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Three score and ten or more

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Lowes used to be one of my favorite stores. The prices are very competitive, and several times I have asked them to donate materials for use in charity or in school projects and found them very cooperative. Last Thursday, I got ticked off. I was driving past the rear of the store to pick up an order and noticed a man emptying great rack of plants (all kinds, vegetables, marigolds, trees, etc. into the massive dumpster behind the store. I knew he was tossing outdate merchandice, but I hate to see plants die, so I asked him if I could come back and pick up a bunch to plant at the senior citizen's center or to take to one of the pre-schools. He just answered "Against company policy." and I went away.

I went by the next day and they had a large dumpster (what we used to call a skip, almost look like a mini railroad car) and part of a second, loaded with literally thousands of plants. A young lady who worked at the store was tossing some lumber scraps away, so I asked her if there would be a big problem if I salvaged a bunch of those plants.. "If you come when the store is open, you will be chased away." she replied.

"What if I come by after the store closes?" I asked. "You will probably be arrested, they have a lot of security cameras to keep people from stealing the trash." said she."

As a theatre technician and a puppeteer, I have long been a dumpster diver (and a yard sale addict, and one of those who drives down the road on trash day looking for salvaegable stuff,) I have a really negative feeling about those who throw away good things, especially living things like plants. I know that Lowes doesn't want people to scrounge from the trash what they would ordinarily buy (and I buy a lot at Lowes), but somehow security cameras to keep people from stealing the trash seems over the line. For the time being at least, Lowes has dropped about fifty percent in my enthusiasm meter.


At 2:40 AM, Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

04 30 07

Hey Richard:
I agree with you here. I don't get how throwing away perfectly good products will affect their bottom line. They are goods that no one has bought! I find it pretty disturbing that they kill plants. I am sure other businesses do that too, but I never have been confronted with that ugly reality. Plant death is sad, especially when the plants are healthy. Wah:(

Anyway, hope all is well with you! Thanks for the comment you left on my weave post:) And your mother used Marcelle irons? She must have been quite skilled!

At 5:31 PM, Blogger Gayle said...

Hi, Richard.

Like you, both my husband and myself would go absolutely bonkers seeing this, and especially being told "it's against store policy to give them away." Plants can be salvaged, even cut ones. For example, our refrigerator at church was turned up too high and the carnations from last week's service froze. We usually keep the flowers for two weeks. Refrigerating them keeps them fresh, but because they froze they were thrown in the trash. Walt saved them, I cut off the bottom of the stems where they were frozen, and I have a beautiful arrangement of pink carnations which will probably last for several days.

Why don't you speak to the manager about their so-called "store policy?" You may have just been speaking to a couple of low-on-the-ladder employees who don't know what they're talking about, or who have to take orders all day and like throwing their weight around. I've run into that many times and I'm sure you have too. I'd go to the top.

At 10:25 PM, Blogger JohnnyB said...

I agree with you too, Richard. It's crazy to throw stuff out, and then be against someone else trying to use it.

It seems crazy to me that a store like Loews, which is trying to present a "Green" image, is against recycling in it's purest form - find a use for something that the current owner believes to have no value.

I'd talk to the store manager. Hopefully enough of us will do it, and they'll re-think this ridiculus policy.

At 9:12 PM, Anonymous Dave said...

My 1st thought is to go with you, knock out the security camera with a BB gun while you go diving [or the other way around since I'm a bit younger]. Sorry I'm moving away & won't be able to hold the BB gun.
-- Dave
By the way, here's a recommended blog to visit:

At 4:16 PM, Blogger Norma said...

Maybe you can set up an organized "gleaners" policy with them whereby an assigned volunteer group can salvage and distribute. This is done all the time with supermarkets and bakeries for food at the food pantries. I can see that because of liability and costs, they don't want people scrounging. When I worked in a book store we had to destroy books and just send back the covers. That was 25 years ago.

At 4:04 PM, Blogger Ed Abbey said...

Most stores have a policy of not giving away stuff for free that they are throwing away. But I have found over the years if I offer them a token amount of money and say it is for charity, they are then allowed to sell it at a reduced rate. I haven't been turned down once using this method.


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