Well, that’s going about as well as you’d expect.
So, an email arrived today from someone notifying me of this reddit thread.
I haven’t heard about it from anywhere else and don’t know how accurate it is, but it sounds about right.
From Twitter today – make sure you read the whole threads.
Someone just sent me to a facebook page belonging to the Karass Sanctuary. The post she wanted me to see says this:
Last year we applied for a grant of £7,000 from LUSH UK to help us with our work at The Maggie Fleming Animal Hospice and to help us create the first purpose-built animal hospice, and to give end of life care to terminally ill abandoned companion animals and rescued farmed animals.
We were declined, but we accepted that, given that they receive many applications for funding each year.
However, a couple of weeks after it declined our application, Lush chose to screen Crannog, a documentary about our work, at its film festival. We were pleased and thankful for their interest, but neither we nor the director received any payment or publicity from Lush UK for them using our film, nor did we expect or want to, but Lush Film Festival benefited from showing our work.
We enquired and were asked to reapply in light of these circumstances as they said it seemed like we should get their financial support. We have just had an email to say we’ve been declined again.
It seems that the work of a tiny charity run by two volunteers is valuable enough for a multi-national multi-million pound company to use and profit from, but not valuable enough for it to support us financially and help us do the work they clearly think is good enough for them to capitalise on.
Ahve spent years raising the money we need to make aw this happen, and Adam has spent years designing and building it, and this grant would have been enough to complete this project we have spent every day for the last three years working on, every bit of it from our souls. We’re knackered, and this would have been the piece that made it aw come the gither.
Ahm actually greetin ahm so disappointed.
I don’t have their permission to post it here; I hope they don’t mind. You can get more information about them here.
Lush Film Festival? They get more pretentious every day. And benefiting from someone else’s hard work without giving them any credit or payment? How surprising.
Last year I discovered Merumaya, courtesy of a giveaway from The Pool.
The Merumaya Melting Cleansing Balm is great. I’ve found it copes well with everything except stubborn mascara, and it leaves skin soft and happy. Apply a small amount to dry skin, massage it in, then massage again with warm water and remove either with water or with a face cloth. It works as hard as Andy Murray and it lasts for ages. It makes a great first cleanse if you’re someone who likes a double cleanse.
The eye makeup remover is equally effective, including on stubborn mascara. I find it a little bit sting-y on my over-sensitive eyes so I have to be careful with it and rinse well afterwards, but after a day of contact lenses, cat allergies, Scottish winds and computer monitors, my eyes are knackered and tender. I’m sure people with less wimpy eyes would have no issues.
Merumaya mineral cleansing paste is a gorgeous exfoliator. The texture is very fine so the exfoliation is gentle rather than scratchy but still effective. My skin feels smooth and almost polished after use.
The Lavender Eye Makeup Remover from Stripped is my current favourite. It’s a blend of four organic oils and I’ve found it removes eye makeup gently but effectively. It has a pump dispenser and one pump of oil is enough for each eye. I massage it gently into the eye area, concentrating on the lashes, and it loosens and removes mascara and clears away eye makeup without any stinging.
Another great cleansing balm is the apricot butter cleansing balm from Beauty Pie. To me, it looks and smells like The Body Shop mango body butter I loved in the 90s. Like the Merumaya balm, I don’t find it enough to remove waterproof mascara, but otherwise it’s effective, gentle, smells great and lasts for ages if you can resist the temptation to hoik great gobs of it out of the tub.
Talking of mascara, I also really like the Beauty Pie Flash False Lash Mascara. It gives a jet black, glossy colour, and lengthens, defines and separates lashes. It’s noticeable but not OTT – ideal for work/daytime wear.
I haven’t been offered any kind of reward or recompense for reviewing any of these products.
In part 77, we talked about Lush’s campaign related to the undercover police officers nicknamed “spy cops,” and how upset many of the public were. A little while ago, I received this email from a Lush staff member.
