Removing security tags
May 14, 2005 7:55 PM   Subscribe

So I bought a shirt today, and they forgot to remove the security tag. Had I known that it wasn't going to beep, I'd never have thrown down the Visa. Why buy what you can steal? Anyway, short of returning to the store, how can I remove the tag at home. I have all the basic tools a homeowner needs. It is not the kind of tag that sprays inks should the procedure go bad. Anyone larcenous members, or those that have retail experience care to detail a procedure.
posted by Keith Talent to Shopping (25 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The only way I know of is to actually cut the cloth around the tag out. Then patch it over with a similar material, and hey, you're good to go. It's pretty easy to do in store changing rooms, for future reference.
posted by cmonkey at 8:13 PM on May 14, 2005

Can you take it back, with the receipt, and have them do it?
posted by Tuwa at 8:21 PM on May 14, 2005

If you whack it really hard with a hammer, it'll pop off. However, it may tear the fabric so you might just be better off taking it back for them to remove.
posted by yodelingisfun at 8:24 PM on May 14, 2005

Sometimes you can pull the tag apart with pliers. This worked for me once in a similar situation with one of those tags with one elongated rectangular piece having basically large tack inserted into it. By grabbing the head of the tack (it is about one half inch in diameter) with a pair of pliers and pulling very hard the tag came apart without damaging the clothing. Other tags are probably more difficult and I would just take it back with the receipt to the store. Once there it only takes a second.
posted by caddis at 8:25 PM on May 14, 2005

The ones with the long tag are removed by sliding the shorter end into a little tool that holds it on 3 sides and pulling hard.

That is what I remember from working in retail, anyway.
posted by Amanda B at 8:29 PM on May 14, 2005

Some stores will send someone to your home to remove the tag if they forget to remove it. Check with the store and see.
posted by sexymofo at 8:31 PM on May 14, 2005

If you can at all see the pin that's going through the material, you can get a hacksaw blade in there to cut it. That worked for me a few months back.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:42 PM on May 14, 2005

I had the same thing happen to me a long time ago. I got it off after quite a bit of work with a hammer and a screwdriver. Its not worth it, take it back.
posted by Manjusri at 8:44 PM on May 14, 2005 [1 favorite]

And, of course, I ruined a pair of pants trying to take one of these off at home. I vote, call or take it back.
posted by whatisish at 9:01 PM on May 14, 2005

Nobody has suggested leaving it on? The latest in "renegade" fashion.
posted by telstar at 9:33 PM on May 14, 2005

go back to the store and have it removed there.
posted by seawallrunner at 10:30 PM on May 14, 2005 [1 favorite]

rofl telstar, I'd go with that recommendation. Just don't go shopping there wearing it, or at least bring the receipt.
posted by Manjusri at 12:03 AM on May 15, 2005

This happened to my mate and he took it back to the shop to be removed. Unfortunately he lost the receipt and was worried that they might think he had stolen it, but surprisingly they asked no questions and removed it straight away!

Personally, I'd take it back for the tag to be removed rather than risk spoiling the clothing.
posted by floanna at 12:42 AM on May 15, 2005 [1 favorite]

Yeah, you could wear the shirt with the tag. Kind of a devil-may-care/Minnie Pearl thing... in fact see if you can score a few more to attach to your pants -- one hanging from your tie would look awesome at the company Christmas party.

If you have a Dremel you could go that route, those things are like the Tasmanian Devil of hand-tools. Although grinding the metal will probably heat it up and might possibly mess with (singe/melt/burn/funkify) the fabric.

I'd just say take it back, the shop's reasonably close isn't it? You didn't buy the shirt in like Atlantis did you? I had this happen on a new jacket I bought for a wedding. Didn't notice until a week later as we were walking out the door. Luckily we lived downtown so it was just a matter of a few minutes walk to get it sorted and we still made it to the church on time. Seriously, unless you're looking forward to getting all MacGuyver/A-Team on the thing what with the scrambled eggs and acetyene torch I'd just call them and tell 'em what happened and that you'll be in later that week.
posted by blueberry at 2:09 AM on May 15, 2005 [1 favorite]

The store should have no problem removing it if you bring it in, and if it's a very service-oriented store might even send someone to your house to remove it.

At the store i used to work at, the thingie that removed the tags is secretly just a big magnet. So if you don't want to go to the store, get yourself a big ass magnet. That'll do it.
posted by Kololo at 3:07 AM on May 15, 2005

Some stores will send someone to your home to remove the tag if they forget to remove it. Check with the store and see.

WTF? Where is this store?
posted by fixedgear at 3:12 AM on May 15, 2005

There may be a magnet inside the de-tagging tool that pulls an internal bar out of an indent in the pin shaft holding the tags together. Trying to pull them apart without the magnet would thus require a huge amount of brute force. Not sure how you could test for this. If you can't take it back, I'd suggest cutting right through the small end - plastic, metal, and everything, with a dremel cutting disc, but put the shirt in a bag or you'll get the cutting dust and debris all over it.
posted by -harlequin- at 4:15 AM on May 15, 2005

crush the tag with a pair of channel locks. works like an unsubtle charm.
posted by recurve at 5:08 AM on May 15, 2005

Last time I did this I just took a grinder to it. Worked fine.
posted by Ken McE at 5:09 AM on May 15, 2005

Take it back and have them remove it. This is actually a fairly common problem.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:39 AM on May 15, 2005

I ruined a skirt trying to get one off. I had bought the item at a vintage store on vacation and didn't notice it until after I got home! It was a mess. If you can go back to the store, you should.
posted by picklebird at 6:53 AM on May 15, 2005

I once was able to get it off fairly easily using two sturdy metal table forks.

On both sides of the fabric / device, get the central pin between the tines of two back-to-back forks, and lever it open. Worked for me.
posted by GriffX at 3:25 PM on May 15, 2005

I beat one to death with a hammer and it worked fine; didn't tear or hurt the skirt. I bought the skirt from an Ann Taylor outlet - they couldn't remove it & told me to go to my local Ann Taylor. So I did. They couldn't remove it either and the whole thing got ridiculous & complicated. Thus, the hammer.
posted by mygothlaundry at 11:36 AM on May 16, 2005

fixed gear, the stores that i know of that do it are Sporting Life and Holt Renfrew, both in Toronto. I'd guess that other high-end stores with a strong emphasis on customer service and customer loyalty would do it too, if you're a good enough customer and you ask nicely enough.
posted by Kololo at 2:42 AM on June 14, 2005

Just found this thread today with a google search because I had the same problem. I had a standard ink tag. I removed it myself with a dremel - first I cut off most of the plastic housing surrounding the pin and then I cut through the pin, all with a standard dremel cutting wheel. Took about 20 minutes.
posted by MillMan at 1:41 PM on January 14, 2006

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