Walgreens cuts and runs

By on June 4, 2015

Pharmacy giant packs up, dumps entire store contents at landfill

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – The Planet confirmed workers were busy Thursday clearing out Walgreens of all store inventory by trucking merchandise to the county landfill. An employee at the transfer station said truckloads of unopened and brand new stock was brought to the facility and dumped by Westbank Sanitation and other hired movers. The merchandise included canned and packaged food, paper towels and cleaning products, healthcare items, toys, and more. “Everything you would find in a Walgreens store,” said a solid waste manager who preferred not to be named.

Walgreens’ spokesman Phil Caruso could not be reached for comment. Those dumping the merchandise told transfer facility employees that insurance policy dictated all inventory from a decommissioned store required the company to trash merchandise instead of giving it to local charities.

Walgreens store merchandise dumped at transfer station. (ALBIE ROBERTSON)

Walgreens store merchandise dumped at transfer station. (Albie Robertson)

Good Samaritan executive director Chuck Fidroeff lamented Walgreens’ decision to trash all of its products. “What a shame. What a waste,” he said. “We could certainly use that stuff. Donations like that are how we stay in business.”

Fidroeff pointed to the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act in particular, which he said would absolve Walgreens of any liability as far as donated produce is concerned.

“We get food from Smith’s, Albertson’s, Whole Grocer, Lucky’s – all of them,” Fidroeff said. “The Jackson Cupboard, the Mission, we have lots of storage space for whatever they could give us. I would love to have anything.”

Mayor Sara Flitner said it was the first she heard of the store clearing. “That’s a shame,” Flitner said. “I’m going to make some phone calls right away and see if we can’t get this stopped or halted until we figure it out. Maybe we could set aside a pile out there at the transfer station where people could come and get things they want or need.”

Walgreens officials spent nearly a year waffling on a permanent decision for the store that has remained closed since the April 2014 landslide on Budge Butte. The resulting damage buckled the chain pharmacy’s parking lot and prompted a yearlong closure. Walgreens announced earlier this year it would decommission the store and pull out of Jackson, at least at the current location.

A van backs into store front loading merchandise to be trucked to landfill (JAKE NICHOLS)

A van backs into Walgreens’ vacant lot to load merchandise slated for the landfill. (Jake Nichols)

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About Jake Nichols

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32 Comments

  1. dr

    June 4, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    Maybe they can turn the lights off now? They have been on in the entire store 24/7 since the slide.

  2. BC

    June 5, 2015 at 12:14 am

    They’re afraid that people might steel the merchandise that is going to the dump. 😉 Walgreens is scum in my book. I’m never setting foot in that store ever again.

  3. Dan Hady

    June 5, 2015 at 2:45 am

    Appalling. I am also sad that this in no way surprises me.

  4. CRY ME A RIVER

    June 5, 2015 at 6:06 am

    The net value of disposable wealth in this community that is spent on unessential things far exceeds the value of anything this one walgreens dumps. Line up at any Starbucks and complain that Walgreens should have donated the merchandise ’cause you care and they don’t.

    Walgreens spent millions of dollars in our community. Far more than most new businesses. They got screwed by their engineers and ended up with a white elephant next to a landslide.

    I don’t know if their insurance ties their hands but it would not surprise me. Either way, why reward a community that never gave it any love to begin with?

  5. Carolinaviking

    June 5, 2015 at 11:34 am

    Ah, corporations. If they really are people, then they are very evil and stupid people.

  6. Joe blow

    June 5, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    After being closed for over a year, I’d guess most of the perishable goods had expired.

  7. Butch Krichmar

    June 5, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    This is not Jackson’s character

  8. JC

    June 5, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    -said a Walgreens executive.

  9. More Idiots missing the point

    June 5, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    Beat up on big bad corporate America all you want. The problem started at the local level. The problem was exacerbated by companies like Jorgensen Associates, and the Town of Jackson. Their actions directly led to Walgreens dumping their product.

    You want to point fingers? Point to the people that got us here not the company that poured millions into Jackson and padded the profits of companies like Jorgensen Associates who made off like crooks before and after the slide.

    Walgreens doesn’t owe Jackson a thing. People have been hating on Walgreens since day one. Jackson doesn’t deserve a roll of paper towels from them. More entitled nonsense from the repeat offenders. The handout city continues to complain that they can’t get someone else to support them.

  10. IheartJackson

    June 6, 2015 at 9:22 am

    So throwing away perfectly good products, that can help the needy, is OK because big ol Walgreens was slighted, offended, by the towns people? Because they like small business and despise people who ruin the landscape? Walgreens caused that landslide, they should pay for all damages! People had to abandon their homes!

