I need to loot a super market for their produce flats

Sadly I’m not going to do that :’(

A few years ago I lucked out and found 7 super market produce trays at a thrift store. From the top of my head I think the internal dimensions are around 22" by 14" by 4" tall.

These things are fantastic; they are built as you wish everything was built like nowadays, and they fold flat. I’m trying to find where I could buy them but all I see is ‘consumer grade’ knock offs with tall walls.


I can’t find a price sheet or anything about minimum number for orders, but they do list the 6411 on their website still and it looks like they have an online ordering system of some sort:

Here’s the pamphlet for that product series:


That PDF says they sell them by the pallet, so that’s like 100+ per pallet. Probably more than you need!

Yeah, that’s a tad rich. I’m hoping for a retail channel. The quality and built would warrant a good price.

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Hi! So I have some experience with these and they’re actually still the property of the manufacturer (IFCO) and are not supposed to be removed from the grocery stores, because they’re picked back up and used over and over again for shipping fresh produce. Kinda like how the milk man used to pick up the glass bottles and use them again.

If you look at them they will say in a few places “property of IFCO”. I’ve actually even seen a few stories about people being charged with theft for taking them from stores.

My suggestion would be to drop them back off with the produce team at your nearest Kroger or Walmart store and find a different tray for doing this.

While I have no doubt that is true. There must be a legit market for some of the used ones. I know of an individual that has hundreds of them. They have never struck me as the thieven kind of people. I have never paid attention to what stores are printed on them. However, I would guess at some point the stores/ companies cycle them out and they are either discarded or “recycled” in some manner.

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The produce trays are not overly expensive. As you mentioned quality is very diverse and they come in many sizes.

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Not gonna happen. Heck a few still have the thrift store price tag from where I bought them.


Did you read the part where he bought these at a thrift store? Property law is clear that a bona fide purchase means those belong to Don now, no matter what IFCO might claim to the contrary. They could sue the thrift store maybe but probably not if they were accepted as a bona fide donation.

Also, if a store or farm that uses them goes out of business and liquidates their equipment & supplies.


Well I’m getting closer to find them. Amazon has these:

But they are slightly taller, 7.1 inches tall vs. 5.7 inches on the ones I have. It may not sound like much but the 5.7 inch tall ones are just perfect for the 16oz plastic cups I use for my saplings

Then of course there is the question of whether this would match the IFCO ones in quality. If they did $35 a pop would not be the worst price in the world considering what you would get. Heck if they were 5.7 inches tall I would have bought them already to find out.



Before anyone buys the ones from Amazon you might look at this. See how that box has a corner sticking out? They kept popping out under the weight of heavy fruit. They definately lack quality but they are OK for lighter things. For lettuce no problem but don’t try it with pears! Ground cover for nursery bed - #10 by clarkinks

These old bushel baskets were much higher quality

This one on amazon looked like better quality than it is https://www.amazon.com/POOLWHALE-Liter-Collapsible-Storage-Container/dp/B075M3NF52/ref=asc_df_B075M3NF52/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=309811990469&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=17173274026605185523&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=m&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9015457&hvtargid=pla-568579132973&psc=1


I stumbled on someone selling about 15 of those for just a buck a piece, you better believe that I bought every one of them that they had! It was really a blessing, I had never been to the outdoor market that I got them from and never been back since. I could use some more too.


That can’t be right. If property is stolen (and it can be proven). It’s typically returned to original owner. It doesn’t matter if a middle man sold it at some point. This happens with cars, art, jewelry all the time. A few Produce trays however aren’t worth anyones time



That’s correct in the USA as a matter fact purchasing stolen property is a crime Can You Get Arrested for Buying Stolen Goods?. It’s a fine line because when purchasing from a thrift store most of us make an assumption a business sold off their older inventory that was no longer meeting standards which eventually was donated. So technically these old telephone line insulators are stolen property from the phone company but someone might say but that’s ridiculous Clark those are obsolete in which case your right!
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That’s the same case with these fruit crates they are mostly obsolete and likely being donated because a modern way of farming is put your pears in larger containers you can move with fork lifts on and off trucks without much human labor. The modern container moved using a Bobcat with forks or a forklift is shown below. The large container is $195 but the super small containers are $35 so the savings of large containers is enormous.

See it’s reasonable the phone poles rotted from the 1800s and the property like the glass insulators was abandoned. Disposing of plastic containers cost money at the landfill or they can be donated to the thrift store. Think back to the supermarket when you see a bin of watermelons they are a cardboard box on a pallet. Most businesses went that way disposable crates. Workers get hurt moving pears in boxes but using equipment there are no injuries. My opinion is that’s why the smaller fruit produce flats are at the thrift store. Big business has Osha and others to answer to for safety. The large containers that hold thousands of pounds can be refrigerated and washed they are designed for efficiency. Here are a few more examples of obsolete company property. If the company ever pushes the issue they are right ofcourse unless they deducted the items from their taxes and I’m betting they did. We call that depreciation.
images.jpeg-3 images.jpeg-2

Once an item has been fully depreciated its obsolete and sold off typically by the business or donated New tax law allows small businesses to expense more, expands bonus depreciation | Internal Revenue Service . All that said I’m no lawyer but I think it’s reasonable to assume that’s why the produce containers are at the thrift store. Where it might not be reasonable to buy discarded company property is if on the news every evening they talked about copper theft. Someone ran a shady salvage yard that bought the stolen copper clearly marked with the companies name. The copper was melted down an hour later after purchase. If the same individual showed up at the salvage yard selling 300 pounds of copper a day marked with a companies name it might look suspicious to me. That’s more what the law was intended to address in my opinion. It sure makes a person feel better when the company property belongs to a now closed company.


This very fact pattern is taught in property law classes and often featured on the bar exam precisely because it seems counter-intuitive.

However, what you’re saying is only true if the person who purchased it should have reasonably known it was stolen. In other words, not a “bona fide purchase.” Otherwise, the only recourse for the original owner is to sue either the seller (who maybe knew they were selling stolen goods), or track down the actual thief and press charges or sue for damages. They cannot force the new owner to return the property, because the new owner is now the legal and rightful owner.

Edit: If the seller seems shady/black market, or is selling the goods much cheaper than market prices, then the buyer can usually be assumed to have known the goods might be stolen. But at a thrift store or pawn shop and sold at what seems to be a reasonable price for used goods of that type? That’s a bona fide purchase, and will not be recoverable by the original owner.

Second edit: I should add that I am a lawyer but do not practice in the area of property law, so that’s not legal advice since each state has nuances in those rules, but the basic principle will be the same. It is as old as Anglo-Saxon law itself.


Here’s a pic from central Illinois in 2005, showing abandoned phone/telegraph poles. They used A LOT of insulators.



Great photo there is a lot of history in that picture.

I must say; I’m a stickler for honest and fair behavior, but we live in a modern world where we all commit felonies on a regular basis not because of moral lapses but because of the degree things get criminalized, either from stupidity or lack of nuance. At some point you just have to stop worrying and learn to love the bomb.


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Bulb crates are similar but don’t fold up. Very durable. I have a pile I acquired when I worked in a garden center.

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My partner works at the food bank and they recieve their produce in these collapsable food crates. The grocery stores don’t ask for them back and they give them away. Maybe you can check with your food bank? I think we have gotten about 40, they come in handy for so many things.

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Correction. The poles belongs to the power company. And those insulators ware used on the power lines! Not telephone lines.

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