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Critical Shopping

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This week, Mike Albo visits burgeoning yoga-wear empire Lululemon. He sees it as proof that Western culture has completely absorbed the ancient discipline of yoga and transformed it into a way to sell branded sweatpants, which is basically OK with him. What he's less comfortable with is the company's non-stop Canadian spunkiness: "A nanosecond after I entered, a spunky girl greeted me with a 'Hi!' as if she were my life coach or wife. There are the requisite yoga accessories: $9 headbands, $24 bamboo blocks. Not missing an opportunity to turn your frown upside down, $28 mats are wrapped in paper labels that say encouraging things like 'Drink fresh water.' Everything is relentlessly cheery, as if someone were constantly tapping me on the shoulder and saying 'Yay!'" [NYT]