August 4, 2020

My Bath and Body Works Shopping Experience During the Pandemic

Wondering what it’s like shopping at Bath and Body Works during the pandemic? Here’s my experience at Bath and Body Works during the pandemic and how I’ll likely will stick to shopping online until this is over.

Ok, soooooo…..

Bath and Body Works opened in New York a few short weeks ago but I avoided going to stores because I was still feeling pretty paranoid about going into stores and I was also seeing long lines due to the fact that Semi-Annual Sale had started and I was really not wanting to wait in line to get inside a store. I went to Trader Joe’s last night and the lines are still crazy. I ended up leaving and just going to H-Mart instead because there was no way I was going to wait in 92 degree weather in a mile long line to get inside. I love how Trader Joe’s is handling COVID and the pandemic as they are really, really cautious however, the long lines slay me.

This is one reason I’ve avoided Bath and Body Works and also, I’m still very cautious about where I shop, when I shop, etc…! I keep reminding myself I can’t stay in the house my entire life so, I’ve been slowly trying to get back to some normal routine.

When Fall launched online I knew that now would be a good time to head into store and try my luck.

I hated everything about the experience though.

First off, this Bath and Body is a White Barn too which means the store is split down the middle with candles on one side of the store and bath and body items on the other. Oddly the Bath and Body section is smaller than the candle section. It’s a really small store compared to the White Barn part. That part of the store is like maybe 600 square feet at most. It’s like a small office or card store.

I had to wait about 10 minutes to get inside. They handed me my choice of a small, medium, or big bag at the door and I could fill it up with what I wanted to take it to the cash register. That was cool as I didn’t have to use one of their regular bags that everyone handled.

Ok, so, they should have probably put a gate between the two stores and had two different lines to get into either White Barn or Bath and Body. Why? Because there were too many people in the Bath and Body section and no one in the White Barn one. They were obviously letting a small number of people in at a time which was great but all those people weren’t spread out very well and as I said the Bath and Body store section is quite tiny compared to the White Barn. By splitting the two stores up they probably would have had better results. Everyone was literally on top of each other. Secondly, there was about 5-6 ladies in a corner of the store (this almost took up one entire area) talking and laughing really loudly with their masks down. If I worked at Bath and Body Works I think I’d probably have wanted to ask them to leave and come back after their little reunion but I see why they didn’t do this as we all know how crazy upset people are getting lately in stores and throwing fits and tantrums. So, unfortunately, they were left to shoot spit everywhere. I kept far, far, far away from them and was in the White Barn section of the store while they carried on (it’s literally separated by a wall so I felt safe, I also waited several minutes before stepping to the other side of the store and avoided the area they were talking in. I had my N95 equivalent on too which made me feel a bit safer.

Testers, testing products, opening things, it’s a Wild Wild West situation.

Testers are out and everyone I saw put them to their nose! Not a good idea as I discussed in a prior post. There were testing strips available but not very many people took advantage. I did not smell anything because this squeaked me out plus I did not want to pull my mask down to do so. My mask is one of the five layer N95 equivalents that Masksheets is selling and you really can’t smell anything through it sadly.

Secondly, everyone was opening everything. There was a huge pile of 75% off hand creams that I wanted to indulge in but I ended up not buying a single one as a lady was there opening and smelling every single one and proceeding to put them back in the bin. This was happening with all the new Fall lotions as well.

So, what did I buy? I got some Bath and Body Works Vanilla Mocha Cafe that weren’t on display because I asked the associate if she could possibly give me a lotion and mist from the drawer. I just didn’t trust the ones on display. I don’t think she was very pleased with my request but she did give me them. I made sure to put my receipt in a safe place (I always lose them) because I was def returning it if it was tempered with as many of the ones on the display were squeezed, smelled, etc… Thankfully, it appeared brand new when I opened it. I was going to get more stuff but in the end I went home and shopped online.

Shopping Bath and Body Works during the pandemic wasn’t one of my brightest ideas! I dunno if other stores are handling things better but this particular store dropped the ball in my humble opinion. But I get it. It’s hard preventing people from doing what they normally do. It’s also hard working there and telling people, “Please don’t do that!” because some people can just go off on you.

I think online shopping is always a safe bet with Bath and Body Works due to the aggressive sales reps but during the pandemic it’s even more of a good way to keep yourself healthy and safe.

Who shopped Bath and Body Works during the pandemic?

What was your experience like?

Do share!

