The Smell of Bullshit, part 39: Christmas fun for Lush managers (in mid-November)

The blog has received an email from a Lush employee. I’m going to post it here unedited.

I truly can’t believe what has happened now!

Lush have organised a November managers meeting.  More about that in a bit.  The first time they did this November meeting was in 2011 when all managers had to go down to Poole just for one night to receive some important information about the way that head office structure was changing – like when the helping hands department was set up and who was running which department.

This was really inconvenient for managers to just down tools and go down to Poole, at short notice, as they were just getting into the swing of Christmas, just getting their teams used to taking more money, organising and training temps, making their shops look Christmassy, putting into play all the things they learned at the 3 day long Christmas managers meeting held in a 5* hotel just 2 months before etc.  But of course everyone went and did what they were told realizing that it must be a really crucial meeting in order for them to be ‘summoned’.  The trainees were left in charge and off the managers went to their important meeting.
 
It wasn’t! It was a glorified piss up in another 5* hotel, another Christmas meal and the vital information was handed to us in the form of a pink and a blue laminated sheet of paper with some phone numbers on which could have been posted – or emailed even!
 
Most managers just enjoyed the party and drank lots at Lush’s expense.  A few managers felt guilty that their trainees were left holding the baby while they partied away – especially as no staff holiday is allowed in November and December at Lush due to Christmas being so crucial to the business.  It is stated in the Contract of Employment. (hold that thought)
 
Last year, due to everyone having such a lovely time in 2011, they did it again.  Again the majority of managers enjoyed their ‘meeting’ and a good time was had by all but a few who just wanted to concentrate on Christmas and being a good manager and making money, not that that does you any favours with Lush.  
 
We have just got this email:
 

Hello all Managers,

It’s the season to have fun and be jolly and this year we would like you to join us in the captivating city of Amsterdam for Marks Special Party!!

You will be flying out on Sunday 17th November to experience this charming and charismatic city which starts its Christmas Season on that very day when Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) arrives by boat into the city to begin the festive period. Many people take to the streets to celebrate and we would LOVE you to be one of them! Providing the current agenda doesn’t change, the day is yours to do as you wish until the evening. We take great pleasure in attaching your party invite and details about what we have planned for your evenings entertainment! 
 
Amsterdam will be full of enthusiasm and excitedly busy which is why we want to fly you out early on Sunday to be involved in this festively unique event. Please consider how you will get to your chosen airport in the early hours of Sunday.
 
We have attached your booking form that we would ask you kindly to fill in and return no later than Sunday 27th October. We are also giving you the option to stay extra days and take in the wonders of Amsterdam. We are more than happy to organise your flights for this, however the cost of the room will have to be paid by yourself. We have managed to get some great rates with the hotel. Please email xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx if you are interested.
 
(Please note that the Sunday is a work day and you can claim this back as a lieu day)
 
We hope you are all as excited as we are and will be able to join us for this fantastic celebration with our European neighbours. Its going to be one hell of a party!!! Look out Amsterdam… Here we come!
 
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
 
Flying? (105 managers and god knows how many head office staff and hangers on)  
 
Extra days (when no holiday is allowed)
 
Here’s the itinerary of what crucial business learning will be taking place:
 
We are super excited to take ONE LUSH into the festive season and where better to do this than the magical city of Amsterdam!You will be staying in the Five Star Grand Krasnapolsky Hotel on the world famous Dam Square in the heart of Amsterdam and if you keep your eyes peeled, you might just catch a glimpse of Sinterklaas as he makes his way through the city.
Your 1920’s outfit is essential as we dine and dance the night away with our exciting Great Gatsby themed night.Let’s get the festive period off to a great start and celebrate this Christmas season with good friends and good cheer!
 
There is various information about what to wear and what hairstyles to have – all compulsory so staff will have to get all their costumes etc. in their hand luggage.
 
We really appreciate all the effort you will be making and to reward you on the night we will be giving prizes away for:
– Best LADIES HairStyle
– Best GENTLEMANS HAIRSTYLE
– Best LADIES Headdress
– BEST GENTLEMANS MOUSTACHE STYLING
– BEST DRESSED MALE
– BEST DRESSED FEMALE
– Best Charleston dancing
So boys and girls…
Come as a flapper or come as you are,
Come as a gangster or a silent movie star,
Its going to be fun no matter how you dress
Just bring yourself, LUSH will do the rest!
 
The reaction on the staff facebook page is mixed. 
 
“Just a little bit excited for the Novembers Managers Meeting……Amstadam”
 
“How very exciting – a well deserved treat”  (yes, it’s only been 2 months since the last 5* Christmas managers meeting, another piss up and Christmas meal.
 
Most were concerned with passport issues, especially if they didn’t have one: 
 
“What if you’ve not got a current Passport?”  
 
 “I reckon there’ll be a few of us without a passport, and like xxxx says, even if you get fast track or premium you could wait up to 3 weeks for an appointment to order the passport. Really hope they can extend the booking form. Be a shame to miss out.”    
 
“Amsterdam is completely out of the question for me. I don’t have a passport and nor can I afford the £75 to get one. Living in  xxxxxx, there’s no fast track office nearby either.  Not only that, but personal reasons too;  A 5* hotel in Amsterdam during this whole Christmas festival sounds absolutely fantastic, really really amazing and I want to go so badly, but I just cant. Honestly, this is supposed to be a motivating meeting but I feel really flat because I know that I’m missing out now. But in all, I really hope that the managers who can make it have a good time!
 
“i do think if it’s a mandatory meeting outside of the UK, it would only be fair if Lush paid for Passports for managers who don’t already have one. Who can afford £100 odd for fast track when we cant even heat our homes properly without being on debt?!”
 
During the discussion about passports and flying, just one member of staff questioned the ethics of an Amsterdam party by showing this link:
 
 
To which the reply was:  “You need a passport whichever form of transport you take, I managed to get a passport in one day from the london passport office. Obviously that was just a replacement so completely new applications will prob take longer. Hope everybody gets I sorted!    
 
