So I recently read an article via The Consumerist about JC Penney shredding unsold merchandise from their Ralph Lauren Living line.

As mentioned in the article, H&M has gotten into major trouble for doing this with their unsold clothes. Now an anonymous JC Penney employee owned up to shredding everything from blankets and linens to sweatshirts. Apparently, this is a new policy that is meant to protect the exclusivity of the Ralph Lauren collection at JC Penney. I think it’s a load of bullshit.

First, let me preface this by saying that I kind of understand where they’re coming from. It seems like this is obviously some part of a contract with Ralph Lauren in order to be able to carry this line, that as far as I understand is ONLY available at JC Penney stores. I get that, Ralph Lauren is an uppity sort of brand (or they want you to think) and so they are trying to protect their brand image. If homeless people are sleeping storefront in a Ralph Lauren rescued comforter, can you imagine the horrified face of the designer?

But this is a Texas-based company. I am a Texan. And I, for one, am appalled at the lack regard for what happens to this merchandise after it doesn’t sell at a reduced price. I was appalled when I heard about H&M’s practices, but to be honest, I’ve only ever been in an H&M once and I felt like I was on hipster overload. JC Penney’s are everywhere here in Texas. I go so often, I can’t even count. This is a BIG deal. We have so many homeless people here, and I’m not just talking about Texas, there are homeless everywhere. Not to mention women’s shelters who could really use the extra clothing and bedding as well. I sincerely doubt that a battered woman nor a homeless person would drag around a Ralph Lauren comforter and start becoming the next big thing. All they want is a warm place to sleep, and some warm clothes. It’s difficult enough to get an average citizen to donate their clothes in order to help others, that’s what tax incentives are given. To blatantly just shred this stuff and throw it out is a major slap in the face to everything good we try to do for humanity. It’s one of the simplest things I think you could do. You have extra food, give it to someone who needs it. You have extra clothes, likewise. You’re not making any money off of it by cutting it up and tossing it, so why is it so hard to donate it to people who could use the warmth and comfort of something new, not to mention how GOOD it makes them FEEL when you give them something new and thoughtful? That’s worth more than a clothing line’s reputation in my book.

Who is really at fault here? Is it JC Penney’s fault? After all, they’re apparently just following company policy. Is it their fault for getting into an exclusivity contract to where they have to dispose of unsold merchandise from this line? After all, does this line even sell well enough to be worth them purchasing in bulk, only to have to get rid of most of it?

Is it Ralph Lauren’s fault, for being too stingy and uppity with their image that they simply don’t care about the little people? For forcing this upon a retail chain that many employees seem to think have never had policies like this before? Is it Ralph Lauren’s fault that their laborers have put hours upon hours into helping to create this merchandise, only for it to be destroyed?

You tell me, whose problem is this, really?