Last week, Tumblr users found themselves a new hero. Her name is Angela, although she goes by the username Az4angela on YouTube. Angela vlogs about many different topics on her channel, but her newfound notoriety is the result of her candle-review videos. Specifically, this one video in which Angela puts a sales clerk named Jen from the Appleton, WI Bath & Body Works on blast.
Angela gets quite worked up over the fact that she and her mother had traveled all the way to the Appleton Bath & Body Works for the express purpose of picking up three-wick winter candy apple and iced gingerbread scented candles that were supposed to be on sale. She called ahead to see if the candles would be in when she arrived, and the employee to whom she spoke said they would be.
What follows are a series of dramatic pauses that would make Lee Strasberg proud, and so many F-bombs it could be a Scorsese screenplay.
In brief: The candles weren’t in stock. Jen apologized and offered Angela some coupons for her trouble, but Angela didn't want coupons. After returning home, sans winter candle apple and iced gingerbread candles, Angela decided to do the YouTube equivalent of ripping Jen a new one.
A quick search on Tumblr for “Jen from Appleton” yields all kinds of fan art, reaction posts, and jokes. There’s even a Tumblr called “I TRIED To Give You a Damn Coupon” with the URL jenfromappletonbathandbodyworks.tumblr.com. Jen from Appleton was trending on Twitter last week. Yelp reviews for the Appleton Bath & Body Works divide themselves into Team Jen and Team Angela.
The comments on Angela’s video, which as of this writing has over 720,000 views, herald her as a conquering hero.
“This video has made Winter Candy apple and Frosted Gingerbread candles my life goal. I will stop at nothing to get these candle now. lol. It's all because of Jen,” ShaboobooBonquesh commented.
“Let's make November 4th National Angela Day where we all go out and buy Winter Candle Apple and Frosted Gingerbread. We stand with Angela and her struggles!
11/4/12 #NeverForgetJenFromAppleton,” Tanner Gray wrote.
Hollywood filmmaker, César Gamiño, and his girlfriend, Susie Lohse, are both Wisconsin natives. After seeing Angela’s rant, they decided to recreate the video, interspersing clips of the original diatribe with a reenactment of that fateful day in Appleton. "It was the most relaxing shoot we've ever had. We were just crying with laughter,” Gamino told Wisconsin paper, The Post Crescent, about their video, which is now going viral as well.
In another reaction video, Lauren Howard Brown responds to Angela's rant as Jen from Appleton. She's apparently fallen on some hard times since Angela "reamed her ass" out to the district manager.
We reached out to Az4angela for comment via Twitter about her newfound fame, but she said, “Sorry I am saving myself for @WendyWilliams or @TheEllenShow,” along with a smiley face and thumbs-up emoji. We wish her the best of luck with that endeavor. People have been on Ellen for sillier things.
This isn’t the first time a candle vlog has gone viral. In 2011, YouTube user dsyauch appeared on Tosh.O after his Yankee Candle haul video started making the rounds. Dsyauch (real name: Drew Yauch) just really loves candles. He’s passionate about new scents and proper candle care. Even though Daniel Tosh was attempting to poke fun at him during the interview, Yauch remained steadfast, helpful, and earnest about his hobby.
According to a Google Shopping Blog report, in 2014 viewers watched over 5.6 million hours of video with “haul” in the title. These videos have been watched over 1.1 billion times. A spokesperson for YouTube tells us that after Angela’s video, searches for “candle haul” are at an all-time high. Candle enthusiasts are just like most YouTube product enthusiasts. They’re knowledgeable about new scents from their favorite manufacturers and know how to get the most burn for their buck.
Just look at some of these helpful, informative videos from Angela and Drew:
And look! Angela isn’t always irate at Bath & Body Works. In this video, titled “A Calm Bath & Body Works Rant,” she begins by saying she never wants to get as angry as she did in the now-viral one about Jen from Appleton. Another video called "Boycott B&BW? I think not!!" details the conclusion of her saga with Jen. She claims to have gotten so angry because she relies on candle product reviews for her livelihood. The company rectified the situation and provided Angela with the frosted gingerbread and winter candy apple candles her collection needed.
Angela does have some more screeds against Bath & Body Works, but they all contain valid points about tunneling, irregular burning, and other product flaws.
Angela and Drew’s enthusiasm and love of properly burning scented candles have given us life this week. We never expected a poor customer service experience at a mall in Wisconsin to be the gateway to the fascinating world of candle vlogging. But, we’re so glad it was. Please keep your fingers crossed and your wicks trimmed for an Angela/Jen from Appleton showdown on Ellen. It's the candle customer service showdown the Internet deserves.
As captivating as the viral videos are, what’s most fascinating about the oddly illuminating world of candle review, haul, and care videos is how passionate and knowledgeable vloggers are. There’s even a whole glossary of terms to know. This primer will shed some light on the flame in our stars.
Haul video: Per Google, “The YouTube equivalent of telling your best friend about your latest shopping purchases.”
Empty video: Reviews of products the vlogger is finished using.
Tunneling: If a candle isn't burned long enough for all of the surface wax to liquify, it can start tunneling, or caving in the area surrounding the wick. Thanks to all of the candle enthusiasts on the Internet, there are many, many tutorials about fixing a tunneling candle. A good rule of thumb to follow if you want to avoid tunneling is to make sure the candle burns at least one hour per one inch of diameter.
Memory rings: A candle has a “memory,” and it starts following patterns of how far it’s allowed to burn each time. If you blow out your candle before the whole surface has liquified, it will begin to tunnel, only burning to that boundary for the life of the candle.
Sooting: In fancy scientific jargon, “Soot is a product of the incomplete combustion of a candle’s hydrocarbon rich fuel — the wax. Soot consists of microscopic, often oily, solid particles which are released into the atmosphere as the candle burns.” In layman’s terms, sooting is bad. A tunneling and unevenly burned candle is more prone to sooting, so follow the tutorials above to avoid excess sooting.
Wick: Wicks should always be trimmed to ¼ of an inch. Too long of a wick can lead to excess smoke, scorched wax, and a sootier flame.
Wax pool: The liquefied wax circle that forms around the wick as the candle burns. Again, you want the wax pool to be even and reach from edge to edge of the jar or tumblr in which the candle is placed. This will give you an even, clean-burning candle.
Candle warmer: An electric heating device designed for use with a jar candle that melts the wax to release its scent. That way, the candle’s fragrance can be released without having to burn it, which could produce a memory ring, tunneling, smoke, and soot.
Bobeche: A collar that catches drips on taper candles.
Top, middle, and base notes: Top notes are the candle’s first and often strongest scent impressions. They come from the candle’s most potent ingredients. As they burn away, the middle notes emerge — Yankee Candle’s Learning Scenter calls these the “heart of the fragrance.” The base notes are the “underlying notes, which gradually come through, the strongest and longest lasting.”
Go forth and burn, baby, burn.