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Bridal gowns trashed in Minnesota create local fuss

Posted January 4, 2012

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— Images of designer wedding gowns being spray-painted and thrown into a dumpster at a Priscilla of Boston bridal shop in Minnesota have created a stir locally, as people question whether leftover gowns at a Priscilla of Boston store in Raleigh were destroyed or donated. 

People sounded off about the issue on Facebook, calling the company and its designers wasteful and selfish.

The high-end bridal boutique closed its locations across the country at the end of December. A former employee at the Cameron Village location told WRAL News she saw workers boxing up some items, but spray-painting and trashing others last week.

Several shop owners at Cameron Village, however, said they never saw any dresses being destroyed.

David's Bridal, which bought Priscilla of Boston, said it's taking another look at its policy but did not confirm or deny whether dresses had been destroyed at the Raleigh store.

Locals question Raleigh boutique over trashed wedding dresses Locals question Raleigh boutique over trashed wedding dresses

"While it has been Priscilla of Boston's policy not to make donations of sample dresses that are in poor condition, we recognize that some of these dresses could possibly have gone to worthy causes," the company wrote in a statement. "David's Bridal has already begun bringing together all of the remaining Priscilla of Boston gowns to evaluate them and ensure that they are donated to our charitable partners wherever possible."

David's Bridal also maintained that only a small number of unsold gowns were destroyed at the boutique in Minnesota and that they were from a discontinued line of merchandise.

Still, the company wrote, it understands "the anger and frustration that many people are feeling about this occurrence."

Kathy Purser, who owns Victorian Rose Bridal in Raleigh, said she doesn't understand why the dresses weren't donated.

"There are brides out there getting married (who) don't have the money or resources to buy the gown they would really love," she said. "If the gowns are there, why destroy them? Why not give them to girls (who) could really use them right now?"

Purser said she has always found fruitful ways to get rid of unsold gowns at her shop. She either has a sample sale to clear out merchandise on the floor, sells the gowns to last-minute brides or donates them. 

"You can't sell every gown on the floor," she said. "At that point, we would take them to a consignment shop or donate them to charities, which we've always done every year."

She said that, while designers will sometimes put restrictions on when gowns can be donated or discounted, she's never heard a designer request that any gowns be spray-painted and discarded.

"I think that would break (a designer's) heart to see a gown destroyed like that. They put their heart and soul into every little bit of making that bridal gown," she said. "It's an emotional thing that the designers do for the brides, so to see something like that is very sad."

19 Comments

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  • gphotohound2 Jan 5, 2012

    haggisbasher if you gave it away true there is no law on refunds but how many times have you seen were they , reporters , get called and they give the store a hard time in the news for following company rules. anyway it is their goods and they should be able to do what they want with them

  • barbstillkickin Jan 5, 2012

    This was so sad to read. I mean we ave so many young women that could use a beautiful gown to get married in but instead they destroy them instead of donating. So sad.

  • gopack07 Jan 5, 2012

    "Retailers are often victimized by those "less fortunate" when they give away or even throw away items. The "less fortunate" bring them back to the store and demand a refund, with no receipts. Happens all the time.

    It's sad, but you have to destroy them to keep the "less fortunate" from picking your pocket."

    Refunds aren't an issue at David's Bridal. They pretty much have a "no refund" policy, even if someone in your wedding party passes away.

  • haggis basher Jan 5, 2012

    "Yes, it's sad, but with an entitlement society, you have to do things like this."

    or you could have used a sharpie (or similar) to write inside "donation". Instead you deny those in need to stop a few abusing the system.

  • haggis basher Jan 5, 2012

    "It's sad, but you have to destroy them to keep the "less fortunate" from picking your pocket."

    There is no legal requirement to refund without a receipt so your point is bogus. It would be simple to mark goods subtly to prevent your problem being a problem.

  • rpcr Jan 5, 2012

    Get both sides of the story, WRAL.

    Retailers are often victimized by those "less fortunate" when they give away or even throw away items. The "less fortunate" bring them back to the store and demand a refund, with no receipts. Happens all the time.

    It's sad, but you have to destroy them to keep the "less fortunate" from picking your pocket.

  • rpcr Jan 5, 2012

    WRAL is one-sided on this. Ask any retailer. If they give them away or throw them away, a predictable percentage will come back in, requesting a refund, with no receipts, regardless of condition. Destroying them is the only option that can't be scammed.

    I used to work in retail shoes. We gave away the old, unsold shoes, especially the large sizes. They always came back in, the person asking for a refund. Then we threw them away, and dumpster divers did the same thing. Then we cut them in half, and it stopped.

    Yes, it's sad, but with an entitlement society, you have to do things like this.

    Of course, no mention of this on WRAL

  • haggis basher Jan 5, 2012

    "I think whoever owns the dresses should be able to do whatever they want with them, whether that is donate them to charity or start a big bonfire and dance around them."

    I guess that waste, recycling and pollution don't matter to you....yet.

  • mustainemad Jan 5, 2012

    I, for one, do not believe these dresses should have been destroyed--but they shouldn't have been given away either! I have to wonder if a smart business person couldn't have found a way to deal with other bridal businesses or the companies who produced the VERY expensive dresses to go to other stores, even if he received no $$ for his stock??

  • GK N.Ral Jan 5, 2012

    I would like to go to the residences of the people who think that these wedding gowns should have gone to "deserving" individuals. I would check every item that is put in the trash and decide what could be recycled and what should go to a charity. I doubt these so called "do-gooders" would like that. People spend way to much time in other peoples business.

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