I usually save my ranting for the middle of the week, but in all of the hype and excitement of the Alabama vs. Texas Championship Football game (ROLL TIDE! And what an amazing game it was! For BOTH Teams!), I have been buried in work and prepping for the game. This morning, something caught my attention. Something that frustrated me beyond normal levels of frustration and disgust.
BurghBaby posted yesterday about a New York Times article that reported the wasteful behavior of H & M. Rather than donating clothes to homeless shelters or non-profits who could deliver the throw away/old/out of date clothes to needy families, management instructed the employees to take the perfectly wearable, perfectly fine clothing items (including coats and gloves) and shred them before throwing them away so no one could use them.
I’ve worked in retail stores where merchandise is discarded because it’s unusable. I’ve also worked in restaurants where food left over at the end of the day was donated to shelters and given to employees for their families. I have never, thankfully, worked for a company who routinely destroyed items they no longer fell they can profit from, specifically so NO ONE could gain from them. That, my friends, is the epitome of waste, corporate greed, and lack of empathy.
You should read both the article, and BurghBaby’s response to it. Before posting, she jumped on to Twitter to find out if, in fact, H & M’s claims that it was an “isolated incident” were accurate. She also wanted to know if this was a common retail practice.
Can you guess what the response was?
Thus far, employees (current and past) of the following companies have identified them as destroying clothing and merchandise:
- H & M (confirmed by employees from multiple stores nationwide)
- Abercrombie & Fitch
- TJ MAXX
- Dairy Queen
- Gabriel Brothers (!!)
Stores that have been confirmed to donate items as charitable contributions:
- American Eagle
- Urban Outfitters
- Charlotte Russe
I’m in agreement with Burghbaby, that in some cases, merchandise isn’t able to be donated because of condition, or even usefulness. But if H & M “regularly donates their unsellable clothes to charitable causes” then why are employees across the country being told to shred clothing and trash them? Why are bags upon bags of shredded clothing sitting in dumpsters when charitable causes are pleading for donations across the world?
In light of this, Burghbaby and I are compiling a list of stores and restaurants who practice wasteful destruction of goods. I know quite a few friends and family members of mine have worked in retail over the years, so please, if you know of a store that isn’t on this list, please let me know! And if you have your own example, please share.
I’m not demanding everyone throw down their gloves and boycott every store on this list — that’s up to you. I just know that after seeing these lists, I have some thinking to do, and some new stores to try out. Gathering this list is hopefully just the first step. Maybe we can connect companies with groups willing to take the goods off their hands, maybe we can help orchestrate a group/s to transport goods between donator and recipient. Maybe we can bring awareness to businesses about how consumers think. There are plenty of options, folks, but the first step in uncovering the waste.
**Day three smoke free!!**