Talk about a kick in the pants—the yoga pants crisis (yogate?) has gotten worse
for Lululemon. Apparently, store employees are asking customers to bend over.
This week, the trendy sportswear retailer Lululemon recalled a batch of its popular luon black yoga pants
because they are too sheer. The story has elicited chuckles from readers and social media users, but it’s taken its toll on the company. Finger pointing ensued
between Lululemon and its supplier, as the company’s stock price fell sharply this week. The retailer could see $50 million in revenue erased
this year because of the pants snafu.
Like its stockholders, customers visiting the store might be in for a surprise. Lululemon is accepting returns of its too sheer luon pants, but to determine whether they’re faulty, a bend-over test is required.
You read that correctly—a bend-over test.
During an earnings call this week, executive Officer Christine Day explained how employees were handling returns (via Bloomberg
“The truth of the matter is the only way you can actually test for the issue is to put the pants on and bend over. Just putting the pants on themselves doesn’t solve the problem. It passed all of the basic metric tests and the hand-feel is relatively the same, so it was very difficult for the factories to isolate the issue, and it wasn’t until we got in the store and started putting it on people that we could actually see the issue.”
That jibes with a comment from a PR Daily
reader that seemed too bizarre to believe at the time. The reader said
“An acquaintance related an even more concerning story related to how customers were treated when trying to return the sheer pants in question. Evidently the customer was asked to put the pants on and then asked to bend over so that an employee could determine if these were indeed the sheer pants. Not what I would call quality customer service.
“Wondering if this was an isolated incident? So did the customer, who then called GEC to confirm this is their protocol, and they verified that, yes, the ‘educators’ will verify sheerness by asking the customer to bend over.”
did not respond to PR Daily’s request for comment
emailed with more details on what's happening at the stores. A spokesperson said:
“All stores are accepting returns on women's black luon bottoms purchased after March 1st, no questions asked.
However, for current product on the floor, our educators are making suggestions to guests (trying on new pants at the store), to mimic the activity they would be doing in the pants ensure they are comfortable with the level of coverage. You can't actually tell the luon is sheer just by looking at it, touching it or even trying to put your hand through it. It's truly only when the weave is stretched 4 ways (eg. when in downward dog) that transparency becomes obvious.”
The notion of a “bend-over test” has taken on a life of its own in the media and on sites such as Twitter, where users are lol-ing, haha-ing, and best ever-ing the practice. However, at this point in the story, Adrienne Carter, news editor of The New York Times'
Dealbook section, perhaps put it best: