NY Police Destroy Counterfeit Clothes Rather Than Giving Them To The Homeless

from the can't-let-that-destroy-the-brand dept

Last week there was a big controversy over the fact that some stores in NY were caught destroying unsold garments rather than donating them to charities. After people got upset, the main store in question, H&M promised that this wouldn't happen again. This week we've got a related, but somewhat different story, as the NY Police have admitted to shredding and burning the counterfeit clothes they've confiscated, rather than giving them to the homeless, as had always been done in the past. When asked to explain why, the police claimed "no one asked" for the confiscated clothing -- but many charities insist they had, in fact, made many requests for the clothing. Apparently, the destruction is being felt at clothing banks, who say they have many fewer clothes on hand this year than in the past.

Not surprisingly, a lawyer representing various clothing designers was quite happy with the news, saying that they don't want those clothes "back on the street," which suggests that the designers may have pushed for the police to destroy the clothes rather than help the needy. Of course, it's worth pointing out -- yet again -- the recent study that showed most people are not fooled by counterfeits, and they rarely represent a "lost sale." In fact, many counterfeit purchases lead to real purchases later on. So the idea that they act as a "substitute" or somehow "harm" a brand is not actually borne out by the research. And, of course, some companies have learned that there are ways to embrace counterfeiting to their own advantage, as a form of price differentiation.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2010 @ 9:30am

    Class warfare at its finest. The profit margins of evil rich corporations and their desire to enforce unowed intellectual property privileges is more important than the needs of the homeless.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2010 @ 9:30am

    I agree with the general principle of counterfeit leading to a sale of the genuine item. I have seen it happen. However, even if we assume that theory is false, the police could still give away clothes to the homeless shelters. Just mark the clothes-no one is going to buy a designer knock off with a cut or a color variation. Of course it sounds a little like the Seinfeld episode with the muffin tops, but that is acceptable here I think.

     

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      AdamR (profile), Jan 13th, 2010 @ 9:34am

      Re:

      Say What? So want all the poor and homeless to walk around with marked clothes?

       

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        aguywhoneedstenbucks (profile), Jan 13th, 2010 @ 9:37am

        Re: Re:

        Mark it in a place that can't be removed but isn't normally seen while it's being worn.

         

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          Ryan, Jan 13th, 2010 @ 9:54am

          Re: Re: Re:

          So what's the point of marking it in the first place if nobody ever sees the mark? And I would think the fact that you're buying a used clothing item off a homeless person on the street would devalue it more than any simple "mark" could.

          On the other hand, it seems dumb to even debate whether homeless people would dislike a marked article, as if anybody gives a shit. They're getting free clothes, and I don't think they're using them to pick up chicks at black-tie cocktail parties anyway.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2010 @ 10:53am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "So what's the point of marking it in the first place if nobody ever sees the mark?"

            So that someone who is going to buy it can see it before he buys it and can refuse to buy it as a result (or at least if they buy it they can try to get a refund after finding out it's counterfeit).

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2010 @ 10:55am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "And I would think the fact that you're buying a used clothing item off a homeless person on the street would devalue it more than any simple "mark" could."

            If I buy it off the Internet how do I know the person I'm buying it from bought it from a homeless guy?

             

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2010 @ 9:37am

        Re: Re:

        Xe's not saying they have to be marked with a yellow star of david of anything.

         

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          Headbhang, Jan 13th, 2010 @ 10:06am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yeah, it's just so that they don't look as hot and fashionable as the uppities with the originals. You know, 'cause the cardboard houses, supermarket trolleys and overgrown beards are not enough to distinguish them in their sex appeal.

           

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          Headbhang, Jan 13th, 2010 @ 10:07am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yeah, it's just so that they don't look as hot and fashionable as the uppities with the originals. You know, 'cause the cardboard houses, supermarket trolleys and overgrown beards are not enough to distinguish them in their sex appeal.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2010 @ 12:22pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Xe's not saying they have to be marked with a yellow star of david of anything.

          Maybe we could come up eith a new mark for poor people. How about a green rectangle with a red X through it? Then make a law that all people below a certain net worth must wear it (selectively enforced, of course). That should help the police keep the riff raff out of areas where they don't belong.

           

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 13th, 2010 @ 9:39am

      Re:

      "However, even if we assume that theory is false, the police could still give away clothes to the homeless shelters."

      Sigh, haven't you been paying attention. NO THEY COULDN'T!!! Counterfeit clothes are a LOST SALE.

      Imagine how much designer clothing those homeless people will buy now that they can't rely on the counterfeits!

      Zoolander's Derelicte line out to be popular....

      /sarcasm

       

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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Jan 13th, 2010 @ 9:45am

    Marketing

    Our clothes are so affordable even the homeless can wear them.

    or

    [Insert a picture of a homeless woman in designer clothing] Who needs food when you can look this good?

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jan 13th, 2010 @ 9:51am

    Counterfeit?

    Easy peasy solution: Make a label (something like "DKFU") and sew it on all the 'infringing' clothing. Now it's clearly not a 'counterfeit.'

    Within a year, you'll be able to find knock-offs in the Village and all the hipsters will be wearing it.

