An email came in this week from an ex-Lush employee. It makes quite upsetting reading. I’m glad the woman in question is doing better now, but as always, no matter who you work for, you don’t have to be treated like this. Join a union, get help and don’t put up with being bullied.
Hi there, I stumbled upon your blog last night while I was looking for more ethical and reasonably priced alternatives to Lush, and I’ve never been happier to see a blog in my life. I worked for Lush for a short period of time in 2012, I was struggling financially and took on a second job while they hired extra staff for the London Olympics. I was eager and happy to be working for a company that I loved dearly. I did my interview, aced my trial shift and began working almost immediately for a high wage (London Living Wage) and I was content. Apart from when the assistant manager took an immediate disliking to me. No one had explained to me that you had to be on the shop floor for the start of your shift - I was used to working in retail for another large chain that held a small staff meeting before the beginning of each shift, maybe it was naive to assume that most places did that. but they do, they cram you in to a tiny store room and tell you that you’re competing with local stores and to link and up sell products - if someone buys shampoo tell them it won’t work without a conditioner, etc etc. I hate this style of selling. And my assistant manager noticed this, and would drag me into that tiny cupboard two or three times a shift to shout at me, to tell me that I had no personality and that I was under performing. It was my first few days, I think this is a little unfair. She did this to me for three weeks, constantly telling me that I wasn’t happy enough, that I wasn’t energetic enough, that I wasn’t good enough to even learn to cut soap, or stock the shelves, i should just stand by the door and offer people baskets. She didn’t care that I come from a multiracial family, and understand many hair types, skin types and cosmetic issues, and that every customer was happy when I helped them, I received excellent feedback from everyone I helped in that shop, but because I didn’t want to smile 24/7 - because the weight of being poor in London was constantly on top of me, and I was working 3 jobs - I wasn’t ‘Lush’ enough. In the end they fired me, horrifically. She got in my face and shouted at me until I started sobbing and then full blown crying, it was only at that point that she was satisfied. She then got another member of staff to watch me collect my belongings and make sure I didn’t steal anything - even though theft had nothing to do with my dismissal, and having worked in retail since I was 14, I’ve never stolen from a place of work. She made sure all of my colleagues knew that the reason I was fired was because I’m ‘not a happy person, and happy people are Lush people’. They made me walk through the entire shop, crying and forced me from the building. I experienced systematic emotional abuse over three to four weeks, but no one has ever believed me that Lush would treat me that way - reading all the emails from ex and current staff members makes me feel strangely better, as I know I’m not the only one to have experienced the dark side of Lush. Her abuse of me trigged a full blown mental breakdown, which I’ve been recovering from for two years. My current employer (someone I worked for at the same time as I worked for Lush) has stood by me, given me extra time off, moved my shifts, given me emotional support etc etc since it happened - and they’re a company i doubt will be around for much longer. I hope every ‘Lushie’ can have their eyes opened by this blog, and the truth behind the company. My name is Abbie, and I don’t mind you printing my first name. Thanks for letting me have a rant.