The urban dictionary gives two definitions of the phrase “hands off the merchandise”: (1) a “protest/order uttered by one of either gender when someone else (usually of the other gender) wants to indulge in a little touchy-feely but [the protester’s] not in the mood:” or (2) “Basically ‘Don’t touch my stuff, punk.’”
Allen Manwaring, a former grocery store manager who was fired for sexual harassment, but reincarnated as a produce vendor for the very same store, might be the rare person for whom both definitions are appropriate. And the entity ordering him to keep his hands off is the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Joanna L. Grossman,
Hands Off the Merchandise!: Appellate Court Orders Grocery Store to Ban Sexual Harasser from Premises Verdict
Available at: https://scholarlycommons.law.hofstra.edu/faculty_scholarship/958