Experience with employee giveaways of obsolete furniture/equipment?

Discussion in 'Office and Cafeteria Waste Best Practices' started by Andy, Aug 28, 2013.

  1. Andy

    Andy Administrator Waste Min Publisher 2013 Industrial Waste Survey Participant

    I've seen both sides of the coin when it comes to "employee giveaways" of product, obsolete items, old office furniture or remnants:

    Option 1) Do a controlled giveaway for designated items... either for free, or allow "bidding" on more valuable items. It always seems that in a plant of hundreds or thousands of people, someone can always find a use for something.
    Option 2) If it is an item which can't be easily donated, it seems some companies would just as soon dumpster it and avoid the trouble of opening it up to a give away.

    The usual story tends to be that a company will have no problem doing giveaways for these items, and they work to a point... but then there is that "bad experience" that happens at some point and leads to management ending it. Whether some sort of a liability issue or the wrong items being given away, it seems that as time marches on, SOMETHING happens.

    So, right now, in my case, we give away those items to employees on a first come, first served basis. It might be a few cases of obsolete product, etc and we will split the cases to allow more people to benefit. We haven't had the "bad experience"... everyone is happy so far (20+ years).

    For those who do have company giveaways for obsolete or non-donatable items, how has your program been set up, and have you had any issues?
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
  2. Deb Lopez

    Deb Lopez Contributor Founding Member 2013 Industrial Waste Survey Participant

    I recently (last week, to be exact!) held a drawing for 5 older office chairs (and 1 workbench/table) that had been stashed for quite a long time. They were in decent shape, but not really "pretty". Safe to use, but faded pretty bad. After 20+ years, not surprising. We sent the word out that anyone interested needed to contact me and let me know to put their name on a list. I took names for part of one week and then part of another, to allow for people who might be out or on vacation, and then put those names into a container and had someone who was not in it draw names. Those people won those items, and took them home. We've done this quite a few times over the years, and have had good luck with it. If something is unsafe to use, we render it unseable it and throw it away (of course, if there are any useable parts, we keep those for future repairs). The empoyees are good sports about it, even if they don't win. Everyone has a fair and equal chance to win. We have also had instances when we have done a "5S" and we have let people bid on things. And we have used some items for our annual "White Elephant Auction" that we do to raise money for United Way.
  3. Andy

    Andy Administrator Waste Min Publisher 2013 Industrial Waste Survey Participant

    That's a very cool way to approach the problem! When you do a White Elephant Auction, is that an internal auction, or open to everyone?

    I'm curious as to how you selected the United Way... is it their size and range of charity work, availability, or was there an employee vote or "official" designation? We have two big causes we give to corporately, Neurofibromatosis (through The Giorgio Foundation) and MS, and we landed on those because our founders asked the company for support in what are two pretty personal causes. Kind of makes it really engaging when the company feels like they have a "sister" charity!
  4. SuzyQ

    SuzyQ Contributor Registered Member

    That is cool! Deb, I might be out of the loop, but what is 5S?
  5. Deb Lopez

    Deb Lopez Contributor Founding Member 2013 Industrial Waste Survey Participant

    Until last December, our company was created and owned by a single family. The owner was very big into local charities, and one was the United Way. Another was Junior Achievment. Many people through the years in our company history have been helped by UW agencies in many diverse ways. This is our way of giving back. All of the money we raise stays with local agencies. We have had MANY creative fund raisers over the years. The WHite Elephant auction is open to anyone in the company. We set up something in the Finishing area (central location) for each shift, and there are bags or boxes with 'mystery items'. It's a regular auction from thre, with that package going to the highest bidder. Then the winner opens that item, and everyone gets to see what they bought. Could be something goofy, or fun, or cool. And there could be cash or gift cards hidden inside the item in the box or bag as well. Everyone in the company is asked to bring in donations. I recently moved to a new house, so I have several items I am bringing in for the auction. Plus there are usually items that are purchased. You might get a set of old dishes, with a gift card to a local grocery store, or a brand new Kindle.
    And Hi SuzyQ! 5S is "sorting, straighteneing (streamlining), systematic cleaning, standardise, and sustain". We do it every few years, and get rid of a bunch of stuff that we no longer need or use. Everything deemed 'not needed' gets red tagged, and then other departments go through that pile and see if there is anything they can comandeer for their area, and what is left over gets bid on by the employees. It cleans things up around here, and the employees get a great deal.
  6. SuzyQ

    SuzyQ Contributor Registered Member

    Thanks for the info - that's a great idea!
  7. Kenny C

    Kenny C Contributor Founding Member 2013 Industrial Waste Survey Participant

    A fancy cooperate way to say “clean it up” it means: sort, scrub, set in order, standardize and sustain. Or some other variation of that with the same meaning.