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Somebody Stinks: Perfume, Cologne and Other Smells in the Workplace

Updated on October 30, 2016
FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway in an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist with applied experience in corporate Human Resources and consulting.

What Smells Good To You Might Stink To Someone Else

You might be making coworkers, clients, and friends sick if the eau de "you" includes scented beauty products, heavy body odor, cigarette smoke or other strong smells.
You might be making coworkers, clients, and friends sick if the eau de "you" includes scented beauty products, heavy body odor, cigarette smoke or other strong smells. | Source

Does Your Scent Enter the Room Before You Do?

Okay, Friend, it's gone on long enough.

  • You douse yourself with your favorite perfume or cologne. You add deodorant with a completely different scent, then use a contrasting hand lotion.
  • You eat hard boiled eggs and tuna sandwiches in your cubicle.
  • You exercise at lunchtime but skip the shower. Or, you don't believe in deodorant.

If you think no one notices, you have another thing coming. You aren't being "scents-itive" to coworkers, clients, and friends.

Friend, your office mates are suffering. They complain, struggle to ignore it, or offer you hints that are apparently too subtle for you to comprehend.

But I'm giving it to you straight up: You stink. (No offense, of course.)

Pepe Le Pew ... Is That You?

This skunk's odor can last several weeks and is notoriously difficult to remove.  How long does your smell last?  Nearly 1 in 3 people report being irritated by the scents others wear.
This skunk's odor can last several weeks and is notoriously difficult to remove. How long does your smell last? Nearly 1 in 3 people report being irritated by the scents others wear. | Source

Reader Poll: You Smellin'?

How are you smelling at work?

See results

Sensory Overload: Fragrance Allergies and the Workplace

Before you get all puffed up and indignant, let me explain. A recent study found that 31% of the general population is irritated by the scented products that other people wear. And 19% experience negative health effects from air fresheners.1

Thus, in your attempt to smell good, you may be annoying others. You may even be making them sick.

As a former HR investigator for two Fortune 500 companies, I've reviewed multiple cases involving this "scent-sitive" topic. I've found that when there are smell-related conflicts in the workplace, one or more issues is usually in play:

  • lack of awareness - the offender is oblivious that their smell is overwhelming, offensive, or even harmful to others
  • entitlement - often out of embarrassment, they feel they have a right to their own personal habits and
  • health problems - on occasion, personal hygiene is a symptom of a physical or mental illness.

Eww, Is That You Smelling All Funky?

Irritating scents in the work environment can trigger  asthma, allergies, and migraines.  About 37 million American adults suffer from migraines, often causing them to miss work.
Irritating scents in the work environment can trigger asthma, allergies, and migraines. About 37 million American adults suffer from migraines, often causing them to miss work. | Source

Common Scent Irritants That Can Trigger Hypersensitivity

(click column header to sort results)
Personal Hygiene  
Environmental  
perfume or cologne
air fresheners
deodorant
first and secondhand smoke
hairspray
cleaning products
make-up
candles
thirdhand smoke
leather
lotions and aftershave
food items
shampoo and soap
laundry products
heavy body odor
glue or adhesive
These are common examples of smells that can trigger hypersensitivities.

Is That A New Perfume?

Fragrances can set a variety of health problems off like dominoes.
Fragrances can set a variety of health problems off like dominoes. | Source

Are You Scent-sitive?

Tell us about your experience with fragrance and smells in the workplace in the Comments Section below.

Fragrances Can Trigger Health Ailments

Odors in the workplace can trigger allergies and asthma, migraines, and other health problems. Worse yet, health symptoms don't always go away once the odor is out of range.3

Fragrances (such as the ones listed in the table above) can result in symptoms that include

  • sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes2
  • dizziness and lightheadedness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • confusion and difficulty concentrating
  • shortness of breath and wheezing
  • depression and anxiety
  • loss of appetite and
  • skin irritation.4

Before you dismiss these health concerns as trivial or simply not your problem, consider this: fragrance sensitivities can be regarded as disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects employees who have a disability, a record of a disability, or are regarded as disabled.

Employers covered by the ADA are therefore obligated to take fragrance sensitivity complaints seriously. Some employers have even instituted scent-free policies as accommodations.

Is That You Smelling Like That?

You might think your lunch of hot dogs with sauerkraut and raw onions is delicious, but what about the rest of the office?  Scents linger, you know.
You might think your lunch of hot dogs with sauerkraut and raw onions is delicious, but what about the rest of the office? Scents linger, you know. | Source

Packing A Lunch? Foods That Make You Go "P U"

Meats
Vegetables & Cheeses
Other
Fish
Certain cheeses (limberger, parmesan)
Burnt popcorn
Hot Dogs
Sauerkraut
Coffee
Burritos
Cooked asparagus or broccoli
Garlic, Curry
Boiled eggs, egg salad
Raw onion
Vegemite
You may enjoy these, but these smelly foods and beverages can trigger allergies, migraines and other health problems in others. Consider enjoying them outside the office.

