We are a rather large but very connected community of Lululemon shoppers and so we help each other out with the latest lululemon must have item we’ve missed out on. A lot of people ‘angel’ for groups, and sometimes it’s a casual, ‘hey my store still has your size left in that Plum Hustle Jacket you mentioned, can I pick one up for you?‘ In fact, that is how I came to have my Mind Over Matter Crops in time for my half marathon and how I got to have a Plum Hustle Jacket from the US from a friend after it was sold out here in Canada. Many other highly successful retailers have communities like this and typically, this kind of fan response is a good thing. It’s called ‘brand loyalty’ and they are happy and grateful to receive it.
Some customers are being flagged as ‘suspicious purchasers’ due to the frequency of store visits and purchases or due to returns. Somehow it’s relevant to inquiring store managers ‘how many friends we have that we buy things for‘. This is so ludicrous to to me that employees are asking these types of questions considering when you make online purchases, there is nothing stopping you from purchasing 5 or 18 of one item. I know this for a fact. These customers names are being noted and collected based on the names appearing on their credit cards (and in one particular case the store manager asked the customer for her last name in order to document it) and each purchase is documented. You can know if you are being flagged as a shopper if your name is at the top of your receipts. I’d love to know what the criteria is that makes someone a ‘suspicious shopper’ because I, as the author of this blog make weekly visits to my local stores and in some weeks have made up to 3 visits. Sometimes, I even make purchases for my mom and sister. But that’s really non of Lululemon’s business who I’m buying those gifts for or what I do with them once they are my property.
I really don’t get what the objective is for Lululemon tracking your purchases. Do they feel upset that we are reselling the items we buy when we no longer want them for whatever reason? Places where we can resell our Lululemon items such as The Lululemon Exchange, Ebay, The Lululemon Trading Post, Craigslist etc allow us to offload items we are no longer using so that we can buy more items. The high resale value of lululemon clothing is the reason I can make the purchases I make and the reason I feel good about buying Lululemon clothing. It’s part of the appeal. This is the same for companies such as Gymboree, Starbucks (mugs), Anthropologie, JCrew and many more. There is a market for these items on the resale market which is why we pay the prices we do for them. It’s all thanks to the good ol’ “Lululemon Scarcity Model Designed To Frustrate The Customer” Otherwise, I’d be purchasing Tuff’s Athletics at a fraction of the price. Whatever or whoever is behind this new customer interaction method is really full of crap and is doing this brand a huge disservice.
I find this whole attitude towards customers lately very invasive and very discouraging. Over these past few weeks that Lululemon has been cracking down across Canada and the US and actively discouraging shoppers like us and willfully treating us as though we are criminals I have felt a real decline in my interest in making any purchases at all. For the past month, my usual Lululemon budget has been allotted to a much more customer friendly retailer and it’s really refreshing to learn some of the things we’ve been missing here are available to us other places, for example, the exchange periods and final sales. How silly of me to have taken those more generous policies of other brands for granted. Lululemon currently has a two week exchange period and items purchased on markdown (which in some cases is as little as $1 off) are final sale. Lululemon also reserves the right to change prices constantly by adding little white ‘resticker’ prices. This has happened more times then I care to count in the past year. I recently noticed the mini Sigg Bottles online are priced at $21 while local stores had them priced at $14. Did you buy it at the higher price? too bad, your shit out of luck because Lululemon doesn’t price adjust. Many of you shoppers are living in communities that don’t have Lululemon stores and therefore have to be resourceful in how you find your coveted items. If you make an online purchase only to find it does not fit you properly would you pay the shipping to send your item back to Lululemon? or list it on The Lululemon Exchange Page and recoup your entire cost? This problem that lululemon is experiencing with inventory is purely their own and an issue with inventory discrepancies across the international and Canadian website, stores and showrooms. The problem is NOT the customer that is there to spend money. If there is a problem with resellers on ebay…then perhaps they should spend some energy on cracking down on stock images being used or other ‘insiders’ of the company selling items they received at discount. I know this is done because last summer I returned a defective bag to a store with a specific marking on it only to find it up on ebay 2 days later.
