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.

The Smell of Bullshit, part 58: Calm Down, Dear

Email from an employee, informing me that Mark Constantine closed a manager’s meeting with “People say we’re an ethical company. I don’t think we are when it comes to management. I’m not sure how you’re gonna take this, but I want to discuss hormones.” Then he talked about an argument between him and a female staff member where they screamed at each other and it finished with her shouting “you can’t fire me because I quit.” Having spent some time thinking about it, his suggestions for managing conflict with female staff were “That’s why she’s acting the way she is: it’s a full moon. It’s down to the managers to learn to control their hormones: when they’re on their periods, it’s up to managers to curb the way you’re dealing with staff when they’re on or curb the way you’re speaking to people when you’re on.”

I don’t think I need to comment here. It speaks for itself.

The Smell of Bullshit, part 57: trouble at t’mill

An email that was sent to southside socialist at hotmail dot co dot uk.

All has been quiet on the Bullshit front lately so I thought I’d share with you some things that are going on here at head office that no one is happy about but everyone is just too afraid to speak of for fear of their jobs.  It’s not just the elephant in the room it’s a whole herd!
Lush Digital, the new company that was set up with Jack Constantine at the helm, is a complete joke! He is such a meglomaniac that no one wants to work with him once they get to know him and around 2/3 of the staff have either left, relocated or been ‘replaced’ after having the ‘we don’t think you’re happy’ or ‘we don’t think you’re financially viable’ chats.  If your face doesn’t fit it doesn’t matter how good you are at your job, your days are numbered.  If you’re not ‘Lush’ enough and don’t embrace the ‘Lush Culture’ you’ll be out the door – unless your looks catch Jack’s eye and you suddenly get a job as his PA, until he’s fed up with you and then you’ll be sidelined for another one.
Everyone can see that he is running the place into the ground,  losing millions of pounds in sales in the process because the website is so crap that it’s making a loss for the first time ever.  He makes a mockery out of something that, with the right people at the top, could be hugely successful but he will make it fail, like he does with every thing he touches because, quite frankly, he’s an idiot who couldn’t run a bath let alone a company.  It’s only because daddy has given him a free rein to do what he likes that he is even in that position of power.  He has spent millions on decorating the building, making it look really nice but, unfortunately, the staff who work there are so unhappy, depressed, demotivated, demoralised, underpaid (well, the women anyway), overworked (well, some are and some wander around all day and don’t appear to do anything), that it is a horrible place to work with a very unpleasant atmosphere that just isn’t healthy.
Even those higher up are getting fed up with him.  But no one can touch him.  He could say he wanted everyone to dress in red and hop everywhere and they’d have to do it for fear of reprisals. He was furious because someone had a mug that wasn’t a Lush one! But Mark won’t have a word said against him.  He has given Jack a free run to do whatever he likes with the place and I’m sure he won’t stop until it all goes pear shaped and someone external has to step in and fix it.
Even higher up the food chain there is trouble.  Lush’s money man, co founder and shareholder Andrew Gerrie doesn’t like the direction that Mark is taking the company or that Jack is just allowed to play shops and mess with peoples lives.  He said this to Mark but anyone who makes any negative comments about the Constantine clan is doomed to failure so it didn’t go well and he has, sensibly, decided to sell his shares in the company and get out.
Bear in mind though that it was Andrew Gerrie (CEO) who steered Lush through the recession.  He is a very smart man who knows the global money markets and invested incredibly wisely offshore and in foreign currency etc. so that Lush didn’t go under in the recession so they will fare very badly without him.  Mark offered to buy his 21% share for half of what it was worth and Andrew, very sensibly, told Mark to fuck off.  Mark can’t afford to buy him out so is taking Andrew to court.  Yes, Lush in court again!  Andrew could sell the shares to anyone who wants them; the chuckle brothers maybe? Or L’Oreal?   Andrew is currently banned from entering any buildings or from talking to any staff on Mark’s say so.  In fact Mark is so petty and childish that he will probably victimise him the same way as he did the Amazon boss when he trademarked the name ‘Christopher North’.  We’ll have Andrew Gerrie toilet wipes next or something equally pathetic.
This isn’t confidential information though, it was quite openly discussed at the managers meeting and in subsequent digital meetings. It’s another one of those shameful company things that proper companies would try to keep quiet about or would deal with in a sensible way – listening to their shareholders and taking advice of people who really know what they’re talking about – but Lush seem to love washing their dirty linen in public because ‘any publicity is good publicity.’ They don’t seem to realize that it puts them in a bad light because their egos are so huge that they don’t think that they could ever be thought badly of.
Anyway, soon a fifth of the company will be owned by new shareholders that the Constantines can’t control and bully. This could be interesting.  As soon as the new investors realize that the man a the top is a dictator and his right hand man is an imbecile I wonder whether they will try to change things.  Watch this space!
Oh and another little snippet of news:
The new Oxford street shop that is massive and huge and costing millions has 4 excellent managers and trainees hand picked from successful shops running it and doing all the donkey work.  Who’s fronting it up, being made to look good and being paid to watch them work? Claire Constantine.  Us minions can only serve the masters of the universe.