  11. God

    June 6, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Typical wasteful mindset so many Westerners are plagued with…

  12. Simmons

    June 6, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    Jackson has no more character. It’s a Disneyland ruled by money. The super wealthy don’t give a damn as long as no one blocks their views. The middle working class (the backbone of this so called community) have no where to live and eastern euro’s keep scooping up all the jobs. This place is has no infrastructure and is on the path to imploding

  13. Another Hater

    June 6, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    If it was Walgreens fault, the town would be suing Walgreens to pay for the cleanup. I keep waiting…..

    Walgreens hired a engineering firm to do the slope testing. If you had a brain, you would point fingers at the local companies who couldn’t figure out that the slope was unsafe. And all those people responsible for excavating the slope over the years.

    As for Walgreens needing to give you free merchandise, nice try. When is the last time you gave free stuff to someone who hates you?

  14. Blame the Town of Jackson

    June 6, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    MILLIONS in cleanup costs that could have been used to build the Grove or feed the hungry is the real crime. Who is responsible for allowing this to happen? The town.

    Walgreens built the building based upon the approval of the town which was responsible for making sure that geologically unstable slopes weren’t subject to further degradation.

    The fact is that Walgreens isn’t half as evil as the town whose actions ultimately led to Walgreens dumping merchandise and a cleanup cost that comes close to what Old Bill’s brings in every year.

  15. Staying

    June 6, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    I still like it but you have a point. You movin’? Probably not.

    The Latinos and Euros are no different than the Americans that go abroad and work as guides, ski patrol, or whatever.

    The middle class isn’t the backbone anymore than the lower class is. It takes every level of income to make Jackson work. Govt creates most of our problems.

  16. Arc

    June 6, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    this is 100% federal (way too big) government regulation determining what they can do with the stuff JUST like mechelle mybelle’s school lunch waste

  17. Stacey B.

    June 6, 2015 at 11:58 pm

    Bottom line – never throw away perfectly good products that can be consumed or used. There is no argument against. Period. Corporate this, town that, blah, blah… It is an egregious sin.

  18. MEJUSTME

    June 7, 2015 at 12:27 am

    This is totally unacceptable. What a waste of good product. I just don’t understand this company anymore. I think it should have been dumped into an area where nothing was placed and then it could have been gone through to distribute properly. SHAME ON YOU WALGREENS. SOMETIMES STUPID RULES SHOULD BE OVERLOOKED. GRRRRR YOU REALLY KNOW HOW TO PISS ME OFF!!!!

  19. Mike

    June 7, 2015 at 1:00 am

    how it it walgreens fault? they were told they can’t give it away and too dispose of it properly so they did. Walgreens raises millions each year for charities every month and the one time they throw away stuff because they were told you guys say you are not shopping there? every time i step foot into a walgreens they always have signage up for donations and not to mention they just did this huge successful red nose day that help children in poverty that give supplies to boys and girls club and over 20 different organizations. Im sure you guys live your life day to day and not even worry about the homeless but when one thing like this happens you all just have to write stupid stuff like this and act like u care. Walgreens has done more for charities than you will ever do in your life and all you do is talk crap like this. if you are so upset how about u do something and go to walgreens and when you swipe your credit card be sure to press the button to donate $5 since you all care so much about it all.

  20. Mike

    June 7, 2015 at 1:09 am

    and after doing some research turns out they closed this walgreens because the huge hill behind the store is slowly sliding onto the store and was closed because of the landslide. it stayed empty with product on the shelf for over a year till they were told the store could not be saved. with water and other lines broken due to the landslide the insurance company that’s taking care of it all told walgreens to dispose of it all for safety reasons.

  21. Mike

    June 7, 2015 at 1:13 am

    so do your research before you bash someone or a company. http://k2radio.com/rock-slide-worsens-in-jackson-wyoming-live-streaming-video/

  22. MEJUSTME

    June 7, 2015 at 11:13 am

    Mike I have been with Walgreens for 30+ years and I know ALOT about this company. I also know many of these items could have been donated. Canned food is good to put in food banks. There is a 5 year shelf life after expiration dates for food banks. Toilet paper has no expiration dates. Feminine hygiene products (you know tampons and kotex) do not expire. We are not allowed to just dump everything in the landfills. We have to separate and bag up the products for the special FDA truck that visits our stores to pick up these items that have been damaged or returned for proper disposal. I am totally aware of the charities we donate to BUT…..this is unacceptable to just throw it away.

  23. DUFFEN

    June 7, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    I am sure the above comment regarding the legal aspect is true. Product that can be eaten sitting in a facility hats been closed for months most likely would not be healthy, and im sure its best to toss it out than for Walgreen’s to face a liability case in the event that it was donated, don’t think a food bank can waive the rights of others by saying they would allow a liability waver in the event of donation. As for the rest perhaps infection could happen when a pharmacy product is not kept at a certain temp or control..so it all comes down to legal issues. I can reassure you there was no medication in that massive dump so don’t fret over that issue it’s illegal to dispose of medication in a manner not compliant with Federal and State guidelines. Walgreen’s will rebuild and your community will once again have a company that strives to put you first – they have been doing it since 1901 and be reassured they are a well oiled machine but despite there size they still operate at a human level. I wish all of you the best and ask for your understanding as Walgreen’s regroups and waits for the green light to start again in your town…Be well.

  24. Fred

    June 7, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    If Walgreens put the stuff out for people to go through then the complaint would be “Walgreens forces needy to scrounge through dump.”

    Why didn’t any of the concerned citizens of Jackson inquire BEFORE now what Walgreens intended to do with the merchandise? It’s been a year! No one cared apparently until now.

  25. Mike

    June 7, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    I work for walgreens and know just as much. yes when someone returns something and when you scan it with a texlon you dispose of it how it tells you to. in my state we don’t have a donation so we throw it all away or whatever it asks us to. one day our freezer went out and by Insurance claim and FDA law we had to throw everything in the freezer away and everything on the shelves in front of the freezer like the nuts and everything because the FDA told us to.. walgreens just cant give this stuff away when the Insurance and FDA tells them how to dispose of it. there is confirmed water and Gas lines that have been busted due to the landslide and walgreens was told what to do. Walgreens never throws away anything.. they usually transfer it back to DC or throughout stores but by FDA laws and the insurance they were told to dispose of because it sat in the store over a year where water and gas pipes where bursting all around.

  26. MEJUSTME

    June 8, 2015 at 12:24 am

    You mean you can’t return your food outdates to your warehouse? We at least do that when we do ours. Only stipulation is that they can’t already be outdated. As long as they have 2 weeks shelf life we can. We have special boxes we order from warehouse to ship it back in. My problem with this is that California gets to donate it to their community while I think we should be able to donate to our own. I hate that they can’t trust us enough to donate to our own community.

  27. WHAA WHAA whaa

    June 8, 2015 at 6:35 am

    Good Question. And good answer.

    Jackson gets ticked off that Walgreens dumps all this stuff while they go out and buy a $100 bottle of wine.

    If you want to make the world a better place, start with yourself and your neighbors.

    Could Walgreens have acted differently? Maybe. In the long run, it’s crying over spilt milk. Jackson will continue to ‘throw away’ money fixing the hill – spilling millions. And no doubt, it will continue it’s extravagant ways barely noticing real crimes against huminity.

  28. Glw

    June 9, 2015 at 2:55 am

    Talk good or bad about Walgreens if you want but they didn’t pour million into Jackson. Every bit of the work done on that store was given to put of area company’s. That is why everyone has been hating on them.

  29. Not in my lifetime

    June 9, 2015 at 3:02 am

    I can appreciate and even agree with some of your comments as legalistic as they are, but I will tell you in truth I think Walgreens has burnt all the bridges it is going to in Jackson. It would surprise me greatly to see the people of Jackson allow another opportunity for Walgreens to screw them again.

  30. Rick Mittan

    June 9, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    This is very correct. I saw it when I was in the “hole” in 1980s. The wealthy resented the service workers living in the valley and felt they should be made to live over the “hill”. I was a manager for Bob Jaycox at his store and people would come in there belly-aching about exactly that thing. As a matter of fact, the billionaires were griping about the millionaires…needing to leave. I think this is typical of a tourist-trap. I was on a ranch that had to exist among that mentality. I love the mountains and the history that it includes but I would never live there again for all the money in the world.

  31. Blame who?

    June 10, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    That conditional-use permit approved by the Jackson Town Council in March 2011 which allowed the property to be lowered by 8 feet probably set things in motion. The land was owned by Mountain Partners LLC and Terry Ray at the time. The approvals were made based on Womack’s geotechnical reports and consulting (now a part of Jorgensen Associates).

    The 200,000 gallon water leak at the house above the property also happened in 2011, long before Walgreens came into town. That suggests the earth was shifting at that time and the water probably further destabilized the slope.

    Walgreens dropped $300,000 on landscaping and who knows how much on employee housing – that’s the price of doing business in Jackson. Good luck finding a new tenet.

  32. Scott

    June 16, 2015 at 7:55 am

    That’s some spectacular research there, Mike. You could have just read the article above, though.

    We’re not just talking about bread and milk. They took toys and t-shirts, hard goods with no sell-by date and canned food with sell-by dates into the next decade.

    I’m sick of companies (not just Walgreen’s) blaming insurance. Like the man said, the charities cover liability issues. This was a money decision. Giving food or merchandise away only subtracts from the amount of food or merchandise people will need to buy. They see it as opportunity lost.

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