This person B completely missed the point so it was re-stated by the person who posted the link (Person A):
 
“Sorry, my point was that are we not supposed to be limiting air travel where possible? I don’t see this event as being business critical especially in these financially difficult times.”
 
Person B replied: “Oh right. Yeah I can see what you mean but rallying the troops and motivating is highly important too. You could say they same of the store Xmas parties. I know they do not cost the same as this but collectively that’s a lot of money that we spend and that’s just a lovely way for us to thank our teams and celebrate how amazing we are, i guess what i mean by that is in both cases christmas will still happen next year without it but its still an amazing thing for lush to provide us. Obviously, we’ve never gone to Amsterdam but this November meeting has happened for a few years now, so Whoever makes the decision on these meetings does see it as business critical or at least business effective else it wouldn’t get done xx”  
 
(Parties are clearly business critical now)!
 
(Person A):  “I’m happy that you get motivation from attending such meetings, I really am, but where is the motivation for everyone else? What motivation do I get when myself and the rest of xxxx had our bonus scheme removed 4 months ago and have not received a penny for project based bonuses that were previously agreed.  The November meeting could quite easily be held in the UK, putting the managers up in a 5 star hotel is just a smack in the face to those of us who are struggling to make ends meet.  I am aware that others are in similar situations but that does not excuse the fact that this event could just as easily take place in the UK and at a lower cost. How about investing in your staff, so everyone is recognised and has some standard of living, people keep falling for these quick fixes of fun rather than stable good salaries and achievable bonuses. “
 
Someone else jumped in with: “European managers coming to the U.K. Vs uk managers going to Europe. I’d imagine the cost is similar? Either way I’m excited”  (there are far less euro managers and no need for head office staff to fly out to Amsterdam if it was held in the UK,  so it would cost less and be better for the environment with far less flights. 
 

(Person A): Ok, I didn’t realise that this was a European managers meeting as well, so that means even more expense. I would be interested to see the budget for this event, it’s probably as ludicrous as the Lushfest events! I hope you all enjoy getting drunk at the expense of other peoples bonuses.”

 

And some further comments: “Well, well, well this explains why the front line staff eg shop floor didn’t get a Xmas box !!!!! Thanks for being so kind to the people that actually make the money for this company feeling really motivated for crimbo now NOT !!!!”

 “Guys, I think we should all calm down and put things into perspective… it isn’t like they are being flown out of the country for a boozy trip 5 weeks before the biggest and most important time of the year for the company that single handedly keeps it afloat…. oh… wait…”

  “We’ll have fun in Amsterdam everyone while the lowly shop floor staff sell their butts off to make sure managers get all the treats, feeling very let down”

 

Sadly these staff will probably get the sack now for speaking out of turn and not being pleased for their managers or pro Lush.

 This Amsterdam trip will clearly motivate everyone and will help bring the staff and management together as one big happy family.   Just shows Lush’s lack of any business sense whatsoever.  But I’m sure a good time will be had by all.   One Lush! 

As far as I’m concerned, Lush can spend their money how they want. But I am appalled (yet not surprised, unsurprisingly) that they are flying their staff around Europe for a party. Remember, Lush are very vocal about their commitment to the environment and they support Plane Stupid, as discussed in this Guardian article from 2008. But they’re paying to fly their staff around for a night on the ran-dan that could easily have taken place in the UK. What utter hypocrites.

If any of the staff who have commented negatively on the facebook page are reading this, I urge you to join an appropriate union straight away. Protect yourselves. If Lush start to make life difficult for you because you’ve criticised their stupidity, you might need union help. Those of you who fear management action because you’re unable to attend (because you can’t afford to, or for any other reason), join a union, protect yourselves. And all those of you who are on minimum wage and have had your Christmas bonuses removed – it’s time for every single one of you to join an appropriate union, get organised, and start fighting for better terms and conditions.

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57 thoughts on “The Smell of Bullshit, part 39: Christmas fun for Lush managers (in mid-November)

    • The Constantines recently had a Gatsby themed party at their house in Poole for one of their kids. The irony is lost on them.

  1. Well let me tell you its not the same for every country. While I don’t know where germanys christmas managermeeting was held this year, I know where the meeting before was held. (managermeetings happen every approximatly every 6 month in germany). The managers meeting was in a youth hostel. Yes thats right. Not a snazzy hotel, which really isn’t a necessity to be fair… but a youth hostel?! Where the managers were made to share a room with another manager (or trainee for that matter). Which is fine if you have people you know and like. But it is mighty awkward if you have to bunk with a complete stranger (and yes, there where bunkbeds).

    So yeah, while england really is over the top, germany is bloody shameful. But I guess germany has to save money, since the visitor numbers (and thus the monies) have been dropping in most shops during the last 2 years. Mh… I wonder why that could be, since the german headhonchos kept telling managers that: “Nooo, there isn’t a recession, you just aren’t working hard enough! Look at shopmanager X and shopmanager Y! THEY are getting their bonus and reach their goals!”

    Yep… maybe 5 shops out of 45 are regularly reaching their goal… mh… so suuuure, all the other managers are slackers. And suuuure, the quality of the products hasn’t dropped at all, the shops have been recalling all those facecreams, soaps that are falling apart, brickhard bubblebars et al just for fun. OF COURSE! Everything can be solved if the sales assistants just do a few more demos and a bit more linkselling and a little more add ons, oh and not to forget to ask for adresses for the newsletter and then maybe get them to buy a samplepot of charity too.

    I’m over Lush now. I used to be so happy with them. I loved the products, I loved the suppossed greenness. I came into the shop and my mood instantly lifted. Now when I think Lush and I think screw them. I still like a few products but I’ve had it with them. I hope they will crash down from their high and mighty horse with a vengeance. Working for them used to be nice, nowadays it mostly isn’t.

    I apologise for this disjointed ramble, I really to get this off my chest.

  2. Interesting reading. My work has been moving to video and phone conferences instead of having everyone travel. And, since we’re split between Ireland and Northern Ireland, really big conferences are done twice. That way only the presenters incur travel costs, and the audience is kept small enough to fit in work buildings rather than hotels. Unlike Lush, my work has never taken a stance regarding the harm of air travel, or supported Plane Stupid.

