It is no secret that stores throw expired food away, but did you know that some stores waste perfectly good food when corporate-level managers decide to simply discontinue the products? This happens more often that people realize, and the amount of provisions that end up in the trash is unbelievable. It is all about shelf space, red tape and most of all, the bottom line.
Information from an Inside Source
This information regarding waste was recently obtained firsthand from a drugstore manager that wishes to remain anonymous. Although he offered suggestions to the corporate office, they did not provide options other than disposal. He had absolutely no choice in the matter, and it bothered him to have to waste perfectly good food that someone could have used. Read on to find out how and why stores use this practice that many find ethically wrong.
The Massive Waste of Food
Some popular stores sell many different types of merchandise from small electronics including compact disc players to canned and frozen food, and the sales prices can be absolutely terrific – especially on clearance items. This is especially true of a specific drugstore chain. However, this particular company is keeping a dirty little secret, and it is locked away in dumpsters all across the United States. Although this practice is not limited to drugstore chains, this is just one example of waste that goes on day after day in stores of all types, and it is absolutely disgusting.
Instead of lowering the cost of discontinued foods, some stores simply order their employees to throw it into the trash. These foods are not expired or damaged, but managers and their employees are told to throw it all out instead of pricing it to sell. They are not allowed to take it home, give it away, mark it down or donate it to the hungry. Corporate bigwigs insist that it goes into a dumpster. It ultimately ends up in a landfill, and often years before it was marked to expire. Does this make sense?
Why Stores Will Not Price it to Sell
Stores that choose to waste food items that have not expired do not try to sell them at any cost because they take up too much space. Most of these companies use planograms, and these merchandise maps do not account for items that have been discontinued. Planners in corporate offices use profit calculations and maps to maximize shelf space, and maximizing shelf and floor space maximizes profits. These greedy companies are not concerned with the ethics of waste. It is all about financial gain. Some foods are marked down and sold while others are immediately thrown away. It depends upon what it is.
Some Stores Will Not Donate it to Charity
Stores that choose to waste unexpired food could give it to a local charity, but they are not all willing or able. The manager I spoke to said he would have gladly donated the food to a local charity, but he was told by the corporate office that too much red tape was involved. It was not his decision.
How much red tape could it possibly take to hand a box of unwanted food items to a charity volunteer? More red tape should be involved when it comes to waste in stores, but this is how business is conducted within some corporations in our throwaway society. If they donated the food they would want to claim the cost of the donations, and this would take too much work – far more work than the deductions would be worth in dollars and cents. Once again, it is all about financial gain, and stores are in business solely to profit. Most people do not realize how much waste actually occurs behind the scenes, and some corporations simply do not care.
Ultimate Greed and the Ugliness of Waste in Stores
Unwillingness to give away something considered trash is the ultimate in greed. The unnamed store that would rather waste food than give it away or sell it for a reasonable price also locks their trash receptacle. It is locked away to prevent people from helping themselves. Think about this – if the items in the dumpster were truly trash, stores would not have to lock it up!
Some companies and/or stores do not want to give anything away, and they do not have to. This is a moral and ethical issue rather than a legal one. It is their prerogative. After all, they are free to waste as much as they want, and they do it day after day. They do not think twice about destroying perfectly good life-sustaining food.
In the words of singer/songwriter Dido Armstrong, “The fortune of one man means less for some”. While the working poor go without all they need to live and not just simply survive, they are paid to fill dumpsters with food. Greedy companies will not even give these items to their underpaid, overworked employees let alone anyone else.