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Wal-Mart & H&M Destroy Clothing rather than Donate to Shelters

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RamboLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-06-10 04:44 PM
Original message
Wal-Mart & H&M Destroy Clothing rather than Donate to Shelters
Edited on Wed Jan-06-10 04:45 PM by RamboLiberal
In the bitter cold on Monday night, a man and woman picked apart a pyramid of clear trash bags, the discards of the HM clothing store that reigns in blazing plate-glass glory on 34th Street, just east of Sixth Avenue in Manhattan.

At the back entrance on 35th Street, awaiting trash haulers, were bags of garments that appear to have never been worn. And to make sure that they never would be worn or sold, someone had slashed most of them with box cutters or razors, a familiar sight outside H & Ms back door. The man and woman were there to salvage what had not been destroyed.

-----

A few doors down on 35th Street, hundreds of garments tagged for sale in Wal-Mart hoodies and T-shirts and pants were discovered in trash bags the week before Christmas, apparently dumped by a contractor for Wal-Mart that has space on the block.

Each piece of clothing had holes punched through it by a machine.

They were found by Cynthia Magnus, who attends classes at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York on Fifth Avenue and noticed the piles of discarded clothing as she walked to the subway station in Herald Square. She was aghast at the waste, and dragged some of the bags home to Brooklyn, hoping that someone would be willing to take on the job of patching the clothes and making them wearable.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/06/nyregion/06about.html...

To be fair to Wal-Mart

Melissa Hill, a spokeswoman for Wal-Mart told the Times that the company typically donates its unsold pieces to charity and would investigate why those bags was discarded.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/06/hm-wal-mart-de...
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-06-10 04:51 PM
Response to Original message
1. I don't know about Walmart, but Target donates a lot of
merchandise to Goodwill. The racks at the one I visit are full of Target stuff, brand new.

There is also Target furniture and other merchandise in damaged boxes frequently at Goodwill.
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HopeHoops Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-06-10 05:32 PM
Response to Reply #1
8. K-Mart donates clothing also. I know Target does.
I'm not shocked that WalMart would destroy clothes rather than donate them. It fits with their anti-American policies.

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jillan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-06-10 05:35 PM
Response to Reply #1
11. And many thrift stores (I don't know about Goodwill) donate clothing that doesn't sell to charities.
That made me happy when I heard that.
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newtothegame Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-06-10 04:52 PM
Response to Original message
2. What a dumb article. Perhaps they were being discarded BECAUSE they were slashed???
I know that's a crazy thought though...
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-06-10 04:53 PM
Response to Original message
3. I wonder if the goal is not to deny the stuff to shelters and the like,
but to prevent dumpster divers from selling this merchandise on ebay. I guess someone would have to ask the company, eh?
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-06-10 05:08 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Dunno, there are so many charities out there begging for clothing
that I have a really hard time believing they didn't find a need. A lot of clothing we consider to damaged to wear is recycled in the third world, where ingenious tailors and seamstresses turn it into something special for the local market (I know because I lend them money to do it).

In addition, rags are in demand for high end paper making. There is no reason this stuff has to end up in a landfill.

I think the heads of those corporations are going to want to look into this one, since those bags of slashed clothing in the dumpster represent dollars or tax writeoffs escaping, along with generating increased trash fees for that store.
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HBravo Donating Member (239 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-06-10 05:13 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Even new clothing is shipped to the third world.
I have seen pictures of NFL/MLB championship shirts from teams that lost their championship bid worn by people in other countries.
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gmoney Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-06-10 05:33 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. I think only cotton is useful for paper making.
Edited on Wed Jan-06-10 05:34 PM by gmoney
Polycotton or synthetics, probably not useful for pulp.

I'm sure it's a corporate policy thing to destroy designer clothes rather than have the homeless walking around in them or being able to buy them on the cheap. Some stores like TJ Maxx and Value City sell outdated fashions, but maybe there's not enough money there. They may even have a better tax advantage of destroying a $100 blouse and taking the full list price as a pure loss, rather than charitable contribution which should be based on what it would sell for in a second-hand shop, maybe $5.

For unsold magazines, retailers tear the cover mastheads off and return those to the distributor for credit, and then are instructed to discard the rest of the magazine. Who knows if anyone tries to recycle them, or if it's even possible with the glossy pages, perfume samplers, binding glue, etc?

Shipping the damaged merchandise to a 3rd world country for other uses possibly costs more than the clothing is worth, with transporting to an aggregating point, then freighting it halfway around the world, then distributing it to deserving people on that end.

It is wasteful, but there may be reasons it's more economical/profitable for them to destroy than donate. That's how screwed up things are in the world.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-06-10 05:42 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. They can't take the retail price as the loss
They can only deduct their costs. If they sell at a loss to an overseas company, they can deduct the part of their cost they didn't recoup. If they give it to a charity, here or overseas, they can deduct their full cost.

This policy is nonsensical and I doubt it is company wide. There's just a lazy manager at work.
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izquierdista Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-06-10 05:35 PM
Response to Reply #5
10. There is a reason
The reason that the trucks have to keep hauling loads to the landfill from sunup to sunset is obvious -- productivity. Somebody has to buy all that stuff erupting from Chinese factories. The food, the plastic, the clothing, the furniture, it all has to keep moving off the shelves and into the homes, where it falls apart and is then put in the dumpster.

What kind of a world do you want to live in? One where you still use grandma's dishes and drive grandad's car? Come on people, how are capitalists going to make any money if you keep yours and don't buy everything they want to sell you? If you aren't buying a new car every other year and have less shirts than there are days in the month, you aren't trying hard enough. It's YOU that is causing this recession! And if some stuff from Wal-Mart has to go directly from the shelves to the landfill, it's to make space for the new container ship that just unloaded.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-06-10 05:45 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. I'd use Grandma's dishes if the NY Historical Society hadn't gotten them
and be delighted to be dining on antique bone china instead of Corelle.

The grandpa I knew didn't have a car. He lived in midtown and walked. I'd love to be able to do the same, but now you have to be rich to do that.

However, I'm thrilled to have brought deregulated capitalism down.

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RamboLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-06-10 05:15 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. But then that begs the question why is it in the dumpster?
Can't they take it down to the shelter or Goodwill? Or call someone to pick it up?
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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-06-10 04:53 PM
Response to Original message
4. Gap and Banana Republic donate to Salvation Army.
I see stuff there all the time, sometimes even with tags.
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LiberalAndProud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-06-10 05:48 PM
Response to Original message
14. Well, if they gave their clothing away to thrift stores, who would buy it from them?
This story has the same flavor of the scene from the Grapes of Wrath when the Joads watched the kerosene-soaked hills of oranges burn. The thought of that has haunted me since reading the book. It is the same principal at work. Mustn't tamper with the demand side of the equation.
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Are_grits_groceries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-06-10 05:57 PM
Response to Original message
15. Some manufacturers require
that their goods be destroyed. It is a contractual obligation, and a retail company could get in big trouble for not following their guidelines. There are all sorts of things that have to be done depending on the manufacturer and the item.

Books are the same way, especially paperbacks. Most hardcover books are returned and probably end up in a remainder bin. Paperbacks have to have their covers torn off and then be torn in half. Magazines have to have their covers removed. The covers are returned for credit.
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Canuckistanian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-06-10 07:13 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. For what possible reason do manufacturers want their goods destroyed?
Once they're sold to the retailer, do the manufacturers still have partial control over their resale?
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