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Author Topic: Body Shop Founder unveils campaign against violence
bigcitygal
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posted 03 August 2006 05:40 AM      Profile for bigcitygal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I know, she's the faux-activist progressives love to hate, but it sounds like, in spite of selling out to L'Oreal (for $1.2 billion!) that Anita Roddick is still trying to do some good, in raising awareness of violence against women and children.

quote:

Some would say she sold out.

But retail rebel Anita Roddick, who this year sold her chain of beauty-product stores, The Body Shop, to the multinational L'Oréal for $1.2 billon (U.S.), is still going strong.

At 63, she's fighting for the causes that have always motivated her.

"The hidden victims of domestic violence are the children," said Roddick last night, in town to help launch an in-store Body Shop campaign against domestic violence.

The chain will be donating proceeds from sales of a $4.50 bar of soap to the Canadian Women's Foundation, which works to prevent violence in the home and supports shelters for women and children leaving abusive situations.


Click on "Body Shop founder" under breaking news

By the way, I can't let this go: scroll down the article and you'll find this lovely gem:

quote:

"My relationship with L'Oréal is very intimate," says Roddick, a petite brunette who opened her first store in 1976

PLEASE tell me what being a petite brunette has to do with ANYTHING?!?!?

(Sorry, I couldn't get the direct link to work, it caused bad sidescroll. This has never happene to me before.)

[ 03 August 2006: Message edited by: bigcitygal ]


From: It's difficult to work in a group when you're omnipotent - Q | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 03 August 2006 06:16 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oh boy, you've touched on my own little hot button issue, bigcitygal, so lucky you, you get a rant! (What a prize, huh?)

The vast majority of The Body Shop's staff are women. One of the nice things (PR-wise, anyhow) The Body Shop does is that they encourage their (extremely low-paid) staff to go to women's shelters and give the women there makeovers to improve their confidence. They sell postcards and other trinkets with progressive themes (confidence in your body - violence against women - destruction of the environment) and they give a percentage of the proceeds to organizations that stand against violence towards women.

But how does Anita Roddick figure women who work at The Body Shop could leave an abusive spouse if they're earning $8 per hour? How does Anita Roddick figure that the environment is helped when her stores put pressure on their workers to try and get customers to make an average sale of X amount of money, and X number of items (yes, it's that mathematical) by encouraging each customer to buy impulse "add ons" that they don't need at the cash register? Did you know that when you walk into The Body Shop, your entire visit is choreographed right down to how long you spend in the store before you're greeted by the associate? That the associates are under pressure to make a certain ratio of sales per walk-ins? (They count by using a little infrared counter at the entrance, so they know how many people have walked into the store, vs. how many sales at the cash register.)

Now, I understand that this is just good sales practice, and I don't really have that huge a problem with it, I guess, except that the associates are pushed to sell the way commissioned sales associates are, but they don't get the reward of a commission - no, they just get their puny wage, and a huge discount off of the merchandise - too bad you can't eat bubble bath.

So, if Anita Roddick is so concerned about the plight of women, and she wants them to be strong and autonomous and to get away from abusive spouses, why does she disempower her mostly female employees by paying them wages that would make it incredibly difficult to leave an abusive spouse? Oh, she's doing it for the CHILDREN. How sweet. So, let's see, a Body Shop associate has a kid or two and a husband who's beating the crap out of her. I'm sure she'd find it really easy to leave her husband and find a place for herself and two children on the wages she's being paid.

Guess what, Anita? Your words don't mean shit if you don't live them. You had the opportunity to dip into some of your obscene profits and share the wealth with your workers, but of course you didn't. You could have been different, but you're not. In fact, you're worse. At least Walmart doesn't pretend to give a shit about their workers or about women's activism.

[ 03 August 2006: Message edited by: Michelle ]

[ 03 August 2006: Message edited by: Michelle ]


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
BleedingHeart
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posted 03 August 2006 08:07 AM      Profile for BleedingHeart   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
They also make their low paid staff buy those ugly T-Shirts they have to wear, sell a certain quota of merchandise (in the thousands of dollars each shift) and at one store part-time employees were told they had to be available both Xmas eve and Boxing Day if they ever wanted to work there again.
From: Kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
500_Apples
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posted 03 August 2006 10:15 AM      Profile for 500_Apples   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Not to nitpick, but most retail stores require boxing day and christmas eve. When you join an industry you're expected to be there the most important days of the year. It's like a video game company which requires its employees to attend the electronic entertainment expo, or an ice cream parlour which requires its employees to be more available during summer fairs.

But overall, I agree with Michelle. The employees should have more opportunity to better their situation, somehow. Commission is certainly one way to do it.


From: Montreal, Quebec | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 03 August 2006 10:56 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, just to be clear, I wasn't advocating commissioned retail sales. I was just saying that they are treated with the same pressure as commissioned sales staff, without even the commission as reward.

In fact, I think the best idea would be to raise their hourly rates to a liveable wage. They could easily do it, considering their profits. So what if no one else in the industry pays their retail workers $12 or $13 an hour? Be the only ones who do, and make it public that you do it. Actually do something for women instead of just talking about it.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
ouroboros
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posted 04 August 2006 06:00 AM      Profile for ouroboros     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by 500_Apples:
Not to nitpick, but most retail stores require boxing day and christmas eve.

That's fine, kind of. We know most retail jobs are crappy and the owners don't even pretend otherwise.

But Bodyshop makes it seem like they are great employer that cares. That's what gets on my nerves.


