August 5, 2013

Why I Don’t Hate Lululemon. ~ Michelle Marchildon.

It’s popular right now to pile on Lululemon Athletica, the successful sportswear manufacturer who uses bright little aphorisms, like “Just write a book,” to sell their clothes.

Well, I did just write a book; in fact, I’ve written two, and in neither case did my sports bra help in any way.

However, Lululemon did help my career, and I want to acknowledge this to set the record straight: I do not hate Lululemon. In fact, I can’t think of a single person who I hate. That’s because I’m Vata (an Ayurvedic description of a person made of air), and we can’t remember the people who piss us off. Hate is the purview of the Pittas (a person made of fire).

Years ago I wrote a blog about why Lululemon discriminated against older yogis.

I also wrote a song, sung to the tune of Mercedes Benz:

“Oh Lord, won’t you make me a Lulu Ambassador,

My friends all wear Lucy, Tonic and Prana.

I worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my core,

So Lord, won’t you make me an Am-Bass-A-Dor.”

This went viral. My website had 24,000 reads in a single day before it crashed. That’s a lot of pissed off older yogis. Now I seem to be the poster child for people who hate Lululemon.

But I want to set the record straight, because it’s uncomfortable for me to be the representative of something so angry.

Why I do not Hate Lululemon:

1. The company seems to have learned a lesson. In fact, whenever I walk into my local store, the helpful sales clerks point out the photo of the running octogenarian. “See,” the perky clerk says, “We love old people.” I wonder if they do this for everyone, or just for me?

Older, happy and yogic.

2. They still do not love people over size 12, which account for most of the world. I hear from my friends of color they do not love them either. However, I think they love LGBT people, short people and girl people. Unfortunately, we are not going to be loved by all the people, all the time.

3. Some of the sales clerks do seem to be vacuous. Also, one of them committed a ghastly murder in Bethesda, Md. I have nothing snarky to say about this. Not everyone can afford an education and use it in a way that creates good in the world, which is a terribly sad part of life.

4. The lemons love aphorisms. I won’t hate a company because they use the clichés of the Landmark Forum to promote good health and sales. Lots of people use phrases like “May we love all beings everywhere.” In yoga, we call this mantra.

5. I no longer wish to be an Ambassador. No, really. In fact, I have a contract with another company which forbids it. The clothes are sold in yoga studios to keep costs down, and they donate a percentage of profits to Off the Mat. This company also supported my animal rights campaigns, so I learned to be choosy about who and what I support. It’s not about what I get, but what I can give back.

6. But most of all, I do not hate Lululemon because if it wasn’t for them, you may not have heard of The Yogi Muse. I have been a professional writer for 30 years, but it took a local store manager to say I wasn’t a good yogi (because I was too old and a soccer mom) to catapult me into my 15 minutes. I want to publicly say, thank you. I owe you, and even though I’m Vata, I never forget help from a friend.

Like elephant yoga on Facebook.

Ed: Sara Crolick

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