Like just about everyone else around here, I was dismayed to see 58 truckloads — 950,000 jars — of perfectly good Sunland peanut butter, packaged for Costco Wholesale, go into the Clovis landfill.
That is a tremendous waste.
Facilitating the sale of the bankrupt Sunland Inc. was one of the justifications given. I’m not aware of all the skullduggery required to “expedite” a bankruptcy sale of this magnitude, but if the law makes things like this necessary, the law is clearly wrong. How can laws trump common sense and still have any meaning?
There were other excuses given as well. It seems the jars had leaked some peanut oil. Was this the reason the peanut butter was rejected? If so, it seems awfully petty, especially considering the alternatives the company had.
Maybe this oil damaged the labels, and would not have appeared professional. Maybe the Costco decision makers thought the oil meant inadequately sealed jars. Perhaps Costco was worried about liability and didn’t trust all the tests that indicated the peanut butter was perfectly safe. Can’t a product be donated “as is,” with those who accept it doing so at their own risk?
I would have eaten it. Well, not all 25 tons.
Costco wouldn’t even allow the peanut butter to be repackaged to remove their name from it and then donated.
I really don’t know much about Costco, having never been in one. Now I will never again hear the name “Costco” without thinking of this waste.
The peanut butter was Costco’s property, to be used — or not — as they wished. However, the company’s choice has forever tainted the way I will view them, and if I am ever in a position to do business with Costco, I will remember the peanut butter, and I will most likely not spend my money there.
Sometimes doing something you have every right to do is not the wisest path you can take, for reasons you may not even see at the time.
Costco wasn’t obligated to share its property — that would be socialism. However, it missed an opportunity for a windfall of good will and positive publicity, trading it instead for a black eye on its reputation.
Farwell’s Kent McManigal champions liberty. Contact him at: