Many of you reading this will be on the verge of a well earned break over the festive season, which for some has already commenced. Over the coming days there will be billions of dollars spent around the world as every man, woman and child rushes out amid the corporation fuelled Christmas hype which performs so well at making us feel the urge to spend money on gifts for loved ones, family, friends and even people we only see once a year. It’s a boom time for retailers and the tens of thousands of staff members who work so hard at ensuring you have the right gift for the right person.
Last night Kat came home from another long and tiring day from her casual job at The Perfume Shop in Milton Keynes with a large envelope in her hands. Inside there was a card and a voucher. The card itself, a generic mass produced effort from head office was coupled with a discount voucher that ensured every staff member within the company received 10% of the next purchase at, you guessed it, The Perfume Shop!
I can imagine some of you might be thinking that Kat should be grateful she has a job at this time of year yes? Well, let’s look at some of the facts behind The Perfume Shop
Established in 1992 and bought out by the largest health and beauty retailer in the world, A.S Watson Group (a Chinese group) in 2005, The Perfume Shop has over 250 retail outlets in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The fragrance industry generates more than £16 BILLION a year with celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez earning a staggering £25 MILLION from the industry alone. At the lower end of the scale Sarah Jessica Parker has made a substantial £2 MILLION for her role in the fragrance industry.
The staggering aspect of an industry that fleeces consumers is the profit margin that continues to produce new record sales every year. Only 5% of the cost of what you buy goes into production. What’s more, due to cost cutting within the industry scents are now produced in a laboratory which offer production at a far cheaper cost. So after production, packaging and marketing the bottle you just spent £50 on will see £45 go directly into the kitty as profit! Staggered yet?
On a personal level, yesterday alone Kat made just under £5,000 in sales for The Perfume Shop. That means almost £4,500 went into the profit jar of the fraudulent company. For her hourly rate of a poultry £6.91 an hour, Kat was paid a just under £70 for her 10 hour shift.
The glittering TV and entertainment industry propelled by expensive marketing campaigns will have you believe that once you wear one of the many celebrity endorsed fragrances you will become more alluring and enticing to those around you. Feel like you are being taken for a ride yet? I sure as hell do.
For a company that is swimming in record profits with a CEO who takes home a staggering £12 MILLION a year it is a shame to see yet another multi national company treat its workers with such disdain. Maybe the powers that be within the A. S. Watson Group could do a little more for the workers that put in long hours over the holiday season to feed these self indulgent fat cats such exorbitant wages?
The rich are becoming richer and the poor are growing poorer yet we, as a society are doing little, if anything to buck the trend. Perhaps next time you are about to enter The Perfume Shop you might think twice before handing over your hard earned?