     

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    Stephen, Jan 13th, 2010 @ 9:57am

    the real issue here

    the real issue here is that the makers of luxury clothing don't want their products worn by the lowest class of people, lest their brand be diminished, even if the trademarks and labels are obscured.

     

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      Headbhang (profile), Jan 13th, 2010 @ 10:14am

      Re: the real issue here

      Indeed. They have the market-mandated duty of protecting the fragile egos of people whose self-worth largely depends on the permutation of characters sewn onto their garments.

       

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        CastorTroy-Libertarian, Jan 13th, 2010 @ 12:04pm

        Re: Re: the real issue here

        Gotta give ya a star for that comment, i actually laughed at the aforementing fragile ego people...

         

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      Brian (profile), Jan 13th, 2010 @ 10:38am

      Re: the real issue here

      I mean who wants to see the fashion of the weeks clothes being worn by the homeless, disgusting right?

      /sarcasm

       

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        Alan Duxbury (profile), Jan 13th, 2010 @ 12:09pm

        Re: Re: the real issue here

        Brian,
        I think that, politically speaking, right should have been capitalized... oh wait, you said "homeless" not just "disgusting", my error.

         

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      Paul Renault (profile), Jan 14th, 2010 @ 5:27am

      Re: the real issue here

      I came here to say this!

      The clothing is/was destroyed because the idiots, whose only sense of self-worth is that defined by name brands, don't want to see poor people wearing 'their' clothes, even if they're fakes.

       

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    DCX2, Jan 13th, 2010 @ 10:32am

    Meh

    Someone should make that lawyer go tell the homeless people who need clothes in person how happy he is that the clothes were destroyed.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2010 @ 11:39am

    something to think about

    Any of these knockoff clothes designer knockoffs? The reason why I ask is that if the homeless person can resell the designer knockoff for a decent amount of cash, the homeless might use the clothes for purposes other than helping them. (They sell the clothes, then buy booze/drugs with the cash.)

    Think big picture here. The last thing you want is supplying the homeless with a means to a bad end.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2010 @ 11:43am

      Re: something to think about

      Would you honestly buy something off a homeless guy?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2010 @ 12:31pm

      Re: something to think about

      "Think big picture here. The last thing you want is supplying the homeless with a means to a bad end."

      Exactly. People are homeless and poor for a reason: they're supposed to be that way. It's just the law of nature. Besides, it's probably their own fault. Think about that the next time you're tempted to give a bum a handout or contribute to a charity for the poor and don't do it!

       

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    Anonymous Poster, Jan 13th, 2010 @ 11:51am

    Hey, clothing designers! Being happy about the homeless not having clothes? Not a position you really want to be taking...

     

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    Anonymous Collard, Jan 13th, 2010 @ 11:58am

    Counterfeit...

    My brother bought me a "Rolex" off the street of NY. It was a gag gift and although it looks real, anyone with a basic knowledge of Rolex's can instantly tell it's a fake.

    I lost my real watch and actually started wearing it until I found a new watch that I like. Some people commented on it, and I actually feel guilty for wearing it.

    But, it has made me look at used Rolex's. I'm actually considering getting one if my new iPhone app takes off.

     

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    Alan Gerow (profile), Jan 13th, 2010 @ 12:18pm

    Here we have Hobo Joe wearing this season's HOTTEST Celvin Klone overcoat with Arenotme pants made in the finest sweat shops in Taiwan. Be sure to stay up on the latest fashion trends from the streets and gutters of New York's trendiest alleys.

     

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    GJ (profile), Jan 13th, 2010 @ 1:43pm

    reality check...

    How about, instead of banging on a keyboard to whine about how the homeless have nothing to wear, you go through your stack of clothing and give some if it away?

    --GJ--

     

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      The Groove Tiger (profile), Jan 13th, 2010 @ 4:23pm

      Re: reality check...

      How about going thru my stack of clothing and instead of giving it away, I destroy it and then publicly declare how happy I am that the homeless aren't wearing it?

      It's only fair.

       

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    Jake01, Jan 13th, 2010 @ 3:25pm

    Typical

    This sounds like the same geniuses who came up with Obama's Cash for Clunkers plan, giving people money for their cars, which were required to still be in working condition before they were completely destroyed rather than allowed to be bought by people who couldn't afford new cars.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2010 @ 9:25pm

    It's not just the NYPD but the stores themselves

    I knew a guy who worked at a landfill near a medium sized city and he reported that when a major department store couldn't sell all its winter clothes, he saw the store's trucks empty them out into the landfill. This under the watchful eyes of armed guards.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 14th, 2010 @ 12:37pm

    Liars

    When asked to explain why, the police claimed "no one asked" for the confiscated clothing -- but many charities insist they had, in fact, made many requests for the clothing.


    Well, somebody is obviously lying here, and it can't be the police because they're heros! I'm not suprised that charities for those disgusting homeless people would be lying. Working with homeless people probably rubbed off on them.

     

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    bob, Jan 15th, 2010 @ 9:53am

    What poped into my mind

    The scene in Coming To America where the princes clothes are being warn by the locals.

     

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