Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sea Harbor

I just dropped $30 on a candle. As in, a bunch of wax in a jar. When I'm done hyperventilating, I'll explain what happened.

Last week, I was visiting my dad in Jacksonville. "What do you want to do today?" he asked. "Oh, I don't know; whatever" (my usual reply), "wait. I have a coupon for 40% off at Borders Bookstore. And that's 50% with my membership card - I need to go today, or else the coupon'll expire," I said. So, we head over to the mall....and when we get there, my dad realizes that this particular mall doesn't have a Borders; it has a Booksamillion.

It's no big deal. We walk the mall instead.

Along the trip, my dad detours us into the Yankee Candle store. It's always a little tricky going into a Yankee Candle store; at the first step over the threshold, the smell of 150 differently scented candles smacks you in the face, and you're busy trying not to wrinkle up your nose or act disgusted when a store associate rushes up to you to offer their assistance. This is the worst type of shopping experience for me; to have the sales clerk looming over your back making comments about every candle you pick up just makes me incredibly self-conscious. My dad offers to buy me a candle, and I decline, because I can't reasonably ask my dad to drop $30 on a candle, like I just did 5 hours ago.

Even though I told my dad no, I found a scent, Sea Harbor, that I really liked - one out of the hundreds, like a beacon of individuality, whispering "pick me, pick me!" I had put it back. I wanted my dad to learn that he doesn't have to spend money on me every time we hang out.

So, last night, I went to the local mall, scouting for this particular candle. In my usual (almost heterosexual) shopping style, I was planning on getting in, getting what I came for, paying, and leaving. I glided into the Yankee Candle store with my typical "I've got places to be" pace that makes people think that I'm a New Yorker. I started eyeing the shelves, row after row, looking for the tell-tale blue of the candle I was after. On my fourth step into the store:

Hi! How are you doing today? Can I help you find anything?

I returned her niceties, assured her that I was all right, and thanked her for asking. I made it to the back of the store, before:

Are you looking for a gift for someone? You know our car scents are buy one get one free, so if you need something for your car--

"No," I said, deciding to come clean, "I'm actually here for Sea Harbor, but I wanted to look around a bit while I'm here." Partially true; I wanted to make sure that I was making the right decision before I spent any money.

Really? That's an interesting choice. No one's really come in looking for that candle before; it's not one of our biggest sellers. I'm glad someone likes it.

And I do. But I don't know why everyone else might not.

So, I finished looking around the store, and then picked up a jar of neglected Sea Harbor, bought it, and left. According to the website, Sea Harbor is "a fresh ocean breeze," meeting the aroma of "bright citrus, sweet jasmine, and warm vanilla." Frankly, it reminds me of the cologne or the perfume of someone in my childhood...I think my great-grandmother. Its heady, but not overpowering.

But the whole ordeal seemed like just another page out of my life. Here I am, a paying customer with cash in hand, dropping a full tank of gas or a nice faux leather jacket (after the darling little coupons they send in the mail) from JCPenny's on a candle - a candle - and the response is "oh. That's a weird choice; no one likes that one."

It was almost awesome.

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