The Smell of Bullshit, part 24: more stories from employees

Someone emailed this to me today

Please please please keep this anonymous, I am terrified that you are actually a secret filtration system made by lush to catch out un-loyal employees, it wouldn’t surprise me at all!!

I am a Lush employee and have been for almost 2 years.

I’m not sure where to even begin telling you about issues that I (and my colleagues) have with our workplace.

I will just give you a long list of short points I guess….

– During winter we can’t close our doors, and our heating system is old and broken, we are not allowed to have heaters on the shop floor and work in 5-12 degree temperature (this is illegal, but alas, Lush have their own laws) nothing will be done for us, and we aren’t even allowed to wear coats.

– Our building is really old and flawed to say the least…. The pipes in the building are rotten I guess, and all of our walls (behind the shop floor obviously) are stained with water marks, and brown liquid stains. There is an unbarable smell of fecal matter once you leave the shop floor, some days it’s worse than others, but regardless, it shouldn’t exist in the first place!

– We have a leak in the building at times, and water will just start pouring from the ceiling. We have one plumber who comes to check these problems, (he is the one hired by Lush, so we cannot get another one) and he keeps on insisting there is NOTHING WRONG with the building….

– Our toilet constantly blocks, and oftentimes we have to work with no working toilet.

– Our store is in a quite dodgy area to say the least, we get people stealing constantly, and even though we beg and plead we are constantly refused security. We have to stop people from taking gift boxes on a constant basis. Putting ourselves in extremely uncomfortable situations when attending to drug addicts and drunks who wander into the store.

This is not just something that makes us uncomfortable- OUR STAFF HAVE BEEN PHYSICALLY HURT before- one staff member was punched in the face by a woman attempting to steal things, we are constantly verbally abused, and I personally have been the victim of sexual harassment on a number of occasions, and know other female members of staff in the same boat. NOTHING has been done for us. Not even when someone in the store opposite us (ironically the body shop) was chased by someone attempting to rob the store with a knife, he chased this girl screaming and crying with a knife. We are in danger and lush just don’t care.

– We constantly sell things unethically at the order of our manager, we sell gift boxes that are technically passed the sell by date, gifts should be on the shop floor (including other products) for no longer than 4 months, we have sold gifts in the passed that were passed the 7 month mark.

Again another “sales tactic” we use is if we undercut a piece of soap (by lush rules we cannot sell soap under 100 grams) we are told to weigh it with wrapping papers under it. Each sheet weighs 2 grams…. I even heard my boss training the new girl and TELLING her that when selling soap, she should weigh it with the sheets underneat, trying to make every penny count.

– We were told at training, that with Emotional Brilliance, if we see a person use/open a product for sale, we need to waste it on the system, however, we are told not to do this as its a waste of too much money, so in essence, we sell makeup that has been previously used…. Delicious!

– The markups on our products, don’t even get me started, it is ridiculous on certain things!!! We get to see in the system how much the making cost is for products. If you would like info- maybe 5/10 products or whatever, I can get you the info from work.

For now, that is all I will be complaining about, but if you have questions, please let me know…

Thank you for reading this rant also!!!


Again, the only thing I can say to these staff members is please please join USDAW or other appropriate union and get yourselves some support. You don’t – and you shouldn’t – have to put up with being assaulted at work!


5 thoughts on “The Smell of Bullshit, part 24: more stories from employees

  1. I recently paid to go for a spa treatment. Lush spa treatments are not cheap in the slightest, but there is nothing relaxing at all going into the spa area and being overwhelmed by the stench of faeces. While the toilet looked clean, the stench was awful. I was unable to use the facilities due to the smell, but I was lucky in that I was not working there and so could escape to go to a fast food place to go. If I were staff I would be finding it hard to not go, it’s not good for the body to avoid going.

    I also visited the facilities of a lush store that was visibly dirty, more than a days dirt. Again, I could not bring myself to use it. The smell the was also horrific.

    Staff deserve clean facilities, facilities that do not smell like the sewage treatment plants.

    Equally on my spa visit, the staff on the shop floor were visibly shivering with the cold, I asked the sales assistant about the cold, they replied. It doesn’t matter how cold it gets,the doors have to stay open.

  2. Pingback: The Smell of Bullshit, part 26: more employee stories | Mitherings from Morningside

  3. It is with a heavy heart that I tell my story about the 2 plus years that I spent working for Lush Cosmetics in North America. There are so many stories that I can truly relate to on this site and I am overjoyed that I found it. I guess I will start from the beginning of my relationship with Lush.

