When I filled out the application I was unemployed and figured it would be nice to get out of the house and earn a little money during the holidays. It was between Yankee Candle and Bath & Body Works (torn between candles and lotion). Yankee Candle won out.
One of the nice things about retail positions is that they tend not to require a lot of brain power (except for dealing with the technology that is the modern day computerized cash register). Hence, it’s easy to build your self-confidence without taking on too many difficult tasks.
One of my managers, Ted, compliments me almost daily saying he is proud of me, even when I make mistakes (usually minor). I love this about him. Too bad none of my other bosses (elsewhere) do that, but I guess one shouldn’t typically express much in the way of praise. Unless you get reprimanded for a screw-up I suppose it’s safe to assume you’re doing a good job.
I love helping the customers find the perfect candle. Okay, so candles aren’t going to solve all the world’s problems, if they help make someone’s day, then I’m glad I could help with that. Most of the customers are pretty nice and grateful for your help and a few even thank you too.
The customers can make or break your day and some are definitely more memorable than others. My favorite customer, thus far, was Mr. O. He and his wife came in one Friday afternoon with their miniature Chihuahua curled up sleeping in her carrying case. Mr. O and his wife proceeded to select half a dozen tumbler candles and decided to personalize them with photos. I think that’s the biggest order Yankee Candle has received this season.
Anyway, Mr. O was a larger-than-life presence in his over-caffeinated Ray Ban-wearing state. It shouldn’t have surprised me that the photos he selected for the candles were selfies he took posing in front of a mirror – one in a public restroom. They were hilarious, and he was so unabashed about it. In the hour or so he spent in our store he managed to win everyone over and started his own unofficial fan club. We were all quite sad to see him, his wife, and Lola (?) their dog leave.
It goes without saying that if I didn’t like candles I wouldn’t have wanted to work in a candle store. Yankee Candles may cost more than their brethren, but they’re also far superior in quality. They sell a lot of candles because of three things I’ve observed about the candles: They usually smell like the description (and you don’t have to hover over the candle to pick up the scent); they have creative and memorable names for the scents (Cozy by the Fire, Storm Watch, Autumn in the Park, etc.), and they have really pretty pictures on the candles. The name and picture gets you to pick up the candle, but the scent sells it. By the way, my favorite scents are all food-related (Buttercream, Vanilla Cupcake, Café Al Fresco), though aren’t necessarily the ones I own personally (Balsam Cedar, Hot Buttered Rum, Honey Clementine, etc.).
I genuinely like my coworkers and the managers, who are very reasonable to work for. Even though I could care less about all the financial details (like what target we need to hit by the end of the day as compared to the previous year), I am goal-orientated enough to care just a little about achieving my sales target for the day. Last night I made half my goal in one transaction when an elderly lady bought almost $300 worth of candles and accessories. My coworker helped her out by carrying the lady’s bags to her SUV.
Although I really don’t like being a salesman, I have discovered I have a certain talent for it and am proud of all the sales I’ve made for the company. To date, I've sold three (3) personalized candles and am really proud of that (technically I've sold four, but because I had trouble printing out the label for the fourth one my boss took credit for that one).
At any rate, it’s been a pretty positive experience and I’m glad to have had it.