5 On Your Side

Trash or treasure? Tossed bicycles prompt questions

Posted September 17, 2013

Jacob Davis was behind the Walmart Super Center on U.S. Highway 70 in Goldsboro when something caught his eye.

— Jacob Davis was behind the Walmart Super Center on U.S. Highway 70 in Goldsboro when something caught his eye.

It was a dumpster with brand new bicycles piled on top.

“They still had the paperwork on them – the instructions and all that,” he said.

Davis counted at least 10 bikes.

“Some of them were scratched. They still looked good. I mean, one of them had a bent rim but nothing that couldn't have been fixed,” he said. “I hate to see something like that just (thrown) away."

Davis feels they could have been repaired and donated.

Five On Your Side called Walmart, and spokeswoman Kayla Whaling would only say the bikes "presented some safety issues" and some were "unable to be repaired due to bent frames."

The bikes weren't "safe enough to sell to our customers,” she said.

Five On Your Side also contacted Foss Recycling, the company named on the dumpster. Spokesman Nathan Pipkin described the bikes as "nice.” Beyond bent frames, he said, some of the bikes had broken pedals or seats. He said the company’s contract with Walmart requires the bikes be destroyed.

Davis understands store policies, but he still thinks it was a waste.

He said there are many parents who can’t afford to buy new bicycles and “would love for their youngin to have a bike."

As for why the bikes or at least part couldn't be donated, Whaling only said there were safety issues.

What do you think? Weigh in Monica Laliberte’s Facebook page.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • therealmjfox Sep 24, 2013

    It's not really hard to figure out what happened here. The bikes were unsold at the end of the summer season, so WalMart had an employee smash them with a sledgehammer so no one could get freebies out of the dumpster, then throw them away. I mean seriously, are we really supposed to believe all those bikes were delivered to Wal-Mart with bent frames? Think I'm making that up? Check out #50 in this list: http://thoughtcatalog.com/2013/50-people-on-the-secret-my-company-doesnt-want-the-public-to-know/

  • superman Sep 23, 2013

    Consider that if the store gives the bikes away or donates them there is always the possibility that the store will give away items that are NOT damaged. If they are destroyed there is less of a possiblity that the system will be misused. Would be so easy to give your friends free merchandise. Just say they were damaged. It aint about tax write offs it is about being sure that the system of damaged merchandise is not misused. Love for my friend who works at a computer store give me a "damaged" Mac.

  • xxxxxxxxxxxxx Sep 20, 2013

    Did anyone see that Food Network program the Big Waste a while back? Four of the celebrity chefs prepared a gourmet meal from food that was going to be thrown out as waste. A chicken that couldn't be sold because one of the wings was broken - doesn't it get cut into pieces anyway? An entire red snapper that was going to be thrown out because it has a bruised spot and couldn't be sold. A field of corn that couldn't be sold because a storm had knocked over the stalks. The corn was perfect, just knocked over. Cabbage from a pick-your-own farm, where customers would pick a head of cabbage and then throw it on the ground because they saw a bettter one. The meal they prepared was from perfectly good food - it was really eye-opening.

  • TriangleMommy Sep 20, 2013

    Well if there are folks willing to repair the bikes, but a bike with major safety concerns isn't worth a free bike to a family that can't afford a bike.

    I do agree though that it would be better to find an organization that could at least recycle the spare parts of the bikes and make good use out of what can be salvaged.

  • bernireed Sep 19, 2013

    Give me the parts.. I will be more than happy to rebuild them into bikes free to local community drives in time for Christmas...

  • Sep 19, 2013

    Sounds just like our government.

  • CLM Sep 19, 2013

    I have worked in retail and its all about TAX WRITE OFF! If the store sells it at a loss or donates it; it's a loss but if it is destroyed the company can get full credit with no loss to the company Big Bonuses for upper management and CEO's! And you know how the BIG CEO's could care less about the needy or poor that's how they make thier dollar.

  • GravyPig Sep 19, 2013

    Walmart and Sams Club have always had a policy to dispose of or destroy anything that they can't sell so that no one else can benefit or profit from it.

    The amount of food I have seen thrown away daily is staggering. This food could have been given to any number of local missions or charities to distribute to those in need.

    I'm sure these bikes could have been re-purposed or repaired. Might not have been able to save all but you could certainly cobble together some bikes with the good parts.

  • ItIsJustMe Sep 19, 2013

    It's partly the concern of our lawsuit-happy society, but it's also an accountability/loss prevention issue. If employees were allowed to take home damaged merchandise, or if it was allowed to be donated, there would be many more 'oops' moments where a bike 'accidentally' picked up a scratch or a slab of meat 'accidentally' didn't get rotated correctly so it's too close to expiration to sell. Again, it's sad, but it's reality. Wal-Mart is a for profit business, and they save millions by NOT rewarding employees who take actions that would result in them getting something for free or a reduced price.

  • twbuckner Sep 19, 2013

    1304 Bikes in downtown Raleigh can take those parts and build new, safe bikes.