Hello,I am currently a sales assistant working in a UK store. I’ve been following The Smell of Bullshit ever since I started to find my own store’s management getting steadily worse. This morning I received the following e-mail forwarded from the management, entitled “Campaign Solutions”:Hey everyone,In what seems like a life time ago, I took the chance to catch up with Mark at the summer meeting about the Spy Cops campaign and shared some of my thoughts about what happened. I think we all know that the way the public (or at least a selective few members of the public) acted in a way which put our teams in a very uncomfortable position. Whilst it would be amazing if those people could learn from their actions and change the way they behaved to our teams now that the campaign has passed, it seems unlikely. Instead I asked Mark what we can be doing as a company to better prepare our stores, our teams, and ourselves to be able deal, in full or partially, with the fallout that ensued.So this is what I am emailing for as Mark has asked me to put together a list of what we think we need. It might be that you feel that we can’t prepare ourselves and we just have to show resilience and bounce back from the negativity. Or you may think that there is a lot more; resources, training, etc etc. Whatever your opinion, I would be grateful if you could share the following Google Form with your teams so that we can see a big picture of what the staff on the front line think.[Link redacted]The form is anonymous so staff should be as honest and solutions focused as they want to be.Once I have a good variety of answers, I will pass this back onto Mark an the campaigns team.Thanks in advance everyone and if you have any questions, then let me know.You’ll notice, of course, that there’s no suggestion that the badly-thought out campaign and deliberately inflammatory advertising is at all to blame. No doubt as sales assistants we’re supposed to be responsible for trying to explain the campaign in full to irate customers. I’m sure all the customers Lush has managed to upset will be entirely fine with taking all the blame for Mark’s self-righteousness. And as a staff member just trying to do an honest day’s work, I not thrilled with the prospect of having to just suck it up the next time Mark makes my day that much more difficult while he has everyone else clear up his mess.This e-mail annoyed me enough to feel that Lush customers ought to see it. I’m fine with it being posted on your blog, if you want to do so, though with the usual riders of anonymity from my side. Much as I don’t like to be here, I do still need this job.Thank you for time and the effort put into the blog,
Several years ago the press revealed that the Metropolitan Police had sent officers undercover into various organisations, to infiltrate the organisations and get evidence of criminal activity. During their undercover time, several of the officers began relationships with women, who were understandably distraught when the truth of their identities were revealed.
I don’t know enough about police work to comment on whether infiltrating groups is common or acceptable police behaviour. I don’t know whether any of those police officers genuinely fell for the women they had relationships with, or whether it was all manipulation and abuse of power. Only the officers involved know that and regardless of any real feelings they might have had, those relationships were strictly forbidden. Certainly the women involved feel that they were manipulated, abused and deceived.
When this information first became public, Mark Constantine had a right bee in his bonnet about it. He posted about it on the Lush forum a lot, along with posts about news reports of MI5 and MI6 using torture or information gained by torturing suspects. He didn’t often post on the forum about anything but he had a lot to say about these issues, in his usual pretentious, trying to be cryptic, pseudo-intellectual way.
Now, Lush believe that the public inquiry into the claims of wrongdoing by the undercover officers is protecting officers, and they have chosen to draw attention to this by what might be their most over the top and not in a good way campaign yet.
On their website, Lush say
“This is not an anti-state/anti-police campaign. We are aware that the police forces of the UK are doing an increasingly difficult and dangerous job whilst having their funding slashed. We fully support them in having proper police numbers, correctly funded to fight crime, violence and to be there to serve the public at our times of need.
This campaign is not about the real police work done by those front line officers who support the public every day – it is about a controversial branch of political undercover policing that ran for many years before being exposed. Our campaign is to highlight this small and secretive subset of undercover policing that undermines and threatens the very idea of democracy.”
But unsurprisingly, the public are seeing it as an attack on all police. Thousands of people on social media are threatening to boycott Lush, their facebook reviews had approx 16,000 one star reviews added overnight, and at least one shop has removed the campaign from its window (note to staff: make sure you’ve joined a union for when the shit comes down on you).
The thing that bugs me most about this is – Lush knew that this window display would trigger strong reactions from the public, and they clearly didn’t give a fuck about how that would affect the frontline shop staff. I’m sure that 99.99% of police officers are professional enough not to let this ill-conceived campaign affect their attitude to their work, but if I worked in a shop with that display up, I’d be at best embarrassed and at worst reluctant to call the police to an emergency situation. Some Lush staff used to be police. Some police used to be Lush staff. Lots of Lush staff have family who are police. Lush can’t have given a second’s thought to what this display would feel like to those staff. And what of the women abused by these few police officers? How do they feel, going into town for a bit of shopping and finding their trauma all over a shop window, selling increasingly laughable products at increasingly inflated prices?
Of course the prices are inflated; Mark keeps giving his money away.
Edited to add: how do the abused women feel about the campaign?
This was sent to me with a request to publish it some time ago, but the pressure of meatspace life took over and I’m only just getting round to it.
An email from a Lush employee (edited to remove some identifying details).
I’ve been working at Lush for two months, as a Christmas temp and I had no intention of applying for a permanent position afterwards anyway. I shouldn’t be made to feel too nervous in the workplace right? I’m here to get the job done, and I bloody well do as I’ve used Lush loyally since I was about 10.
They didn’t hire as many Christmas temps as they wanted for Christmas (hired just over half of the number they wanted) and our manager has disappeared – no one seems to know if she’s sick or what but she’s on the rota.
Anyway so they get two assistant manager-y type people from head office sent to help us with the Christmas period. One of them is just *pure* evil. Beyond awful. She makes everyone feel extremely tense and uncertain about their work (even supervisors and permanent staff!) she totally isolates the temps, and a number of random incidents that I will list later.
