Someone recently shared this list with me, and I want to have a chat about it. The list is entitled “Weird Rules that Lululemon Employees Have to Follow.” It was recently shared with me on Facebook and I just have to comment. I have so many friends that either work at Lululemon or used to work at Lululemon and I just need to talk to you about their experiences as well as the contents of this list and how it was collected. You can find the original list by clicking the link above, but I will go through the rules one by one to tell you what’s true and what’s not.
1. You Must Refer to the Ideal Lululemon Customer as “Ocean”
Not entirely true. Although Lululemon states that their “ideal customer” is a woman named Ocean, it’s not heresy or anything to not talk about customers in reference to Ocean. In fact, many stores consider their local market before they think about what “Ocean” would want or wear because it’s the local market that is shopping which helps that store earn money and make their sales goals. Trust me, before the manager asks “What would Ocean wear?” she’s asking herself “Will Southerners want to wear Scuba hoodies in the Summer?”
2. You Have to Attend Lectures on Willpower
Under this heading, the author also mentions that you “You also have to watch videos on the importance of setting goals.”
I have never heard any of my friends talk about lectures on willpower, but the original author of the article that this is based on said that she did have that experience during training- but I need to unpack this article from Ranker a bit more.
So, under this heading on “lectures” the author of this article for “Ranker” links out to an article written in Cosmopolitan’s online magazine and the author of that Cosmo article is discussing an excerpt about someone else’s experience working at Lululemon. You can read the article in Cosmo here.
The author of the Cosmo article states that “After group yoga, the mornings were for lectures on willpower and videos on the importance of goal setting.” However, the author of the Cosmo article isn’t the original author of the experience working at Lululemon. He is simply restating some things mentioned by the original author in an article for Salon.
The original author in the article for salon says that “After group yoga, the mornings were for lectures on willpower and videos on the importance of goal setting starring company founder Chip Wilson” Maybe it was this 1-minute long clip? I actually didn’t get the impression that the original author was complaining about it- but subsequent articles make it seem like the goal setting experience was negative or onerous somehow. I just think she may have found it odd or at the very least different from most onboarding procedures at other clothing companies. And that, I can certainly agree with- it IS different. I don’t think a lot of other clothing companies care about what your longterm goals are. And, honestly, I wouldn’t mind being paid for a goal setting session!
So, anyways, this article for Ranker is based on an article for Cosmo that is based on the original author’s content in Salon- but it doesn’t link to her in the article.
3. You Can’t Chat or You’ll Get Fired
No one I spoke to said that you’re not allowed to chat. When I go into my local store employees are always chatting with one another about some new thing they received in-stock or about what song is playing on the store’s music system or about some class they attended, etc… However, it is a pretty busy environment, so if you’re chatting when you should be educating* a guest* then you might get reprimanded. Educating= talking about the features of products in an attempt to sell them. Guests= customers.
In this “Ranked” article, they link to this article by someone who worked at Lululemon who talks about gossipping, but not about “chatting.” Here’s what she says about gossipping, which, in my opinion, is not akin to chatting. “Background conversation (i.e. gossiping) will get you fired.” The word ‘chatting’ is not mentioned anywhere in her article.
4. Reading Atlas Shrugged Is All but Mandatory
This one is harder to pin down because of the language used in the article. By saying it’s “all but mandatory,” the article admits that it is not mandatory. Lululemon break rooms have mini-libraries in them and assuming that Atlas Shrugged is in every Lulu-library, does that mean that you are forced to read it? According to this “Ranked” article, it doesn’t. So, my main question, I guess, is why is this on the list as a “weird rule,” if it doesn’t qualify as a rule?
5. If You Don’t Do Yoga, You’re Excommunicated
I’m going to break this one down sentence by sentence, because there is something to this one, but I think the word excommunicated is a tad strong. So, in this “Ranked” article, under this heading, the author says “Being a yoga gear store, it’s understandable that employee training starts with yoga sessions in the mornings. However, employees are expected to continue to work out constantly and practice yoga together on their off-hours. It’s meant to form a sense of camaraderie… but people soon realize it’s more like a crazy health food cult. If you miss one workout session, people act like your life must be falling apart.”
Breaking this down, sentence by sentence:
“Being a yoga gear store, it’s understandable that employee training starts with yoga sessions in the mornings.”
The key words here are “employee training.” Employee training last maybe a week or two at most, and there may be some of those days- or even all of them in some cases that I am not aware of- where yoga is done in the morning. Yoga (or some other form of physical activity) also occurs during team sweat sessions and during, before or after team meetings. So, what I see here is yoga during training, for which employees are paid. As well as sweat sessions and meeting yoga (or other sweaty activity), for which employees are also paid.
My opinion: as long as employees are being paid, I don’t see why this is a negative thing. If I decided to work at Lululemon I would be ecstatic to be getting paid to get fit & healthy. No downside as far as I can see.
First thing: The article that this links to says nothing about practicing any type of physical activity off-hours. I read the article 4 times to check to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. However, number 24 in the linked article fits well into my narrative above about how having workouts during meetings is a good thing.
Regardless of the inaccurate attribution, this person is actually correct in that employees are expected to attend fitness classes when they are not at work. If you work at Lululemon, they will pay the fees of a certain number of fitness classes per week (PT=1, FT=2). The management does expect that people will use these classes. I’ve heard that people do feel pressured to go workout even though they don’t have time, etc… That’s unfortunate, and honestly, since the company is not paying employees to do that, I don’t think that anyone should feel obligated. But hey, it’s free advertising for the company, and if you’re interested, it’s a free $20 Pure Barre class for you.
It’s meant to form a sense of camaraderie… but people soon realize it’s more like a crazy health food cult. If you miss one workout session, people act like your life must be falling apart.”
This seemed like hyperbole to me, so I pulled a quote from the Salon article to which the author of this Ranked article is (ultimately, by way of Cosmo) referring. She says “Exercise — what sort, how often, the afterglow — was the main topic of in-store conversation, so if you skipped a day it was obvious and people asked if you were feeling OK.” Whether people asking if you were feeling OK is equivalent to people acting like your life must be falling apart, I’ll leave to you to decide.
Final thoughts on this one: You are not “excommunicated” if you don’t do yoga. However, you are expected to participate in both paid and unpaid fitness classes with coworkers.
6. You Must Live by a Strict Diet
So, this one is just not true. You don’t have to diet or anything like that. Although “gratis” or “promotions” (more specifically) are given to people who are a size 6, you don’t have to diet if you don’t want to. And in fact, according to people I know and this author
, even if you gain weight it’s totally fine as long as you remain positive and have a great personality. Regarding having to eat specific things, it’s simply not true.
I hope you found my assessment of the accuracy of this article at least somewhat informative. Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions. I am also happy to clarify any of the statements I made above. I am truly interested in your feedback if you have any for me. If you have worked at Lululemon, the experiences of the people I know may not be inclusive, so if you have had any of these experiences in the same spirit expressed by the author of the Ranked article, please feel free to comment below and tell me about them. I would love to hear from you. Alternatively, certainly if you agree with my above assessment, I’d also be happy to hear from you!
As always, thank you so much for reading!