Hundreds of dollars of merchandise being thrown out at local CVS store

Posted at: 03/22/2013 11:24 PM
Updated at: 03/22/2013 11:25 PM
By: Amanda Ciavarri

A local CVS says it is corporate policy that requires them to throw away hundreds of dollars in almost brand new merchandise every week. We started looking into this after a tip from a viewer.

We found out the CVS at English and Long Pond, in Greece, throws out around $1,000 worth of merchandise each week. Employees told us this week alone they threw away dozens of hats, gloves and scarves.

They say when they scan the items they are told they have to be thrown away. They wish they could donate them, and while they say corporate policy prevents that, CVS tells a different story.

Michelle Feolla, an employee tells News10NBC, “usually if its out dates, expired food and stuff, they have to be throw away.”

Ashley Persica, a supervisor at CVS said, “we have to scan all of our stuff out, once we scan it out, the scanner will tell us, if it has to be placed in a tote and be sent back to the warehouse, or a dumpster.”

Persica told me they throw away around $1,000 in merchandise a week. And with more than 7,000 CVS stores in the country, each store throws out what the Greece location does, that would be a total of $7-million in trashed merchandise every  week.

Michael Hennessy is the Executive Director of the Open Door Mission, and is shocked with this discovery.

“Be still my beating heart. It doesn't make an sense.”

The mission hands out 200,000 articles of clothing to people in Rochester each year. He knows the importance of donations, especially with the winter we've had. And says if CVS gave them their scarves it would be a big help.

“We are trying to keep people warm and to think that that is happening is a little astonishing. Especially when we are right here, a phone call to us, we could trigger a van and have a van out to any store. At any place at any time and pick them up for them. If they have to be throw out that's fine just  let us know they are thrown out and we will go retrieve them,” said Hennessy.

A spokesman says this is a mistake and that it is not CVS' policy. In a statement CVS says: 

“CVS/pharmacy contributes approximately $50 million annually in donations, volunteer hours and in-kind gifts to charitable causes in the markets where we do business. This includes products donated by our 7,400 stores directly to local non-profit organizations. Community organizations interested in receiving donated product from CVS can contact us at CommunityMailbox@cvscaremark.com. We will follow up with our local stores to ensure that our product disposition procedures are being properly followed.”

They didn't say why this mix up could be happening, but they will be following up with the store to find out.