The year just started and we’ve already had attempted acts of terrorism, factory workers opening fire on their coworkers, and have found out that super retailer H&M is being accused of destroying and throwing out unsold clothing. Yes, you read that correct: H&M intentionally damages and discards the merchandise that doesn’t sell. This isn’t a monthly, bimonthly or yearly occurrence either, it’s been said that well known retailers such H&M, Walmart, and its even been rumored that Victoria’s Secret throws out unused clothing that doesn’t sell on their floors. The New York Times journalist Jim Dwyer recently followed a homeless couple that regularly sifts through the H&M merchandise that is thrown out.
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 & M’s back door. The man and woman were there to salvage what had not been destroyed.
Not responding to inquiries about their practices in disposing of unworn items, H&M is not only accused of discarding just clothing, but also cutting the soles out of shoes, ripping apart bags and accessories, and also discarding of unused hangers which is completely absurd seeing as hangers absolutely never go out of style.
“Gloves with the fingers cut off,” Ms. Magnus said, reciting the inventory of ruined items. “Warm socks. Cute patent leather Mary Jane school shoes, maybe for fourth graders, with the instep cut up with a scissor. Men’s jackets, slashed across the body and the arms. The puffy fiber fill was coming out in big white cotton balls.” The jackets were tagged $59, $79 and $129.
A third of New York City is poor. And I’m not talking “can’t pay my rent-no food in my house-the lights are about to get cut off” poor either. These are people living on the streets, with no roof over their heads, eating out of trash cans. They obviously can’t afford to feed themselves let alone purchase the “inexpensive” clothing created by companies like H&M, and are left to rummage through trash bags of destroyed clothing to keep warm. What burns me up the most about this situation is the fact that not only does H&M have an executive over a division called Corporate Responsibility, but the 34th street H&M in NYC, store in question, is also around the corner from a big collection point for New York Cares which holds annual clothing drives.
Two words for you H&M: HOT MESS.
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