Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Here’s why Garfield phones have been washing up on French beaches for 35 years

Photo: Stephen Chernin (Getty Images)

On the shortlist of things that signify the culture of the 1980s, Garfield phones likely rank pretty high, somewhere below Day-Glo jackets and staunch fiscal conservatism. For the towns along the Brittany coast in France, however, these kitschy orange landlines are still very much a thing of the present. For over three decades, Garfield phones have been mysteriously washing up on French beaches and, as reported by the BBC, a French anti-litter organization has only recently discovered why.

A shipping container, likely dislodged during a particularly rough storm in the 1980s, has made its home in a secluded sea cave on the French coast that’s only accessible during low-tide. After being tipped off about the cave’s existence from a local farmer, a clean-up crew set out to find it and, hopefully, rid the French people of these tacky specters for good. Unfortunately, what they found was a partially buried shipping container that’s virtually inaccessible and potentially still chock-full of Garfields.


On the bright side, now that they know the source of these retro plastic cats, environmental crews can begin a more concentrated clean-up effort while they figure out how to access the shipping container. They’ll just have to hope there aren’t more of these containers strewn along the coast filled with Zubaz, ColecoVision consoles, and Walter Mondale campaign buttons.

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About the author

Dan Neilan

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Have Fun — Will Travel.