Well, there appears to be an absurd amount of actual trash — like, literal refuse — listed for sale on Amazon, or so says the Wall Street Journal, which has basically turned Digging up Questionable Shit on Amazon into its own vertical.
According to an investigation by the paper, there is a “dedicated cadre of sellers on Amazon who say they sort through other people’s rejects, including directly from the trash, clean them up and list them on [Amazon’s] platform.” Some even “post their hunting accounts on YouTube.”
So, to be clear, if you buy something off Amazon that looks like trash, it could absolutely be trash.
Customers are starting to realize, too. The Journal “analyzed about 45,000 comments posted on Amazon” from 2018-2019 and found “nearly 8,400 comments on 4,300 listings for foods, makeup and over-the-counter medications with keywords suggesting they were unsealed, expired, moldy, unnaturally sticky or problematic in some other way.”
Wanting to see just how easy it is to sell actual garbage on the site, the Journal found a stencil set, a sheet of scrapbook paper, and a Trader Joe’s lemon curd in dumpsters in New Jersey, and then “cleaned and packed the three items” and shipped them off to an Amazon warehouse to be sold.
According to the piece, “Amazon didn’t ask about the inventory’s origins or sell-by dates” and the items were soon listed for sale with a Prime logo attached.
Amazon, naturally, has tried to deflect any blame, but it seems like it’s only a matter of time before something goes seriously wrong. In the mean time, best of luck navigating the world’s most logistically advanced landfill.
You can read more about it at The Wall Street Journal.