H & M and Wal-Mart find themselves in a bit of hot water after a New York Times story this week revealed both retailers intentionally destroyed unsold merchandise during the holiday shopping season rather than donate it to charity. Per the Times:
At the back entrance on 35th Street, awaiting trash haulers, were bags of garments that appear to have never been worn. And to make sure that they never would be worn or sold, someone had slashed most of them with box cutters or razors, a familiar sight outside H & M’s back door.
…A few doors down on 35th Street, hundreds of garments tagged for sale in Wal-Mart …were discovered in trash bags the week before Christmas, apparently dumped by a contractor for Wal-Mart that has space on the block.
What we find interesting is the Times tried ten times to reach H & M for comment, to no avail. The company then posted statements to its Twitter and Facebook accounts instead. One would think that with a news outlet such as the Times, H & M would have the courtesy to call or at least email the statement.
On the other hand, posting the statements to Twitter and Facebook gives H& M complete control over the process. For their part, Wal-Mart did comment to the Times, via spokesperson Melissa Hill.
What’s your take? Should H & M have engaged with the media, or were they right to stay quiet?
UPDATE: An H&M spokesperson, Nicole Christie, did comment to the Times, but in another story published a day after the original story, and after the Tweets from H & M’s account appeared. “It will not happen again…We are committed 100 percent to make sure this practice is not happening anywhere else, as it is not our standard practice,” said Christie.