Featured, Society & People

Bothered: Lululemon Employees are Not Educators

Life is not always easy for a male yoga instructor. For a man with long hair who does not own a pair of jeans, I have a hard time finding yoga clothes that suit my colorful personality. Regular gym clothes usually work, but I’m frequently bothered by the pockets that invert when I’m in weird poses: it messes up my chi. Arguably, I should be thankful that there are actually stores out there that specialize in yoga apparel. There’s not, however, much to be truly thankful for when it comes to the mainstream yoga clothing market.

In theory, I should love Lululemon. It’s a store full of my people that was founded in Canada. There’s a problem, though: I don’t love it.

that's why you should buy your friends hundred dollar workout pants
that’s why you should buy your friends hundred dollar workout pants

I went into Lululemon about a month ago in search of another pair of their power yoga shorts. Those are by far my favorite since they are both long and comfortable. I am neither a runner nor a hot yoga enthusiast so shorts that are barely bigger than a speedo have little place in my life.

The employee— who informed me that she was the store manager— told me that my favorite shorts had been discontinued, but she would fetch me an “educator” to help in the pursuit of a suitable replacement. I stopped for a second, puzzled by her jargon. As the “educator” walked toward me, I began to wonder what made her worthy of the title of “educator.” As she began to try to sell me on various articles of clothing, I discovered that the answer to that question was simple.

Very little.

“This shirt is great for down dog and holding in plank and this shirt is better for balancing poses,” was among the array of nonsense that was spewing from the mouth of this so-called “educator.” As an actual yoga teacher, and therefore someone with enough knowledge to see through this condescending sales ploy, I was not amused. I stopped this flurry of nonsense by informing her that I was a certified teacher, which was— surprisingly— more than enough to stop her from continuing with her deception.

I don’t think I need to explain to you, the presumably intelligent reader, that there’s something seriously wrong with a sales pitch that assigns specific poses to a particular piece of clothing. Does Lululemon expect its consumers to change clothes during class? Or, if its clothing fits such a specific use, why not slash the price? Does it seem fair to charge fifty dollars for a sleeveless t-shirt that is only good for part of the class or is limited to a single pose? I don’t think so.

Furthermore, what constitutes the valid use of the term “educator” here? I learned nothing of value from this salesperson, other than that Lululemon is nothing more than a scam preying on the increased popularity of yoga. If their salespeople are “educators,” what does that make the actual teachers? The Apple store already laid claim the term “genius,” so we’re running out of titles.

The funny thing is, I don’t really care that much about the price of Lululemon’s clothes; their apparel is high quality. But buying something from a store is as much about the experience as it is about the product. I cannot, or rather will not, purchase clothing from a company that insults my intelligence and exploits yoga for its own profits. Namaste.

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