I’m in some sort of green-shock after walking by a couple of Mount Pleasant Town Center stores this weekend whose doors were wide open. It was hot, and Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works were the only stores brazen enough to coax foot traffic off the sidewalk with energy-guzzling cold air. This marketing tactic dates back to the emergence of air conditioning, but it’s 2007 and global warming is real. This has got to stop!

Energy Being Wasted

I went back the next day with my kids in tow, and the doors were open again. I asked both store managers if they knew their doors were open. Of course they did, and even mentioned that they were asked to prop them open. Really? It turns out they have the same boss…and the stores have the same owner: Limited Brands, Inc – LTD.

The bottom line is that Limited Brands management is telling store/shift managers to leave exterior doors open on hot days in order to entice shoppers into the store. In an era of eco-aware investors, this is a risky practice for a publicly-traded company. At least they aren’t one of these companies touting how green they’ve become.

Oops, wait a minute – they are…

Speaking on his company’s social responsibility, the CEO of Limited Brands, Les Wexner, is quoted on their website as saying, “I believe companies like ours should be a source for good. For us. For our communities. For the world.” Well, Les, you’ve certainly got the “For us.” part down – a few extra sales at the expense of the planet. Nice Les.

But Les isn’t the only Limited Brands executive getting in on the green. Tom Hellman, Executive VP of Compliance Services, hosts a three minute video focusing on how environmental stewardship is a core value of Limited Brands. Granted, they have made major changes in how their catalogs are made, but only after some severe internet-based activism. But now they need to fix this issue too. After all, energy is the first thing on their own list of environmental actions – and they need to know that leaving doors open in summer is wasting energy faster than their new lighting can save it.

We need to do something to encourage these businesses to stop this ignorant and worthless practice – at the Town Center, on King Street, and everywhere else in the Lowcountry. Leaving doors open with the AC running can account for up to 25% of energy used in a business, and that’s a lot of money. If businesses don’t want to do it for the planet, maybe they’ll do it for the cash.

Either way, we need to address this issue – like they did up in Ontario. In the mean time, if you catch a store with their doors open on a hot day, please ask them to close them (or close them yourself!)

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