When our friend Chad lived with us for a while, one of the big pieces of unexpected decoration that he brought with him was a lime green suitcase. I remarked to him on one occasion that it was by far the ugliest suitcase that I had ever seen.

“I know,” he said, “Isn’t it great?”

I told him that I didn’t understand what he meant by that and he went on to explain.

Imagine that you are standing at a luggage carousel with a hundred or so other people waiting for your luggage. There is a veritable sea of black and dark brown suitcases rolling out on the carousel. When your lime green suitcase comes out, it stands out like a man waving multicolored flags trying to get your attention.

Moreover, what suitcases are the ones to go on sale and clearance first? The ugly ones that don’t sell so well, of course! Which suitcase is more likely to get stole from your hotel room — classic Louis Vuitton or our friend the ugly green suitcase? You can bet nobody will want to steal that green suitcase.

Elizabeth and I bought our ugly green suitcase pictured above. It was on sale — about half off the list price, which is always nice when you’re a young couple with a toddler looking to save money when feasible.

We packed the suitcase and brought it with us to Florida— JetBlue allows one checked in suitcase per person for free at up to fifty pounds and we tipped in at about thirty-seven. After the flight we gathered around the luggage carousel and waited for the luggage to come out and I wondered how long it would be until I saw our suitcase. It only took a few minutes to get my answer as the green color did indeed stand out amongst all of the otherwise similar suitcases. I quickly grabbed it and got it out-of-the-way — you don’t want to be the person at the airport causing confusion and delay because you are lollygagging instead of taking your luggage efficiently.

Of course you don’t have to get a green suitcase. Any bright and tacky color that stands out will do. You can probably do well for yourself by seeing what suitcases are on sale and going based on that. When you quickly find your suitcase next trip, you can be happy that you read this — and we can thank Chad, too!


  1. Hilarious story, Gordon, and I like the ugly philosophy!

    My mother would buy expensive luggage, and then “decorate it” with obnoxious stickers all over so she could instantly recognize the bag was hers while traveling.

    I much prefer just picking an ugly color and letting that stick in your eye!

    1. Good thought — and of course we know that expensive luggage isn’t always better made, sadly!

      1. Absolutely right! We need an article on how to know good luggage from the poorly made and the best way to get that luggage at a good price. I don’t think people know what to look for — except for wheels. People love wheels — but not all wheels work the same way!

          1. Absolutely! Like some pants I’ve seen from Pakistan that cost but a few dollars but are strong!

  2. Dont travel over here – the Portuguese have the ugly suitcase market all sewn up – this and bright orange are their favorites !

      1. My mother will sent you several “Nebraska Cornhusker Football” bumper stickers in red, white and black that you can plaster all over your green suitcase, too. You’d need at least five for each side. They have to be applied all askew, though.

  3. I really do like that idea. People do usually pick such dark colors when it comes to their luggage. I don’t know about picking the ugliest green suitcase in the world, but maybe some funky swirls or flowers or something could stand out just as well. I really like this one. Nice job Gordon!

  4. Paradigm shift: There’s always the probability that a thief could select one’s tacky-looking luggage *because* it stands out from the sea of conformity. Same as a person — but not within a kidnapping context.

  5. Black is popular possibly because it doesn’t show stains or scuff marks? It depends on where you go for hard vs soft luggage! So odd.

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