The Nose Knows: Our Powerful Sense Of Smell

Humans can detect an estimated 1 trillion odors, although there is great variability in individual performance.5 Many odors are detected through nerve endings that are associated with pain and temperature sensation rather than smell.

Women have a keener sense of smell, especially during their reproductive years. With repeated exposure to a substance, they become even more sensitive.6 (They're also more likely to suffer from asthma and allergies, and nearly three times more likely to experience migraines.)7, 8

We rely on our sense of smell to

  • recognize one another
  • interpret what we're tasting
  • alert us to danger (e.g., gas leaks, fire, food spoilage) and
  • recall emotions and memories (e.g., your grandmother's home).

Our sense of smell is so refined that we can distinguish old age through odor alone.9 (Yes, there is an "old person smell," and scientists believe it is the result of a breakdown of fatty acids in the skin.)

Research has also found that obesity is detectable by scent, as small amounts of methane that are emitted through the breath of people who are overweight.10 (Intestinal microbes are the culprit.)

A wide range of medical conditions and substances can impact our sense of smell and thus how we experience the world. Between the ages of 65-80, approximately half of the population experiences some loss to their sense of smell.11 After age 80, the proportion rises to three-quarters.

The loss of smell is a significant sign of possible neurological damage. For example, 90% of Parkinson's patients suffer olfactory loss. Also, loss of smell is an early hallmark of Alzheimer's disease, and the number of brain lesions in patients with Multiple Sclerosis significantly correlate with loss of smell. Wearing too much perfume has also been found to be a sign of depression and deficiency in zinc.

Therefore, if you suffer at the hands of someone in the office who wears too much fragrance, consider that they could potentially have a medical reason they wear too much scent. That's all the more reason to approach the situation with care and avoid jumping to conclusions.

Factors That Can Impact Your Sense Of Smell

Factor
Diseases Affecting the Hormonal System - Diabetes, Cushing's syndrome, Hypothyroidism
Diseases Affecting the Nervous System - Alzheimer's, Multiple Sclerosis, migraines, brain tumors, Epilepsy, Korsakoff syndrome, Schizophrenia, Parkinson's
Drugs - Some depressants and stimulants, some antibiotics and blood pressure medications
Other Diseases and Conditions - Asthma, Sarcoidosis, Chronic Rhinitis, Cystic Fibrosis, Leprosy, Depression, Zinc deficiency, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Thiamine (Vitamin B1) deficiency
Exposure To Industrial Chemicals - acids, pollutants, heavy metals, inorganic and organic compounds
Radiation and Chemotherapy
Tread softly in dealing with the office fragrance-lover. There may be medical reasons your co-worker wears too much fragrance. The above list is not all-inclusive.

5 Signs You're Wearing Too Much Perfume or Cologne

You love your signature scent, but do other people? Perfume and cologne shouldn't be so overpowering that others suspect you bathe in it.

Because you can easily become desensitized to your own aroma, learn to recognize when you're wearing too much fragrance. And if you know that you have one of the above medical conditions that can affect scent (see table), explore the possibility that you might be wearing too much cologne or perfume.

Do You Smell What I Smell?

Her face says it all.
Her face says it all. | Source

Sign #1: If you receive even positive comments such as "you make the whole room smell nice" or "I smelled that you were here," you're probably wearing too much. Someone should be within an arm's length before they remark how nice you smell.

Sign #2: If you apply perfume directly onto your skin and the area remains wet a few seconds later, you've overdone it. Or, if you use more than two sprays, it's probably a bit much -- especially for the work environment.

Sign #3: If more than one person has ever told you that you smell strong, ask a friend for feedback. Seriously, a little dab will do you.

Sign #4: If people sneeze, cough, or complain of migraines around you, or if they avoid standing next to you, that's a big clue. Your scent may be making them sick.

Sign #5: At the end of the day, if you can still smell your own fragrance, you've probably overdone it. A person's scent receptors become immune to his/her own smell.

A Humorous Salute To "Mr. Way Too Much Cologne Wearer"

How To Deal With A Smelly Co-worker

If you're an employee who is negatively impacted by a coworker's scent, here are suggested guidelines for coping:

  • Consider involving HR or your manager—especially if there is a known medical issue involved.
  • Although it is possible to send an anonymous text message or an anonymous e-mail, you're likely to receive superior cooperation if the situation is handled face-to-face.
  • If you choose to handle the conflict yourself, address the situation with your co-worker privately.
  • Be direct in describing the issue.
  • It's okay to acknowledge feeling awkward about the situation. Understand that your co-worker may feel embarrassed and defensive.
  • Know exactly what you are requesting (e.g., do you want co-workers to stop wearing all scented products or just a certain one?)
  • Ask for their help, rather than making a demand.
  • Avoid making judgments. Describe behaviors rather than attitudes and motivations. It's entirely possible your co-worker is unaware. It is inappropriate to suggest that a medical condition may be influencing their scent choices.
  • Treat your fragrant co-worker with the same respect and courtesy you want from him or her.
  • Thank him or her for understanding.

