Lululemon’s latest critic isn’t an embarrassed yogi returning see-through pants or a Canadian city up in arms about insensitive scheduling. It’s a disgruntled employee who decided to air the company’s alleged dirty laundry on the internet.
Published on Jezebel, the anonymous post details her personal experience working for the activewear company, including issues like being overworked and underpaid and a cult-like atmosphere (that make the awesome clothing discount sound kind of not worth it).
Of course, it’s easy to throw out accusations from behind a veil of anonymity, and this is just one woman’s unsubstantiated account (without a response from Lululemon), but there are a few gems referencing the eye-brow-raising Landmark- and Ayn Rand-influenced culture that’s often discussed and that are just too weird not to share.
Here are five seriously crazy facts about working at Lululemon, according to one anonymous employee:
1. You will never look as good in your Wunder Unders as Duke and Ocean. “The man and woman Lululemon designs for and creates marketing for is called our ‘muse’: the man is called Duke, and the woman is called Ocean. Anything you do, you appeal to that ideal, imaginary muse. Ocean makes six figures, she doesn’t want to have kids, she has a master’s degree, her core workout is yoga and she also likes running and spinning. The whole idea is that your guest is never going to actually be Ocean. It’s aspirational. They can try, but they’ll never be.”
2. When they try to sell you yoga pants, they’re actually educating you. “I started as an educator, which is what we call salespeople—but as they constantly tell us, we’re ‘not selling anything.’ Our job is to educate people on the technical features and functions of the garments and empower the guests to make their own choice.”
3. Their 10-year goal sounds like the ramblings of a crazy person. “It’s a company that really purports to be about their people, so you’d think they’d examine [the high turnover rate] more, especially since their 10-year goal is ‘getting our global collective scores within the top quartile of happiest people on the planet.’ But who measures that, and with what measuring stick?”
4. The ethos sounds like Scientology meets Tea Party. “The emphasis on goodness and “yoga values” can be very insidious, very cult-like. […] If you’re in a bad mood when you walk in, you have to do a ‘clearing,’ which is this neo-spiritual way of making you say whatever is going on in your life, and then someone coaches you on how to get over it.” “Ayn Rand’s books are in our ‘core library,’ and you can’t escape that pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps mindset. When a customer comes in and is rude to you, it’s your choice to be offended. It’s you not taking personal responsibility for the situation.”
5. Employees are also human billboards. “They’ve structured it so educators market for them for free when they’re ‘in the community,’ which means you take classes wearing Lululemon as often as you can. One of the benefits is that they’ll reimburse you for two classes a week, but you’re not on the clock. Once the company got sued for this, they couldn’t explicitly order you to do it anymore, but you still know the expectation. You have to ‘be in the community’ a lot if you want to move up. I know people who take two or three classes a day when the pressure is on to be ‘out there,’ on your own time, off the clock.” —Amy Marturana
To read the entire account, visit www.jezebel.com
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