From: Ottawa | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 04 August 2006 06:37 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
To be fair, the Body Shop I worked at hired seasonal help for Christmas. (That's the only time I worked there, two years in a row.) It was a decent job as far as minimum wage retail jobs go, and they were quite nice, no nastiness or pettiness. And if you're hired as seasonal help for Christmas, it's pretty much expected that you will work the busiest days of the season, otherwise there's no point in hiring seasonal help.

I'm just saying that overall, The Body Shop could be different. They could pay their female staff living wages if they really wanted to make a difference. They could set an example instead of just talking about it. But they don't. It's just another minimum wage job. A pleasant one compared to a fast food joint or standing at the cash all day at No Frills, but still, nothing revolutionary.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Farces
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posted 04 August 2006 07:00 AM      Profile for Farces   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
comment deleted. This topic is so interesting I forgot I was not supposed to be in here. Sincere apologies.

[ 04 August 2006: Message edited by: Farces ]


From: 43°41' N79°38' W | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged
Farces
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posted 04 August 2006 07:07 AM      Profile for Farces   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Farces:
comment deleted. This topic is so interesting I forgot I was not supposed to be in here. Sincere apologies.

PS: Just so nobody thinks I was trying to pull any nastiness -- I basically moved my question to a new topic in the Labor and Consumption forum.

[ 04 August 2006: Message edited by: Farces ]


From: 43°41' N79°38' W | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 04 August 2006 07:22 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thanks, Farces. Much appreciated. I was just searching for old threads where I know we talked about this before in labour and consumption (because I knew I'd written this rant at least once or twice on babble before ), but as it turns out, the threads weren't specifically about the Body Shop, so I'm glad you started that thread.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
bigcitygal
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posted 04 August 2006 12:33 PM      Profile for bigcitygal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Michelle, what you say is exacty true, re Anita and her policy of how she treats workers, who are mostly women.

On one level I feel that any effort to raise awareness of violence against women is good, as it may continue to expand the circle of women and men who need to know how pervasive this is in our society.

But of course there are many ways to provide political support, and I've always hated the "For every product sold we'll donate $1.00 to (fill in name of charity/cause here)" I figure if you're a big corporation, then frikkin donate a couple hundred thou and get your damn pic in the paper and then it's done, and can do some good.

Raising wages in a notoriously low paying sector would of course be a very direct way to support the issue, making the Body Shop a viable option for women to make a living wage, which goes far to help with leaving abusive relationships. But no, that would be asking too much. Capitalists gotta make that profit of course.

Hey, I never said Anita was rocking and great. I just felt that it was better than most other organzations have done.

[ 04 August 2006: Message edited by: bigcitygal ]

[ 04 August 2006: Message edited by: bigcitygal ]


From: It's difficult to work in a group when you're omnipotent - Q | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
pencil-skirt
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posted 04 August 2006 12:53 PM      Profile for pencil-skirt     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I worked for the Body Shop for about 3 days before quitting. I thought I was signing up for this wonderful experience - selling nice smelling soaps and shampoos to nice people.

Instead - something I never realized was that all Body Shops were just focussed on selling makeup. At the time, I barely wore any makeup and all they wanted me to do was buy all their products and wear tons of it to work, and sell makeup to everyone who came in. I found that so funny because my stereotype of a woman who shops at that store was some nature loving, birkenstock kinda hippie woman who would mostly go au naturel except for some hemp lip balm or something...yet we were supposed to sell bronzer and mascara? And the quotas were crazy too.


From: Saturn | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 05 August 2006 04:09 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
pencil-skirt, I know. I had to wear five items of make-up on my face on every shift. It wasn't that terrible, I guess, but I wasn't used to it, and for a store that advertises that women are beautiful the way they are, forcing their employees to put glop all over their faces really didn't jive with that. I ended up using blush, lipstick, eye liner, mascara, and eye-shadow, so at least I didn't have to put foundation all over my face. And heck, I like make-up! I just don't like having to wear it all the time.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
bigcitygal
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posted 05 August 2006 07:18 AM      Profile for bigcitygal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
hemp lip balm

Ha! Good one! I got some great Burt's Bee's stuff. Bought at a cute local store in Toronto (Outer Layer), but you can get Burt's Bees anywhere crunchy granola is sold!

I wouldn't have guessed that about the Body Shop since I don't wear makeup and don't go to the makeup area, except for lip balm in the winter. Thanks for the info, pencil-skirt and Michelle. The reasons why Anita sold out to L'Oreal make more sense to me now.


From: It's difficult to work in a group when you're omnipotent - Q | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 05 August 2006 07:30 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Good one? No, there really is hemp lip balm at The Body Shop! There has been for years now.

I agree with you that at least they're giving the issue some publicity, bcg. But to me, it's something like Walmart making commercials about, I don't know, helping the poor or something. The Body Shop isn't like Walmart, not even close if you ask me, but I'm just talking about the whole marketing an image that you don't act upon with your workers and producers.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Pearson
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posted 07 August 2006 10:21 PM      Profile for Pearson        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It's a classic example of a corporation reaping all the benefits of having a good image without actually sacrificing anything. All their "philanthropy" is aimed solely at increasing profit.

It's like a politician who takes a moral stance on something until the polls tell him/her that it isn't polling well.


From: 905 Oasis | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
rattatooie
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posted 09 August 2006 09:04 AM      Profile for rattatooie     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
There is nothing particularly better about Body Shop rather than any other mall store, in my opinion. Lots of other companies donate money to charities, too, but they don't use it as makeup. Hehe.
From: toronto | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged

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