Anyway, I know for a fact that several people now (including me) have called the Whistleblowing Hotline about her and her actions – me and at least 6 others so far. And what has Lush done? Absolutely nothing. So naturally, I wrote my notice in on Sunday. I’m very fortunate in that I have another job offer if I do leave Lush but so many of my colleagues don’t have that option and need the money!
When I started at the branch it was pure bliss and I couldn’t see a single thing wrong. Apparently our candy shop report from October was 2 stars – I read through it and honestly thought what bollocks it was. I’ve been visiting that store as a customer for years and couldn’t disagree more with what the report said.
Anywaaaaaaaayyyyyyy, back to this nightmare manager. She’s extremely rude and I know she was a manager at a Lush store in Europe – and her apparent claim for being so brash and purely awful is ‘well that’s how they did it there’. No. Don’t drag a nationality down because you’re a horrible person. She’s trying to change the whole shop and she’s succeeded because everyone now hates working.
Now for the list of things she’s done:
• Told a senior member of staff to ‘get a grip and come to work’ when she was struggling with mental health.
• Told a permanent member of staff who is pregnant to stop standing with her hands holding her stomach as it’s not ‘open’ enough.
• Told the temps that they’re ‘not as much use’ as other permanent members of staff whose actual abilities in the store are no greater than ours.
• Unprofessionally ‘bitched’ about another temporary (not a Christmas temp, a summer temp who was kept on) member of staff who asked her a question on the shop floor when it was quiet.
• Tells the new temps that the shop is doing x,y and z wrong when we know absolutely no better (we’ve been there two months!)
• Often rubs the backs and waists of members of staff on shop floor in a rather inappropriate and frankly (for me, anyway) uncomfortable manner.
• Constantly interrupted our absolutely lovely assistant manager at the Christmas Meeting when she wasn’t even partly presenting (she was sat with the rest of us)
And as I said, Lush head office or whoever manages the whistleblowing hotline has clearly done nothing. Absolutely nothing has suggested there will be any change. Can’t wait to leave.
A couple of emails have come into the blog over the past few days (emails to southside socialist at hotmail dot co dot uk) which suggest that the problems within Lush previously raised by employees here haven’t been resolved. This is one of them, with identifying details omitted.
You absolutely have permission to post this, with any identifying details left out or omitted. I’m doing this to warn other people and so wouldn’t want to have it come back to bite me.
Thank you for your kindness, it’s been difficult as I did really love the job itself. The company set up is very very flawed with major problems everywhere. Overall it was a toxic environment and that’s my silver lining for having left.
I’ve read your blog for the entirety of my career at Lush, I used it as a warning for me to get out when things got bad. I found I didn’t listen, however I should have.
I was recently dismissed, without any form of disciplinary warning (verbal or written). Their excuse for this was that my service only stood at 1 year 8 months, and the minimum for a proper disciplinary was 2 years.
The reasons they gave me were poor attitude, reluctance to work and unprofessional attitude on social media. I found these reasons to be ironic and somewhat insufficient as I had been sent to work to London with them twice through my consistent hard work both in store, and on their social media accounts as their social media representative. I also found it ironic that one of the reasons was unprofessional attitude on social media due to the fact that the company who praises themselves on allowing staff to be who they want to be, and hiring people solely based on performance, and not of personal background. The other two reasons were based upon two weeks of developmental feedback. I don’t think it’s fair that my whole career with them was whittled down by a bad fortnight.
I had also disclosed to my manager that I was having mental health problems, and was seeking help from the NHS a week before my dismissal meeting took place.
I was given a four weeks paid notice period, and asked to leave immediately. I felt embarrassed, ashamed, and questioned everything I’d done wrong (one of my pieces of feedback was that ‘I looked like i didn’t want to be there’). I felt more so embarrassed because a manager of mine had recently been demoted for having 7 counts of bullying raised against them. This manager had a chance to appeal the decision, and was still given a job, just not one as high up as they had before.
This highlights how utterly inconsistent Lush is as an employer. They’re supposedly great to work for, and I just think that people need to learn that all that glitters is not gold with Lush. I’ve moved on now, but please do keep me anonymous. I just wanted to tell my story as a warning to other young folk getting excited about a career with Lush. Lush doesn’t give a fuck about what you want. If you’re not management, they just view you as a drunk student working part-time. That’s all you’ll be to them, I assure you.
It’s too late for this person’s career with Lush, but my advice to anyone, in any job, is make sure you have joined an appropriate union, and at the first sign of anything worrying, get their support. That’s what they’re for.
A couple of other emails have come in from someone else. We’re in the process of discussing what they would like published, and they are providing me with certain documents as evidence of their story. It’s another of the sort of story that makes me want to tear my hair out. So watch this space.