Jo Loves Perfume (and so do I), part 11: Shards of Cedar and Red Thyme

It really pisses me off that Jo Loves won’t sell single sample bottles. If you can’t get to the shop in London and you want to try a Jo Loves fragrance, they’ll post you a scent strip, but that’s no good if you really want to know how it works on your skin.

Recently Jo Loves released a new cologne – Shards of Cedar and Red Thyme. That sounded interesting to me and the blurb on the website says the notes are bergamot, mint, lavender and vetiver. I’m not a huge fan of bergamot but I like the other three and I hoped they’d balance it out and make something lovely. So, I bought another Shot Box, listed Green Orange & Coriander and Pink Vetiver on ebay because I already know I don’t like them/they don’t work on me, and then I tried Shards of Cedar and Red Thyme.

I don’t know if my nose isn’t sensitive enough, or it just doesn’t work on my skin, but I can’t separate any notes out in this. It just smells like one huge unsubtle 70s aftershave – like being a child in a function hall at a family event surrounded by adults all wearing something different – Denim or Hai Karate or Brut or whatever else men wore in 1976. On me, this smells like something Gene Hunt from Life on Mars would wear when he goes on the pull. It’s eye-watering. Luckily though, like most of the Jo Loves range on my skin, it only lasts about 20 minutes. I’m a bit sad about it, because I love the idea of it, and the reality is just, on me, unpleasant. So, the sample bottle is on ebay now too, and I’m hoping the birthday fairy will bring me one of the ones I like.

Legal failures over Evans: a case for recall?

Originally posted on Jane Fae:

Over the last week or so, a defining media obsession has been with the confected question of whether Ched Evans should play football again. Rather less attention has been paid to his conduct since release, or that his behaviour, a toxic mix of victim-blaming and bullying, raises a rather more serious question.

Which is whether we should not now be considering sending him back to prison to serve out the remainder of his sentence.

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Top Writing Tips on How to Screw Women Over

Originally posted on Oosty's Offerings:

David Griffin, aka Dave Lee Travis has been convicted of sexual assault. Another man, another offence against women; same shit, different day.

Yet still, after millennia of male-on-female violence, there are those who believe it just can’t be that simple. These people are imbued with insight, experience and common sense that many of us don’t have. Luckily for us though, they are commissioned by The Mail and The Independent so we can read their words, and give ourselves a good slap round the face before our womanly hysteria overcomes us.

Here’s a ten point guide on how to knock out such a piece.

  1. Begin by stating that you disapprove in the strongest terms to the crime. It’s important that your readers don’t think you’re a pervert.
  2. Summarise the crime, but in the most reductive terms. DO NOT stray into the emotional impact for the victim, because that would eventually take…

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Dear Aggrieved of England

Look, I understand. Tomorrow’s referendum has got you all upset/agitated/twitchy/unsettled/downrightbloodyfurious (delete as applicable). Some of you are looking at Scotland, which has had the Scottish parliament for several years, and now might (but probably won’t) vote to leave the UK tomorrow, and you want an English parliament. Well, if you want one, you can have one. Here’s what to do:


  • get off your backsides and work for one
  • set up political parties whose aims include an English parliament and vote for their candidates to become MPs
  • join existing political parties and persuade them to include an English parliament in their manifestos
  • vote against the parties who are not supportive of an English parliament
  • march, campaign, lobby, vote, march, campaign, lobby, vote
  • persuade others to do the same
  • keep doing this for anywhere between 50 and 300 years

Then, when you have done that for long enough, you will have enough MPs at Westminster who will vote for the establishment of an English parliament, and someone will propose a bill, and it will be passed and then it will happen.

Just like how Scotland did it.


Phones 4U – not surprised at all

In 2009, I sent this email to Phones 4U customer service




Dear Sir or Madam


Phone number xxx

IMEI xxx

Repair xxx

Repairs Team xxx

Some other ref xxx


I purchased an LG phone from Phones 4 U telesales earlier this year – round about March or April I think. In mid-November the phone broke. I contacted Phones 4 U They said they had no record of me. After 10 minutes of searching, during which I had to give my name, DOB, address, mobile number, mother’s maiden name, inside leg measurement, make and model of fridge and promise to send them my first-born if and when I have one, they found me. They told me to contact Orange and claim it on insurance. I contacted Orange. Orange said “but it’s under warranty, here’s your fault code, go back to P4U.”

I rang P4U. They said they had no record of me. After 15 minutes of searching, during which I had to give my name, DOB, address, mobile number, mother’s maiden name, brother’s height, list my last 4 hair colours, inside leg measurement, make and model of fridge and promise to send them my first-born if and when I have one, they found me. They agreed to send out a bag so I could send the phone in, and told me it would take about 10 days. I sent the phone in to the repair centre on the 20th of November. They logged it in on 24th Nov.