    I discovered Lush when I was 17, and I fell in love. Young and very naive, I believed the company could do no wrong and immediately applied. I was offered an interview with the manager and the senior keyholder. I was eventually told I would only be hired on seasonally, which still made me very happy. A week later I get a phone call telling me that the manager that hired me was no longer employed with the company, and they would like me to start immediately- as a regular employee, not seasonal. I was hired in early August. Our Christmas seasonally products are not released until late November. When I went to fill out my paperwork, I was started at a decent wage, as a regular employee(so I thought). A few months later, the other seasonal staff was hired. Keep in mind, the entire time August-February of the next year, my store was operating without a manager. 6 MONTHS. WITH NO ONE RUNNING THE STORE. WITHOUT A MANAGER.
    When the other seasonal employees were hired, I found out from the “acting” mangers (1 keyholder and 2 regular employees) that they decided I was going to be a seasonal employee after all.
    To fill you in, Lush is not based on commission like many other cosmetics stands. We have TEAM goals that we are expected to make every day, and there is no way to keep track of each individual sale per employee. If we make these goals, everyone received a small bonus of the same amount per hour you worked.
    At the end of the season, the acting manager and our “Retail Support”(what a fucking joke) made every employee carry around a notebook and write down every single sale we made. By early December, we were all confused and very irritable. The employees with the most “sales” by the end of the very busy Christmas season, were to be considered for staying on for regular employment.
    After the hectic Christmas season, I was allowed to stay on as a regular employee(Are you confused yet?) We went a few more months without a manger and as far as we knew, Lush was not working on it. Then one day, a former employee of Lush with managerial experience walked into our shop and was hired on the spot by the “Retail Support” that was visiting.
    Things did not change. Employees that were not previously seasonal the year before left early, sat down on the floor and ate during their shift, neglected to show up, and threatened the other employees that were new. My manager did nothing. I was eventually bumped up into a keyholder position, and within the last year of my employment with Lush, I learned quite a few things about the company.

    -Products are constantly being recalled- after they’ve been sold to customers and used. If a product has “ingredient quality” concerns, it is sent to us in an email to pull the product from the shelves, even if we’ve sold it to customers already. Oh, and the customers aren’t informed of these recalls. Hmm, wonder why everyone is getting yeast infections and breaking out in hives??

    -Lush’s claims to be environmental friendly are pretty much a farce. We do not have a recycling program. We never recycled in my shop, just let the bottles and cans pile up the bin until someone decided to throw them out instead of taking them home or outside the mall to recycle.We rarely send the “black pots” that you see back to the factory. We had a compost bin, but Lush refused to answer our emails on how to take care of it, so it eventually grew mold and we threw it out.

    -If you want to work for Lush, you are expected to work in completely ridiculous conditions that are dangerous. Pieces of wood and chunks of material were constantly falling off of the floor and our fixtures. We had emailed Lush several times and they suggested we “tape” the wood pieces back to the floor. We had bug infestations not once, but twice in the 2 years that I worked for Lush. We were forced to clean out moldy face mask pots, and a large percentage of expired products were left on the shelves to turn moldy.

    -You will be objected to favoritism while working for Lush. My manager had a teenage son that was dating one of the employees at my store. She got the most hours and spent the night at my mangers house every single night.

    – I worked at Lush for an entire year without a single pay raise, as many of the other employees have stated. At my current and most jobs, you receive a small raise every 90 days. Lush does not offer any type of maternity leave. Oh- and don’t forget, Lush didn’t offer any type of insurance for their employees, so watch out for those pieces of splintered wood.

    -Lush offers “managers meetings” to all the NA managers. I would expect for these meetings to be about new and upcoming products and ways to improve the company. Nope. When our manager returned, we were told stories of the managers simply partying the night away and having a grand old time while we were left without management for a week and expected to hold the shop together. The last managers meeting was in Cancun, Mexico, by the way.

    -Lush as a company does not care about their employees. I knew a woman that worked at another store (won’t reveal the name) that was in an area that was very susceptible to hurricanes and bad weather. She was expected to keep her shop open throughout hurricane season. When her shop finally closed, the water damage was extensive, but they were able to reopen. To make a long story short- this woman and several other employees inhaled toxic mold spores from the shop, and were hospitalized. Lush had not sent in anyone to asses this shop and make sure it was safe. They opened up the doors without hesitation. ($$$$$$)
    I also knew an employee (a key holder) at another store that was fired without any warning or reason. She called her shop and ours to ask for the number or email for HR, and we were told to deny her any information. To this day, I feel guilt over turning away someone that could have genuinely used my help.

    When I was toward the end of my stretch with Lush, we were emailed a store survey that asked us to reveal our thoughts and feelings about the company. There was a comment box, where I wrote quite a few of my opinions (in a nice way) about the company as a whole. The survey was anonymous, but they were aware of which shop each surveyor came from.
    There was also a new policy being implemented in the NA shops. We were asked to sign paperwork that stated if we decided to sue Lush, then we must settle in court without bringing separate parties (basically waiving your right to fight a fair case against Lush, no matter what).
    Lush was being sued by employees everywhere for their unfair business practices and unequal treatment of their employees.
    I did not sign this paper because I didn’t feel like it was fair, and decided to put it off until I was forced to sign it.

    Less than one week later I was fired.

    My manager took me out into the middle of mall where dozens of people were(professional, eh?) and told me that Lush decided that didn’t need me anymore. She cited customer complaints (I asked for proof, she didn’t have any), and that I was not making sales (Like I said, we do not have individual goals or log in numbers, we all use the same, so there was no way for her to know that it was me and not anyone else), and told me she had discussed it with HR and Retail Support, and that I was terminated.
    I was given my vacation pay( 100 dollars of sick pay was never given to me) and was sent on my way.

    In an honest and truthful way, I was heartbroken. Mostly my feelings were hurt because I had grown close to everyone I worked with, and customers too. Luckily I already had another job, and things worked out. But I will never forget the two painful and miserable years I spent working with Lush. Finding this site has helped me realize that I am better off without this company. Leaving has made me less stressed and has made me much happier. I have lost friends, but I had a good support system throughout everything.
    My advice to everyone working for Lush- get out of the company while you still can, because you don’t know when the rug is going to be pulled from beneath you. Do not let yourself be treated like shit because you want to take a luxurious bubble bath every night. Remain true to yourself and stand your ground, because you are worth more than any slice of soap in this world.

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