Just when it seemed like H&M was finally cleaning up its act, another mass retailer has been caught with its pant(ie)s down. Lingerie company Victoria’s Secret is the latest big-box brand found guilty of destroying merchandise that could have easily gone to the homeless or victims of disaster. One Tampa, FL customer was left speechless after a Vicky’s clerk sheared the unworn sweatpants she just returned, right in front of her face. Sounds ludicrous, right? So why are so many companies still engaging in this heinous practice?
NOT SO ANGELIC
Like we pointed out in our past article about H&M’s own clothes-cutting scandal, the main reason retailers destroy returned clothing is to maintain “brand integrity.” In other words, big brands don’t want to sell these castoffs for less or make them available for resale on the secondary market.
“Some stores may take last season’s golf clubs and bend them in half so someone couldn’t easily pick them from the trash and resell them,” Suzanne Long, retail practice leader at consulting company SSA & Company, tells Tampa Bay Online, which first reported the incident. “And some clothing designers may tell a retail store that sending back the clothes is not worth the money,” she adds. “And if the retailer feels it’s unsalable, they’ll just agree to go ahead and destroy it.”
What ever happened to blotting out tags and logos with a marker or snipping those in half—instead of the entire garment?
But in the case of the shopper who returned a pair of sweatpants (that cost $70, we might add) in near-mint condition, why couldn’t the offending garment simply go back on the rack? Is it so far-fetched to think that someone else might come along, like them, and still pay $70 for them? And what ever happened to blotting out tags and logos with a marker or snipping those in half—instead of the entire garment—and then selling the clothes at a sample sale?
If you’re as confused and shocked that Victoria’s Secret is continuing this practice even in light of all the recent negative press, leave the company a note to tell it to cease and desist.