Now that the Christmas shopping and shipping frenzy is over, Amazon is providing free extensions of their Prime no-limit free shipping service to shoppers whose packages didn’t arrive. Before the holiday, though, Amazon was actually limiting signups for Prime during peak periods. Maybe they didn’t want to clog up the shipping works with boxes containing single packs of cookies and other small impulse items. [More]
Priscilla of Boston, a high-end bridal chain best known for making Grace Kelly’s wedding gown, came to an undignified end last week when current parent company David’s Bridal shut it down. This news wouldn’t have made national headlines if an alert shopper in a Minneapolis suburb hadn’t noticed unsold dresses by the rackful being wrecked with red spray paint and tossed in a dumpster.
A new report by the Office of Personnel Management’s inspector general say the federal government has paid out over $600 million in benefits in the past five years to dead people. The money was meant to go to retired or disabled federal workers.
Three stainless-steel trash cans with motion-activated sensor lids: $314.93 each. A 500-lb capacity ottoman for the cafeteria: $469. Mahogany-finished conference room table: $3,000. The line items sound extravagant enough on their own. When you learn that they were to makeover a Detroit city office that handles the federal money for feeding and clothing the poor, and the credenzas and sofas and such came out of that money, it’s time to get livid.
On two occasions over the span of eight days, someone has left large white bags filled with 30 pounds of vomit in the parking lot of a Bed Bath & Beyond in a Philadelphia suburb. Employees called police and had them removed by a business that handles biohazard waste collection.
On Whitehouse.gov today there’s a post declaring that the government has a stupidly large amount of real estate that taxpayers are paying to maintain — but that it doesn’t really need.
Reader E works for a division of RadioShack and would like to let us know that stupid shipping isn’t exclusive to consumers — retailers are inundated with it. He sent us the following series of images. He says these photos represent one day’s worth of stupid shipments. This apparently happens several times a week.
H&M went through public shaming when they were caught shredding and throwing away brand-new merchandise instead of donating it to charity. Now a JC Penney store in Pennsylvania has reportedly done the same thing. Company representatives admitted to the Pittsburgh TV station that exposed the destruction of merchandise that this is official company practice, but only for items from the Penney’s-exclusive Ralph Lauren Living line.
If you’ve ever worked in a bookstore, you’re probably intimate with the practice of pulping mass market paperbacks. Publishers reimburse booksellers for inventory they don’t sell, but paperbacks are so cheap to produce that it would cost more to return them than to throw them away. Instead, stores tear off the covers, mail those back as proof of unsold inventory, and throw the books in the trash.
It turns out H&M and Walmart aren’t the only two organizations caught destroying clothes they couldn’t sell. Yesterday the New York Times reported that the NYC Police Department has also been destroying clothing that would otherwise be wearable. The big difference this time is that the clothing is counterfeit.
Some retailers donate unsold clothing to charity, or discount it by the palletful and sell it to thrift stores or closeout retailers. But the New York Times reports that the H&M at Herald Square in Manhattan gets rid of their unsold clothing by cutting holes in it to render it unwearable, then throwing it away.
Ever run to the drug store for a tube of toothpaste and find that your meager purchase results in a receipt the length of War and Peace? Two-foot long receipts are increasingly common these days, as retailers embrace technologies allowing them to microtarget customers. The colossal waste of paper comes at a cost, not only in felled trees but on man hours spent on changing tape and fixing broken printers.
Do you like overpaying for salt and water? Then “100% All Natural” chicken breasts might be for you! Just look for the labels that boast “enhanced with up to 15% chicken broth,” and you can be sure you’re overpaying for the saltiest, most water-logged chicken that industrial food processors can design. So how does all that chicken water get into the chickens, you ask? Hit the jump for the delightfully graphic description…
I don’t use phone books, but I get three different ones delivered to my house every year anyway. Hardly anyone I communicate with even has a landline, let alone a white pages listing, but that doesn’t matter. They still deliver them. Straight into a snowbank.
CVS asks: How about some dead trees and a bunch of ads with that purchase? Not in so many words, of course: that would actually give shoppers a choice.
Reader Sean sent us what may not be the most egregious example of wasteful packaging, but in terms of the proportion of the item shipped to the size of the box it came in, it comes pretty close. Sean ordered a gear the size of a fingernail — literally — from Tower Hobbies.
Matt sent Consumerist an e-mail with the subject line, “Why is my receipt two feet long?” See, he shopped at CVS, purchased one item, used the self-checkout machine, and walked away with a receipt longer than my dog. This is a massive waste of paper, especially when you multiply it by the number of CVS stores and the number of purchases at each one, but it isn’t completely pointless.