    Really have to question how this lines up with Lush’s previous position on air travel.

    • What is it about this post in particular you think shouldn’t be here? You don’t like seeing Lush hypocrisy exposed? You think all staff should have to have a passport ready and waiting to comply with Lush’s whims, even if they can’t afford to heat their houses? You think staff should just put up and shut up?
      As regards your “get a life” remark, would it help if I posted a full account of my activities every week so you can decide whether I’ve had enough of a life that week to justify the blog?

    • A lot of customers choose where to send their money on an ethical basis when it comes to frivolous things like toiletries. Lush have a long history of publicly supporting worthy causes like Plane Stupid: this information from a Lush employee seems to indicate that out of the public eye, their actions are different. So yes, I think this is customers’ business.

    • Actually, it’s everyone’s business. Lush are people that question the ethics of their customers and the general public every time the porcine Constantine gets on his high moral horse about something and decides to ‘write’ (I use that term loosely) one of his long winded diatribes in some national rag or other. He sits on his pedestal, up in his ivory tower, possibly with a tall white stallion prancing around, playing judge and jury over everyone else’s action (or inaction).

      Questioning Lush and making their perfidious nature more widely known is very much kind of behavior that Lush always encourages (both of their staff and their customers); to question and even campaign against apparently unethical or morally dubious practice. You know how it’s usually the farter who shouts “What a stink, who farted?” to try and separate them from their faux-pas? Well I think that’s what Lush has been doing for years – shouting out about inequalities here there and everywhere despite their own house not being in order; yet because they campaign about it so vehemently, who would question their own practice? It now appears they’re not bright enough to even cover up their own foul stench. Eggy and beefy curry farts that make your eyes water – not dissimilar to a Gorilla perfume but perhaps the flatus has more artistic manufacture and delivery.

      Well we know who farted, Lush, and it stinks. It stinks really bad.

  3. I am also in awe of The Grey Wheelie Bin. I am saddened by Lush’s continuing stupidity.

  4. its funny how they expect shop staff to be calm cool and happy about this trip. Shop staff have felt neglected for the longest while and our complains go unheard. Not only have they taking away 3 wishes, they didnt give us our biggest incentive (staff boxes). All under the guise of budget cuts. Yet once again, management are being given this chance to go to Amsterdam. Some managers dont even do anything other than write schedules and read emails. They tend to leave all the hard work to trainee managers and shop staff. And lets not talk about the bonus scheme. Last xmas when shop staff were getting an extra 50 for working the shopfloor and pushing till add ons, and flirting our way thru sales, managers on the otherhand (the ones sitting upstairs checking in every 6 hours) received an average of 1000 pounds. for doing what exactly? motivating me? ha. money is my motivation. and the managers I have encountered havent exactly been very motivating. Who am I? a lush employee for over 3 years. Im so sick of the crappy products (the whole eb range for example). Lets just hope we can also get a raise, or a defined role. In most shops you are expected to merchandise, campaign, clean bathrooms, do the dishes, train staff, plan events,etc etc. The list of things we are expected to do are endless. there are so many more frustrating things going on with lush. I really wish someone would hear our cry. As another commenter has said, I also started with lush as a happy camper. They say seeing is believing, I have seen it all.

    I guess I should stop ranting now

    • Never stop ranting. Never stop demanding better from your employer – whoever that employer may be. This current one, or future ones (who will deserve your talents). Join a union (USDAW for shop workers) and never stop fighting for your rights, your ethical treatment, fair pay and job security. It’s what Lush would want, after all; I mean, they bang on about ‘fair trade’ (fairly traded/Fair Trade/FairTrade/Fair Trading/Fairdinkum My Arse) often enough, don’t they? Get unionised, encourage your colleagues. It’s the only way forward. Good luck, comrade.

  5. Right, onto the matter at hand. I believe this is nothing to do with motivation. How could it be? How motivating is this for the trainee managers and sales associates who are the ones working all hours to sell shoddy gifts (and I believe that they are shoddy) on not much above the minimum wage? It’s for the select few – the managers. And whilst I do not doubt their hard work, the whole shop wouldn’t work without every member of staff, so why treat only one? It’s utterly bizarre. It’s also so hypocritical on the plane front, it’s totally outrageous. I hope the press pick up on it.

    The first thing that comes to mind; what kind of IDIOT motivates people by giving them a treat before they accomplish anything? Surely the point about the “carrot-dangling method of motivation” is a promise of a reward; the hope of good things yet to come which are entirely dependent on fulfilling certain criteria. Or, in layman’s terms – a pat on the head and a little something extra in pay when a certain monetary value or increase is achieved during the biggest sector of the UK retail year. Whoever thought this gem up is really rather thick. It is not a motivating factor to reward the better paid members of your employment force (i.e. the managers) before they have even achieved anything. And flying them abroad in peak retailing times? What the… are these people actual retailers or just playing at it?

    In fact, the whole thing is so utterly imbecilic, it is making me wonder if it’s because poor little Millionaire Mark wants to be able to say he did a Big Gesture this year. After all, there was no LushFest13 so what can he boast about regarding his wealth? And of course, it wouldn’t harm his PR now, would it? Look at the title they’ve given it – “Mark’s Party”. Does this tell you it’s all about the little people, the hired help? No, it’s all about fucking Cuntstantine. All about stroking his ego.

    I think he likes people to know he is a ‘generous benefactor’. In fact, we know this from when he reproached a wonderful, loyal customer on the forum for not being ‘grateful enough’ for a gift he had given her. It was a gift with conditions, not a genuine gift. A gift for show, not from the heart, to be used against her at a future time. Not very nice, is it?

    Unfortunately his grand gestures that only treat the few instead of the many backfire on several levels. If you cannot give the gesture to all staff but only to favorites, it looks mean spirited, vulgar and disingenuous. That’s the first point. The second point is, it stinks of a Brentism; when David Brent makes the point that a struggling sales executive doesn’t turn up in a battered old car, but rolls into work in a big snazzy car to fool everyone into the fact he is successful; like attracts like, after all. I think that this is so Constantine can say in 2014 that ‘they had some bad PR so they cheered all their staff up by flying them to Amsterdam for a party’ to both demonstrate a) his wealth/the company’s success and b) his kind and generous nature. (I found that second bit really hard to type out). It may not be of course, this is all just a theory I’ve thought out based on this man’s behavior as witnessed on the forum over the years.