This blog (as well as the Lulu Addict blog) receives a readership of between 10,000, and 15,000 per day with increases every month. We are enthusiastic and love reading about the latest items to hit the store and we get carried away with colors like ‘Tango Red’ and fabrics like ‘Sheer Luon’ or ‘Vitasea’. I will continue to post as usual and hopefully in the future I will be able to report happier news that lululemon is finally heading in the right direction as far as their customer service goes. I will be very happy for all of us when I can make that post and I will do it enthusiastically. I love visiting my local store and am always met with very cheerful educators so it is clear to me based on the amount of comments across Canada and the US from readers experiencing this very same tension that the educators are feeling pressure from the powers that be to control your purchases and this is not a store decision as we are being led to believe. I love Lululemon clothing and I think they are beautifully designed and made and will always admire the latest items to hit the store. But I’m taking this opportunity to really evaluate my spending loyalty. I want to feel good about my purchases and I can easily find other clothing from other retailers that I like just as much. For the rest of the summer I am limiting myself to one Lululemon purchase per month and it may even be less then that. 1 item. If I feel the need for more then I will support resellers and I’ll make my purchases on the Lululemon Exchange Group or on ebay.
Sadly, due to the customer service recently, The Cali Lulu Buyers have decided to end there services. Here is their letter:
It is with my regret that we will be not be operating our Angel services any longer.
I was visiting the South Coast Plaza store today and a Regional Manager, Jen, lectured me as I was paying for my items. This was in the store and in front of other “guests”. I was incredibly embarrassed by this. She said that it is now “Company Policy” that everyone would only be allowed 1 item per color, per size of any item. (So I couldn’t buy 2 CRBs in Surge but can buy 1 Surge and 1 Wren) They are also tracking my purchases to make sure that I stick by the rules. Their reasoning is that they have worked hard to build their company and want to be able to control their inventory. They do not want me buying full size runs on the items that have just been released. They also think I am reselling the items I purchase. (Though I am technically “reselling” since you all have to pay me, I know you know I do not upcharge your items at all). Humiliated and defeated, I am now forced to shut this operation down.
As you all know, we opened this Angel service to accommodate those who cannot go to a store and buy items. We know there is a big secondary market on EBay for those who are resellers and we were trying help people avoid this as much as possible. It is our mission to get you ladies what you want at Retail Price.
t’s a very sad day for me today. I will admit, I did buy 4 Vinyasa scarves as gifts and I will no longer be able to do that. I won’t be able to buy my friend a pair of Wunder Unders because I loved them so much (because I’ve already bought them for myself and can’t buy two of 1 item in the same color). The Regional Manager Jen told me that this is a policy for every guest and not just me. So I encourage all of you to test this “Company Policy” and see if this is indeed true. But I am sure all of you know what I am thinking that it’s a Cali Lulu Buyers policy and not one for anyone else.
To comment on their customer service. I have made great friends with many educators at my store. (You all know who you are). The educators have been so supportive of me. I really love and appreciate all you have done for all of us. I have always felt incredibly welcomed into your stores. Unfortunately, today I didn’t feel like a “Guest” but a criminal for being an Angel for all of you. It was a truly humiliating public embarrassment for me. Not only do I disagree with the “Company Policy” but, I am choosing to end this service because I cannot stand for that kind of customer service. I am a loyal customer and was publicly humiliated in the store. I hope you understand that Lululemon will no longer be something I will spend my time and efforts on. Thank you so much for all your support. I have truly enjoyed doing this for all of you.
Cali Lulu Buyers
And here is a comment left on the Lululemon facebook page of a customer who noted some of her receipts have her name listed at the top. A few other of you readers in the past few weeks have noticed the same thing and have also come forward.