Retailer Told Waste Not When So Many are in Need
By George Anderson
A column by Jim Kenyon in The Valley News of West Lebanon, N.H., takes Home Depot to task for destroying and throwing out the various building materials and other goods used in its displays.
According to an unidentified worker at a local Home Depot who wished to remain employed, “Last week, we destroyed several hundred dollars in bathtubs and sinks. Nothing wrong with them; we changed our displays and they had to go. If the (manufacturer) doesn’t want them, they tell us to destroy.”
The author writes that the same practice at the local Home Depot is repeated at the company’s 1,500 or so stores across the country and it simply doesn’t make any sense to him on a number of levels.
“For starters, it doesn’t make environmental sense. America’s landfills are overflowing as it is. But even more disturbing is the idea of throwing away building materials that Upper Valley (local) nonprofit organizations could put to good use.”
One group that came to mind for the author was an organization called COVER, which makes home repairs for free for low-income residents.
The local Home Depot is already involved with COVER, he writes. Recently the store provided the group with a store voucher for $250 to buy materials to winterize a local home. Employees from the store volunteered and helped do the work on the home.
Mr. Kenyon thinks Home Depot can and should do more. “Instead of destroying bathtubs and throwing away doors from displays, why not donate them to COVER? Materials could be used in home repair projects. Plus, COVER already sells used building supplies out of its warehouse on South Main Street in White River Junction to help fund its $300,000-a-year operation. With Home Depot’s help, its inventory could be greatly expanded.”
Management at the local Home Depot has told the author they are not authorized to make the type of decision that would donate product to COVER.
On his last visit, the store called Atlanta so he could speak directly with a member of the company’s media relations department. The person he spoke with reinforced what the local manager had said, explaining it would take approval from the company’s regional or perhaps national office for building materials to be donated.
The author suggests that this is worthy of the national office’s attention. “It’s a worthy goal,” he writes. “Anything else is just a waste of good materials and good will.”
Moderator’s Comment: How should Home Depot and perhaps others in the building supplies business respond to the call in this article? Are there legitimate,
perhaps overriding, reasons a retailer can not do what is being asked in The Valley News column?
Thanks to Warren Thayer for bringing this column to the attention of RetailWire.
Jim Kenyon of The Valley News can be reached at Jim.Kenyon@Valley.net