An example conversation:

"Susan, I wanted to talk with you privately about something that's been bothering me. It's a little uncomfortable for me to share this. When you wear perfume and paint your nails at your desk, I find that the scents trigger my migraines. Would you be willing to help me out by avoiding scented products like perfume or cologne and painting your nails outside of the office? I appreciate your hearing me out."

Reader Poll

How do you approach difficult conversations?

See results

Advice For Confronting A Cologne-Loving Teammate

Solutions For Dealing with Chemical Sensitivities At Work

In dealing with chemical sensitivities in the workplace, you will need to be creative as well as patient. Options may need to be tested via trial-and-error.

The Job Accommodation Network offers the following possible solutions for dealing with chemical sensitivities, aside from adopting a scent-free policy at work. (The Job Accommodation Network is a source of free, confidential and expert advice on workplace accommodations.)

  1. Change the location of your workstation. Move your work area away from the irritant. Being in contact with fewer people should reduce your scent exposure.
  2. Work from home several days a week. Telecommuting can reduce overall exposure. It can also alleviate symptom severity during times when you must be physically present in the workplace.
  3. Adjust your work schedule. Modify your work hours by going into work and leaving a few hours early.
  4. Use a portable fan or air purifier. Fans can redirect offensive odors elsewhere. If you have an office, an air purifier with a good gas or carbon filter might help.
  5. Interact with smelly co-workers via phone, e-mail, or teleconferencing as much as possible.

What's In A Name? Locations with Smelly Names

show route and directions
A markerStale, Poland -
Stale, Poland
get directions

B markerRotten, Switzerland -
Rotten, Switzerland
get directions

C markerRotten, Greenland -
Rotten, Greenland
get directions

D markerDirty Road, California -
Dirty Road, CA 95315, USA
get directions

E markerSweaty Gulch, California -
Sweaty Gulch, Rogue River - Siskiyou National Forest, California 96086, USA
get directions

F markerStink Pond, Maine -
Stink Pond, Northeast Piscataquis, ME 04462, USA
get directions

G markerSmell Creek, Georgia -
Smell Creek, Chattahoochee National Forest, Georgia, USA
get directions

H markerStink Lakes, South Dakota -
Stink Lakes, SD 57232, USA
get directions

I markerSpring Scent, Texas -
Spring Scent, San Antonio, TX 78258, USA
get directions

J markerFlowery Lake, Nevada -
Flowery Lake, NV, USA
get directions

Celebrity Fragrances: Scents and Scents-sibility

How well can you match celebrities and their fragrances?  Take the quiz below to find out.
How well can you match celebrities and their fragrances? Take the quiz below to find out. | Source

Take the Quiz: Name That Celebrity Fragrance

Quotes About Scent, Smell, and Fragrance

"I don't use deodorant. If you drink enough water, you shouldn't have to. I think I smell pretty good without it."

- Simon Baker, Australian actor and director

"The lovesick, the betrayed and the jealous all smell alike."

- Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, French novelist

"I judge people on how they smell, not how they look."

- Jennifer Lopez, American pop diva

"People who wear fur smell like a wet dog if they're in the rain. And they look fat and gross."

- Pamela Anderson, Canadian-American actress and model

"Smell is incredibly important and sensual. It communicates who you are."

- Sean Combs (P. Diddy), American rapper

"I smell of sweat. I don't like people smelling of all these weird things. I think deodorant is disgusting."

- Rupert Everett, English actor and writer

"The sense of smell explores; deleterious substances almost always have an unpleasant smell."

- Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, French politician and gastronome

"Smell is a long-distance sense, a way of stretching time and finding out in advance what lies ahead."

- Lyall Watson, South African writer and scientist

Be "Scent-sitive," Will You?

Avoid jumping to conclusions regarding the cause of a co-worker's overpowering scent.  Describe behaviors rather than motivations or attitudes.
Avoid jumping to conclusions regarding the cause of a co-worker's overpowering scent. Describe behaviors rather than motivations or attitudes. | Source

Notes

1Caress, S. M., & Steinemann, A. C. (2009, March). Prevalence of fragrance sensitivity in the American population. Retrieved March 27, 2014, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19326669.

2Bouchez, C. (2008, January 11). Fragrance Allergies: A Sensory Assault. Retrieved March 27, 2014, from http://www.webmd.com/allergies/features/fragrance-allergies-a-sensory-assault.

3http://discovermagazine.com/2013/nov/13-allergic-life

4Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (2013, January 28). Scent-Free Policy for the Workplace : OSH Answers. Retrieved March 27, 2014, from http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/hsprograms/scent_free.html.

5Williams, S. C. (2014, March 20). Human Nose Can Detect a Trillion Smells. Retrieved March 28, 2014, from http://news.sciencemag.org/biology/2014/03/human-nose-can-detect-trillion-smells.

6BBC News (2002, February 4). Women nose ahead in smell tests. Retrieved March 28, 2014, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/1796447.stm.

7 "Women More Allergy Prone Than Men in Study." ScienceDaily. Last modified November 8, 2013. https://www.sciencedaily.com/videos/629557.htm.

8Sember, B. (n.d.). HowStuffWorks "Why do women have more migraines than men?". Retrieved March 28, 2014, from http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/women/general/women-more-migraine.htm.

9Honeycutt, D. (2013, November 11). Science Confirms That Old People Really Do Have a Smell. Retrieved March 28, 2014, from http://gizmodo.com/science-confirms-that-old-people-really-do-have-a-smell-1472502978/all.

10Park, A. (2013, March 27). Can You Smell Obesity? Retrieved March 27, 2014, from http://healthland.time.com/2013/03/27/can-you-smell-obesity/.

11Doty, R. L. (2007, March). Smelling and Tasting Problems. Retrieved March 28, 2014, from https://www.dana.org/Publications/GuideDetails.aspx?id=50045.

© 2014 FlourishAnyway

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    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA

      Olivia - Sounds like you have some stinky folks in your place of business. Thanks for sounding off. Wish you had shared more.

    • Olivia 2 months ago

      I feel you angry coworkers!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 5 months ago from USA

      Tired of Smells - Ultimately, it's YOUR house and you and your partner have the say as to who stays and for how long. Agree with your partner on your approach and create a united front.

      Then matter-of-factly tell your unkind father-in-law via Skype well in advance of his visit that you are serious, that you do want him to visit, but there are key conditions and it's a medical matter. Give him no more than 3 alternatives. For example: Alternative 1: Don't visit. Alternative 2: He can leave the cologne at home and stay with you. Alternative 3: Stay in a hotel or another relative's house (decide who pays) and he can visit with your family on days when he's not wearing cologne.

      Because this is your husband's father, he needs to step up strongly, supporting you and taking the lead in answering any pushback by his father. I had a similar situation with my husband's mother who was a chain smoker. She was rude about doing it anywhere she pleased -- in a car, in your face, in your house, etc. Giving someone choices is better than giving them a request or an ultimatum. Emphasize that you want to see him and love him and it's about the cologne and medical condition, nothing else. I hope this helps!

    • Tired of Smells 5 months ago

      Well what if it's my fil, not a co-worker that douses himself A FEW TIMES A DAY. Yeah you read that right. And get this, he puts it on HIS HANDS first and rubs it all over his body. Yea, I don't live with him, but he visited from abroad so he stayed with us for 6 weeks. That crap was everywhere. Then the breaking point- I noticed it was all over the washer and dryer, as in stuck! It took like a million loads of vinegar to get it out. And for the dryer it was a soak a towel in vinegar and let it run a million times deal. I was about to buy new ones! Listen if someone can PLEASE give me tips for prevention because he's supposed to come over again and I feel overwhelmed. And yes, we've already asked him not to wear it this time. His response was "hahahhahaha". The worst part is I have asthma and last time it even bothered my baby's skin. I didn't really even want him to hold her (which is sad because he's not a bad guy otherwise). Any ideas folks? Thanks!!!!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 6 months ago from USA

      Jenni - The most obvious and congenial method of solving the issue is talking directly with the co-worker, but if that and going to management have failed, then you might try the Americans with Disabilities route. Check first that your workplace is covered by the ADAAA (see the EEOC website). Work with an allergist or other medical specialist to get a diagnosis first (e.g., asthma, multiple chemical sensitivities, COPD). An impairment such as asthma that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity such as breathing when active.

      Get your diagnosis and talk with your doctor about your work environment, other triggers, and severity of your reaction. Ask the doctor for his/her take on recommended accommodations (which you will use when you approach HR). Assuming you have a qualifying disability, then approach HR again with your medical diagnosis and a request an accommodation (e.g., to be moved, to require the coworker to cease use of the oils, etc.). If you have a disability, the accommodation request should be an informal interactive process between you and HR. They may request documentation, and their final accommodation may not be what you requested (e.g., they may want you to do something silly like wear a mask). Here is some basic information that may be helpful: http://research.prudential.com/documents/rp/RP-Nee... Best of luck to you.

    • Jenni 6 months ago

      There is a person at work who uses these oils on their hands. I must be allergic to it because when she gets with in 2 feet of me, I LITERALLY cannot breath. Apparently, her hands are more important than me being able to breath because HR, my boss and the controller refuse to say anything to her but can say something to another co-worker about her diffuser giving someone a headache. This can't be legal. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 6 months ago from USA

      Special Counsel - Sorry to hear you have such an extreme reaction to fragrances. Your story -- and thanks for sharing it -- is an example of how what is pleasant and soothing or exciting to another can be dangerous to another person. I wish you health and happiness.

