Dumpster Diver "Heartbroken" After Dick's Sporting Goods Destroyed Golf Clubs

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Jul. 19 2023, Published 3:10 p.m. ET

Broken golf clubs in a dumpster, a Dick's Sporting Goods storefront
Source: Grouchy_Swordfish_73/Reddit, Getty Images

What do retailers do with unsold merchandise? They throw it away.

Much to their disgust, one Reddit user who went dumpster diving outside of a Dick’s Sporting Goods found a bunch of destroyed golf clubs.

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The Redditor was utterly disappointed to make this discovery — but why do companies destroy and toss merchandise? Keep reading for the full story.

Golf clubs in a store.
Source: Getty Images
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A dumpster diver found destroyed golf clubs in a Dick's Sporting Goods dumpster.

“So so so heartbroken by Dick’s Sporting Goods,” Reddit user Grouchy_Swordfish_73 wrote in a post on the r/DumpsterDiving subreddit. The post included a picture of broken golf clubs in a dumpster.

Some of the clubs had stickers reading "DEMO" on them, suggesting that these were the demo clubs that customers could try out before purchasing a new one.

It's not surprising that Dick's would want to replace the demo clubs with new ones every so often — but it's a shame that the store chose to destroy and toss the old ones, rather than find homes for them.

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“I will never give this company a penny in my life. Opened it up and 100ish new golf clubs they destroyed. Could have given them to a charity, the boys and girls club, anything but no broken,” the Reddit user wrote.

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“That kind of stuff should be illegal. Not only is a lot of it recyclable and being thrown in the landfill, but it's just a huge waste. If you're having to throw so much stuff away on a regular basis, stop ordering so much stuff in the first place,” someone else commented.

Some of the destroyed golf clubs were saved.

The destroyed golf clubs won’t be totally wasted. In a follow-up post to the original Reddit thread, Grouchy_Swordfish_73 said they saved “a bunch” of the handles and bottoms of the golf clubs with plans to sell them.

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Why do companies destroy and throw away unsold merchandise?

Unfortunately, destroying and throwing away perfectly good items is a common practice for many retailers. In 2021, TikTok creator Anna Sacks, known as The Trash Walker, went viral with a video exposing how luxury brand Coach slashes up unsold bags and shoes before throwing them away.

The company destroys the merchandise for a tax write-off, Sacks said in a video.

“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,” Sacks explained.

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Another reason retailers, especially luxury brands, destroy their merchandise rather than donating or discounting it is to avoid devaluing the brand, according to HuffPost. The more exclusive a product is, the more a store can charge for it.

Fashion label Burberry came under scrutiny in 2018 after it burned $38 million of unsold stock, ironically only a few months after launching an initiative to keep products in circulation, The Hollywood Reporter reported.

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