Reddit Is In Disbelief Over Target’s Food Waste After ‘Coolers Went Down’

Exterior of Target store
Exterior of Target store

Shockwaves rippled through Reddit’s r/Target subreddit last week when a user posted a shocking image of hundreds of pounds of refrigerated food items that “had to be thrown away” because the coolers went down at their local Target store—and commenters were in complete disbelief at the amount of waste.

The image, posted by Reddit user u/Brodyvossen, shows a giant dumpster filled with hundreds, if not thousands of refrigerated products that had been trashed due to the coolers malfunctioning, including dozens of bags of string cheese, tubs of cookie dough, and boxes of Lunchables. The Redditor noted it was “nearly $50k worth of food”.

Redditors Comment: ‘What A Waste’

Commentors on u/Brodyvossen’s photo were horrified at the staggering amount of food that had gone to waste at the Target due to the cooler issue, all because they were meant to be refrigerated. “I absolutely hate to see it. Should have called some local food banks or something,” noted one commenter. “Trader Joe’s gives it away for free to the customers who are currently in stores, not sure why Target can’t follow the same,” responded another.

Though it does appear that Trader Joe’s does donate food in these kinds of situations, Target’s policy is strict: they can’t donate or give away any items that are “out of temp”, which means “30 minutes off the coolers,” according to one Redditor. Still, many felt that TJ’s policy was a better one than Target’s: “Or they could just give the food away to customers like that Trader Joe’s in Louisiana did a few weeks ago…what a waste,” bemoaned a commenter on the post.

Not The First Food Waste Incident From Target

Many on social media have shared their own encounters with Target's "out of temp" food policy, with incidents usually stemming from similar cooler malfunctions or breakdowns, or items reaching their expiration or sell-by dates.

Reddit user u/EconomyDirection9409 posted a similar photo to r/Target of a Target dumpster filled with trashed, unopened freezer items less than a year ago:

"Had the power go out and all our frozen and dairy had to be tossed. Got a shipment of dairy in the next day and the power went out again," wrote a commenter who worked at Target during one of these incidents. "This happened at my store multiple times this past year! I’m in a [Super Target] and we filled 6 dumpsters with all of the food from meat, dairy, frozen, deli, produce," lamented another.

Others felt that, while it was indeed a large amount of food waste, there is no other policy that Target could implement that would make all customers happy. "There's no solution that Target could ever possibly create that will solve a litigious society," said one Redditor, referencing concerns that anyone who might receive a donated "out of temp" item might sue the retailer if they were to become ill after consuming the product.

However, many were more practical and less legal in their views on the food waste policy: "I once witnessed my coworker actually crying as she disposed of an entire cart load of food left behind by someone trying to shoplift," shared a Reddit user. "She said she was so broke she had eaten nothing but oatmeal for a week straight and she was being forced to throw out perfectly good milk, fruit, frozen meals and pizzas...makes me sick, man."

Target has not yet commented on any Reddit post raising concerns about food waste or their "out of temp" food policy.