    • Special Counsel 6 months ago

      This goes maybe a quarter of the way for my fragrance/chemical allergies due to Mast Cell Activation Disease. Not many physicians know about this testing and all, I suggest any person getting sick around with fragranced/chemical laden people tell your physician about Dr. Lawrence Afrin's work. There's a white paper on this disease that can be accessed online. The numbers of people not being able to handle fragrances is rising rapidly. Who knows, you could be next... I have not been able to work for years due to my condition. Going out to dine is very risky and we might have to move to other tables, I can't sit in the middle of a restaurant, I need to be by walls, to protect myself from having a reaction.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 20 months ago from USA

      Ann - Good point. Allergists actually have signs indicating such.

    • Ann 20 months ago

      please leave your perfume at home when you visit your doctor. its rude not to.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 22 months ago from USA

      ezzly - Oh that is terrible. I hope you survived that exam. Chicken noodle soup and not in a yummy way. Bleck!

    • ezzly profile image

      ezzly 22 months ago

      LOL chicken noodle soup, too funny ! I was in university with a guy who smelled like that all the time and when I was doing my exams I had the misfortune of sitting near him , I felt like vomiting and got a pain in my stomach !

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 22 months ago from USA

      ezzly - Yeah, B.O is awful -- smells of chicken noodle soup. Thanks for stopping by and for voting!

    • ezzly profile image

      ezzly 22 months ago

      Voted up, I love this., it is so anti social to wreak of anything especially dodgy cologne or even worse B.O. !

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      savvydating - Ooooh, there's nothing like a good smelling man.

    • savvydating profile image

      savvydating 2 years ago

      I might be the "odd man out" here. I love cologne and perfume. But I agree that "stinky" is definitely a bad thing. However, two sprays of fantastic perfume/cologne to the stomach, such as Marc Jacobs or Cartier are divine. I want to eat a man up when he smells that good. But, you did recommend two sprays, so we're on the same page there.

      Anyway, your hubs are always great. It's true. No one should stink!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      ologsinquito - And strong smelling foods -- double yuck (unless, of course, it's on my plate, haha). Thank you for commenting and sharing. Have a terrific week.

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

      I think I'm becoming increasingly sensitive to cologne and perfume. At one time I liked these smells. Now I think these chemicals just stink. Yuk. Shared and more.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      favored - Thanks so much for visiting. Glad you stopped by.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 2 years ago from USA

      Your topic fascinated me so I had to come visit. Glad I did. Some people do wear too much perfume, but some of the other things you mentioned are a problem at times. You presented this in a fun way, thanks.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Sami - Body sprays with a light scent are a good idea. Thanks for reading and weighing in.

    • Sami Hanson profile image

      Sami 2 years ago from Kansas

      I must say that I am a smoker, and so applying perfume is my way of freshening up so that I don't completely reek of cigarette smoke. I get comments that I smell nice when in close contact with other people (which for me is a relief that it's a nice smell versus smelling like smoke). Normally I stick with body sprays because they are not as overpowering as perfume. Great hub, as always!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Thelma - That must have been some strong and memorable stuff. Many a migraine have started from someone's desire to get noticed.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 2 years ago from Germany

      Great and useful hub. You remind me of having headahe every time somebody passed near me with a pachuli containing perfume. It really made me sick. Unfortunately it was a passers by.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Raul - Thanks for reading. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Stinky customers are certainly a job hazard. I'd suggest springing for Glade or another alternative air freshener. I hate the smell of Lysol, too. Blek.

    • Raul Sierra profile image

      Raul Sierra Jr 2 years ago from El Paso, Texas

      Funny. Love this post!

      Unfortunately for me, it's not my co-workers that smell. It's the customers. The worse they smell the closer they get when talking. I can handle the conversation with a co-worker, but I have to be less forward with the customers.

      The other consequence of the smelly customer is the stench of lysol, sprayed by the associates once the customer is gone.

      Thanks for the laugh, flourish.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Peg - I almost wish there were little leave behind cards that said, "Excuse me but you have wretched breath." or "Dude, you're killing people with the cologne. Dial it down. Will ya?"". My luck and they'd see me as I was heading out the door.". Chances are if you thought that, others did too. Thanks for stopping back by.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      I came back to check this one out again, Flourish, and watched that funny video, "Mr. Way Too Much Cologne Wearer". Some of the new liquid body soaps that men are using have an overpowering smell that can take your breath away. I got a huge whiff of someone at the local home improvement store and I wanted to say something to the store guy who was politely trying to help me order a toilet. Aaargh, it was burning my nose to stand nearby while he tapped away on the computer keys. It nearly lost him the sale.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Anonymous - I'm sorry you have to deal with this unpleasantness. I do worry about whether your father might be dealing with a medical condition. I encourage you to mention it or have another family member mention it to both him and his family doctor.

