When Lululemon opened on 75th Street and Broadway last month it seemed like a match made in heaven: a place for wealthy Upper West Siders to buy overpriced yoga apparel. After all, if wearing beautifully-crafted clothing while reaching spiritual enlightenment isn’t living the (upscale Bohemian) dream, what is?
But the clothing store has, in just a short time, broken the unbreachable etiquette of the neighborhood by refusing to contribute to the West 75th Street Block Association party, reports DNAinfo.
The store cited its corporate policy against contributing to community groups when block association president DeAnna Rieber asked for a donation of a raffle item or demonstrations.* Then things got ugly.
And you thought these kind of things only happened in Brooklyn!
“They’re all smiley on the surface but not when it comes down to participating in the community they’re part of,” Ms. Rieber told DNAinfo. “It seems very self-indulgent. I think they take care of their own, but that care doesn’t go beyond their own self-interest.”
Ms. Rieber was apparently unmoved by the store’s suggestion that she send residents to the free 9 a.m. class the store holds every Saturday, plus a promise of in-store refreshments throughout the day. Because, you see, the party begins at 1o a.m. and the point is street interaction.
Carolyn Manning, a spokeswoman for Lululemon, told DNAinfo that the store does not generally offer free products because ”we feel it undervalues both the product and what our guest generally expects.”
While it’s unclear if the well-heeled residents of the Upper West Side will return the snub—and forgo flattering, status-symbol spandex—Lululemon might be well advised to bring a freshly baked pie or a pot of geraniums to Ms. Rieber’s door.
*Luluemon has since contacted The Observer to let us know that the store did discuss several ways to try to officially partner with the block association, but that they “unfortunately were unable to find the right fit. With that said, we are new to the block and our team will definitely be there as active participants. We’ll also take a look at the event and how we can build on our relationships for next year.” Furthermore, the corporation said that it gives stores autonomy in deciding how they want to participate in community events.