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5 Secrets T.J. Maxx Doesn't Want You to Know

What you don't know about the clearance section could cost you.

Whether you're a Maxxinista or a casual shopper, you likely turn to T.J. Maxx for the same thing: deals, deals, and more deals. The discount chain is famous for selling brand-name clothing, accessories, home decor, and more at steep discounts—and if you've ever been to one, you know the thrill of stumbling upon a designer item at a fraction of its usual cost. But while luck is definitely involved in a successful trip to T.J.Maxx, so is strategy. Here, former T.J. Maxx employees share insider info on how to nail a trip to the store. Keep reading for all these secret shopping tips.

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It's easy to miss out on returns.

young asian woman returning shirt to store clerk
Shutterstock/Odua Images

T.J.Maxx has a generous return policy—and if you don't know about it, you're simply losing money. "If you have a return but you don't have a receipt, you can return it for in-store credit—as long as you have the tag and a valid ID," says former T.J.Maxx employee Darcy Gerhart on TikTok. "The reason you need a valid ID is that they keep up with how many returns you do without a receipt."

However, Gerhart assures that to be banned from returning items without the receipt, you'd have to do it a ton. You can bring the item to any T.J. Maxx within any time frame, she adds. So, if you have an unused T.J. Maxx item in your closet, you might want to return it for store credit.

The sticker system is confusing for newbies.

woman with curly hair in orange turtleneck and gray sweater clothing shopping
Shutterstock/David Prado Perucha

When an item goes on sale at T.J. Maxx, it receives a sticker in either red or yellow (you'll notice that sometimes, an item even has multiple red tags). As Gerhart says in another TikTok video, a red tag means an item is marked down, while a yellow tag means it's been marked down for the final time and is at its lowest price. An item can receive multiple red tags if it is marked down repeatedly.

"When I see something with one red tag, I go, 'OK, do I really want to buy this right now or should I wait to see if they keep marking it down,'" says Gerhart. "If I see something with a yellow tag, I make the decision then and there whether to buy or not because that's it." Remember: You can always return the yellow-tag item if you don't like it.

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There's a secret way to get extra discounts.

cashier scanning price on product
Studio217 / Shutterstock

Want a discount? Former T.J. Maxx employees say the secret is to simply ask for one. "If you find an item that's damaged—it could have a string out of the piece of clothing, it's cracked, or there's a stain—take it to the cashier and show them what's going on and say, 'Hey can you take anything off?'" says Gerhart in yet another TikTok video. "Nine times out of 10, they'll take something off."

The one exception is if the damaged item is already marked down. "It could have been marked down because it was damaged," Gerhart explains. "But it's worth asking." As always, you'll want to ask politely.

Luxury skincare and makeup products are hidden.

Authorized Retailer Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant (2.6 oz.) {Save Money on Beauty Products}
Mihai_Andritoiu / Shutterstock

T.J. Maxx stocks luxury beauty items—but you may have to search for them. In a YouTube video, former employee SimplyTaylorB notes that when she worked on the team that unloaded products and put them on the floor, she would sometimes receive a singular makeup palette from a top-tier brand or a singular high-ticket skincare item. "A lot of the time, I would find Too Faced palettes, NARS palettes, high-end skincare," she says. Unfortunately, they may be few and far between—so you'll want to stay diligent when scanning the shelves.

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Your local T.J. Maxx may have sub-par inventory.

TJ Maxx store front in NYC
Roman Tiraspolsky / Shutterstock

No, it's not in your head: different T.J. Maxx stores have different types of products. "It's important to go to different stores and check things out because where that store is located usually decides what type of inventory they get," says SimplyTaylorB. "For example, the T.J. Maxx that I went to in Boston had a ton more high-end brands that the stores in my area do not really get," she explains. By taking a spin through each of the T.J. Maxx stores near you, you'll be able to pinpoint the one that sells the products that best fit your style and budget.

Juliana LaBianca
Juliana is an experienced features editor and writer. Read more
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