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According to Anna Sacks (@thetrashwalker), Coach allegedly destroys unsold merchandise before throwing it away so that nobody can dig it out of the trash and use it for free.
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That doesn’t stop people like TikTok user @dumpsterdivingmama from retrieving the items anyway, which is how Sacks said she got her hands on the set of damaged Coach purses she displayed in her video. Sacks herself also posts about looking through trash left out by businesses, while showing followers how much of it is still usable.
“Welcome to my first unboxing video,” she said in the clip, which now has almost 3 million views. “So excited to show you all the Coach purses that I bought from @dumpsterdivingmama. As you can see, they’re all slashed, which is Coach’s policy. This is what they do with unwanted merchandise — they order an employee to deliberately slash it so no one can use it and then they write it off as a tax write-off under the same tax loophole as if it were accidentally destroyed.”
Commenters were in disbelief at the possible waste slashing bags could create.
“Holding companies accountable! I love that for us,” another said.
“This filled me with rage,” a commenter wrote.
In 2018, Vox reported that bag slashing was a practice multiple major brands allegedly observe, including Burberry, H&M, Nike and Urban Outfitters.
In a report that same year, Burberry admitted that “demolishing goods was just part of its strategy” to maintain its image as exclusive and elite. According to Vox, Burberry destroyed $36.8 million worth of merchandise that year. After the report was released and customers threatened to boycott, Burberry announced that it would no longer destroy leftover products.
Sacks noted in her TikTok that she was going to try to get the destroyed bags repaired through Coach itself.
“Coach actually has a repair program for their bags,” she said. “Hopefully their shoes, too. So I’m going to bring some of these into Coach and ask them to repair [them] for me.”
Sacks also pointed out that according to Coach’s website, the brand cares about the “circular economy” and encourages customers to get their purses repaired by the company instead of buying a new one.
On Oct. 13, four days after Sacks uploaded the video to TikTok, Coach responded to the accusations of destroying unwanted merchandise.
“We are committed to sustainability,” Coach posted on Instagram. “We have now ceased destroying in-store returns of damaged and unsalable goods and are dedicated to maximizing such products reuse in our Coach (Re)Loved and other circularity programs.”
As of publishing, Sacks has not posted an update as to whether Coach ended up fixing the purses for her through its repair program.
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