Thursday, February 9, 2012

Feeding the Lululemon Monster

I have a very bi-polar relationship with Lululemon. I've been inspired to write this post because I just blew $80 on this Define Jacket from Lululemon and I'm conflicted about it.

Let's start at the beginning. The Lululemon Monster first got my best friend in 2010. I gave her a bunch of crap and rolled my eyes as she spent gobs of money on over priced clothing to sweat in. My own work out wardrobe was mainly purchased at Target. My philosophy was that if I'm just going to make it smell gross, why should I spend more than $20 on it? I had gotten along just fine with my Target dri fit shirts, sports bras, and pants.

BF tried valiantly to persuade me to try Lululemon. She came to visit and let me wear her $120 Scuba Hoodie around for a while, assuming that once I had a piece of it on my body I wouldn't be able to live without it.

I resisted.

Then she threatened to buy me Lululemon for my birthday. I tried to fend her off. "I don't want that overpriced stuff!" "You're crazy!" "STOP WASTING YOUR MONEY!"

Eventually I ended up going to the local store and trying some things on to see what size I was because if she was going to insist, I didn't want her to waste her $$ on buying the wrong size. Somehow I made it out of the store without buying anything. The cheapest thing that I tried on was a $39 work out tank that I could not justify buying.

My birthday came and my presents from BF were a pair of Lululemon running crops that I don't believe they make anymore and a grey Run: Swiftly Tech shirt.

I fell in love with the running crops. Before I knew it, I found myself buying a few Cool Racerback tanks and Flo Y bras.

Her plan had worked. I was hooked. I jokingly refer to her as my pusher. And we are terrible influences on each other. I try to restrict myself to the We Made Too Much "sale" section of the website. I say "sale" with quotes because even on sale, this stuff is ridiculously overpriced. Even though I clearly know this, I keep buying it.

Before I even got to work this morning, BF had texted me to tell me that they had added some jackets to the WMTM section. All Lulu addicts know that checking the WMTM section obsessively and pouncing as soon as your desired item appears is absolutely necessary because if you don't, it will be gone forever or the only way you will be able to get it is by paying someone 3x retail price on eBay. Or you will just spend the rest of your days saying, "If only I had been able to get that Surge Stripe Cool Racerback. I just know my life would have been better."

This is where the jacket pictured above appeared this morning. I sat and waffled.

The angel on my shoulder said:

Do you really need to spend $80 on a jacket right now? You could really use new work clothes. $80 would buy two pairs of work pants or 2 sweaters or 2 shirts. $80 is what you spend on groceries for a week. $80 is two tanks of gas. $80 would buy five work out tops at Target. You already have a Define jacket. And a black Northface jacket. And what about that pesky credit card that you swore you would have paid off by the end of 2011?

The devil on the other shoulder chimed in:

But look! It's $79 instead of $108! The Define that you already have is dark - this light one would be more visible at night. It'll make you safer! If you wait too long, it'll be sold out. Then you'll be sorry. Oh, and if you sell that Glacier Life Power Y Tank on the exchange for $40, you're really only spending $40 more! A Define for $40 - you can't beat that! Besides, your credit card balance isn't so bad. You deserve this jacket - make it an early "Way to go on your half marathon!/Happy Birthday to Me!" present.

Well, you already know who won. The devil. I justified away my $80 jacket, even though I know that it's ridiculous.

So how do they do it? How do they make an otherwise semi-frugal and reasonable woman spend $80 on a jacket she doesn't really need?

Keep reading after the cut if you want to know my theory.

It's simple, really - the old adage of supply and demand. And lots of brainwashing.

Unlike most normal retailers, Lululemon doesn't make gobs and gobs of product. They make a limited amount of the product and when it's gone it is GONE. And it doesn't take days for it to disappear - I've seen things become sold out in a matter of minutes. Things like the running gloves that I desperately wanted and actually needed but didn't get because they sold out in less than an hour (I'm not bitter... not at all).

So, when something shows up that you really like, you feel the compelling urge to buy it. Right now. Even if you don't have the money for it or really don't neeeeeeeeed it, if you don't buy it NOW you may never get it. For instance, my birthday is a little more than a month away. When my husband or mother in law asks me what I'd like, I could have said, "Oh, there is this jacket on Lulu that I really want!" and then someone would have a great gift idea for me and I wouldn't even have to pay for the Lulu myself. What a perfect world it would be.

But no. Lululemon does not work this way. Unless my husband or mother in law purchased this item today (preferably within 10 minutes of my suggestion) then it would likely be gone.

So you see, if I really wanted that jacket, I had to buy it today.

Now for the brainwashing. Somehow Lulu has convinced all of us addicts that their clothes will make us run faster than Kara Goucher, smell like fresh cut roses after running 10 miles, look like Miranda Kerr, and poop rainbows.

In truth, I do think that some of the Lulu clothing is better than other things I have tried and just might  be worth the money. Particularly the bottoms. I have crops, running skirts, and shorts and I can say that they are wonderful pieces of equipment. After running in them, I have given up completely on the shorts and pants of my pre-Lulu life.

The other piece that I have that I would pay full price for again is my Hybrid Featherweight Running Jacket. It's the jacket that I'm wearing in my profile photo. I LOVE THIS JACKET. I get overheated very easily and hate the thought of wearing a jacket while running, but this one is so lightweight and breathable while still taking the edge off a cold wind that it quickly became my favorite piece of Lulu ever. If I could, I would buy another one. Or two. Even though they are $108 each. (CRAZYTOWN)

Other things, however, are not worth it. The underwear promises no visible pantylines. NOT TRUE. In fact, not even close. Glad I spent $18 to find that out. The Run: Swiftly Tech collection of tops ride up ridiculously. At $58 a pop for the short sleeved versions, they are also ridiculously overpriced. The Tata Tamer sports bra that I purchased for $60 is downright uncomfortable. And while they are cute and coordinate oh so well with my collection of Cool Racerback tanks, the Flo Y bra is not worth it. My boobs are just as fine in my trusty $17 sports bra... which, dare I say it, actually wicks moisture away better than the Flo Y ever does.

So, how should I close this far-too-long entry about the virtues and wickedness of Lululemon?

I want to say "just say no." But I am so brainwashed that I can't do it! AHHH!!

It's obviously too late for me.

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