    Everything I see as an (ex) customer tells me they are not successful.

    1) Treating customers – old and new – like crap on their primary social media presence, then playing the ‘oh, you’re all bullies’ card. (Seriously, how old?)

    2) Continually ignoring important questions over and over again re: product & gift quality; skin eruptions (reaction to product); useless, ineffective product which does NOT do what it states; dirty shops; rude staff (online, not in shops). I could go on but I am boring myself now. But if you had answers, or cared, you would just answer them – right? It’s not bloody rocket science.

    3) The empty shops with really old, tired windows. And tired, old, faded product.

    4) “Fresh Matters” replacing what was one of the most trail blazing and successful marketing publications in the past 20 years – yes, the grand old dame The Lush Times. If you have to replace that greatness with the bland crappy directory-style catalogue which had putrefying fruit & veg on the front (was it a picture of the factory ingredients?) then that tells me something has gone askew. Why the need for such a massive change? And why the need to flatter their own egos for the first 30 pages – was that in the remote bit interesting to the customer? And I am still struggling to work out why there was a picture of a tramp in front of the shop too, I hope they paid him for the photo.

    Just these four things tell me they are not a successful company. Because successful companies become so by finding a gap in the market, excelling at what they do, listening to customers, treating staff (ALL staff) really well and by keeping on doing what they do best. Lush took everything they did the best (products, social media interaction, marketing magazine/catalogue) and turned it to shit. Or, to quote The Hollies, they did a “King Midas in Reverse”.

    “He’s not the man to hold your trust
    Everything he touches turns to dust
    In his hands
    Nothing he can do is right
    He’d even like to sleep at night
    But he can’t ”

    (credits to songwriters, Graham Nash, Alan Clarke and Tony Hicks. A.k.a. The Hollies).

    • They sent out the 100 best companies questionnaires but only 17%were filled in. Wonder why!

      • because its easier to pretend that all is well, than to admit that you hate your job and your boss is a cunt

      • I did mine but the last question was ‘were you pressurized to fill in the survey?’. The answer was YES, we were asked 4 times a day for Lush sake, as if to say ‘what’s the problem anyway??’. Lots of my ex-colleagues were worried it wasn’t anonymous….

    • Last year during holidays we worked our asses off and stayed in the shop until the wee hours of the morning (3am-4am) countless shifts to make sure everything exactly resembled the vague, fuzzy visual image guide we received. Our team worked our asses off, and what was it all for? It was to send our manipulative, lazy, compulsive liar of a manager on a nice week-long holiday to Cancun, courtesy of Lush. I hope they thoroughly enjoyed the fruits of the team’s labor, because I know not a single one of us did, and not a single one of us work there anymore, either.

      • I could have easily written this post as this past year was SHIT. Working endless hours, not allowed to sit and the constant pow-wow cheer-everyone-up speech from the manager, who’s attitude stunk. Said manager was the only personnel in the shop with no college education and sadly, their insecurity and petty attitude has run EVERY ONE OF the floor staff off in just over 14 months. Way to go….and said person would not SHUT UP about the trip to Cancun. Too much work for $1 more than minimum wage when people could walk 500 yards down the mall and work for an upscale department store for $5 more an hour and for a company that has an HR department. If Lush had an HR department, the shop manager would have been written up so fast for slander and harassment it would make heads spin.

        Still waiting to see what Lush will do as one of the mods on the INTL forum has given notice. Remove the name when no one is looking?? Or when we’re all sleeping. I wouldn’t expect anything more.

  6. Lush have international meetings where probably around 100 staff members are flown in from around the world. Some of the sales team are constantly travelling to visit international Lush businesses. And let’s not forget various board managers and senior staff with sports cars and 4x4s who don’t think twice about flying off on exotic holidays. Most staff are there for the products and the fun and creativity and are driven solely by sales, not ethics.

    But many of the issues are not to do with Lush so much as they are to do with running any international business model. All top-down international business models are the same. Many multi-national charities are little better. It’s a shame they can’t accept that the best motivation for staff lies in how they are treated, including pay and giving them a real say, not fancy hotels and especially when that’s only for management. Stay small and local, it’s impossible to operate responsibly and sustainably any other way. Lush’s aggressive growth model has been their downfall. Greed always trumps ethics.

    It’s funny since they come across all leftie – but ultimately the massive inequality amongst staff, the messages given at managers meetings about work harder and get paid more, the moving stories about the lowly Christmas temp climbing the ladder to management and the (not very well hidden) hierarchy makes their so-called progressive politics questionable. There is very much an elite and an underclass within Lush. That’s far from a left view of the world. Walk your talk Lush.

  7. And if anyone wonders if the last paragraph I posted was true? The answer is YES, it is. They gave notice on Friday as they are moving along, much like others this past year who have given up hope on things getting better for them if they worked harder as they had given talent that was used to the HILT by TPTB and now that they have their talent and creativity cemented at Lush and leep striving higher but are NOT getting anymore compensation from the company, so its been announced yet once again……its “time to move on”.

    SHIT….I’m getting tired of hearing that statement (as many of the long-timers have stuck around because of the family atmosphere that once existed and nothing changes except the job excellence from the employee….the salary is a pittance and never budges, such a shame!) from very talented people that solidified Lush for what is what is each department. I suppose since the departments are solid now, TPTB don’t feel beholden at all to the employee dedication they gave and like other departments….once an employee leaves these days, their spot can easily be filled. Sad this place has changed from the family type environment they once held true and close to the hearts of so many,

    If anyone hasn’t guessed, Simon & Hilary are still there so that leaves only one other person that has turned in his walking papers from the forum.

