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Department Store Candles

by Matthew Tyler Boyer

I don’t understand department stores.

Places like Marshalls and T.J. Maxx are filled to the fill-line on their capitalistic, white-washed merchandised metaphorical wax melters comprised of throw blankets, pots and pans, clothing, and pet supplies all in the same heated vat. This is what they meant when they said America was a melting pot. Or, maybe not. Things have changed over the years.

One of these things that haven’t changed is the way candles are marketed, right? Wrong. Going into Marshalls, you will find two entire aisles full of candles.

My sense of smell is warped when presented with candle after candle friends curate from shelf to hand. It smells like wax, but at least I know what it’s supposed to smell like.

With names like “Storm” and “Onyx,” how wouldn’t I already know? This is a problem, albeit a small one. Maybe it’s not even a problem and I just hate “Pretentious,” the new candle from Yankee Candles that makes your house smell like the inside Kim Kardashian’s purse.

One of my favorite new techniques to market a candle however is giving the bland smelling wax a trite, banal adjective as a name, such as “Grateful: a state of feeling or expressing gratitude,” or “Blessed: to feel fortunate, bringing happiness or good fortune.”

What happened to “Strawberry?”

Next time I visit Marshalls with my friends in search of a throw blanket made by overworked children or expensive generic wall art, I’ll be on the lookout for the next candle to burn in my room.

“Privileged: the ability to complain about arbitrarily named fragrances.”

1 Comment on Department Store Candles

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