Mount Sutro: An Electronic Periodical

1727Hours EDT

The Moonlight Permutation

by Archived Article (2001–2014) Help
Photo Credit: David July — Palm tree and the full moon, 245 Front Street, Key West, Florida, 23 November 2007

In "The Hand Soap Quandary" published 23 February 2011, I discussed how my somewhat compulsive nature was not handling well the abrupt discontinuation of Moonlight Path Anti-Bacterial Deep Cleansing Hand Soap by Bath & Body Works. Most people can relate to the situation of having a valued product disappear from the marketplace, usually without warning. Nobody likes that.

You can therefore imagine my excitation when on 10 June 2011 commenter Megan wrote that Moonlight Path was again for sale on the Bath & Body Works website. I checked things out as soon as I got home from work. The bottle and label were different, but matched the design I saw in the store that fateful December day when I originally learned of the discontinuance.

I placed twenty bottles in my cart and finalized my purchase—$66.60 plus $8.99 shipping and $4.54 tax—convinced that all would be well soon. I received a notification of shipment along with a UPS tracking number on 12 June 2011. By the next day, UPS had the 13.7-pound box in its possession and tracking system in Louisville.

Adventures In Shipping

From Louisville, my box travelled to Nashville and then Jacksonville before arriving in Tallahassee. Unbelievably, this is where things get complicated. Although the package arrived at Tallahassee's primary USPS facility on 15 June 2011 at 1115 EDT, I would not see it for twelve days.
2011-06-15 1115 EDT Package transferred to post office
2011-06-16 1235 EDT Received by the local post office
At this point, I naturally assume that the package was transported the short distance from 2800 South Adams Street to 221 West Park Avenue, the home of 32302 and my Post Office Box.
2011-06-16 1420 EDT Package was forwarded to the receiver's address that is on file with the local post office.
As soon as I got home from work, I called Bath & Body Works customer support and spoke with a very friendly and helpful woman. I explained that I had forwarded my residential address to the PO Box and that if the tracking message is true, an unfortunate loop was about to be created. The CSR suggested the message could be interpreted as the act of transferring the package from the Post Office proper to my specific box.

I checked my box the next day and the day after that, no package. Now it is the weekend so I have to wait until Monday to check again. Monday arrives but the package still has not, so I once again call customer service.

The CSR, another friendly and helpful woman, reviewed my case and apologized for the situation. She immediately refunded the $9.53 shipping fee and tax that I had paid and offed to reship all twenty bottles immediately. While I accepted the credit, I told her I would prefer to have a final resolution before shipping another package into the aether.

Two more days pass and then I receive the following notifications from UPS.
2011-06-22 1425 EDT Local post office attempted delivery, package is undeliverable as addressed. Contact sender for further assistance.
2011-06-23 0927 EDT Received by the local post office
2011-06-23 0935 EDT Post office attempted delivery and left a delivery notice at the location. Contact post office per delivery notice.
The next time I check my PO Box there is indeed a yellow card, which indicates a package has arrived too large to fit in my box. Usually, they leave a key that opens a larger box nearby used explicitly for this purpose. Nevertheless, from time to time, they leave the yellow card instead, which means having to visit during their insufferable hours of operation and queue for fifteen minutes.

When I finally made it before they closed, it was Monday of the following week. I asked the USPS clerk what happened over the past weeks and she said that shipping with UPS to a Post Office Box was a bad idea. Clearly this is the case, but why is it so difficult? I thanked the clerk and left with my package.

2011-06-27 1204 EDT Package delivered by local post office
When I got the package home, I called Bath & Body Works one last time to inform them of my success so they could note it in my file. I was very excited to open the box and try the soap. The new bottles were an improvement insofar as the old pumps were often difficult to activate the first time.

The Times They Are a-Changin'

The first thing of concern I noticed was the color of the soap itself. I thought that perhaps the different bottle might be a factor until I actuated the pump; it pumped far more quickly than before, the viscosity altered to a more liquified state. Finally and most importantly, the smell—one of the key reasons I was enamored with Moonlight Path from the beginning—was changed.

Photo Credit: David July — Classic Moonlight Path Anti-Bacterial Deep Cleansing Hand Soap by Bath & Body WorksThere are two specific things I want to point out before continuing. First, I spoke with three or four different customer service representatives with Bath & Body Works and they were all friendly, professional, knowledgeable and incidentally, female. I never had to wait on hold to speak with them and their notes system meant not having to explain my situation thoroughly each time I called.

Customer support like this does not really exist anymore so I am pleased and impressed with this aspect of my purchase, despite the inconvenience that necessitated the communication in the first place. Other companies would be smart to take advantage of the current economic situation and re-think their customer service operations by hiring people in the United States to perform the jobs they had outsourced and by offering a real service to customers.

Second, I have to admit upfront that I do like the new Moonlight Path reboot. The smell is appealing not overwhelming, the texture is pleasant and I like the way my hands feel after using it. I am using it now and might get more in the future, but I am extremely dissatisfied that Bath & Body Works elected to call this soap Moonlight Path when it is obviously not.