    • Anonymous 2 years ago

      I have to deal with this at home. My father bathes himself in cologne. He's not the type to just apply it to himself. He showers in it. What I mean is he sprays a ton of it into the air and then passes through it, so now he as well as the ENTIRE house smells like it. No matter how many times I ask him to stop putting so much on he doesn't care

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Peg - Yes, in the end I think you have to balance your health and comfort day in and day out vs. the risk of alienating a coworker. It could be a tough call for some people. Thanks for reading and commenting. It's a very touchy subject!

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Good suggestions for handling this touchy workplace subject. The confronting a teammate video was well done. I've been on both sides of the stinky issue - as the offender and as the person with allergies. It really can alienate someone to basically tell them they stink - even when it's said in a politically correct way and you, "Frame it as a favor". Oh, so touchy.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
      Author

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Mj - Now you have me wondering how those waitresses are transferring their perfume to your coffee. Hands touching the rim of the cup perhaps? Yuck. Thanks a bunch for reading and commenting.

    • MJennifer profile image

      Marcy J. Miller 2 years ago from Arizona

      Flourish, this is just excellent all the way around. It took me right back to those days in the office (gee, thanks). As a manager I had occasion to counsel people at various times regarding stinky issues -- scented candles, perfume, body odor, halitosis, and the famous tuna lunches. Somehow, even second-hand smoke smells worse when it's emanating from one's breath or body.

      One of the few allergies I have is to certain perfumes. Not only does it choke me up and make my eyes stream, but I cannot stand the smell of heavy perfume. Yesterday my physical therapist had a bit much on and I went home smelling of it after she worked on my shoulder. I've decided that second-hand perfume is as bad as second-hand smoke.

      Finally, one more perfume pet peeve -- those waitresses who wear so much that it transfers to the coffee cup they put on your plate. Now, how they manage to pass their perfume on to a cup that they hold in their hands, I'll never figure out -- maybe I don't want to know. Nothing like a cup of Eau de Java. Coffee with an identity crisis -- no thanks.

      The joy of being a derelict of sorts, now that I am self-employed, is that I have traded workplace perfume felons for fresh air, open windows, and the occasional stink bomb dropped by one of our two kitties, reminding me to stretch my legs and clean the letterbox. I won't trade it for the office filled with people who chewed spearmint gum, popped popcorn all day (that constant aroma is tedious even to fellow popcorn lovers) and bought White Shoulders by the gallon!

      Love the hub!

      Best --- Mj

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Peggy W - Thank you for commenting and sharing. Have a great weekend! Take time to smell the roses!

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      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Working in HR you have undoubtedly come across many interesting stories and circumstances which need to be handled properly. Overpowering scents of just about any kind are offensive to many people but for those who suffer ill physical effects such as migraine headaches, etc, it can be devastating. Well written hub offering good advice and spiced up with cute photos. Up votes, tweeting, pinning & sharing. More people should be aware of this!

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Shanu k - Thanks for stopping by. Have a good weekend.

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      Shanu Kothari 2 years ago from indore, India

      haha

      have experienced such smells..lol

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Deb - You are very scent-sitive. Thank you for sharing your experiences so that others can understand what it is like to live in a world where others can make you miserable just by splashing on cologne or other smell-good products. I'm sorry you suffer from this so much.

    • Deb 2 years ago

      I can't tell you the entire story of my life, but perfumes and colognes trigger my asthma. It's so bad for me, that it can last for days with one "whiff." I used to love perfume, and I wore it everyday, no matter what. Now Perfume Karma has me in it's gripe. I had a cold/flu like virus that left me this way, an adult onset asthma issue. I'm always dodging scents, everywhere! Church even (worst place). Currently I'm not working but when I was, I posted a sign by my desk, and I would not allow others to enter my office space. I also ran a large air filter. Since i was the boss, I laid down laws about no scents, and being in a doctor's office, I spun it to mean, "it's bad for the patient's lungs," and it is! The problem is this... people identify their scents with themselves...as in it is THEM, so if you say, don't wear it, they're offended. Also, they have worn it so long, they don't "smell it," and often they apply more! People who "layer" are the worst offenders. For me it's spray perfume that kills me, lotions are not too bad, or natural scents. Young men today do NOT know how to wear cologne. Most women are taught by their mothers how to apply...in my day, it was dabbed on and only meant to be smelled when someone was snuggling with you. Young men think cologne is aftershave, and they splash it on, or spray it on. Another thing, is fabric softener. I can smell it on their clothes and it makes me sick. My neighbor uses Suavitel, which was bought by P&G from a Mexico and it was not tested here. It clings to my entire house, yard, everything, and keeps me housebound. Perfumes and fabric softeners are products of chemical petroleum, and it's toxic. Most ingredients are cancer causing. Scented candles are also I've learned a lot, an done thing I know, is we can live without scents. Educate. And don't burn candles!

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Rachel - That is some story about your friend. An aaccurate self-perspective is so hard to come by. It sure didn't help her to disregard the feedback she was getting about the smell. I'm sorry she ended up with such a serious illness.

