Home Depot Throws Away, But Won't Donate, Brand New Merchandise

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I was in the tool aisle of Home Depot today and I noticed an employee on a man-lift taking stuff off of the top shelf and throwing it on the floor.
It was mostly those soft tool bags (more than a dozen) and mostly Home Depot colors, but there were some other styles mixed in. They looked brand new, still "folded" like they would be if they were on sale. There was also some Dremel kits and other items, all of which looked new from where I was standing.
A manager-like person came by and said to the employee "I'll get my garbage cart."
The employee said "Do we have to throw them away? Can't we give them away at that thing next week?"
Manager: "You mean the employee meeting? No, we can't do that. We're doing inventory in 3 days and we have to get this stuff out of here."
That's when I spoke up. "What about donating them? I work with a couple of youth organizations and those bags would make great awards and prizes."
Manager: To me - "I'm sorry, sir. We can't do that." To the employee - "I'll get the garbage cart."
What a friggin' waste.
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DerbyDad03 wrote:

Blame the lawyers and accountants, and the liability and tax laws. Declaring something 'spoiled' to get it off the books is an old dodge. I am not a tax lawyer, but IIRC spoiled inventory goes in a different column on the balance sheet. And as to donating stuff- aw, that means internal red tape and records so they can get brownie points, and if some clueless kid hurts themselves with something with THEIR corporate logo on it, well, the sky will fall in. I see a lot of perfectly good stuff in the dumpsters where I work, because it 'costs too much' to jump through the hopes to donate it to a good home.
I miss common sense. Next time you see something like that, drive around back an hour later, and watch the employees loading it into their cars. (Unless this is one of those really anal companies that dump the carts straight into a compacter, which is sadly more common every year.)
-- aem sends....
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aemeijers wrote:

Our government is the worst at it. I remember working with a guy who'd been in The US Navy in supply and he related a story of new tools and equipment being buried and brand new trucks being sent to the target range. I certainly hope things have improved since then. It's a shame that the civilian government agencies are not much better.
[8~{} Uncle Monster
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on 9/11/2008 12:14 AM Uncle Monster said the following:

Police Departments get a lot of surplus military equipment, including armored and soft skinned vehicles, helicopters, boats, protective equipment, and other military equipment.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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So do Fire Departments. Whole bunch of old "6 by"s serving as grass rigs, for instance.
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Kurt Ullman wrote:

Most of those actually are 'long term loan', through GSA/Forest Service. When they get worn out, they are returned (on paper only) to GSA, and sold through their online auctions. Go to gasauctions.gov, and look under 'trucks'. Half of them are usually red-painted old military 6x6 and Dodge 880s.
-- aem sends...
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aemeijers wrote:

I think you meant "gsaauctions.gov". Sometimes I'm lisdexic.
[8~{} Uncle Monster
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willshak wrote:

Yeah, I used to work for the agency that gave it to them, and I used to attend a lot of state and metro auctions, back when they still had live auctions. Guess what? A lot of that stuff gets sold or vanishes without a trace, once donated. Better that than the landfill, I guess.
-- aem sends...
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clipped

No.....blame the freaking jerks who hire the lawyers. Suppose HD donated stuff to a non-profit org? Non-profit A is very happy to receive the goods (or unhappy that HD doesn't give MORE?) Along comes non-profit B, they want free stuff but can't get any. So they organize a campaign to shop at competitor, or even sue for discrimination.....

Just to add a little reassurance, food stores take out-dated merchandise and donate to shelters and food banks. Have seen them loading up at the local grocery store. When we combined households to move into hubby's condo, there was a good deal of stuff that we did not have room for, after distributing lots of good things to our children. Any time we unloaded, I checked with neighbors who sometimes were glad to get certain items. Whenever I call the city to pick up stuff at the curb, the item is almost always gone before the city comes by. I gained by the same method, when a neighbor discarded a nice little antique oak chest with an ugly coat of paint. Stripped and refinished, nice brass hardware, holds hobby stuff in the guest room.
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On 09/11/08 10:21 am Norminn wrote:

The Community Kitchen at which I volunteer gets donated food of various kinds from supermarkets, restaurants, bakeries, etc.
One supermarket used to donate stuff, but the new manager refuses, saying he is afraid of a lawsuit.
Perce
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Norminn wrote:

