Saturday, December 13, 2014

Dear Bath & Bodyworks.

Dear Bath & Bodyworks,

Some products have immediate stopping power for women. Riding boots, pumpkin anything, and monogrammed chevron stationary are three such examples. You though, Bath & Bodyworks, you have something any marketing team worth its annual merchandising budget would sell trade secrets for. You have a product with a latent appeal as strong as a pumpkin latte's obvious allure.

As a fellow marketer, I am jealous. Even though my high school memories are tinged with the scent of Sun-Ripened Raspberry and I use your products, they don't ignite a primal urge in me like pumpkin goods. I was, ergo, gloriously alarmed to find myself participating in your Three Wick Candle Apocolypse just yesterday.

It started out with an innocent email proclaiming, with the strongest sense of urgency, the "one day only" $8 price for your candles. "Huh," I thought to myself, "that seems like a great deal and I need teacher gifts. Sign me up!" I am now certain that your CRM program mined data like a damn digger and knew that 85% of readers would have this exact thought.

The next day, I innocently headed to my closest Bath & Bodyworks, double stroller and two small children in tow; to purchase six candles. The smell of too many scents in one small space mixed with fear hit me in the face. The White Barn collection jumbled up with the shea butters smashed into the random mens' scents were expected, but from where was the fear emanating? My eyes darted left to right, breathing it all in. This was not a typical day at Bath & Bodyworks.

Apron-clad employees hustled around us, toting more three-wick candles than should be physically possible, to keep the shelves stocked. Women jockeyed for position in front of 'Pumpkin Cupcake' and 'Balsam Fir' while the few husbands present put their muscles to use and held their wives' effluvious booty. The line stretched to the front display and scattered all about were giant coffee cup holders for holding three-wick candles! There was even a woman with a suitcase to hold hers.

I considered leaving, but there is one week of school before Christmas, and I had a job to do. I dove in, double-stroller first, to the madness. I crashed into displays, filled my bag, and asked my three-year-old to smell along with me. I texted friends, "Hey, I'm at B&BWorks and candles are $8 - who wants some?" I sniffed and smelled and filled until I felt like my piece of candle pie was suitable.

The madness and the candle holder.
By the time I got in line, my bag was so heavy, it sat where the baby should have and the baby gleefully dove for candle displays from my arms.

Almost at the front of the line, my three-year old told me he had to pee-pee. I bartered with the people around me in line to hold my spot, left my candles strapped safely in their stroller, and made my son pee [on both of us] on a bush in the parking lot lest he take too long and our candles get re-shelved.

Here's the thing, Bath & Bodyworks, I'm not even sure I like candles! But, in the frenzy I lost all ability to reason, let alone recall likes and dislikes. My fervor for your three-wick candles was that of a woman who knows the world's wax supply is running dry.

Excellent work, Bath & Bodyworks. I'd say your three-wick candles are the next pumpkin phenomenon, but I've never bought 15 pumpkin items at once. Congratulations. Your candles just beat pumpkin.


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