For those shoppers who've always wondered what the city's discount stores do with old clothes, The New York Times today unearthed an answer, at least for two Herald Square outposts: They cut 'em and trash 'em.
A local grad student, Cynthia Magnus, told the Times that she'd initially spotted piles of discarded clothing on her way to the Herald Square subway station, and -- good samaritan that she was -- even dragged some of the trash bags home with her in the hopes that some could be salvaged.
While some of the bags belonged to Wal-Mart (a company that apparently typically donates old clothing to charity, but in this case, "a contractor" had dumped them), it seems the biggest offender is H&M, who, according to Magnus, regularly destroys the store's discards (cutting fingers off gloves, for example) before dumping them outside the store. Most tragic of all, the Times points out that there's a collection point for New York Cares right around the corner.
The Times had yet to hear back from H&M for any comment, but we can imagine it's not great press for the chain considering the ridiculously freezing winter we've been having in New York City, added to the fact that the country's not in the best shape, financially. We'd bet, however, that the number of clothing-filled trash bags in Herald Square will be dimishing starting today.
UPDATE: H&M has issued the following statement, via Facebook:
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.