Yankee Candle's revenues are close to $800,000 million per year, but that number isn't good enough for recently promoted CEO, Harlan Kent, who has taken the company's top reigns just two short years prior.
Yankee Candle Company is the largest candle company in the world. Kent's mission is to take the drive and discipline his father instilled in him and incorporate them into the company's culture.
This prefaces the scene for the most recent episode of CBS's "Undercover Boss." The Massachusetts-based company sees Kent going undercover as Dan, a contestant on a reality show based around second chances. His story of working in another field to see if Yankee Candle's employees would give him a second chance in work is something that "Undercover Boss" has already done.
"Undercover Boss" Uncovered?
This could be the reason why Dan, whose first job is working in a store with Blaze, a negative Nelly-type person employed for two years, basically has his cover blown within the first 20 minutes of the show.
Blaze's job often includes seeing children making candles of their own. The process can be very messy, so Blaze suggests to Dan that sometimes he wants to punch an 8-year-old in the face. This doesn't sit well with Dan, who has children of his own and wants to see his employees with good attitudes at Yankee Candle.
Dan plays this off as Blaze trains him in the process. He lets Dan work with customers, and to Blaze's surprise, sees that Dan is a natural. He's so natural at this that Blaze vocally says that something doesn't seem right. At one point of the show, Blaze tells another employee that Dan doesn't seem right, he doesn't look normal and that he feels as if he is on some undercover boss show.
Dan picks up on this and exposes his cover to Blaze, telling him that he wants to speak with him about his attitude more in depth.
Same Show, Different Day
The rest of the episode is typical "Undercover Boss." Dan works with three other employees, all essentially hard workers who have very different yet challenging backgrounds. Jose's mother dealt drugs and as a teen, he witnessed federal agents barging into his house and arresting his mother. He believes that getting ahead at Yankee Candle involves sucking up because he's seen it many times before. This, of course, is "Undercover Boss's" aha moment with Dan.
The other two employees have similar scenarios and at the end of the show, Dan discloses his real identity and offers gifts to each employee. The moment that viewers wait for is with his meeting with Blaze. Dan, now Harlan, tells Blaze that he doesn't feel like Blaze is a good fit for Yankee Candle. Blaze agrees and looks at his job as a paycheck.
What looks as if Harlan is about to fire an employee on national television turns into Blaze breaking down and telling his boss that his home life is anything but spectacular. Harlan asks if Blaze has any role models and Blaze answers no. This response has Harlan offering to mentor Blaze, and the result is Blaze finding joy in his job at Yankee Candle and his chance to go to college to find something he truly loves doing.
A New Format of "Undercover Boss"
This was one of the better episodes in the sense that the boss' cover is blown by an employee. There have been close calls, but this episode in particular keeps the show fresh, which is what "Undercover Boss" needs to continue airing. As heartfelt as each episode is, "Undercover Boss" needs events like this to get away from the redundancy that often times gets shows kicked off the air. Or in this case, gets the boss' cover blown.