I didn't know this about Target, did you?

United States
March 31, 2008 1:00pm CST
I was in one of our local Target storess today. I asked the cashier, who has been with them from day one, if I bought something on Target online could I return it to the store. She said, yes but I wouldn't get the shipping charges back. Which I understand. Then she immediately informed me that it is thrown into the dumpster. Isn't that absurd?? I replied why don't they donate it to somebody, naturally she couldn't answer it and I didn't expect her to. Talk about a waste. I'm seriously going to think twice about shopping at Target.
3 people like this
17 responses
@stephcjh (32327)
• United States
31 Mar 08
That is so stupid. What a waste of money and resources? There are alot of people out there that could use these products that we have returned. They could donate it to the Salvation Army or the Goodwill or any organization like that. I would think twice about shopping there too. why would they throw it away? why not offer it back to the customer to donate or something?
2 people like this
• Australia
1 Apr 08
My husband said that this is not true. He works for Amazon.com and he said that Target.com is owned by Amazon.com and when something gets returned it goes back to Amazon and they sell it for a lower price because it's used. He said it's the same thing with Overstock.com, they are both owned by Amazon.com and it all depends on what they feel like labeling it. They will either label it overstock or target and it will be sent there.
• United States
2 Apr 08
Thanks for the info. I wonder where she got her info. Thanks for the heads-up about Overstock.com being owned my Amazon. I didn't know that.
1 person likes this
• Australia
2 Apr 08
You're welcome, no problem. She was probably just repeating something she heard most likely...
• United States
24 Jan 09
If you have a Goodwill store in your area you will probably find a lot of new Target items. In my town there is always new items in the package that has been donated by Target as well as other stores.
@rowantree (1190)
• United States
1 Apr 08
I don't think she was telling you the truth. When a store has an item that has been returned, if it is not defective, it is returned to the Target corporation. If it's defective, it goes back to the manufacturer. It's possible that if you have a defective item, the manufacturer instructs Target to throw it away, but every returned item does not go into the dumpster.
1 person likes this
• United States
2 Apr 08
That is how I thought it was, also. I have a friend who works in Customer Service at Walmart, so the next time I see her I am going to ask her how Walmart handles returns from their website. This has me very curious.
@rowantree (1190)
• United States
2 Apr 08
Thanks! Let me know what Wal-Mart's policy is. I know Ace Hardware's policy is that if the item is defective, the store owner still needs to keep it for 30 days before they can throw it away.
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Apr 08
I spoke to my friend at Walmart and if the item is bought from online and it is defective they will throw it away, depending on the item. If it is good, they do send it back to walmart. I asked her is she had heard anything about Target and she did not.
@callarse1 (4793)
• United States
2 Apr 08
Hello kimbers867, I love your discussion and would like to add my perspective. I have worked in supermarkets before (I won't mention any names). The cashier told you not the whole story. Here's what I know from my experience: If the item you're returning is perishable (example: produce, candy, etc) that is outdated and/or opened by you and you go to return it. They will give you a credit, then they scan it in their system as a return and will throw the item away. If the item is non-perishable (or if it's perishable but not out of date, not damaged etc): The item will be scaned as a return and will be placed back into inventory (i.e. they will try to sell it). Several people, including yourself kimbers867, suggested donating items to shelters. I can tell you our store (that I worked at) used to do that. However what happened would be the director of the shelter would come and pick it up. Someone found out that she was going through the items, keeping them for herself and/or trying to sell them to other people. Obviously companies know that people will try to scam the system (i.e. try to return the product to the store to get a full refund even though they got it for free). I believe companies don't want the headaches so it's just easier to throw away the perishables. At the store that I worked at, many of the items were shipped back to the manufacture if it was damaged badly (by the customer) so those weren't thrown out. Pablo
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Apr 08
Thanks for the info Pablo. I can understand about perishables being thrown out. Isn't it sad that some people have to ruin it for everyone else. I know one of the local food banks around here goes to the different grocery stores and picks up the day old bakery stuff. I was told by Goodwill that Target does sell some of their stuff to them at a reduce rate. I asked this after I found the exact same pair of flip-flops from Target at the Goodwill store across the street.
1 person likes this
@callarse1 (4793)
• United States
9 Apr 08
Thanks for th best response...that was so nice of you...I see that someone talked about floor models...and they would be right. If they can't be sold as store model they will be thrown out :) Pablo
@chris1314 (787)
1 Apr 08
I never shop at target, as its not round me, but if you can buy 2 shirts for £3 or whatever, then they make them cheap anyway, so it would cost more to get the returns sent off! Most shops throw stuff away when it is bought back, mainly super market with food, say if a a multipack of crisps is ripped in a corner, every pack in that bag goes streight in the bin. Its just the way works, why worry about it? Chris
• United States
2 Apr 08
I worry about it because there are so many people here in the US that could use the stuff (clothes or food). I have a problem with restaurants which throw away perfectly good food. I know here in Maryland there are some food pantries, etc. that drive around to the grocery stores and pickup the day old bakery stuff. I jus wish more companies could get involved with this. In my opinion, Americans are very wasteful in this way. Chris are people in the United Kingdom as wasteful as Americans?
