Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Walmart and H&M destroy unsold clothing

A story was just written in the New York Times about how large retail chain stores like Walmart and H&M destroy and discard unsold clothing rather than donating them to organizations like The Salvation Army. At these large chains where the clothing is so inexpensive to begin with, I guess there's no point in shipping items to discount stores; but I never would have thought the clothing would just be discarded. It turns out that H&M has machines specific to damaging the clothing: for example, a large hole at a shoulder seam; a missing sleeve; or a torn pair of pants. The store then deposits plastic bags full of these goods behind the store to be picked up by garbage collection. I'm sure they'll change their ways in some way after this NYT story has come out but, it makes me want to reconsider patronizing the chain.


  1. It's hard to get your head round things like this. I don't know why any fashion chain would do this, perhaps they're signing up to the anti-dependency or anti-handout argument or perhaps they simply don't want their clothing associated with the homeless. I really hope it isn't the latter. There can be quite a bit of cruelty involved in fashion jobs, even at a retail level but I absolutely refuse to believe that business would suffer because they gave unsold merchandise away to the homeless. Sometimes cruel decisions have to be made to keep the business going but I don't think this is one of those situations.

    Obviously, there would be some who would take advantage but I'm guessing that the people who run homeless shelters are good at spotting the genuinely needy from those who are swinging the lead.

  2. Hah one of the biggest jokes Limited Brands - specifically Victoria's Secret, which I've worked at. If we got an item that said it was a small, but was really an x-small we had to shred it. If someone who smokes tried on something and didn't buy it that item was shredded, if you could smell anything on it. If someone stole a perfum from a set The remaining items were marked as damaged and thrown out, instead of saving the unstolen items to be used as samples. Garbage bags full of stuff, nothing wrong with, thrown out daily.