But big box food stores are likely to use the home depot method. My buddies wife worked for a big box food chain and then moved on and got a much better paid job at a regional family owned chain. The big box market had a compacting dumpster. Anything that became outdated had to go into the dumpster to be compacted and it had to be witnessed by an additional employee. She says her current employer does donate the stuff to various charitable organizations.
Have seen them loading up at the

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I'm an old hot-rodder and worked at a Chevy dealership in Pompano Beach, FL in 1978. I arrived at work on a Monday morning and saw some commotion in the new vehicle receiving area behind the service dep't. where I was a Service Advisor. A carrier had delivered a new Corvette that had failed to clear an overpass and lost everything from the dash level up. A week or so later a company rep inspected the car and authorized disassembly and destruction of EVERY working or otherwise usable part of the car. One of my mechanics was assigned the job and I even got my commission for his labor. Radio, all dash parts, seats, carpet, doors, glass, column, shifter, console, .... EVERYTHING ... was removed and smashed with iron bars or cut up and tossed in a pile for later verification. The engine, transmission, and differential were disassembled and also destroyed. Valves were bent over in the heads and the block smashed full of holes. Alternator, starter, etc ... you get my drift. We almost cried.
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BTW - even the tires were slashed and the wheels destroyed, along with all body panels and trim.

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state farm insurance owns auto salvage yards. found that out when my wife bottomed her cobalt and broke transmission case, the replacement transmission was from a salvaGE YARD OWNED BY STATE FARM
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wrote:

I used to work for a corporation that sold Business Machines Internationally and they had the same policy. Returned equipment or surplus new stuff had to be destroyed. We finally did get them to agree to recycle the scrap but it had to be scrap. Nothing useful. The excuse was they did not want to compete with what they sold by putting serviceable equipment in the field for free.
If HD doesn't contribute things to the youth organization they will have to buy them and that is a market HD can compete for.
We were able to sneak some things out the back door for a few teaching programs but it was "salvaged parts" not "machines".
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on 9/11/2008 12:30 AM snipped-for-privacy@aol.com said the following:

Should we rearrange those last three words to get the corporation name?

--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote in

I Bet you were Moved then.

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Whoa kids. Before you blow Home Depot away with your conspiracy theories, you need to get the facts. When Home Depot buys from a vendor, their agreement states that if a product is returned and cannot be put back on the shelf as brand new, it MUST be destroyed. That saves both Home Depot AND the vendor the cost of shipping it back and repackaging it--which often costs more than the product is worth.
The same policy holds true if a new item doesn't sell well and Home Depot would prefer to send it back to the manufacturer for credit. Neither Home Depot nor the manufacturer wants to cover the cost of packaging and shipping.
At the same time, no vendor wants to issue credit to Home Depot for returned merchandise, only to find that it's been either sold or donated. Can you imagine how much "defective" merchandise chargebacks a manufacturer would get hit with if Home Depot could turn around and sell it? They would be asking for credits all day long and then selling it.
Bottom line here is that it's actually cheaper to destroy the merchandise than it is to package it up and ship it back.
You may not like it, but if you ever start running a retail business and see how much it costs to ship stuff back, you'd understand in a second.
As for donating perfectly good merchandise that isn't selling and could be donated--compain to the MANUFACTURER, not the retailer.
By the way, Home Depot is no different than any of the other large retailers. You'll find the same procedure at every large company.
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As opposed to asking for credits all day long and throwing it out? Assuming what you say is correct, they could just as easily make false claims regardless of whether the stuff goes in the dumpster or to charity.

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Rick-Meister wrote:

In the book business, more books are destroyed than sold.
Books are sold by publishers with return privileges - if the book doesn't sell, it can be returned for credit. BUT for mass-market paperbacks, it only costs about twenty cents to manufacture a new copy. The cost of returning, sorting, restocking, culling the shop-worn, blah-blah-blah is higher for the publisher than if the bookstore simply destroys the book in place.
A big teaching hospital in Minnesota replaces about 75-100 computers every year. They've tried various techniques for dealing with the broken, out-dated, or Macintosh machines. None proved satisfactory. They solved their problem by simply putting the old computers on the curb for the urban fairies. No paperwork, no recycling headaches, no tax lawer consultations.
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