I get a legal threat from a struck-off psychotherapist

southsidesocialist:

I think lots of people should see this.

Originally posted on The Not So Big Society:

Previously I commented on the case of Ray Holland, a psychotherapist who was struck off by the UK Council for Psychotherapy for serious sexual misconduct with an “evidently vulnerable client”. Mr Holland denies the allegations despite the striking-off, and has returned to psychotherapy practice. This week I noticed that he had put up a new business website, changing his name to Ray Bott-Holland.

Today, I received two e-mails from Holland (or Bott-Holland, or whatever he’ll be calling himself next week) threatening to sue me if I don’t remove all his details from my blog.

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The Smell of Bullshit, part 63: crimpage or expansion, who knows?

Way, way back in post 9 in the Bullshit series, we talked about Lush perfume bottles. Customer after customer complained that Lush perfume bottles were leaking, causing the loss of the perfume and in some cases, damage to furniture. After years of denying there was a problem Lush’s answer was that the manufacturing process caused some tiny variations in the dimensions of the bottles, and the crimping machine couldn’t crimp the stoppers properly. They said they’d dealt with it and everything should be fine.

The “Lush kitchen” has just done a new round of perfumes and people are complaining that the 30ml bottles aren’t full. Going by the photos people are posting on the “Lush kitchen” facebook page, the difference in quantity of content is very noticeable. Even the photos on the website show the bottles filled to very different levels.

Lush’s answer to the queries about it is

Hi everyone Apologies for taking a while to jump on this morning. For any concerns about fill levels on the perfumes I hope this reply might answer some of your questions. The machine that we use to fill perfumes is a vaccum filler, which means once a fill level it set, it will let you fill only to the set ml/g and then cut out which means there is very little chance of over or under filling. As it is a vaccum filler, it its also very unlikely that fill levels will alter throghout [sic] the batch. Therefore this leaves a very slim chance of variances on the first bottle filled to the 1000 bottle filled. With regards to variances between each of the perfumes, the machine was set each day with weight checks carried out on each perfume before the batch was run. As mentioned above, the type of machine that we use means they should then all be filled at the same level. There is always a gap left at the top of the bottle for perfumes as the ethanol in perfumes expands and in the past has caused a lot of bottles to leak, so no perfume should be filled completely to the top. As mentioned before the filling machine was set to only fill 30ml, so there was an adequate gap for expansion anyway. I hope the above explains a little more about the fill process of these perfumes. We do our best every day to bring you fresh exclusive cosmetics that you want to see from the Lush Kitchen, but we do still have to use filling machines and as everyone knows, machines don’t always work perfectly 100% of the time We did and continue to do everything in our power to make sure every product that leaves is perfect, and I sincerely apologise if any of you are not happy with your products. Should anyone have any questions or concerns about their products, please just ask or contact our dedicated We care team to discuss solutions.

 

So, last time the issue was the crimpage on the bottles, this time it’s because they’ve left space for some questionable science. What next? Whichever member of staff has fallen out of favour has been siphoning the perfume off to drink?

If you’ve bought perfume and you’re concerned that the content is short of what it should be, take it to your local Trading Standards officers and get them to check. And then go buy your perfume from a company that actually gives a shit.

ETA: Lush are now trying to say that the perfumes are in 50ml bottles, filled to 30ml. That would be funny if it wasn’t so obviously a nonsense attempt at making excuses. How can bottles of a size which has always been sold as 30ml now be 50ml?/ Have they made the glass much thinner so the internal dimensions are bigger, or are Lush selling perfume in miniature TARDISes?

One dedicated person on the Lush International Forum has gone to the trouble of measuring her perfume with a calibrated pipette, and says it contained 22ml, although sold and labelled as containing 30ml. That’s nearly a third missing. So, like I said, if you think your perfume might be short, don’t believe Lush when they say it’s ok, or when they say it’s actually in a 50ml bottle – take it to Trading Standards (see the website of your local council) and get it checked.

The Smell of Bullshit, part 62: even more alternatives to Lush

In posts 44, 54 and 56 I looked at alternatives to Lush, especially alternatives to Dream Cream, which is the only thing I’m struggling to find another option for.

I’ve tried a few handcreams recently, including the Posh Brats Goat Milk, Aloe Vera and Honey Soothing Handcream. It didn’t work well for me. I don’t like the scent, which to me smelled like off milk and detergent, but I did like the texture which was like a very light mousse. It didn’t work well on the dry, sensitive skin on my hands, making them itch and not moisturising well enough. It might work better for someone whose hands are less particular. I like the bath bombs though, and the lip balm is great.

Then I tried the Mountain Balm from The Sugar Loaf Soap Company. I like their lip balms, and their soaps aren’t bad. The Mountain Balm is solid (like a Lush massage bar) and you have to rub it between your hands to warm it up a bit so that the top layer melts and becomes usable. It smell herby. I found it a bit too solid to melt easily so I had to rub quite hard to get a coating. It doesn’t sink in very well, so it was better used overnight under cotton gloves, which was enough for it to soften my hands except for my scabby rough knuckles.

