Lululemon, for reasons that scientists are unable to explain, has somehow procured a position as one of the top exercise apparel retailers for women. While I understand that the quality of the clothing is certainly exceptional, it seems like there’s a distinct air of eliteness about the brand that has created a image of exclusivity rather than acceptance.
After hearing one customer’s recent encounter at a Lululemon store, her account has only corroborated my suspicion.
Heather Albert was in Park City, Utah for a work trip, and she decided to go to the local Lululemon retail store. After losing 80 pounds within the past year (thanks to weight loss surgery and hard work), Albert was excited to go shopping for exercise clothes at the retail store — however, her experience with the sales associates left her feeling embarrassed and unwelcome.
Heather shared the account on the store’s Facebook page, writing:
I have to share the WORST experience ever here.
I live in Vegas, so we are lucky to have 2 retail stores and 1 outlet store here. I’ve always shopped the outlet to save $$$, and never went to the retail store here.
I had weight loss surgery a year ago, and have lost 80lbs. I’m pretty proud of myself! When my amazing fiancee heard I was going to Park City, UT for a work trip this past week, she insisted I go to the retail store in PC and buy myself something. I was so excited to finally go to a retail store!
Friday afternoon, I dropped my coworkers off at our hotel and ran over to the store to see what they had. I walked in and headed for the sale rack first (it’s what I do). There were two EDs in the store, and I was the only customer. Shortly after I walked in, I heard one ED whisper (loudly) to the other, “DO we even have anything in her size??” and both proceeded to giggle. I was the only customer in the store. I knew it was directed at me. I was mortified. I quickly bought the two things I had in my hand that I had found and left the store. I was so embarrassed! I had a work function to go to that night, when I got back to my hotel I cried in the shower.
Now, I realize that not everyone fits into Lulu, but I’m a street size 10/12 and in Lulu I’m a 10/12 top and an 8/10 bottom. I’m not even close to maxing out on size there! I’ll stick to the outlets and online shopping from now on.
And if you doubt that Lululemon is not accommodating for women of all sizes, simply remember that the brand doesn’t even carry sizes larger than a 12 — which is pretty surprising, considering the average American woman is a size 16.
The post has garnered plenty of attention, particularly for a post on a local business Facebook page. Many commenters are expressing outrage over the sales associates’ behavior. Albert says that she wasn’t looking to instigate outrage, but that she did want to alert the company about some of its employees non-inclusive attitudes.
“If it ends up fixing the people that were rude to me, so that everyone feels welcome to shop in the store and nobody feels ashamed, then I suppose I’ve gotten through,”Albert told Daily Mail. “I just hope that no one else has to go through that.”
Lululemon told Daily Mail that they are currently working with Albert to come to an agreement that reaches her satisfaction.
“We welcome everyone in our community into our stores and love to celebrate the creation and completion of health and fitness goals — regardless of shape or size. Heather Albert reached out to us yesterday afternoon around 11am with her concerns about her experience at the Park City UT store. Lululemon engaged with her immediately and the resolution is in process to ensure she felt heard and valued as a guest.”
Hopefully women of all sizes will feel comfortable shopping in Lululemon in the future. Actually, scratch that — hopefully everyone realizes that a company with overpriced workout clothes and non-inclusive values isn’t worth the time or effort, and that there are plenty of other companies selling exercise clothing that are more deserving of your money.