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      Rachael O'Halloran 2 years ago from United States

      I used to have this friend who was a smoker. She would stop smoking if she had company who didn't smoke, which was very considerate. However, she had one of those aroma machines sitting alongside her couch in the living room. Every time someone would walk in the front door, she'd reach down and flick it on. It usually had jasmine in it which by itself smells very very nice, but when it permeates a small living space like a 8x10 living room, it is overpowering. I always had to ask her to turn it off when I came in the door because it literally made my eyes water and my throat start to close over. You couldn't even smell coffee brewing, it was that strong.

      Whenever she would go out socially, she didn't smell too good either with all that smoking going on and she literally bathed in cologne trying to cover up the cigarette smell. It didn't work. It made her more odorous.

      She's gone now but in her later years, she got emphyzema and couldn't stand the smell of the aroma machine herself and had her son get rid of the machine. She always used to complain about my asking her to turn it off, saying she was just trying to make the air more comfortable for her guests since she knew her house didn't smell that good from her smoking in the house.

      Sometimes it takes an event like hers to realize what smells do to other people. Ok, she got the point years after the fact, but her kids got the point early on when many visitors asked her to turn off the aroma machine. She thought she was being considerate but she never nipped it at the source as long as she kept smoking.

      This was a good article and certainly should drive the point home to anyone reading it. If someone thinks they might smell bad, they probably do - because considering that they might is the first step in recognizing the fact. lol

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      blueheron - Yes, I have a sensitive sniffer, too, and can pick up wheat people are wearing long after they cannot! Interesting comparison to Raid!

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      Sharon Vile 2 years ago from Odessa, MO

      Some fragrances are almost entrancing, the way they bring back memories. Then there are others...that smell like fly spray. (There really is/was a commercial fragrance that, to me, smelled exactly like Raid.)

      I am sensitive to fragrances. My daughters have picked up my habit of smelling all the fabric softeners on the shelf before selecting one. This is so your wash doesn't come out smelling like fly spray.

      To my nose, the best fragrances are the essential oils, or very simple perfumes made from them, like the ones made by Crabtree and Evelyn. I think my all-time favorite was their Passionflower--which, sadly, is pretty darned expensive.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      ologsinquito - It's funny how what smells wonderful and light to one person simply stinks to someone else. There is one particular brand of deodorant that to me smells like Lysol -- nasty. I can smell who has it on in a crowd. Blek! Thanks for pinning, sharing, and commenting!

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      ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

      Anyway, I forgot to say pinned and shared.

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      ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

      I seem to be very sensitive to perfume smells, which really stink. A good alternative might be essential oils if you need a perfume.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      vespawoolf - It's so hard to know who is chemically sensitive and with being in such tight quarters like elevators and some workspaces, it can signal a reason for conflict and health problems. Glad you stopped by. I was just thinking about you earlier today wondering where one of those good recipes are?

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      vespawoolf 2 years ago from Peru, South America

      I have friends who suffer from chemical sensitivities, so I am very careful not to wear perfume in enclosed spaces such as at work. I do wear it sometimes for a special occasion on the weekend, though. Yesterday I walked by a man on the street and his cologne was so strong I could smell it several steps away from him! Now that's too much cologne. This was interesting and the photos added humor. Thank you for sharing.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      CMHypno - That would be awkward, but hopefully one conversation did the trick! My mom always says BO smells like chicken noodle soup. I cannot imagine smelling that 8 hours a day without saying something. Good for you.

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      CMHypno 2 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Interesting hub. I love perfume but some top notes give me a headache, so I have had problems socialising with friends who wore certain brands. But possibly the most embarrassing thing I have ever been asked to do was when the Director General of the company I was working for asked me to speak to a member of my team about their BO!

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Sparklea - What a great comment that provides a lot of perspective into scents and how people think and feel about them. Thank you for stopping by!

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      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you for this insightful hub and all the work you put into it: pictures, examples, research! Very important topic. I plead guilty to one who loves to wear cologne...I don't feel dressed without it. I have worn Odyssey by Avon for years. It is a lighter scent, and the other day at the vets, when picking up my cat, the girl at the desk asked if I was wearing Odyssey? She said her mom wore it and she loves the light scent. It's amazing how a scent can be a good or bad reminder of something good or something bad. Years ago I worked with a person who was moody and terrible to me...she wore white shoulders cologne. To this day I cannot stand the smell of it on anyone as it gives me PTSD. But when I smell other scents they often bring back good memories. No matter how you put it, SCENTS are powerful in many ways...positive and negative.

      Thank you for this great write, and congratulations! Blessings, Sparklea :)

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Kmes - It's great to get your perspective! Thanks for stopping by!

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      Kayla Swanson 2 years ago from Wyoming

      I actually love the various smells that people wear. I would hate it if people stopped wearing perfume/cologne. It smells so much better than B.O. I can see how too much can be overpowering though.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      CristinS - Thanks for sharing your story. Aren't you glad your husband stepped up and told him to reduce it? He had probably become desensitized to his favorite scent over time and just wanted to smell good for you all when you visited.