  8. I reckon ‘company that campaigns against excessive plane travel flies 100s of staff to Amsterdam for a pissup’ is the sort of corporate hypocrisy that Private Eye might be interested in…perhaps someone could pass the email along to them?

  9. Your article made my day. I have worked at the Lush offices and hated every minute of it. Everyone is fake and management expects 174354498735 hours overtime without paying you as much as a bath bomb. It’s total chaos in the main warehouse as there is no daily plan. Lots of boxes, tons of unhappy staff running around. The phones in the office are constantly ringing with complaints. The CTG book states they’d rather see staff happy than profit, does anyone believe that BULLSHIT. Most products have parabens…. I could go on but then, anyone with half a brain already knows that, anyone else without the brain is working in the fake, overpaid, management team at Lush. More bubbles anyone?

    • Following your comment earlier the 100 best companies isn’t anonymous, even tho it says it is. There is a code in the back of the questionnaire which relates to the store or department you work in and, depending in the position you hold. From this they are able to work out exactly who you are.

      About 5 years ago (in the good old days when it wasn’t quite as awful) when lots of staff filled the forms out Mark used to read the comments out at the managers meetings and give prizes of B stuff to the managers who said the nicest things about the creators or whose staff said the nicest things about them. So they definitely know who you are.

      Maybe the take up percentage was higher because there were prizes to be had. The cheesier the comment the better.

      • That’s very interesting. When I saw those forms about 5 years ago, my manager at the time told me: “Don’t worry, I’ve filled them in for you.”.

  10. Yes I’m sure. When I worked there they used to send them to “randomly selected” staff members. But in actual fact they got them first, followed by the rest of the staff, this was to maximise positive comments.

    Every questionnaire had a numerical code on the back. Now either each shop had a specific number like the shop numbers or the numbers were generic, so they could just record which number questionnaires went to which shops. Then the questions were tailored to identify, asking things about your immediate supervisor (shop staff would talk about their manager or trainee and managers would answer questions about the directors or retail support (as it was when I was there) ).

    By this it wasn’t difficult to deduce who was saying what about whom. Through making a few phone calls I was able to work out that the shops most likely to say positive things were sent forms first. If they didn’t all come back they were sent to everyone to try to up the percentage of forms filled out.

    After working this out – and realizing that the answers were staged to make things seen better than they were – I refused to fill in any more questionnaires. Especially as I was warned to keep the answers positive as the founders didn’t want to miss out on their night out collecting their prize.

    I couldn’t be dishonest so I just didn’t fill the form out. I was then asked why I hadn’t done my form – If they were anonymous how did they know?

    • Now that the questionnaires are sent by email they are even more traceable. The link that you have to follow to complete the form has a specific code which is unique to that person so there is no question that they know exactly who you are!

      One Lush!

      • That would explain why a colleague got sacked the week after doing the questionnaire and she had said only negative things on it, believing it was anonymous….

      • That 100 Best Companies thing was a farce. They selected the employees most likely to give positive feedback and all feedback could be traced back to the person.

    • We all were asked to fill out one of those lovely questionnaires when my team voiced our concern about the manager to a “retail support” person. I’m so glad I covered my ass and put down neutral answers now. I always had a feeling they’d know who said what, and I also knew that filling out a little form wouldn’t do jack-squat to get our manager out. She makes the monthly goals, so who cares about how she does it? Not Lush.

  11. I found this on their website:

    “Transport

    Since we are an international company operating in 46 countries – and using fresh raw materials from all over the globe – sea, land and air transport make up our biggest contribution to climate change.

    To minimize that, we have reduced the amount of air-freighted raw material to less than five percent in weight of everything we bring into the UK and will keep that as our target. We also work with our international partners to help them reduce their amount of air-freighted goods coming out of our factory.

    We prefer to make fresh products locally, using local staff to supply local markets, so we have six manufacturing units around the world and intend to open a few more in the near future.

    We don’t believe in carbon offsetting. It is a tricky business of ineffective schemes, cheap carbon and people taking advantage, while others try to relieve their guilt.

    To reduce our flights, we have kindly asked our employees not to take any UK mainland domestic flights. We encourage using video-conferencing, questioning staff’s decisions to fly and making the most out of the trips. For the flights we do take, we tax ourselves £50 per metric tonne of CO2 and use the money to fund transport and climate change groups, as well as internal and external low carbon projects.”

    (Link here: https://www.lush.co.uk/content/view/783)

    I wonder *why* they CHOSE not to party in the UK. Is it a great big ‘fuck you’ to their critics? A lapse in their supposed ‘ethics’ or perhaps just because they can? Or is it just sheer stupidity and a case of forgetting which ethics they have historically chosen because it would give them free press at the time? It does show how transparent their ‘ethics’ are doesn’t it, when they can abandon them for no reason other than to P-A-R-T-Y.

    Are they going to be slapping a £50 per metric tonne of CO2 tax on all their managers or is that another principle to be cast aside when it no longer serves its PR purpose?

    They come across as such shysters.

    • And yet they will make a mint at Christmas and laugh all the way to the bank….

      • while paying staff less than the living wage and cutting bonuses for crucial staff who they should be treating better.

    • There has never been any video conferencing taking place at Lush. The only time is when doing training with google which is an outside company and nothing to do with Lush.

      They could so easily use trains and ferries for this little shindig. It would probably cost more but, according to the new Cosmetics To Go book they are about People Before Profit.

      Yeah right! Another massive lie.

      • I saw that page when I was at work and spat out my tea on my screen. When my **** manager asked me what the matter was, I just said I was shocked how cheap the book was for such quality!! Riiiiiight. And don’t get me started on Mira Manga and the Emotional B…ullshit.

      • The Cosmetics to Go book… Mira worked on that for years and it’s about the same size as a One Direction annual (also looks like it contains much of the old cosmetics to go brochure copy). Time well spent!!!

  12. In 2010 Mark and Mo gave certain employees a bonus around the time of their OBE announcement.

    This Amsterdam party is announced at a time when Lush is facing overwhelmingly bad publicity and more employees are speaking out against them than ever before.

