Down in the dumps(ter): the ULTA-mate disaster


Mull-ing it Over with Ellie Mulligan

Column by elliemulligan

Soup (n.): the mixture of rainwater and garbage juices that collect at the bottom of a dumpster.

Unless you’re a well-versed dumpster diver, you would be unfamiliar with this term—and up until about two months ago, I was too.

If you’re a watcher of niche YouTube videos like myself, you will have heard of ULTA dumpster diving.

If not, just know that ULTA Beauty throws away all of their returned products—even if those products have never been opened.

It only took about two hours of these videos to convince two of my friends and me to climb inside an ULTA dumpster late that night. I won’t go too far into the details, because I’m truly ashamed of what precisely went down, but just a few hours later, I was inside it, and that’s all that matters.

Life on the inside of a dumpster is strangely peaceful. A dumpster is like a tiny house, except that it’s not a house, it’s illegal for you to be inside of and it’s full of week-old garbage.

When I called ULTA to ask if dumpster diving was really illegal, they refused to give a comment.

You spend a fair amount of time considering different strategies to enter the dumpster. If you’re lucky, when you jump in, you’ll land on cardboard. If you’re me, you’ll land in a mixture of sun-baked trash and extremely cloudy soup.

After that comes the realization. “I’m really in a dumpster,” you say to yourself. “This is who I am now. There is genuine, 100 percent organic garbage water on my body.” Is this rock bottom?

The answer is that probably, yes—this is rock bottom. But as I slowly began to realize that I wasn’t finding unopened $30 eyeshadows or a sold-out shade of liquid lipstick like all the girls on YouTube, I was getting more and more disappointed.

I was finding a whole lot of trash, and it was just about as exciting as opening a present in front of the Christmas tree and finding that it’s really just… trash.

Which is to be expected when one is inside a dumpster, but for whatever reason, I was shocked and offended.

I guess the moral of my short-lived dumpster occupancy is that you should always keep your expectations pretty low.

If I hadn’t expected to find the contents of my beauty Pinterest board in that dumpster in perfect condition, I wouldn’t have been so disappointed when all I found was murky trash water in my Nikes.

So here’s my advice: keep your expectations low and stay out of dumpsters behind strip malls, and, you’ll never know such severe disappointment or know have chunky garbage fluids in your socks.

3 responses to “Down in the dumps(ter): the ULTA-mate disaster

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