Cynthia Magnus, a grad student a CUNY, stumbled upon bags of cut-up clothes outside of H&M and a Wal-Mart distribution center in Herald Square last month. Aghast at the corporate waste, she carried some of the bags home to Brooklyn to solicit help repairing the garments and then promptly tipped off the New York Times about the unnecessary litter.
Magnus told Jim Dwyer that it’s most common to find discarded items outside H&M. After research into the amputated gloves and the de-insulated coats, Dwyer reported on Tuesday that a Wal-Mart spokesperson claims the company usually donates its unsold items to charity and that H&M remains unresponsive in the face of at least 10 calls and emails. What’s more, is that Dwyer points out the close proximity of the dumpsters to New York Cares, a non-profit who gladly accepts donations of clothing on a daily basis.
High-end brands like Chanel once had a destruction policy for un-purchased inventory, but even they have put a moratorium on such heinous policies and have opened a handful of outlet shops for cheaper, off-season retail options in the past few years. What might be a measure to prevent the sale of these items is more likely a preventative measure to ensure that anyone who didn’t pay for them can’t wear them. And, actually, it’s an affront to the 18.5% of the City’s population who live below the poverty line: on the brink of what is shaping up to be a frozen winter, the blatant disregard for the City’s poor and under-dressed is astonishing, and the lack of knowledge and follow-through by these corporations concerning their product is unacceptable.