    • So, reward the staff when something nice happens and they want to receive lots of creepy, sycophantic congratulations from them and alienate the most important members of staff when they have told it like it is and the shit is hitting the fan? Sounds about right as far as the new Lush is concerned. It’s how the Constantines treat everyone, and now No. 2 son is taking over it is only going to get worse.

      My manager, supportive as always, said that she is going to Amsterdam to get pissed at the companies expense and is staying for 2 extra days because it gives her a holiday in November, which isn’t usually allowed. I asked for a days holiday to go to see my son in a school thing and she said no as we’re not allowed holiday in November and anyway it’s her day off so I have to be there to open the shop.

      Lush is rotten to the core and it is filtering down through the staff to managers now. Instead of being there for the staff, managers are getting too big for their boots and are treating their staff badly. For me, sadly, there is no escape. I have tried to find another job but there isn’t much about and I have to work so I am stuck at the moment. I came to work for Lush three years ago and thought it was a fantastic place to work with supportive staff and a good atmosphere.

      At first it was brilliant, the manager was lovely and things were amazing. Then she had a bad time at the hands of the person who is now manager. She was bullied into leaving and not supported by head office. They lost a truly caring manager who would do anything for her staff and for Lush.

      Lush, in their infinite wisdom, kept on the now manager who is a thief, a liar and a thoroughly lazy person. Maybe they suit the new style of business that Lush is turning into. I have joined a union and hope that if things turn bad that it will protect me somewhat.

    • Having worked at Lush myself I know that said whistleblower hotline is a glorified trap in which they catch dissenters out. I know people who have made complaints on there and had it traced back to them… only to be ‘let go’ from the company soon after.

    • Someone from the store did last year after they left. Sadly the whistleblowing department didn’t believe her. This manager person has kissed the butts of so many high up people and befriended some Constantine family members so they are bullet proof. The ‘allegations’ were swept under the carpet and the whistleblower was told not to cause trouble. Even though she had seen it with her own eyes they took no action and didn’t believe her so what chance have the rest of us got?

      Just shows what good judges of character Lush are.

  13. It makes me feel upset. Here I am on the front line, working in a shop, run ragged with Christmas coming along. Barely able to exist on my monthly paypacket. Lush is now sending managers on a piss up to Amsterdam. How does that make your shop staff feel. They did not give us a Christmas box, we get no bonus all we can look forward to at Christmas is the shop manager bossing us around. Late nights walking home in the dark as we can’t afford a cab. No thanks for our hard work. Its miserable. Thanks Lush for yet another miserable Christmas!

  14. Feels like we need a specific Lush union…I tried looking into traditional Union routes but none of it fitted. Lush is a law unto itself; we need something tailor-made, I fear…

    Even typing here is quite nerve-wracking, and I know my manager is with me and possibly trying to protect me, because I have said quite stern & specific negative things on recent questionnaires and so on. I think I might be marked as a trouble-maker higher-up due to run-ins with various people in other departments but the shop is doing well and she likes what I do so meh…

    It’s exhasuting, though. I used to love it. Most of the time I still do, if I forget about the bigger picture and just think about my little shop-universe…but if I open up to the wider Lush world it gets me down and I wonder why I do it. For pittance. Oh, and the love. Don’t forget the love.

  15. I’m a current Lush employee of 5+ years and I can believe every single thing that every member of staff, current or past, has posted on this blog. It is funny to read the ‘see no evil, hear no evil’ response of some staff on the staff facebook page when this blog is mentioned. ‘Just don’t look at it!’. I had a few great years at Lush (mostly in ignorance) and have since oscillated between angry venting and a silent hopelessness. Having returned two Best Companies questionnaires with responses ranging from unamused to scathing, I am beginning to wonder if I have been earmarked for treachery. I have made some very serious truthful allegations against members of staff in the past (the type which can lead to instant dismissal…theoretically) but nothing has come of them. It took a lot of courage to stand up and speak out and I feel that all I have done is put a nail in my job coffin. I will join a union having read so many comments urging to do so. These experiences are clearly not isolated and I hope that there will come a time when the facade Lush wears will publicly fall away, exposing the rotten underneath. The Amsterdam meeting does not surprise me at all and I am finding it increasingly difficult to muster the energy to fight back. I think I was spent out after Lush Fest. And then the second one. I was speaking to a sales assistant from another company and when I mentioned breaks (minimal and almost certainly illegal), they commented that they were surprised such an ethical company treated their staff so badly. I couldn’t disagree.

  16. I heard something on the wireless this morning which made me think, “Cheez-whiz! That sounds familiar”. It took me a while to work out why, then it clicked. Despite my fairly frequent posting on this blog, I am not wholly consumed by my substantial dislike of Lush Cosmetics (I do have a job and a life with my little Wheelie family) but when it pops up, I do feel the need to vent it. I hate feeling like I have wasted £1000s of pounds over the years and that I bought into a dream that didn’t exist. I hate feeling duped, that’s the top and bottom of it. That, and I think the people running it are complete and utter wankers.

    What did I hear on the radio then? It was about cult behavior; how certain people are drawn to the need to ‘belong’ which leads them towards cult-type outfits. I think Lush does fall into that category of cult. I presume that if anyone from Lush is reading this that they will take that as some kind of compliment. It really isn’t. I mean destructive, weird cult in the religious sense, not cult as in ‘cult beauty products’ which are something else entirely. (Clue: cult beauty products are usually beloved of beauty editors and beauty press, live up to the hype, are effective and great value. Lush cosmetics do not, in my opinion, fit that description).

    So what makes Lush cult like? Or why do I think it is, not having ‘belonged’ to it in any way other than as a customer? Well it did draw customers in to actually, as well as staff. (And I am not saying ALL customers or all staff felt the need to belong, I am sure most were drawn in on several aspects, like the fun products that used to be good value and effective). Despite the myriad letters after my name, I am no social scientist or psychiatrist, so I am cherry picking some paragraphs from here (all credit to original authors) to support my thoughts.

    http://www.hgi.org.uk/archive/cults.htm#.UpIF9rtvt0o

    “A CULT is most commonly thought of as a religious or utopian group with a charismatic leader, though not all cult leaders are charismatic.”