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • Michelle

    The one in the nearby enclosed mall is open (Boca Raton, FL), but I don’t want to go in there. The one in the strip mall by the Ulta store (Delray Beach) is closed. I wish that one was open, you can get in and out without being exposed longer in an enclosed area with a bunch of other people. So I still haven’t been in B&BW.

  • Sarah

    I vividly remember my last trip to BBW before the pandemic hit. It was on Valentines Day and I stopped over on my lunch break to get some goodies for my coworkers. It was crowded, everyone milling about, talking smelling etc without a care in the world. I have yet to go back for all the reasons you mentioned. I miss it so so much. As much as I have gotten annoyed with them off and on over the years (with price hikes etc), BBW has really always been one of my happy places and I badly miss being able to just pop in without a care in the world.

  • Cindy

    I’ve shopped B&BW before the pandemic and didn’t like it. Salespeople all over you, and the smell in the store is so overpowering you can’t differentiate between anything after smelling one or two things. (The coffee sniff doesn’t really work for me.) I don’t care if those women would get annoyed, if the masks are down, they need to be OUT. Online shopping is the way to go these days.

    On a more positive note, I went to my local Ulta for a brow-shaping yesterday (Benefit Brow Bar is FINALLY open) and they are doing everything right. On a Monday afternoon the store wasn’t full at all, but they won’t allow more than 40 people in the store at a time. Sidewalk outside is marked where to wait. Was really nervous about getting brows done because of the proximity, but the person who did my brows cleaned the chair, wore a face shield, mask & gloves, and even sprayed her gloves with alcohol during the brow-shaping. I gave her my own brow powder and brush to fill them and she sprayed and wiped the container & brush before giving them back to me (I still washed my brush when I got home). The store itself was clean and all testers were out and covered with plastic wrap. I picked up my birthday gift too lol. It was a way better experience than that Dr’s office the other week!

    • Isabella Muse

      Online shopping is def a better option for me even during non-pandemic days. I just dislike how aggressive sales reps are. They are on top of you! WOW! NICE! That sounds great! I haven’t been there but did go to my favorite salon for a cut and it was really well done! I was pleased with how safe they were. Temps at the door, everyone in a mask and a mask shield! It was a good experience overall!

  • Kimmwc03

    I’ve shopped there a couple times but it is stressful. My stores make a customer apply hand sanitizer before walking in but I chose to use my own. People were definitely not good about social distancing.

  • Jujubes

    I hear you!! I went shopping at the mall 3 times so far and gave up because the lineup to get in was long, and I didn’t like people not respecting the social distancing. Some wore their masks low on their chin, not covering their noses. Apart from grocery I ended up buying everything online, it’s not worth the hassle at the stores.

    • Isabella Muse

      yup! Online shopping is def the better option! This is my first time at bbw but I’ve been to home goods and TJ and it’s def not a good shopping situation. I’ve taken to going at 6:40pm (they close 7pm as we have a curfew on stores) and typically it’s really quiet. If there are too many people I leave!

    • Eileen

      Target used to deliver EVERYTHING i needed to my Zip Code. Now certain things aren’t available for delivery to me. Whats up with that? Ordinary things. I’m not talking about toilet paper. Regular in stock items. And you can’t order ahead and pick up. Have to go in the store to get what you need. Otherwise, I do everything online.

  • N

    I am still going to stick with online shopping. I used to only shop only in store at BBW, but I am too wary of how others will behave, i.e.-pulling their mask down and sticking their noses into candles and other stuff to smell it. It was remiss of the BBW employees in my opinion not to say anything to group of people inside their store with their masks down spreading their respiratory droplets onto the air by laughing and talking loudly. I am risking enough working as a nurse, I don’t need unnecessary risk just for shopping.

    • Isabella Muse

      I thought so too but some part of me felt bad for the sales reps too because they prob were sitting there like “Do I say something, don’t I say something, if I do are these ladies going to start screaming at me and carrying on possibly putting me in further danger…” So I sort of get why they might not have said something.

  • Frozendiva

    I was running out of hand soap, especially the kitchen one, and low on shower gel and moisturizer. I have been using up my gift stuff, perfume body lotions, etc.

    I went around mid-June. The store wasn’t that busy. Same bag at the door I did open a bath gel to see what it smelled like, but bought it. Masks were still optional then, but not now. Ended up with the hand soaps, and three body care/shower items. Like most of the folks there, I hadn’t bought anything in months – the man at the checkout went on about the initial long lines.

