Thanks For Your Kindness

Hi, Birdie here. 

I did a dumb thing the other day. Exhausted after a weekend of pop-ups, I still had a bunch of work to do on Sunday: take product photos for our 12 Days of Deals campaign, create all the codes, program all the social content, etc. I used a few prop candles leftover from our photoshoot in the fall because I thought it would be easier and I could light them without having to damage out any sellable inventory.

So. 

I took a bunch of photos and then worked on some content. Somewhere along the way, my tired brain said "You need to clean up this desk" and the prop candles - the completely unscented and sometimes lit prop candles - made their way onto the stock shelves we pick/pack/ship from. On Monday morning, we packed up orders as per usual. 

At some point Monday afternoon, I realized what I'd done (after the mailman picked up everything for the day, of course. I ran upstairs unscrewed jars, and sniffed everything I'd taken a photo of the day before. Everything had a scent and was in sellable condition, which is USUALLY a great thing. But now? Now it meant that we'd shipped candles to customers that may not have any scent whatsoever. And, they might have been previously lit.

My anxious-on-a-good-day brain had flashes of families in matching Christmas jammies opening gifts and someone's loved one unwraps a beautifully-wrapped (for the purposes of this simulation, there's red plaid wrapping paper and a beautiful gold bow on top) candle. They unscrew the lid and find a charred wooden wick and a candle with no scent. Christmas is ruined, everyone hates, me, they write a bad review on every website you can review something on, Beyonce tweets about it, I am humiliated, and have to go live in a cave with my cat who is also ashamed of me but continues to tolerate my existence because I am warm and have thumbs.  

After I pulled myself together, I looked at all the potential orders the unscented candles could be in based on order history, the time we packed orders, and the contents of every order places within that time window. Tail between my legs, I composed this email: 

Hello! 

I absolutely hate to be sending this email, but your order may contain an error. A couple of prop candles leftover from a photoshoot made their way onto our shelves and into a package (or packages) this morning.
It will look like a regular candle on the outside, but it will be completely unscented and may have even been lit during the photo shoot. It will either be a Festive AF, Candy Cane, and/or Gingerbread candle. 
When you receive your order, please open and sniff everything. If you received one (or more) of the prop candles, please email me immediately so I can make it right. This is absolutely not the experience we want you to have with Effing Candle Co. 
Thank you so much!
Birdie 
I hit send and cried. Big, shameful tears. HOW could I do this? How could I do this to so many brand new customers? How could I ruin Christmas? How could I mess up the one job of getting a scented candle from my hands to your home? Needless to say, I did not sleep Monday night. I stared at my phone, waiting for the worst case scenario. I was ready to turn myself in to candle jail. 
No one responded. Then, emails came in. 
Hey, I just wanted to let you know that my candle arrived today. It was not the prop candle and the wick was not burned. Thank you, for emailing me and letting me know just in case it had. The customer service is fantastic, The candle smells wonderful. Hope you have a good holiday season.
Others trickled in. Some did get the prop candles, but they were so understanding and kind. We laughed. We re-shipped orders and added some bonus pieces for the trouble. 
I am grateful for so many things. The kindness of strangers. The understanding that shit happens sometimes. The ability to laugh. Second chances when we mess up (because I'm sure I will find new and exciting ways to mess up as time ticks on!) It was a wonderful reminder of my humanness, your kindness, and the reason for the season. 
So, thanks from the bottom of my heart. I'm going to throw away those effing prop candles now. 

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