2 Apr 08
Yes, i feel that the UK is nearly as wasteful as the US, prob not the same amount because there is hardally anyof us here compared with you guys. But i know its wrong and everything, but its normally the big supermarekts and shops, so there isnt anything we can do about it =[ Chris
@ebsharer (5517)
• United States
1 Apr 08
Thats NOT true! If the item is damaged then they throw it away as does EVERY company. And damaged items some times get sent back to the manufactor for credit. As for items that aren't damaged they get put on the shelf or if its not a stock item it gets sent back to the wearhouse for them to resell it. Think about it if you buy a shirt and return it because it didn't fit do they throw it away? NO. I am a regular Target shopper, I don't shop at Wal-Mart they don't care about there customers they just want to make money. Target is cleaner and there isn't often a LONG line to wait in. Target also offers a more quality product. Target is more expensive then say Wal-Mart or K-Mart but its soooo worth it. I have 3 friends that work at Target 1 that is is upper management and as I type this I am on the phone with him and he is assuring me that what that cashier said is NOT true.
• United States
1 Apr 08
I wonder if this is a store by store policy. I love Target, especially their clearance racks. Like I said in my original post this cashier has been with this Target since opened, isn't it funny how you can remember certain people, and it has been around for at least 12 years.
1 person likes this
@ebsharer (5517)
• United States
1 Apr 08
I too love there clearance racks. I live in PA so during the winter there isn't much besides shopping to do. My daughter and I go to target at least once a week and check out all the clearance.
@maddysmommy (16233)
• United States
1 Apr 08
I didn't know that either. Why would they throw away good products? I can understand if it was food and was opened but toys or clothing? why not repackage it?
1 person likes this
• United States
2 Apr 08
After reading other people's comments, I don't know what to believe. I just no, I won't be buying anything online from them just in case it doesn't work out.
@tentwo67 (3384)
• United States
1 Apr 08
I tend to wonder how valid this cashier's statement is? Target seems to be pretty civic minded and I would think that they would probably donate (or at least send to a closeout store or something) before they'd throw something away. I am a faithful Target shopper - FAR better than Walmart in my opinion! And I would want to verify what was said before deciding to boycott them. In all honesty, if it were shown to be true, I might consider a little bit of dumpster diving behind the Target! I really doubt this, though. I hope it is wrong.
@callarse1 (4793)
• United States
2 Apr 08
I agree with you, tentwo67 and since I've worked in the retail business I know the polices of the store that I worked and they DID NOT throw away everything that was returned, please refer to my post to read more about my perspective.
@jenni7202 (1598)
• United States
1 Apr 08
It's not only Target that does this. I work for Wal-Mart, and Wal-Mart does the exact same thing with returns. They also do it with product that isn't sold after a period of time, even if it was put on clearance and and still not sold from there. They won't decrease the price of the product anymore, as they won't make a profit off of it if they reduce the price too much, so instead, they shred it and throw it down into the trash compactor. I have seen this done many times, and it disgusts me to even be working for a company that wouldn't even donate things to people that could use it, but I need the job.
@callarse1 (4793)
• United States
2 Apr 08
Please read my post for my perspective. I didn't work at walmart, but at a grocery store. Bascically if the item was non-perishable and didn't sell even after clearance the item was shipped back to the manufacture to deal with. If the item was perishable and didn't sell even after clearance then it would be thrown away. Comapanies don't donate to other places due to the hassles of people trying to return the product claiming they bought it and want a refund or people from these charitable orgainzations taking many items for themselves. :( Pablo
@sedel1027 (17854)
• United States
31 Mar 08
That is weird. I would ask a store manager about that policy to see if the cashier got her facts straight.
1 person likes this
@icyorchid (2564)
• United States
31 Mar 08
I don't shop at Target. They are not around me, but I would not shop there after finding that out! I just don't understand that! With all the shelter's that could use help with clothing, etc. they'd rather throw it away! SHAMEFUL is what that is.
1 person likes this
• United States
31 Mar 08
I think I would ask someone at the corporate office, or at least the store manager about that. Unless it's a food item or an item like medicine or cleaning supplies, there's no reason why they should treat it any different if you bought it online as you would if you bought it in the store. This has got me thinking and before I order something online from Target, I'm going to ask their corporate office about that. Also, if the corporate office confirms this, I would tell someone in the media about it.
@ebsharer (5517)
• United States
1 Apr 08
You are right they can't resell food or medicine items, or personal hygine prodcuts (hair, makeup, pads). I'm not sure about the cleaning items.
• United States
6 Jun 08
Walmart doesn't throw things in dumpsters. They donate alot of dented petfood cans kitty litter from broken bags etc, to local animal shelters. They aso donate open packages of underwear etc. to homeless shelters.
• United States
27 May 08
I had never heard that. That is just totally wasteful. Maybe I should hang around their trash bins out in back of the store. Is that the 5 percent they give back to the community, they talk about? The community of the waste bin...LOL. Now I feel like going over there to see what I see in the trash bins and take a photo.
• Canada
1 Apr 08
That's a common practice in the retail stores. I believe Target is not the only one that does that. If the return merchandise isn't resalable, they don't bother returning to the manufacturer. The shipping cost is more expensive. There is a business that people buy these returned goods and resell them cheap. Corporations don't care if they can make money. However, it is better if they donate them.
@Modestah (11192)
• United States
1 Apr 08
wow, I expect the being able to return an item from online - but the throwing away I find very disturbing! I am with you - donate it to the food pantry thrift shop or something! such waste is why we have to pay exorbitant costs for products. ATTN: all dumpster divers, target is the place to go!
• United States
1 Apr 08
Just another reason for me to not shop at Target. Like I needed one? I think that Target is so high priced so I dont shop there. I never find anything super special there anyhow.