This email popped up in my inbox today
Many thanks for your blog. I’ve spent a lot of time on there and I think it is great that at least SOMEONE is brave enough to stand up against the cult that Lush has become.
I am an ex employee and I would like to give my take on working there. I would prefer to remain anonymous as I may need a reference from them in the future.
In my shop there was an ingrained bullying culture that started with the manager and fed down until it was an accepted practice within work life. I saw several amazing employees get picked on to the point of tears, snide comments and unfair targeting were a regular occurrence. I truly believe my manager is a psychopath.
The problem with Lush is that they hire too many employees and then keep everyone on four hour contracts. There is no job security in this, and one problem is that any staff that disagree with the manager or has the guts to stand up for themselves then has their hours cut. They can then be earning as little as £30 a week – and Lush is legally entitled to do that!
Everyone that works at Lush is scared for their job. They have seen their co-workers, supervisors and other mangers from stores, embarrassed and humiliated for speaking out, or disagreeing with what Head Office say.
Lush is an AWFUL place to work. Whilst on shifts, many customers would say; “I’d love to work here!” and through gritted teeth you would have to smile, internally repressing the urge to scream; “YOU HAVE NO IDEA!!”.
They do not pay ANYTHING extra on bank holidays, even those like Christmas Eve or Boxing Day. Whilst Selfridges staff were on x3 their hourly wage, Lush staff remain on their measly £6.40 an hour.
I think one reason why Lush cannot possibly look after their employees is their complete lack of a real HR department. I’m not sure exactly how many staff they have working in the UK at present but there is 100+ Lush stores in the UK, even if those stores each only have 5 people working in them (and major city stores have a lot more, mine had around 20) then that is 500 employees for the company that do not have access to a basic HR department.
There was a whistleblowing number that I looked at many times whilst working there – it was a mobile number, which seems unprofessional, and nothing was ever said about what staff should do if there ever were any problems in store. There is just no way out, the managers are left to run wild with the shop with little to no supervision from anyone higher up.
And now to the main reason for my email, which is quite disgusting. As I’m sure many people know, the facial cleansers are potted up in-store, as some sort of faux natural PR gimmick. That’s Black Angels, Angels on Bare Skin, Herbalism, Aqua Marina and Let the Good Times Roll (at Xmas time) that all gets posted into the shop in a roll.
Well those little black pots, in my shop at least, were kept in the only staff toilet in the building – in a sort of freaky stockroom/cupboard with a sink and a LOT of stock kept in there. All of the tins (massage, body butter, shampoo) were stored in boxes right next to the toilet, all of the knot wraps and the canvas bags were also kept in there. The thing that grossed me out most was the endless tubs of facial skincare that was being touted as all natural, whilst being kept in these grim and frankly unsanitary conditions. This was the toilet that 20 staff shared, and that barely got cleaned.
The whole thing is a massive scam. I don’t shop there, and I’m thankful everyday that I managed to escape to a much better job. Some people aren’t so lucky. The dedicated and relentless staff are what keeps that place afloat – not the ridiculous and egotistical charades that are randomly chucked out of Head Office.
I truly believed for around a year of working there, that Lush was the best company in the world. I bought into that lie for a good while and the manager loved me for it. It’s only when you get out of the insanity that you can look back with hindsight and see it for what it is – a polished turd.
To be honest, I’m not bitter about leaving, I left on good terms with everyone. There was no drama or excitement about my exit, just relief. It is what it is.
This is just a factual account of my experiences with a little opinion tossed in for good measure. Take that as you will. One thing is for sure – no one ever understands until YOU’VE been the one that Lush has cast out, hours cut down and picked on until you have no choice but to leave.
Gosh, if you made it to the end of that you are a saint! I just felt I might toss in my two cents as a recent ex employee at a Top Five UK store.
As always, my advice to anyone who has concerns about what’s going on in their workplace is join the appropriate union, protect yourself, and get help.