I used the online repair tracking service to check what was happening. Since 4th December it said “not a p4u unit asking for cat a or valid pop.” On 9th December I got fed up of that and rang them. They said P4U can’t confirm I bought the phone from them so I have to send them proof of purchase. I rang P4U to find out why you are saying I didn’t get the phone from you. They said they had no record of me. After 20 minutes of searching, during which I had to give my name, DOB, address, mobile number, neighbour’s best friend’s cat’s name, mother’s maiden name, brother’s height, list my last 4 hair colours, describe my ideal night out, inside leg measurement, make and model of fridge and promise to send them my first-born if and when I have one, they found me. Then they said it was my fault for phoning the wrong number. I said I’d phoned the number on the website. Then they asked me which shop I’d taken the phone into. I said I’d never been in a P4U shop in my life, I’d bought the phone via telesales and arranged the repair over the phone. That appeared to blow her mind and she had to speak to a manager. Then I had to go to work so we agreed that she would ring back and leave a message telling me what was going on. When I got in, I found a message saying she’d got her manager to ring them and confirm I got the phone from them and it would all be ok. When I checked the online repair tracking and it says “spoke to Carly from HO and confirmed it is a P4U phone, spoke to Agnes who advised me that Becky Barker is the only person who can confirm it is or it is not P4U handset and advised that to Carly” – so P4U were telling me it was ok, and the repair centre were saying it wasn’t.

During subsequent phone calls throughout the remainder of that week, I was told that Becky Barker had notified the repair centre that the handset is a P4U handset, then I was told that she was going to notify them, then that she had. Then I was told the proof of purchase had been posted to me on the 10th. It still hasn’t arrived. Yesterday I was told that the repair centre are still waiting for proof of purchase although last week I was told Becky Barker had confirmed it’s a P4 U handset. The person I spoke to at the repairs centre yesterday said he would email P4U to find out what’s going on and phoned back today to say that P4U had told the repair centre again that they have no record of me getting the phone from P4U and that I’d have to pay for the repair.

So today I phoned P4U again. I was told that everything else I’ve been told up till now is nonsense, Becky Barker can’t confirm I bought the phone from P4U, I have to wait for the proof of purchase which still hasn’t been sent out because nobody in your godforsaken incompetent organisation realised the phone was bought from telesales rather than a shop – apparently your system can’t cope with that. I have made it clear time and time again that the phone was bought from telesales, not a shop. P4U are refusing to send the proof of purchase direct to the repair centre claiming “data protection” which is absolute nonsense – I have given permission for P4U to do so, I have begged them to do so, but they won’t. I have asked them to fax me the proof of purchase, they won’t. I have asked them to email me the proof of purchase, but they won’t. I have asked them to send the proof of purchase recorded delivery to my work address but they won’t. I can’t even begin to understand why I need to send a proof of purchase to the repair centre for a phone which was sent to them in an official Phones 4U repair envelope. Do the repair centre think I counterfeited an envelope and repair form to scam a free repair?

The customer “service” I have had from Phones 4 U has been absolutely appalling. Nobody seems to be able to cope with the fact the phone was bought from telesales. Nobody communicates with anyone else. Nobody communicates with me. I’ve spent hours on the phone chasing this up, nobody from your end has initiated anything. People tell me Becky Barker has confirmed proof of purchase, then they say she hasn’t but she will, then they say she has, they they say she can’t. People use data protection laws as an excuse for lazy, sloppy service. Last week I was told proof of purchase was on its way, today I’m told it hasn’t been sent yet. There isn’t a hope in hell of me getting the phone back before Christmas. Nobody will acknowledge the service has been terrible and try and sort it out – you could fax me the proof of purchase, or email it, or send it direct to the repairs centre, or spend a tiny little bit of your profits and send it to me recorded delivery so it gets to me tomorrow, but you won’t.

It’s absolutely bloody awful. I can’t believe you think this is acceptable customer service.

Here is how I want this resolved.

I want you to send my proof of purchase to the repair centre immediately, and instruct them to repair the phone under warranty. I want the phone delivered securely to my work address (given) rather than my home address by no later than Monday 21st December. I want compensation for the month I will have been without use of the phone and I want to be reimbursed for the time and money I have spent on the phone to you. If you can’t do that, you can send me a new handset equivalent to or better than the broken one, and I want an apology for the shoddy, lazy, incompetent customer service I have been the victim of. I don’t want excuses. I don’t want to hear “data protection doesn’t let us” – I want my phone back, fixed, or I want a new phone.


And that is why a) I am sorry for everyone at Phones 4U who is about to lose their job but not at all surprised, and b) I have never used Phones 4U since.

Labour Pains, Labour of Love

Originally posted on :

Labour: Where Did It All Go Wrong?

Where did it all go wrong? (Photo: Ian Jones)

by Irvine Welsh

When I think back to how the Scottish independence debate has evolved in terms of my personal journey, I can see it in three distinct phases. The first was best expressed by the bitter and ugly sentiment “it’s all the English’s fault.” This guff was fairly ubiquitously trumpeted when I was a kid, and largely sustained, I believe, by an infantile football mentality. I was always unmoved by this idiocy: nobody was going to tell me that my cousins in Wolverhampton or Aunt in West London were in any way culpable for our circumstances north of the border. In retrospect, the ban on the annual Scotland v England match was the best thing that ever happened to the debate, it helped folk think a little more clearly. When ‘politics’ is mixed up with football, the end result is…

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