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.

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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