This week, I’ve bought some hand cream from Heather Hills, who are based in Perthshire. I’ve got the Honey Handcream. Don’t ask me how much you get for your £7.50 because the website doesn’t say and neither does the pot. It’s quite a runny cream with a subtle, almost neutral honey scent. It sinks in well and it softens and moisturises without feeling greasy. They don’t give the ingredients on the website and the writing on the pot is so small I can’t read it, so it’s anyone’s guess what’s in it, apart from honey. It’s nice though. I might try their other ones when I’ve finished this.

The Smell of Bullshit, part 61: VAT cats getting vatter

Have a look at this post I did earlier this year. Lush seem to have found a solution to the issue of non-EU customers being charged VAT on purchases from Lush UK when they shouldn’t be. Their website says

We just wanted to let you know that from the 1st November prices have changed for our online customers that live outside of the EU. We believe in equal prices for everyone which is why all our customers that shop with us at www.lush.co.uk will pay the same price regardless of where they live. The price you see in your basket is the price you will pay.

 

Lush UK prices for goods sold to EU customers include VAT at whatever rate VAT currently is – 20%? 17.5%? I dunno. When non-EU customers bought from Lush, the VAT should have been removed, so the price would be lower. But as we saw in the post linked to above, the retail website didn’t remove the VAT when it should have done, and Lush asked non-EU customers to place their orders by phone instead so that the VAT could be removed manually.

And now? They’re just not bothering. Non-EU customers will pay the same prices as EU customers pay, which are inclusive of VAT. Will Lush declare that extra to the taxperson as VAT or will they just pocket it as extra profit? Either way, they’re charging non-EU customers more than they have to and trying to pretend it’s fair. It might be because they’re too lazy or too incompetent to sort the issue out with the website, or it might be because they see it as an easy way to make more money out of people. But it’s definitely not fair.

 

The Smell of Bullshit, part 60: holiday pay again

I refer you to previous posts here and here. And I remind you of the fact that Mark Constantine said on the Lush forum that he didn’t see why Lush should have to pay attention to employment law because they’re a small family business and it’s not relevant to them (he’s wrong).

This week an employment tribunal has ruled that overtime should be included in holiday pay. A legal bod of my acquaintance had this to say about it

This is major. But not for any of the reported reasons. Men get massively more cash than women from additional payments such as overtime, commission etc. The fact they now get some credit for that work when they go on holiday is important but it’s not a game changer. So what’s the big news? Employers, especially so-called charities and councils, deliberately employ women on contracts for a token number of hours (10 or 12) but then insist they work 25-30 hours (with no overtime premium). Sometimes the contracted hours are actually zero, hence “zero hours contracts”. This leaves workers in a precarious position not knowing what there actual hours and income will be. Mortgages and loans are also hard to come by. Pensions are reduced etc. The flexibility all lies with the employer.
All this feeds into sick pay,holiday pay and other benefits. A worker with a 10 hours contract gets 10 hours holiday pay even if their regular working week is 30 hours. All part of the average life time pay difference between women and men of one quarter of a million pounds!
From now women will be able to take well earned holidays without taking a pay cut when they take time off. And what is even more significant, we have removed one of the incentives for employers to offer bogus contracts with artificially low working hours. Which is an all round good thing. Chipping away at the position of employers who abuse their power over low paid women is slow and arduous work. But when the Institute of Directors and the CBI are bumping their gums you know your doing something worthwhile. As for the charities and councils? They should have known better. Now they do.

So why bring it up here? Well, because we know that Lush have previous for putting people on part time contracts, giving them full time hours, but only giving them part time holidays. If you are an employee of any organisation, including Lush, and you ever do more hours than your contract specifies, you are entitled to have the overtime pay included in your holiday pay. See your union rep, get it sorted out. If you’re not in a union, join one.

I am not a decoration.

Originally posted on catcallsss:

I’ve been sexually harassed on a number of occasions.

I once had a man grab my breast while working in an Upper East Side restaurant. I’ve had countless random men grab my butt while I’ve been out. On a daily basis I deal with numerous catcalls from different men, many peppered with a variety of descriptive expletives. I’ve experienced a range of harassment, and none of them have been easy to deal with.

With that said however, there is something about street harassment that really gets me going.

If you haven’t already seen the video: “Watch A Woman Experience 100 Instances Of Street Harassment In One Day”, do so now. I think for those who have no idea what street harassment looks like, this video will definitely provide perspective. The PSA styled video – brought to us by Hollaback - was picked up by a number of sites, one of them being…

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The Smell of Bullshit, part 59: Suicide is Painless, Sorry, Passion

An email today from an ex-employee, who says she has been told (but did not witness) that when Lush fired a manager in another country, the manager attempted suicide. Rather than express sympathy or concern for someone in such distress, MC used it as a punchy anecdote to show how passionate Lush employees are, and topped it off with “she was probably on drugs – as most girls who work for us- and in their mid-twenties are.”

What a guy. What a company.