    Apparently Constantine used to be seen as a charismatic MD, although customer and industry opinion does seem to be changing from what I have heard. Personally, I think he has the charisma of a sack of spuds. A sack of spuds infested with potato blight.

    “Some cult members exhibit obviously bizarre behaviour and wear strange clothes. Yet most cult behaviour is only a slightly more extreme form of the normal cultural behaviour that we are steeped in from childhood — for example, peer group pressure to conform.”

    Now there isn’t a specific branded uniform for Lush UK staff; they all seem to wear their own black clothes and an apron (white or black, can’t remember these days as it’s so long since I went into a store) but many seem to adopt a more what-used-to-be-known-as ‘alternative’ mode of dressing. (I do hate the word ‘alternative’ to describe a lifestyle or a fashion because it really means bugger all – alternative to what? What’s the norm? But I hope you know what I mean). It’s a mishmash of a grungy/rockabilly/body-mod look – perhaps one we’re not used to seeing in cosmetics stores – so think big woolly hair (as in woolly multi-colored extensions), hair dyed all colors of the rainbow, dreads, tattoos, piercings, big holes in ears, 1940s style scarves in hair and really bright makeup. Or no makeup at all. No uniformity (if you’ll pardon the pun). Not how you usually see sales associates in malls/stores so possibly ‘alternative’ is an apt description in this way. I hasten to add, this is an observation and not a criticism at all (I am all for individuality or dressing to please oneself) and the observation is that although there is no specific ‘uniform’ there does seem to be reoccurring vibe amongst many of the sales teams. And some of the directors too.

    There is also a recurring speech fashion- shouting ‘hey guys!’ when you walk in the door; shouting throughout the shop (I swore I once heard ‘hey, I’m going to the loo’ as a team member let her colleagues know of her next movements… Why not just tuck a paper under your arm and shout ‘I’ll be on the shitter for 15 minutes. Leave a coffee outside and get the can of Glade ready’?); screaming; whooping; random applause; singing; trying to act ‘kooky’ and speaking with that incredibly annoying rising inflection. Everyone seems to do it. There is a definite ‘Lush type’ but I don’t encounter people like this in regular life, just from the inside of a Lush shop. Which strikes me as… cultish. Do people go through a Wallace & Gromit style ‘Lush-o-meter’?.

    The people in the shops work incredibly hard and all credit to them, but I am just pointing out some of the cult like aspects of the behavior and company culture. I am not the sole observer of these traits – have a little research and see what you find:

    “Lush, Eldon Sq […] I stopped and chatted to two members of staff about products while my feet were clearly visible so it seems likely that they were aware and didn’t mind. Many Lush employees are pierced, tattooed and have unusual hair styles so they seem to be quite an open minded business.”

    (Source: http://tawnybarefoot.wordpress.com/barefooting-in-newcastle/ )

    I am sure the ‘no uniform’ policy/non policy was quite deliberate to appear like a company with no boundaries but I have a feeling that on the inside it’s not quite as ‘free and easy’ as the image it likes to project. Just my thoughts.

    Back to the cult talk.

    ” “Cults form and thrive,” says Deikman, “not because people are crazy, but because they have two kinds of wishes. They want a meaningful life, to serve God or humanity; and they want to be taken care of, to feel protected and secure, to find a home. The first motives may be laudable and constructive, but the latter exert a corrupting effect, enabling cult leaders to elicit behaviour directly opposite to the idealistic vision with which members entered the group.”

    This seems particularly pertinent especially given some of Lush’s ‘mission statements’ with regard to ‘ethics’. Lush has always exhibited a ‘friendly’ feel in terms of how it operates and how it treats its staff. But when we can see duplicity in terms of both its famed ‘ethics’ (a good example would be the environmental stance now suddenly seeming unimportant in light of a party) and also how it allegedly treats employees when bleating about ‘Fair Trade’ (one only has to read some comments here, all over the web or even on their own customer forum).

    It’s also interesting to read the vitriol with which some employees respond to even minor criticism of their company, especially when the company (in particular the ‘Ethics’ Director and MD) have – in the past – openly expressed Lush’s love of free speech on its own international forum. Such proclamations had been in direct response to questions of whether the forum would be moderated and it was always the party line to not moderate free speech as the forum was ‘self moderating’ but to only remove commercially sensitive information. It must be noted the forum is now heavily moderated because it was in Lush’s direct interest to do so. Nowadays they appear to serve their own needs before the customers’. (A case of profit before people, would you say?).

    Back to how employees – cult members – respond to criticism. Rational, intelligent people would take time to discuss points in an adult manner; we can see how Lush responded on their own forum, with director Karl Bygrave responding by referring to customers thoughts of Lush’s practices as ‘misunderstandings’ and not even acknowledging the notion that Lush is at least half responsible for a customer’s perception. No apology for not having fixed the big list of things that customers have been asking for for YEARS (at the prompt of various Lush staff). No apologies for the lack of customer service or product problems. His post started with:

    “It was hard to read the posts there and to not be both offended on behalf of all our people working away on all aspects of what we do and sad that the forum had descended to a level where abusive behaviour and misinformation was common place.”

    Again, blaming the customer and not the complete lack of action on their behalf. What were customers complaining about? Stuff that had been raised year on year on year. “Misinformation” has a particularly nasty connotation. Was the use of ‘misinformation’ suggesting that customers were trying to deceive people with their stories of ineffective Lush products, poor customer service, or that ex staff were lying about their treatment? Again, it’s quite astonishing that a director of any company would need to even post this on their own website (can we imagine any other modern retailer doing this and letting it even get to that stage?). Those are my thoughts on what he wrote. I thought it was passive aggressive and demonstrating the worst possible customer service I have ever seen. And I mean that. Telling off customers and putting them on the naughty step? The customer is king. If you don’t like their opinion of your company/service/products/staff then do something to change it – talking of only taken legal action as a last recourse (I quote directly “On the thread there is an assumption that if something is written about Lush and we do not take legal action it must be true. I would like to explain that legal action is really a last resort. We prefer compassion and understanding over legal action and would normally avoid action against customers and ex staff members even if what is being said is not true.”) sounds like – in my opinion – a quiet threat and is sinister. Yes, sinister. I think the whole bloody lot of them are sinister. And as I am not part of the cult my thoughts can’t be owned so put that in your pipe and smoke it.

