That was fast.
On Monday night, a CUNY grad student we can only assume was garbage diving (bad idea in NYC, bed bugs!) was horrified to find scads of unworn, new merchandise discarded at the Herald Square H&M rendered unwearable, presumably by store management. Winter jackets slashed and spilling fiber fill, little girls’ mary janes with the insoles shredded and “warm socks” were among the curbed items Cynthia Magnus found that chilly night in Manhattan– sad especially because of the high number of homeless people just in the Herald Square-Penn Station area alone.
Although it was only Monday night that the act was discovered, press and blogs picked up the story- the idea that decent clothing would be destroyed like that when so many people right now don’t have jobs resonated, and the topic quickly became popular on Twitter. H&M quickly denied the practice being widespread, which doesn’t quite make sense. (Why would anyone go to the trouble of destroying clothing and shoes in such a large volume if not instructed by someone to do so?) What does seem likely is the possibility that the retailer feared unscrupulous folks would return unpurchased items for credit or exchange, but H&M did not indicate the reason the Herald Square H&M destroyed the clothing.
H&M responded immediately and promised the practice was being discontinued, and insisted it was not corporate policy in the first place. Twitter rumors also suggest that a manager was fired for the incident and ensuing brouhaha, but that has not been confirmed via the press or by H&M. Although H&M did not defend their practices to Magnus when she called to report it, involvement of the New York Times got a statement immediately:
“It will not happen again,” said Nicole Christie, a spokeswoman for H & M in New York. “We are committed 100 percent to make sure this practice is not happening anywhere else, as it is not our standard practice.”
Ms. Christie said it was H & M’s policy to donate unworn clothing to charitable groups. She said that she did not know why the store on 34th Street was slashing the clothes, and that the company was checking to make sure that none of its other stores were doing so.
The company followed up with a statement on their Facebook about what Racked is calling “trashgate”:
“H&M is committed to taking responsibility for how our operations affect both people and the environment. Our policy is to donate any damaged usable garments to charity. We’re currently investigating an incident in a NY store that is not representative of our policy. We will follow with more information as soon as we are able. H&M’s US sales operation donates thousands of garments each year through Gifts In Kind Int.”
See, internet? You did good. Now you can get back to fapping.