Okay, to outline quickly: a female employee says she felt she had no option but to leave Harrods because she didn’t want to wear make up. I’ll say upfront that she signed a contract obliging her to fulfil the dress obligations, including wearing make up. Whether you agree with that or not is a different matter. But, nonetheless she did. I’ll also point out that she is a perfectly pretty girl who worked in the HMV department, not the make up hall.
So, Liz Jones wades in with her Mail column with helpful comments such as ‘British workers don’t want to make an effort,’ and ‘Why does a young woman think her desire to show us her open pores and ruddy complexion outweighs the wishes of her employer to present a polished face to the customer?’. This whole feature smacks of someone who has been told to write a counter argument and Liz could so easily have been told write the same feature but from the angle of not wearing make up being acceptable and Harrods being silly. It’s all on the whim of an editor to garner opinion and ‘outrage’ from readers. But sorry, it’s all a bit boring now. Manufacturing an argument to make it sound ‘real’ and ‘outspoken’ when there are SO many things to be real and outspoken about that actually matter is typical of a world where media loves to shock for the sake of it and to raise readership.
Back to the woman who won’t wear make up. She’s clean, her skin is nice, and she doesn’t work in the make up or fragrance department, or even for that matter, any department where mascara matters. I get that if you’re selling make up, of course you should wear it. Of course. But selling DVDs? Does it really matter so much? However, if she adamantly didn’t want to wear make up, then probably best to not apply to a luxury department store where you know it is a requirement.
Possibly the bigger issue is that she alledges that Harrods have an attitude that if you wear make up you are somehow improved. I say that, while I wouldn’t be caught dead (hello Illamasqua) without blusher, it’s really not for anyone else to make the call that make up improves. In fact, it’s rather insulting to make the assumption that the unreal you is far more acceptable to look at than the real you. I would suggest that if you’re lucky enough to have beautiful, creamy skin, bright eyes and the perfect arch naturally, then covering that up is the crime.
So, Liz of the recent facelift fame, butt out – you’ve made a career of your insecurities about your weight and looks so don’t dive in now to have a go at someone who was doing just fine without your input about ruddy skin and enlarged pores. Any second now you’ll notice a pore of your own that needs a little attention and then we’ll all end up hearing about it, no doubt with a Daily Mail spin that it’s your divine right not to be judged on the size of your pores.
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I think it’s fair enough for Harrods to say that, after all their overall image is one of…well, false grandeur. Why not have ‘made up’ people selling CDs? Don’t the men all have to be well shaven and presentable? However, at the end of the day I’d be more bothered by a HMV worker who knew nothing about music/ films – not one who knew nothing about make-up.
Perhaps by taking a personal stand on the issue, this girl thought she might get company policy changed?
As for Liz Jones, I don’t read her. I can find lots of other ways to make myself irritable.
Whilst I understand what you are saying and couldnt agree more regarding Liz Jones – dreadful bloody woman who contradicts herself week on week – this girl did sign a contract in which it was stipulated that she should wear make up. It seems that Harrods staff agreed that the bare minimum, bit of gloss and some mascara, would do just to meet the terms of the contract that she had signed voluntarily. And she refused. If you sign a contract you should expect to be required to adhere to it, if it was optional it wouldn’t have been in the contract. I do believe that wearing make up improves, why else would we wear it if not to improve? I wear make up because putting on some mascara improves the length of my lashes, wearing lipstick improves the shape of my lips. I run a service oriented business and the majority of my customers wouldnt notice if I was dressed in a bag, but by putting myself into a position where I am offering a service direct to my customer part of my showing respect for my customer is shown by ensuring that my appearance is smart, clean, tidy and professional. If your work brings you into contact with your employer’s customers you are an ambassador for the Company and that gives them them the right to demand that you represent it to the very best of your abilities, professionally and aesthetically if it chooses. In exchange they pay you.
Sorry if that sounds bolshy!!
It doesn’t sound bolshy – everyone’s going to have a view and I’m glad you’ve aired yours. I agree – don’t sign a contract requiring you to do something you don’t want to do. It’s more Liz wading in with a ‘faux’ gripe than Harrods tbh. x
Well said! Nothing worse than someone who doesn’t have a clue about the whole thing stick there freakin’ nose in where it’s not wanted! x
Ugh don’t get me started on my hatred for the Daily Mail! Here’s hoping it goes the same way as the News of the World!!
Great post though 🙂
Couldn’t agree with you more. Can’t bloody stand Liz Jones. x
Hear hear, think Liz is just writing anything to pay for her massive vet bills
When out shopping the last thing I do is look to see if the person serving me is wearing make up!
I also find a lot of staff at the beauty counters look like they have applied their make up with a trowel and I avoid their stands like the plague for fear of looking like them if I buy the brand they are promoting!
If you are clean, smart and can do the job you are being paid to do make up should not come into the equation.
I agree with many of your thoughts in the article, however I don’t think that the fact that she is a ‘pretty girl’ who is clean (!?) with nice skin is maybe that relevant.
I don’t want to split hairs, but my first reaction on reading your article was that the girls natural appearance had some bearing on the situation.
Also I agree with Ali – good point.
Does Harrods demand it’s male employees wear make-up?
Well looks like they have a sexist policy then and that needs to change.
Asking people to look well groomed is fine, demanding women wear make-up is sexist and belongs in the history books.
Also I think you mean “a female employee” in the first line.
That illamasqua dead make-up thing freaked me out.
Now, I love wearing make-up and I wear it most days but I wouldn’t want to work somewhere where I HAD to. I feel like it’d make things a lot less fun.
Sometimes I love Liz Jones and sometimes I hate her. I suppose we all have to earn a crust and it’s a tried and tested formula her editor has her writing to. I don’t know if she has a blog but I read this one nearly every day.
I don’t like beauty counters that remove or scratch out the names from the testers. After being royally stiched up on one occassion I never went back. Now I never buy from a counter I find doing this.
Well said! The DM is a joke from start to finish.
Well said Alexandriaweb. I’m sure the men aren’t contractually obliged to wear make up. Sad (but not surprised) to see the Daily Mail condoning sexist practices. I like to wear make up, but it’s scary that the our society seems to accept this kind of thing.