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.