It is not every day that I get pissed off at my shopping bag, but unpacking my Oreos, Twinkies and pickles the other day (don’t judge- we are committed to experimenting with the deep fryer this Thanksgiving), I got a little angry. I started reading my Lululemon shopping bag as I was unpacking the groceries:
“Hurry up, hurry up!” my bag screamed at me, “Follow your passion. Be successful. Visualize your demise so you can live in the moment (really.) And for God’s sake, get some sun on your face!” I wanted to give that bag a downward facing kick in the face.
And I wasn’t angry because the bag was so not Zen, or that it gave me the guilts about not exercising and buying a cartload of junk food (I left my Whole Foods shopping bag in the trunk of the car for just that reason), or even because I hardly ever visualize my demise so I can live in the moment. I was angry because once upon a time I tried to make Lulu my passion (so I would have lots of money and time to do yoga and get sun on my face) — but Lulu rejected me. Rejection is never easy, and reading that shopping bag—well, it seemed like that bag was filled with sour grapes.
Lulu and I met in 2005, when the store was mostly a Canadian phenomenon. I was with my family on FFF –Forced Family Fun, a ski trip to British Columbia. Since I don’t really love to ski, I sent the rest of the family to the slopes, and I toured the town of Whistler, looking for ways to spend the money I saved by not purchasing a ridiculously expensive lift ticket.
My family pretended to be sad, but I knew- that they knew- how great it was that they didn’t have to 1. wait for me; and 2. deal with my tears at the top of the mountain as I whined, “I told you I don’t do moguls.” Little did they know I would wander into my first Lululemon store, and fall in love.
Back home with new my fabulous new purchases, I decided to pursue purchasing the Boston Lululemon franchise. And after months of market research, filling out applications, and informational meetings, I was ready to go. But Lulu sent me a $100 gift certificate and a big, fat, rejection letter, explaining that they were only going to open corporate stores in the Boston area.
It would be easy for me to get on the “I hate Lululemon” bandwagon. I would have loved to reject them back, and I must admit, I get a little schadenfreude when everyone wants to punch them in the face (right after they purchase the latest print). But is it fair?
So a few of their yoga pants were a bit too revealing and had to be recalled. Mistakes happen to the best of us, don’t they?
And so what that they only make pants for sizes 2-12? So what that some women’s bodies “don’t work” for the pants? As my friend’s father-in-law put it so delicately when he was in retail, “Fat asses don’t belong in those pants.”
Or maybe you heard that founder Chip Wilson said recently that an increase in breast cancer in the 1990’s was due to “cigarette smoking power women” taking the pill and working. But who doesn’t say something stupid every once in a while? Is that a reason to give up yoga pants with an awesome band that holds in your menopausal belly fat?
Or maybe the message that “all that matters is your genius” and the whole Ayn Rand thing doesn’t ring true to Lululemon’s $1.4 billion in revenues (I would have only taken a tiny percentage, I swear.) Or maybe, like me, it took you a month to get through The Fountainhead, you never quite got through Atlas Shrugged, and associating these books with yoga pants reeks of a little intellectual snobbery. Whatever. Those headbands are cool.
Or maybe you think Chip Wilson has gone over the deep end with his newest idea–the 60-second meditation known as WHIL (which apparently is not an acronym.) Really, who among us hasn’t thought, “Geez, what can I do so I don’t waste so much time peeing?” Honestly, is there something silly in maximizing pee time given our busy schedules? I say for middle-aged women, this is a no brainer for getting in our 20-40 minutes of daily meditation.
So give Lululemon a break, will you? I may never get over the fact that Lulu rejected me, but hey, I’m a grown up, and we all have a story about the one that got away, don’t we? So despite the sour grapes and the stupid bags and the silly mediation, I will probably keep buying their awesome clothes. But it sure did feel good writing this article.