    Back to the cult thing. Well actually, I feel ill thinking about Lush and my Sunday lunch is nearly ready so I leave you with two excepts from the above web link for you to chew on. Current staff – does any of this sound familiar?

    “The four factors that Deikman cites as characteristic of cult phenomena are:

    • compliance with the group
    • dependence on a leader
    • avoidance of dissent
    • devaluation of outsiders.”

    “Cult leaders demand loyalty and suppress criticism. For them, power must be absolute. Authoritarianism takes precedence over anything else. They often claim that ‘special’ knowledge, secret ancient doctrines or divine revelation is guiding them.”

    Lush – how was the big party by the way? Was all the hundreds of thousands of tonnes of aviation fuel worth a big piss up? Carbon tax yourselves all you like (I would love to see proof for that claim) but the fuel has still been spent and it has still cost the environment. All for the sake of a party and perhaps some occupational arse kissing. Well I hope it left a nasty taste in your mouth. It should. You’re despicable.

    • Grey Wheelie Bin I am once again in total agreement with your comments.

      You are absolutely right about the cult thing. I have said on here before that Lush is no more than a cult but you have proved the point above beyond all doubt.

      Also the Lush code of dress is spot on. It seems that the more outrageously dressed or dreadlocked or tattoo’d or hair coloured or head scarved or pierced or vintage clothed or clown make-up’d or whatever the better Lush like it and the more you are accepted into Lush ‘society’.

      When I was a manager and when I went to work at head office I just wore ‘normal’ clothes and had ‘normal’ coloured hair and I actually felt a bit drab and out of place at work and at managers meetings etc. I was treated a bit like I wasn’t ‘playing the game’ properly. Like an outsider who didn’t quite belong.

      I was there for 7 years, doing a good job, making them money and working my butt off. There are staff working there now who probably do half as much as I did but they succeed because they conform to the Lush ‘look’, and they have bought in to the lie. They have bowed down to the great dictator. They wear the uniform of non-uniform. They are Lush through and through. Thank god I got out with my sanity and my reputation and my dignity intact.

      • Don’t get me wrong I’m not against looking alternative at all. I think it’s wonderful to be an individual but not everyone can carry it off! However, I almost felt discriminated against at managers meetings for not looking alternative enough, or being loud enough, or ‘Lush enough’.

        You hear that expression a lot during discussions about sacking people who’s faces just don’t fit the Lush m.o., ‘they’re just not Lush enough’. This is then linked with the ‘we don’t think you’re happy and would be better off somewhere else’ spiel. Never mind that you’re doing a good job and that you’re making them money, earning your wages by working hard, if you’re not happy clappy and fluffy enough and bow down to the Constantine’s enough, if you don’t buy into the cult that Lush definitely is then you’re finished, however you look.

  17. Hello,
    I came across this site by accident and have to say the commitment for Lush here is truly remarkable. The time, passion and energy put into these posts and replies are what many companies strive to achieve, and fail. Not quite up to scratch yet on Lush ethics and morals so don’t understand some topics. Will be looking into this more, such an interesting read and an intriguing Company that I’ve just learnt is world wide! Having big dreams for my MUCH smaller company can anyone tell me what is the key to their success?? Thanks in advance from a new fascinated follower

      • Judging by the ‘commitment for Lush’ rather than ‘commitment TO Lush’ it has to be a member of top management, only they could try to be sarcastic and clever and get it so grammatically wrong.

        What’s the key to their success? dodgy ethics, dubious morals, shoddy products, fake scents and brainwashing.

        Adam, if you want to copy them to make your small company successful, you might want to read the rest of the bullshit blogs then do the exact opposite of what they do.

  18. “Hello,
    I came across this site by accident and have to say the commitment for Lush here is truly remarkable. The time, passion and energy put into these posts and replies are what many companies strive to achieve, and fail. Not quite up to scratch yet on Lush ethics and morals so don’t understand some topics. Will be looking into this more, such an interesting read and an intriguing Company that I’ve just learnt is world wide! Having big dreams for my MUCH smaller company can anyone tell me what is the key to their success?? Thanks in advance from a new fascinated follower”

    @Adam <———– if this is a genuine comment then like the blog owner says, keep reading.

    However, I if it isn't… it could be a deeply sarcastic post trying to suggest that the extensive posting here about the gargantuan catalogue of Lush blunders, hypocrisies and general idiocy is in fact a pointer to the success of this company; that, in fact, the depth of knowledge of the inner workings here is a marker of the fame, notoriety and esteem in which this company is held.

    Winston Churchill is quoted as having said:

    "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."

    And I suspect that many Lush people (the blinded 'Lushies') would think that would be true here; that so many of us despise this company for a reason and that reason is that they stand firm on things, that they stand for something.

    The reason that there is so much hatred (and I use this term to describe how I feel about the company, I do not presume that is how others feel) is precisely because they stand for nothing. The sheer duplicity of their operations is astonishing. They profess to be one thing (for example 'fair trade' or however they currently term it) but are not 'fair trade' in the way they treat their staff. I speak from experience. They bleat on about being anti-aviation yet one of the directors is a pilot who owns a plane and they flew their entire UK management team to Amsterdam for some party so someone could feel big and powerful and talk endlessly about mycelium. It was debauchery on a mass scale.

    So yes, if you don't get it, read on. If you do get it but see this level of involvement in the company's actions as a marker of success – don't kid yourself. People posting here are merely voicing their disgust at the sheer arrogance and stupidity of a bunch of (in my opinion) self serving, deceitful, nefarious miscreants.

    Do look closely – the pigs are wearing top hats and walking on their hind legs.

  19. I went to a “Mafia meeting” a few years ago where Hilary and Mo stated they would rather sack a manager than let her fly from Inverness to Poole for a mandatory managers’ meeting. Wankers.

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