Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bend Over and We'll Give You A Refund? WTH?!?

Posted on the lululemon Facebook page today:

I went into my local store to return my Astro pants and Invert crops, both purchased this month. I was asked to BEND OVER in order to determine sheerness. The sales associate then perused my butt in the dim lighting of the change room and deemed them "not sheer". I felt degraded that this is how the recall is being handled. I called the GEC to confirm this is their protocol, and they verified that yes, the "educators" will verify sheerness by asking the customer to bend over.

Please explain as to how this is gratifying customer service? If I think my black Luon pants are sheer and there is a mass recall happening, am I not entitled to go in without having to BEND OVER and obtain a refund?
To their credit lululemon responded:
Hi ______,
What's the name of the local store you went into? I'm sorry to hear about your experience and I'd like to follow-up with them directly on this. In the meantime, if you're not comfortable with the Invert Crop and Astro Pant that you've purchased due to sheerness, we want to make that right for you. Please email me with the details of the two items, such as size and colour, if known and your full shipping address so we can work on a solution for them. You can send this information to geconline@lululemon.com.
~ Siya
And, posted a little later:
Lululemon Athletica Hi ___________,
We don't need to see our guests in the garments to deem them sheer. We want our guests to be comfortable in their products and will make it right for them if they feel their black bottoms are sheer.
~ Siya
 However, another woman posted this on one of my lululemon chat boards:
[ A different woman] I called the lulu store asking about the recall and a girl on the phone said that I'm going to have to try on the pants and they will judge if there is an issue or not. So they will ask me to bend over. Little degrading, isn't it ? If there is a recall they should just take them back, ugh! 
Lululemon has been pretty tone-deaf in handling quality issues before but this really takes the cake. I have a hard time believing these anecdotes are real but these women seem sincere. Publishing a list of items that have been recalled would help clear up a lot of confusion. No list has been released as of yet. I hope all the stores get the message that they do not need to make people bend over to return their pants.

Photos of the Latest

Very Green Scuba Stretch and Out and About Pants.

Shown with Very Green Pace Setters

Turn It Up LS and SS tops.

Out and About Pants

Very Green Pace Crops

Tame Me Tank and Stash and Dash Pullover Photos

Shown with a Free to Be bra
Shown with Pace crops
Shown with Dune Gingham Wunder Unders and Forme Jacket.

Faded Zap, Fresh Teal, and Pop Orange Tame Me Tanks. I read a fit review that says this fits the same as last year's version.

Shown with Pace Tights

Shown with Work It Out Pants
Shown with Inspire Crops

Shown with Very Green Pace crops

Also shown is the Petite Dot Groovy Run Shorts

Stash and Dash Pullover photos. It looks cute but I wish it was $60 cheaper.

New Men's Stuff - Faded Zap Pace Breaker Shorts and More

Ignore the hideous Tidal Pullover on the right
I'm trying to convince my husband to get the new Wagon Striped Faded Zap Pace Breaker shorts but he says he is out of drawer space for new shorts. He hasn't even taken the tags off the Frond ones I bought him for Valentine's Day yet. Anyway, I think these are fun.

I thought these were boxers when I saw them come up in my newsfeed but they are actually another pair of Pace Breaker run shorts. The official name is Sun Spot Inkwell.

Shown with the new Impact shorts

The Tidal Pullover is the male version of the Stash and Dash Pullover. It's not bad in solid black. The spotted version shown above is not as nice.

French terry Dispatch hoodie and Kahuna Shorts.

Faded Zap Focus Half Zip and Metal Tech Vent SS shown with Agility pants.

Mission Pant IIs in Mojave Tan. I wish my husband would try these on but I think they are kind of pricey for him.

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming - The Flow N Go Tank Has Hit the Stores

 I know people have been waiting for this tank - the Flow N Go Tank has hit the stores.

Can Christine Day Be Replaced Already?

Today's Wall Street Journal (Thanks to Ms. M for the photo.)

The shit seems to be really hitting the fan today regarding the pant sheerness issue. It looks like the list of recalled pants is quite extensive and extends from before March 1st (as it should). I'm not sure why the recall is only limited to black pants since the colored ones are even more problematic.

The fabric manufacturer has fired back, replying that they made the fabric to lululemon's specifications.

"The Taiwanese supplier behind the see-through yoga pants recalled by Lululemon Athletica Inc said on Tuesday it followed design specifications and the Canadian retailer had merely misjudged customer tastes."

"Eclat Textile Co Ltd, a supplier for Lululemon for more than 10 years [emphasis mine], told Reuters that "a gap between Lululemon's expectations and reaction from the market" was the cause of the problem."

"With the black Luon pant recall Lulu has now had its fourth quality control issue in the last year," Credit Suisse analyst Christian Buss said in a note to clients. "We see some potential that Lulu risks alienating its core customer base should quality control issues persist."

Excellent point, Mr. Buss - that's right, the fourth quality control issue that has surfaced in the past year. However, long time fans of lululemon know the slide started when the company went public and Day was brought on board. Changes in the fabric started shortly after, maybe about 2010-ish and really accelerated through 2011 and 2012. Once Chip left in January 2012 the slide to mediocrity accelerated. Designs have been genericized and most new products have all the charm and appeal of a big-box store product. The special omega logo has been removed or minimized to the point that you can't tell you've bought a lululemon product. Inferior, thin luon is being used in more and more designs (looking at you Forme and Daily Yoga jackets). Tops have been shortened (Swiftly tank). The famous camel-toe proof gusset design is long gone.

Day has ruined everything special about lululemon. The bullet proof quality, the fit, the femininity, the lululemoness of the product. She changed beloved, best-selling designs such as the Scuba hoodie, Power Y, Scoop Neck tank, Swiftly tanks, to name a few. Gussets on pants got changed from a diamond shape to a cheaper-to-manufacture diamond. Tops have been shortened.

She is a one-trick pony who grew the company through expansion. (I've heard that isn't going so well and that stores placed too close to each other are cannibalizing each other's sales.) I'll give her minor props for getting a website up and going but that's it.

It's time to bring in a new CEO, with a commitment to quality, who has experience in the apparel industry and an eye for style.