a penny.

home depot shopping cart

DIY and home improvement pros already know that Home Depot tends to have some of the lowest prices for everything from tools and hardware to building materials and appliances. But beyond their sales and markdowns, a shopper claims that there's a hack that can score you some items for just a penny.

In a video posted on July 27, TikTok user @this_is_nt shows how he located trash bags marked as clearance items. After paying for the initial set, he walks back to the aisle and asks an associate to pull other trash bags stored high above eye-level shelves, which scan at the self-check-out counter for just one cent.

In a video posted a few weeks later, he repeats the trick, locating a ladder on clearance still tucked away on a high shelf in top stock. He again asks an employee to remove the item using a mechanical lift before discovering the product rings up for just a penny at self-check-out.

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However, there are some potentially serious issues with trying to purchase these products.

A Home Depot storefront exterior
Shutterstock / sockagphoto

If it seems like Home Depot practically giving away products is too good a deal to be true, you might be right.

"The problem with these 'hacks' is that they're often touted as being a hidden secret for shoppers to get a special deal—but the truth is that a lot of these are just tricks that are in defiance of store policies," Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with, tells Best Life.

She adds that while the clearance items on the top shelves may still be present in the store, they're at a phase in their sale cycle that makes them off-limits—and pulling them can have some serious consequences for workers.

"There are Reddit threads about people trying to figure out how to get these items and Home Depot store associates noting that items that reach the cost of a penny aren't technically supposed to be sold," she says. "Further, if associates find these items and try to buy them, they can be suspended or even fired from their jobs at Home Depot in retaliation."

RELATED: 6 Secrets Home Depot Doesn't Want You to Know.

The penny items will still be challenging to find—and may not even be available at your store.

Man shopping for electrical supplies at the local Home Depot retail home improvement store in Snohomish, Washington.
Belen Strehl / Shutterstock

If you're still planning on trying this savings "hack" for yourself, Ramhold says there are a few things to remember.

"You'll have to ask an associate for help finding said items because they won't be on shelves marked for a penny," she explains. "Additionally, there's a good chance that they'll tell you they aren't allowed to sell those items, or they could even feign ignorance and say they aren't sure what you're talking about in order to put you off to avoid a confrontation. You can try asking another associate, but keep in mind that they communicate with each other, and there's a good chance you'll be calling attention to yourself, which could lead to a manager asking you to leave the store outright."

And just because you're on the hunt doesn't mean there will necessarily be items available.

"Remember that inventory will also vary from store to store," Ramhold points out. "So you could find items for a penny that you're interested in, or it could be something you don't care about at all. And again, there's a good chance that your chosen store might not have any of these items at all."

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Experts say this is one money-saving measure that may not be worth the effort.


While it can seem like penny products are simply too good to pass up, Ramhold says this bargain "hack" isn't actually a sanctioned discount and shouldn't be treated as such.

"If you look at people exploiting these inventory errors or updates on social media sites, they're often visiting self-check-out because if they try to have a cashier ring them up, they may be told they can't sell the items for a penny," she tells Best Life. "The fact that this is the case should also indicate it's not worth the risk."

She also warns that besides dire outcomes for employees, you could be potentially banned from shopping at certain stores if you aren't careful when attempting to score the penny products.

"Plain and simple, shoppers who are trying to find these penny items are taking advantage of an error or update that they shouldn't be able to, and they likely won't be able to do this forever without consequences," she says.

Ultimately, the potential for so many bad outcomes makes this a risky move for Home Depot shoppers. "In all honesty, this hack doesn't even seem worth trying, and it definitely doesn't seem like it's worth investing any time into to take advantage of repeatedly," Ramhold tells Best Life. "Instead, you're better off watching for sales, setting price alerts, and taking advantage of other saving methods than trying to rely on this one that could turn out to be a huge waste of time."

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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