Lululemon Part 2: CEO Says The Only Testing Method Is ‘Put the Pants On and Bend Over’

The lululemon yoga pants saga is now really starting to get weird. Lucky for us, lululemon held its fourth quarter FY2012 earnings call today, just a few days after announcing that due to a manufacturing error its famous yoga pants are essentially see-through.

CEO Christine Day used the opportunity to address some of the concerns from financial analysts, stressing that the company was taking its customer’s concerns seriously and doing everything it could to address the issue. Specifically, she said that the company is “working with [its] suppliers to do some additional testing of any old stock” that it has, before too many see-through pairs of pants hit store shelves.

That’s all very well and good, I suppose. Company sees a problem, company fixes a problem. Sam Poser, an analyst at Sterne, Agee, & Leach, got to the crux of the matter though with his question:

Secondly, I guess the question is this I understand that you don’t’ understand how this exactly happened, but I guess the question is how did it get to where it would shipping without somebody trying on a pair of pants, would you like the first batch to make sure that this wasn’t an issue, and stopping it before it got so out of control and then what is going to be sort of do you see as the incremental cost of adding the different people, the new QA and so on and so forth at the different factories and so on to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again.

CEO Christine Day responded (bolding mine):

The truth of the matter is that the only way that you can actually test for the issue is to put the pants on and bend over. So, just putting the pants on themselves doesn’t solve the problem. So because 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 into the store and started putting it on people that we could actually see the issue.

That’s right, the only method the company has for testing for what has amounted to the largest recall in its history, is to have women put the pants on and bend over.

It brings up fantastical connotations of legions of factory workers lining up, bending over, and then a Women’s Bottoms Inspector General lines up and… you get the idea. It also brings up some questions- does Lululemon plan on introducing new quality testing techniques for its luon pants? What kind of methods are being introduced? If there are no new standards that are to be introduced, how does the company plan on doing what I presume is the large-scale testing necessary for evaluating the scope of the issue? What are the industry accepted standards for this type of testing?

So I e-mailed Lululemon to find out. Their response:

We do not have information beyond what was discussed on the call at this time.

I called Sam Poser to see if he had any idea what lululemon was doing, since they could not comment further. His response was that they messed up.

Except he didn’t say “messed.”

 

 

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LuLu Lemon Yoga Pants Too Yoga Pantsy, Company Says

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Yoga pants, known the world over for making young men say things like “yooogaaaa paaaaants,” and “YOGA PANTS,” are often worn for stretching exercises, like yoga, and often not worn for stretching exercises, like exhibitionism.

Unfortunately, a batch seems to have gone out where you can now see too much bottom, in these pants in which you show off your bottom, which is leading to shortages, droughts, and mass panic:

lululemon athletica inc. (Nasdaq: LULU) notified guests that we expect a shortage in our supply of black Luon pants and crops.

We have determined that certain shipments of product received from our factories and available in store from March 1, 2013 do not meet our technical specifications. The items affected are certain styles of women’s bottoms in our signature black Luon fabric. The ingredients, weight and longevity qualities of the pants remain the same but the coverage does not, resulting in a level of sheerness in some of our women’s black Luon bottoms that falls short of our very high standards.

Let’s just notice that they specify that it is “certain styles of women’s bottoms” that are affected, which is a bit ambiguous, rather than a more specific “certain styles of women’s pants.”

Hmmm, yes. Interesting word choice.

 

Read the press release over at TheStreet.com

Photo credit: lulemon athletica on Flickr

Fox Business News: Hey CEOs, We’ll Be Nice To You! Just Like Everyone Should!

Fox Business News, home of business luminaries (visionaries?) such as Lou Dobbs, famous for wanting the Messicans out, and Neil Cavuto, who ignores codes of ethics, has been running this biting ad on rival business TV news show CNBC. While CNBC has had its own slew of problems, FBN is basically accusing CNBC of not being fawning enough.

