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I've been working at Racked NY for more than two years now, so it's safe to say I've seen my fair share of sample sales — the good, the bad, and the downright wacky. But still, a complete comprehension of the frenzy that surrounds the Diptyque sample sale eludes me.
I've seen people stand in the snow and the rain waiting to get their hands on candles that are only about half-off their retail prices, which these days translates to $35 for a standard-sized candle. $35 can buy you an awesome candle — more than one, in some cases! Crazy, I know! — at lots of other places. And if you decide to pay more than $35, consider it paying for the privilege to wake up past dawn and walk into a store whenever you damn please.
Anyway, in case you haven't figured it out by now, I went to the Diptyque sample sale preview at C21 Edition right when the doors opened at 8am, and I saw some weird stuff that I can't keep to myself. Below, four weird things, in chronological order:
1. Okay, maybe this should be number 0, but: there was a line to get into the preview yesterday morning. The preview. I showed up about ten minutes past opening, so the very first shoppers were still inside. Anyway, when I got inside and made my way up to the sale space's second floor (the first floor is just the fancy LXR & Co. merch), one of the first things I noticed is that there were more men that I expected.
One in particular stuck out to me, since he was basically using one of the sales associates as his personal shopper. I've seen things like this happen at high-end sales when well-heeled customers are preparing to drop thousands on clothes and shoes...but candles??
He described to her what scents he was looking for, denounced any candle or jar that wasn't white (heaven forbid), and at one point asked for a demonstration on how those hourglass diffusers work. She had to call in for backup. To be fair, they do look a little tricky.
2. I also don't understand the shunning of holiday candles, or basically anything that's not one of the really popular scents (which, as of this writing, might very well be sold out). I get that they're popular for a reason — they smell great, I checked for journalism — but some of the other stuff smells really similar, so why not just go for that?
Case in point: I couldn't find any standard Roses candles just a half-hour after the doors opened yesterday (whether they got wiped out real quick or weren't even there to begin with, I can't say), but I did find a very similar-smelling one called "Rosafolia" on a table that was basically being ignored. And look how pretty the packaging is!
I took this photo on the floor of my bedroom just now. Pardon the dog hair.
3. The practice of grabbing a bunch of items as soon as you walk in and then picking out what you're actually going to buy before you check out definitely isn't exclusive to the Diptyque sale, but it's certainly prominent. Some people like to call this "hoarding," but I wouldn't say it went that far here. Instead, I like to refer to what customers were doing as The Great Sorting.
C21 Edition knows that many shoppers are going to reach the point of The Great Sorting at some point during their Diptyque journey, and that must be why this sale space has so many areas that are just perfect for customers to set down their baskets that are actually overflowing with candle boxes and go through them one by one, picking up each one to determine whether it truly sparks joy. If you're waiting in line outside the sale until more people exit, it's because they're taking their sweet time to do The Great Sorting. Of this I am sure.
4. Either that, or because they're stuck behind someone at checkout who is buying an obscene amount of candles. Even though the sale's only taking place on the second floor, sales associates directed me and a couple other customers to come to the register downstairs to check out. Sweet, I thought, this means I'll leave and get coffee faster (I was under-caffeinated). That couldn't be farther from the truth.
Instead, I watched a guy unload tote bags that were maybe just a little bit smaller than those blue Ikea ones made of tarp out onto the counter. Standards, minis, votive sets, holiday scents, even the massive outdoor candles that cost $150 apiece — he had them all. He also three other people in his party waiting in the wings, since a customer is only allowed ten standard candles per purchase (he made sure to check that with the sales associate). Between the careful sorting and the double-bagging, I waited at least 15 minutes for one person to complete a sale. He left with four shopping bags that could double as dumbbells into a waiting Uber.
None of this is to say that I want an end to this madness — I love this madness. Where else but the New York City sample sale scene can you find people going batshit over hardened wax in a glass? I bought three candles and I can't wait to burn them. For everything we've got on Diptyque today, head here.