Like many women, I enjoy shopping. There are a few times, though, when I hate to shop. One example is when I am looking for something very specific and I can’t find it anywhere. Another is when I do find something I like but it is only stocked in size 2 or 4.
But the one thing that brings me to my knees is when I walk into a store and I am immediately assaulted by fragrance. This used to happen frequently in departments stores in the makeup and fragrance department, when sales clerks would spray the latest fragrance over anything that would walk by. Many stores have cut back on doing that to some extent, and now many hand out little cards with the scent du jour on it. Around the holidays, stores have Christmas scents around – like pine, or cinnamon – which are a somewhat more tolerable if they are not sprayed all over the place.
But today I was almost gassed to death when I walked in the local Bed Bath and Beyond store. The entire store was bathed in a heavy, perfumed smell that literally caused me to gasp for air. (We used to cause this kind of scent “eau de maggot gagger” because even a maggot would be repulsed by it.) After walking through the store, coughing and sneezing the entire time, and not finding what I needed, I left. My nostrils are still burning.
I come from a family with lots of allergies – myself included – so anything with a heavy fragrance was not welcome in the house. To this day, I buy unscented products when I can find them. I admit that I may be more sensitive to fragrance than many people. But, I am also not one of those people that wants to ban the wearing of perfume in the office because I understand that some people really do like it and it can be pleasant if done with a light touch. Some people need it, frankly, to cover up the odor of either cigarette smoke, an evening of drinking, or body odor, or any combination thereof.
Do we need to smell flowery perfume shopping in places other than a perfume department? No. In fact, too much fragrance is the one thing that drives me out of a store faster than a fire alarm. So I make my plea to retailers - please ditch the heavy fragrances. Your customers’ respiratory systems will thank you.
PS - Still coughing, 2 hours later.
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