Well, People Can't Smell Their Candles Again

At least they aren't missing much.

Yankee Candles for sale at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal ...
Jeff Greenberg/Universal Images Group/Getty Images
sniff sniff

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” — Ecclesiastes 1:9

Damn. God was so right when he said that. There is indeed nothing new under the sun, and at the moment the bit of history we’re repeating is the year 2020. Hospitals are full. Everyone is sick. It takes two hours to get a COVID test. And people with bad taste are having a hard time smelling their Yankee Candles.

Some Twitter users have perceived a link between the amount of Amazon reviews for Yankee Candles that mention the complaint “no smell,” and the rise in COVID cases across the country. And yes, it was just last year, December of 2020, when the last spike in “no smell” Yankee Candle complaints was linked by internet sleuths to an uptick in COVID cases across the country. Mmmm. Kind of like a cozy rerun of one of our least favorite television shows, isn’t it?

The link at that time was the subject of a study from Kate Petrova, a research assistant with the Harvard Study of Adult Development at Bryn Mawr College. Petrova found that overall reviews for scented Yankee Candles had fallen roughly a full star in Amazon’s ranking system between January and December 2020, while reviews for non-scented candles stayed the same. Complaints about a perceived lack of smell in scented candles tripled.

Northeastern University professor Nick Beauchamp is on the case this year. According to Protocol, Beauchamp used a scraping tool to grab recent Amazon reviews that included the words "no smell" or "no scent" from the three highest-rated Yankee Candles. The rise in these complaints seems to follow the recent spike in COVID cases.

Well, there you have it. I guess it’s nice at least to have something we can rely on. Although it’s hard for me to imagine a person who only notices they cannot smell or taste anything when they attempt to smell their new Yankee Candle (and move on from that discovery thinking the Yankee Candle is the problem) it is not my burden to hold within my mind all the possibilities of humankind. They’re out there. I trust it. And, of course, I’ll trust it next year, too.