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How Your Coke Gets Made

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There’s an old saying that goes “No one wants to see how their _____ is made.”  Usually they’re referring to sausages or laws, but in this case, it is absolutely fascinating how Coca-Cola is made.  That includes the can:

 

Each can originated in a small town of 4,000 people on the Murray River in Western Australia called Pinjarra. Pinjarra is the site of the world’s largest bauxite mine. Bauxite is surface mined — basically scraped and dug from the top of the ground. The bauxite is crushed and washed with hot sodium hydroxide, which separates it into aluminum hydroxide and waste material called red mud. The aluminum hydroxide is cooled, then heated to over a thousand degrees celsius in a kiln, where it becomes aluminum oxide, or alumina.

 

And on and on, right down to how you make things like “caramel color.”  Yum!
Read more at Medium.

 

Photo credit:  WikiThreads T-shirts and Embroidery, Dallas, TX

 

You, America, Keep Buying Things, But You, America, Have No Jobs

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Good news everyone!  Spending recklessly, the only thing that seems to keep the American economic engine going, is up. And this comes despite the fact that you all have no money, or even more no money, than you did before you started spending recklessly again:

Consumer spending in the U.S. rose in January even as incomes dropped by the most in 20 years, showing households were weathering the payroll-tax increase by socking away less money in the bank.

Household purchases, which account for about 70 percent of the economy, climbed 0.2 percent after a 0.1 percent gain the prior month, a Commerce Department report showed today in Washington. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 76 economists called for a 0.2 percent advance.

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This Is How Your Tires Get Made: “How Stupid Do You Think We Are?”

SEXPAND

The French are known for making things. Cheeses. Wines. Peugeots. And tires. Michelin is one of the largest tire manufacturing concerns in the world, just churning out the circular rubbery things.

Titan is also a tire company, but not a French one. Titan CEO Maurice Taylor was invited to buy a tire factory in France by industry minister Arnaud Montebourg, and his response (with official letterhead, natch) is quintessentially American, and quintessentially hilarious. Choice quotes include:

Sir, your letter states you want Titan to start a discussion. How stupid do you think we are? Titan is the one with the money and the talent to produce tires. And what does the crazy union have? The French government.

And:

Titan is going to buy a Chinese tire company or an Indian one, pay less than one Euro per hour and ship all the tires France needs.  You can keep the so-called workers.  Titan has no interest in the Amien North factory.

I like how he calls him “sir.”

Read the whole letter at the Wall Street Journal.

 

 

Buying A Car Sucks Because Laws

 

No, this isn’t some insane Ted Nugent diatribe about the gub’mint getting in the way of Real America and Real Americans. The wonks with glasses (do they have glasses? I’m not sure. I have glasses) over at NPR’s Planet Money took a look today at why buying a new car sucks, always, without fail.

It basically boils down to “protections” put in place by state and federal governments to ensure that owning a dealership will be highly profitable and also nearly immune from competition from other dealers selling the same brand. Not only are automakers like General Motors, Ford, Toyota, etc. prohibited from setting up their own company-owned dealerships, but the privately-held dealerships are granted regional monopolies in their respective areas.

In addition, the ability to pass on your dealership to your children, grandchildren, and your grandchildren’s grandchildren is enshrined in law as well. Your grandchildren’s grandchildren suck at selling cars, and are dragging down Ford’s regional profits? Well, I suppose that’s just too bad for Ford.

But surely there’s a reason for this. Nobody is just handed anything, here, in America, capitalism.  Tammy Darvish, who sits on the executive board of the National Automobile Dealers Association, told Planet Money why they deserve it:

 

“We need these state laws to protect our investment, not just the investment in our business, but our people. We employ a little over 2,000 people, that’s 2,000 families throughout greater Washington that are dependent upon us continuing our business operations.”

 

Yes, just as the oil companies plead, Jobs and Families. Never mind the conservative principle of the free market filling the void if these monopolies were allowed to collapse, with the associated jobs that would follow. This is about Freedom, or something.

 

And, as Planet Money notes dryly:

 

“This is not the sort of argument that sways economists.”

 

These sorts of regulations have serious consequences as well. In November of 2011,Chrysler was forced to sell ts own “model dealership” in California in a settlement with the state and the California DMV.

 

It’s a bit long, but hear the whole thing over at Planet Money.

 

Photo Credit: Christopher Ziemnowicz/Wikimedia