  • Dee

    Even with the aggressive sales force I miss going in BBW. But I’ll wait. Even though I have to pay shipping I’ll shop online to get my fall fix. I know what scents I like and those will be fine til it’s safe to go and discover new things. Christmas will be so hard! Again, I have favorite scents that I always get every year. But going into BBW around the holidays is so much fun and I’ll really miss that this year.

    • Isabella Muse

      Even with aggressive sale reps I still like venturing in too! It’s fun being able to see and touch everything! Can’t do that online!

  • kjh

    Have not. No TJX companies, either. We have no BBWs with outside entrances, just in high traffic malls. NF Way! No Sephora, no Ulta, Trader Joe’s only once….they recently d/c’d ~1|2 of the things I like. I get to do the early hour, and have not been over #5 since this crap began. #1 at supermarket today. Day job opened, and a behaviorally challenged young woman tore off her clothes below the waist. With 2 young DD men in the room. The Centers’ Covid plans are great, with all possible precautions. Guess they didn’t plan for enraged stripping with f-bombs. Intellectually challenged persons have been major affected by Covid as well. I saw some cars at an elementary this AM. I feel sorry for those masked teachers spending half the day readying their classrooms and the other half preparing for distance learning. Bad as that is, making the school decisions too quickly could set everyone back into quarantine. Guess what? You New Yorkers and New Jerseyites can come to Massachusetts now! That means you are now low incidence! Yay! Obviously, no rational person would, unless mandatory

  • Sarah

    I’m pretty much an online shopper for 90% of my shopping and it’s been… interesting. Most retailers are running business like normal with a bit longer shipping time to keep their employees safe. Bath and Body Works? Well, I haven’t bought a single thing from them an likely won’t. I love their candles and buy a few each season when they go on sale but they haven’t had any decent sales on candles unless you are interested in their clearance close out, which I’m not. So I’m running out of candles and currently looking for more affordable options because I refuse to pay $24 plus shipping for one candle.

  • Chelsie

    Wow. I live in Arkansas and the attitude about Covid is soooooo different! We never shut down completely, and people here have always gone out into public, business as usual–we’re talking huge groups of people congregating in stores and not following any social distancing guidelines–most of whom are totally ignoring the state’s mask mandate. It’s no wonder our positive case numbers are sky rocketing… And our kids go back to school in 3 weeks

    I still won’t go to the mall or anywhere fun. I miss Target, but I ain’t about to risk my health to get a fix lol. I wish people here were more responsible like you seem to be!

    • Isabella Muse

      That’s so scary 🙁 I’m sorry to hear it not to mention I’d be terrified if I had kids going back to school in the Fall 🙁 please be safe.

  • Eileen

    Have you noticed how many medical doctors, politicians, restaurant owners, store owners,, interviewers and other “experts” seen on TV being interviewed are sometimes not wearing masks, or have the masks below their nose? So what is wrong with them. Or they don’t have it tied at all and take it on and off and just hold it in front of their face when on camera??? We have been told repeatedly to not touch the front of the mask with our hands. Only put it on and remove it by the ear tabs. They certainly are setting a poor example. In the Midwest, other places as well, we have places that are notorious for having large pool/restaurant parties with most not wearing masks. Now our state is again back on the hot list with a severe warning to knock it off because our numbers are through the roof.

  • Karen

    I live in Western MA and our B&BW at the mall was great, even during the SAS sale. We also have a BBW/White Barn combo but both sides are very big. Even so, 25 is the max allowed including employees. There are big signs that state there are no testers and not to open anything. There were plenty of employees watching us all closely. Everyone was courteous and mindful of the line so not to take up too much time so the line moved fast. We’ve been wearing masks here since the beginning of May so we’re used to it and I’ve yet to see anyone without one anywhere. I’m doing much more online shopping but when I’ve gone to stores it’s been pretty positive. I wish your experience was better.

    • Isabella Muse

      AMAZING! I wish mine was like that. We’ve been wearing masks since April here too but there are some people that don’t always go by the rules sadly.

