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Wal-Mart and H&M Destroy Unsold Clothes So No One Else Can Have Them

January 8, 2010

In a scheme that was surely meant to be kept a secret, Wal-Mart and H&M in Manhattan have been secretly destroying unsold merchandise and stuffing the materials in huge garbage bags behind the stores.  When a graduate student pointed out the problems to the press (problems because both stores had neglected to donate unsold merchandise to a nearby charity purveyor), neither store responded.

Now that the news story has hit the stands, H&M says it will not happen again, that unused clothing will be donated to the local charity outlet.  Wal-Mart failed to promise anything:

The New York Times points out that one-third of the city’s population is poor, which makes this behavior not only wasteful and sad, but downright irresponsible. Wal-Mart spokeswoman, Melissa Hill, acted surprised that these items were found, claiming they typically donate all unworn merchandise to charity. When reporters went around the corner from H&M to a collections drop-off for charity organization New York Cares, spokesperson Colleen Farrell said, “We’d be glad to take unworn coats, and companies often send them to us.”

After several days of no response from H&M, the company made a statement today, promising to stop destroying the garments at the midtown Manhattan location. They said they will donate the items to charity. H&M spokeswoman Nicole Christie said, “It will not happen again,” and that the company would make sure none of the other locations would do so either.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Becky permalink
    June 20, 2011 2:11 pm

    There’s always the argument that giving stuff away to shelters creates a culture of dependency. And there will always be people who take advantage, that’s an unfortunate fact but it’s no excuse for destroying unsold clothes so that no-one else can benefit from them..

    There are so many people who would be so grateful to have some more clothes on their back and I think it’s beyond cruel to penalise those people because of the few who would abuse it. And presumably, those running the shelters are good at spotting the genuinely needy.

    The only retail postions I ever had were in food, not fashion jobs but the wastage there was immense as well. Though I do have to accept the argument that if they donated food that was past the sell-by and someone got ill, they’d be liable and it’s too risky. But out-of-fashion clothes aren’t going to make anyone ill.

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  1. Garments Sourcing from Asia » Blog Archive » H&M won’t destroy and discard clothes it cannot sell in NY anymore

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