When I worked at Toyota (TMS) 20+ years ago, I remember seeing a guy in the dock area of the San Ramon PDC pounding away with a sledge hammer. When I walked over I saw he was smashing up perfectly good A/C units, water pumps, alternators, etc. I asked why he was doing that and got the standard response ‘that’s what they told me to do’. When I asked the regional manager, he said they were destroying units so they couldn’t be resold on the black market!
In a recent NYT article (link here) it was the same scenario: Manhattan’s big Nike store was discarding outdated ‘Kobe’ gym shoes by the dozens, but not before someone slashed the entire shoe to render it useless. There’s actually a Federal law that requires this! Outrageous? It gets even better (worse!)…
The reason apparel retailers slash their shoes, clothings, accessories is basically two fold: to stop counterfeiters and hawkers from reselling them, so they can’t be worn by people who are obviously unable to afford them.
These retailers had tried to donate outdated and discarded goods to the homeless in the past, but incidents like 2005 Katrina (when FEMA unloaded a warehouse stocked with counterfeit garments to evacuees) had the retailers up in arms and they lobbied for a federal law forbidding such ‘handouts’.
Now come-on…this is un-common (non)sense! What in the world is the possible ‘good’ here? besides profits of course…
The embodied energy and outrageous prices charged for these items is where the real ‘sin’ is, not the counterfeit/poor ‘can’t be wearing this’ market.
I don’t know how to start a boycott, but we gotta get the word out about this and pressure these retailers and manufacturers to stop this obvious ‘over-the-top’ waste.
It’s not always just about business and fattening the bottom line and holding on to market share – sometimes it’s just OK to take a hit for the team, and do something good for the less fortunate. It’s up to the less-fortunate to figure out their ethics and moral code too – the hawkers who abscond the seconds & resell them for their own gains.
Heaven forbid that Nike should marginalize their next-gen gym shoe by selling off outdated shoes at a heavy discount or allowing poor people some uplifting grace by letting them feel like a ‘million bucks’. Please….
Side note – where is your data right now? : If you think your data is safe on Amazon S3 or Google doc servers, think again. Along with the Dyn outage last year (surprisingly co-inciding with another more famous hacker attack), this article details some of the risks (link here).