  • kellly

    I have shopped in 2 B&BW stores in my area. One was small and had very few wallflowers but like yours, a large selection of candles. There were only a few people in the store (like maybe 3 besides me, not counting 1 sales clerk and 1 person stocking candles onto the shelves). I got a couple things and then went to the store nearer me that I usually go to. It’s a bigger store and has a much better range of products and better selection. They were having a sale and I got a couple things that I liked and was happy to see more of, and one thing I wanted to try. Their Wallflowers selection was kind of puny – about a quarter of what’s usually there. But my wallet was lighter when I walked out. It was later in the afternoon when I went (maybe like 3:00) so it wasn’t exceptionally crowded, but a lot more people than in the first store.
    I’m waiting for a sale on their 3-wick candles because Lakeside Morning is calling me. It’s a light fragrance that I wish they would turn into bath and body products (especially the shea butter cream!) and the picture on the candle is so beautiful. I’m not much of a candle person but I see a couple of these in my future.

  • Michele

    Thanks for the info about your shopping experience at B&BW. I have avoided going into my local store for the very reasons you listed. It’s hard to shop online because I am one of those people that like to smell things before I buy them. Sometimes, the fragrance descriptions say one thing but don’t translate the way I think that they will. I have done some shopping online and have been pleased thus far with what I have received. With the newer items, I am starting with shower gel. I have a list going, and if the shower gel works well, then I will order more items with that scent.

    • Isabella Muse

      I went again yesterday but I was very curious how another store would handle the situation and it was much better. This was a stand alone BBW no White Barn. They let 10 people in at time, there was a very short wait, and there were no testers and SAs were really policing things because one lady tried to open a lotion and they were on her right away asking her to please not do to that. I was impressed. BUT…! I think online shopping is still the way to go Michelle 🙂 Plus they have a fairly good return policy if you hate something hang on to that the receipt and return when you feel safe!

  • Moxie

    I haven’t shopped anywhere except the grocery store since this all started, nor will I.

    My favourite face wipes for sweat control are only available at a little place nearby; I just called the owner and asked if she sells online at all, and she doesn’t so I’m going without and just using water in their place until everything is all-clear.

    Going to the mall when there’s other options available honestly seems like sheer madness to me.

    • Isabella Muse

      Good for you! Stay safe! I didn’t go to a mall, it’s a freestanding store.

    • kellly

      The stores I went to were both free standing stores. I couldn’t even tell you the last time I was in a mall. It’s been at least a year and maybe longer than that.

      • Isabella Muse

        I haven’t been to a mall in ages either. They are sort of a dying breed aren’t they? Sad because I used to love going to the mall!

      • Moxie

        I use mall to basically cover anything that isn’t a grocery store, since it’s mostly fluff/stuff that isn’t necessary or can be bought online.

  • Bonnie

    I have not ventured into a store yet. When the local one first reopened, I happened by and there was a line outside waiting to get in. It was hot and I wasn’t about to do that. I was wanting some of the hand sanitizer keychain holders as they were all sold out online.

    I have ordered online multiple times through the pandemic, and it’s mostly been ok. I scored several hand sanitizers when you couldn’t find them in any stores around here. I have had quite a few things be cancelled after my order was placed.

    I “think” they’re starting to think that Covid-19 isn’t spread by touching surfaces as much as was first thought, but still a good idea to be safe. And people definitely shouldn’t be opening things . . . but as you said, I also understand not having your employees be enforcers. Maybe they should just stay closed for now. Or do curbside pickup only.

  • Agona

    I’m surprised testers were out. That certainly isn’t the case at Ulta. I love how clean the Ulta displays look now, consequently.

  • Linda

    I went to one a few minutes before it opened but there was already a line. I waited 45 minutes in line. My store has a large entrance so the gal monitoring the line would not always catch people going in on the coming out side. After a while people in line would start telling her someone went in and she got all defensive and said she will handle it and they didn’t need to keep telling her. Also she wouldn’t notice sometimes that people came out of the store and that she could let more in. She would let one person in as one person came out or if people were shopping together she would make them wait until 2 people came out but a few times she wasn’t watching and one of the times 5 people came out over a period of time without her letting anyone in. Once I got in they don’t have much at all. I don’t think they got any shipments in since before they shut down. Was so disappointed. I had already knew what I wanted to check out because I looked online first but they didn’t have anything. I walked out with a replacement for my broken Walflower plug and that’s it. They have since been shut down again because we are back on state watch list in California. Can only place a curbside pick up order now.

    • Isabella Muse

      crazy! I had this experience at a bread store I visit. No one was monitoring the door but it was on an honor system where one person left and one person would go in but they would get all huffy and defensive if a couple would leave and two people would enter. It sort of didn’t make sense that a couple could enter but if you were a single person you couldn’t enter with another stranger/person. It was sort of dumb and confusing LOL! Be safe over there! I hope you guys flatten the curve soon!