Since I do not have a molecular analyzer at my disposal and cannot quantify the differences sufficiently by description alone, I resorted to typing the listed inactive ingredients on classic Moonlight Path and the new reboot variety—the only active ingredient, Triclosan, is common to both. The task took longer than expected as my fingers are not accustomed to scientific nomenclature and the font size on the bottles was extremely small.
Moonlight Path Classic
  1. Water (Aqua)
  2. TEA-Lauryl Sulfate
  3. Propylene Glycol
  4. Alcohol Denat.
  5. Lauramide DEA
  6. Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer
  7. Fragrance (Parfum)
  8. Triethanolamine
  9. Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate
  10. Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice
  11. Echinacea Purpurea (Coneflower) Extract
  12. Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E Acetate)
  13. Tetrasodium EDTA
  14. Panthenol (ProVitamin B-5)
  15. Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)
  16. Gelatin
  17. Acacia Senegal Gum
  18. Xanthan Gum
  19. Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A Palmitate)
  20. Polyethylene
  21. Methylchloroisothiazolinone
  22. Methylisothiazolinone
  23. Benzophenone-4
  24. Ultramarines (CI 77007)
  25. Red 33 (CI 17200)
  26. Blue 1 (CI 42090)
  27. Ext. Violet 2 (CI 60730)
Moonlight Path Reboot
  1. Water (Aqua, Eau)
  2. TEA-Lauryl Sulfate
  3. Propylene Glycol
  4. Alcohol Denat.
  5. Lauramide DEA
  6. Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice
  7. Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Extract
  8. Honey Extract (Mel, Extrait de Miel)
  9. Bambusa Vulgaris Leaf/Stem Extract
  10. Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Extract
  11. Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter
  12. Panthenol
  13. Tocopheryl Acetate
  14. Retinyl Palmitate
  15. Fragrance (Parfum)
  16. Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer
  17. Acacia Senegal Gum
  18. Gelatin
  19. Polyethylene
  20. Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate
  21. Glycerin
  22. Triethanolamine
  23. Tetrasodium EDTA
  24. Benzophenone-4
  25. Xanthan Gum
  26. Methylchloroisothiazolinone
  27. Methylisothiazolinone
  28. Ultramarines (CI 77007)
  29. Ext. Violet (CI 60730)
  30. Red 33 (CI 17200)
  31. Blue 1 (CI 42090)
  32. Yellow 5 (CI 19140)
Four classic ingredients are not found in the reboot, while nine reboot ingredients are not found in classic. Indeed, the ingredients found in both versions are listed in a different order suggesting the quantities of each are also different.
Classic Ingredients Not In Reboot
  1. Echinacea Purpurea (Coneflower) Extract
  2. Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E Acetate)
  3. Panthenol (ProVitamin B-5)
  4. Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A Palmitate)
Reboot Ingredients Not In Classic
  1. Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Extract
  2. Honey Extract (Mel, Extrait de Miel)
  3. Bambusa Vulgaris Leaf/Stem Extract
  4. Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Extract
  5. Panthenol
  6. Tocopheryl Acetate
  7. Retinyl Palmitate
  8. Glycerin
  9. Yellow 5 (CI 19140)
Windiff: Classic versus Reboot
Photo Credit: David July — Windiff comparison of ingredients found in Moonlight Path Anti-Bacterial Deep Cleansing Hand Soap by Bath & Body Works classic and reboot versions, 23 July 2011
In Conclusion

Bath & Body Works does everything right in the customer service department but needs some lessons on product naming and marketing. It is interesting to note that if you browse the Moonlight Path fragrance page, the reboot soap product is not listed. It appears on the Deep Cleansing Soaps subcategory page.

Is this because they know it is not truly Moonlight Path?

I am left with my original quandary but have an acceptable, if deceitfully named replacement. In the great scheme of things, all is well. I only wish I understood the decision-making process involved here and will continue to hope that the true, classic Moonlight Path will return some day.

Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July

Two Comment Bubbles two Comments

  • John

    I find fault with the company for shipping with UPS to a PO Box. I thought every shipper understood that you can not do that. UPS only delivers to a physical address.

    Now my story ... I had to ship equipment to Washington state for repair. I selected USPS Express Mail International as the least costly transit from here. After a couple of days I checked the status and was alarmed to read:

    Detailed Results: Undeliverable as Addressed

    Yikes. I called the shipper here and she said the zipcode was wrong and they corrected it.

    A week later I got the results that the package had been delivered and signed for.

    After another week I contacted the factory to get a work order number and was alarmed again when they said that the package never arrived and the person that signed for it didn't work there.

    More contacts with the shipper and then they tell me that the package was in Los Angeles and had been transfered to UPS for shipment.

    It eventually arrived, but no one could explain what happened. (maybe they shouldn't have altered the zipcode? Still, they should have been able to find ICOM America)

    I'm just glad they don't run an ambulance service.

    BTW, I said the USPS EMI was the least costly. That cost was $140 for a 20 pound box. I guess if I wanted good service I shouldn't have been so cheap.

  • Claire

    I always wonder why a company feels the need to reboot and then, why name it the same? It clearly is not the same! This has happened to me a few times too. In fact, with the soap I mentioned to you: the English Lavender. It's the same stuff Outback has in their bathrooms and the last time I tracked it down online, I noticed that it was thinner and has a weird sort of... tangier scent to it. It was still OK... but not what I remember.

Closed Comment Bubble Comments Closed

  • Article comments are disabled after ninety days. Alternatively, you can send feedback via email.