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      Christin Sander 2 years ago from Midwest

      Glad somebody said it! :) I work at home, so thankfully it isn't a problem in office spaces anymore, but I am very sensitive to perfumes and colognes and I swear, every time I run errands or go out and about, inevitably there will be that person that you can smell two aisles away. It makes my eyes water and can even trigger asthma in me so I don't find it amusing. My father in law was one of those people who started drowning himself in Brut. It was so bad one time that his smell lingered in my clothing hours after he hugged me. My husband finally had to talk to him and tell him Dad, you're overdoing it. He's toned it way, WAY down since then. I loved him but always dreaded the visits because you could smell his cologne long after they left. ugh. Less is more people! :)

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Crafty - The greater the love for a scent, it seems the greater the tendency to douse. Have a great weekend. Douse yourself with happiness.

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      CraftytotheCore 2 years ago

      Great article Flourish! I have asthma, so I am super sensitive to fragrances. I love candles, but I cannot walk in to a candle store. People douse themselves with perfume and I can't breathe.

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      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Flourish. Thank you for the heads up about the Hubpot Challenge. And congratulations to you for your selection also. We'll done.

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      Rebecca Furtado 2 years ago from Anderson, Indiana

      The only thing that could make this article better is if it were a scratch and sniff! I am sharing this one.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Rebecca - Wouldn't that be fun?

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      Rebecca Furtado 2 years ago from Anderson, Indiana

      The only thing that could make this article better is if it were scratch and sniff.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      raymondphilippe - Yes, one with putrid breath is the absolute worst!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image
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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Oh, Suzanne, bless you all. Thanks for reading and sharing your experience! I guess if everyone is doing the same thing it's probably not quite as noticeable.

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      Raymond Philippe 2 years ago from The Netherlands

      Lovely read. There's probably one thing worse than a smelly co-worker, a smelly boss.

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      Suzanne Day 2 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      I'm guilty of eating tuna for lunch in my cubicle, but I do put on a fragrance. I have a stingy boss who likes to allocate only 2 shirts per worker, which means on hot summer days, everyone stinks of BO because we all don't have time to wash the shirts. You'd think they'd consider that when purchasing work uniforms! Voted interesting.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Marie - Thank you for providing this perspective. For those of us who think we're doing the world a favor by smelling nice, it's important that you shared this.

    • mariewj 2 years ago

      I'm really sensitive to artificial smells and scents which I really can't stand. When I first met my husband, he had artificial scented products all over the home which drove me mad - he also loved his deodorant sprays too. Now the only scent in the home is good, old fashioned fresh air and he uses unscented roll-ons. I do struggle when I am near people who wear really strong perfumes - especially in a confined space.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Purpose Embraced - It was a cute, humorous video, wasn't it? There's nothing like making light of something and having a bit of fun.

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      Yvette Stupart PhD 2 years ago from Jamaica

      Thanks for your insightful hub, FlourishAnyway. I really think that most people are not aware of the possible negative impact their perfume/cologne could have on others at the workplace. I love the "too much cologne wearer" video!

    • Cherylann Mollan profile image

      Cherylann Mollan 2 years ago from India

      I agree with all that you've said. It is true that people don't seem to realize that the scent of perfume too, when applied in excess, can be annoying. Sometimes, co-workers go over-the-top in trying to smell good and they end up dousing themselves in a million different scents. It makes me nauseous! I really like your suggestions. Very thoughtful and useful hub. Voted up!

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      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      You're welcome! Lol you sound like me. I never know until someone tells me, and I think you were one of the ones to tell me. Lol Blessings

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Faith- That's the first I knew about it! Thanks for letting me know!

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      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Congrats on being in the top ten again on this one! Awesome!

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Bill - It's hard to believe that there are those who do work out and choose not to shower. I mean, really? I've had a case or two that involved that same situation. The person was completely oblivious.

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      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Interesting topic Flourish. This is definitely an issue in the workplace. Too much of anything can cause a problem. I do workout sometimes during lunch but I always shower. There are some who don't and it is noticeable. What really bothers my nose is the perfume and cologne. Great job. Voted up, shared, etc.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Writer Fox - It does make you wonder whether they're confusing the office for a nightclub. Thanks for reading, voting, and commenting!

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      Writer Fox 2 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      There is such a thing as too much of a good thing! Personally, I'd rather smell something pleasant and I don't mind smelling a little perfume. It's men who wear too much after shave that irritates me! You've given a lot of food for thought on this issue. Enjoyed and voted up!

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Jackie - Yes, I have seen that posted in doctors' offices, too! It was prominently displayed at the allergy/asthma specialist I went to last year for my nut allergy and also my neurologist's office. I do recall Sweet Honesty ... and Sand and Sable (my favorite). Definitely throw backs, huh? Glad you stopped by!

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      Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I am seeing doctors offices asking people not to wear perfume and I am so glad. I cannot even wear it myself unless it is very very mild. Sweet Honesty is about the best there is if ypu want to smell nice but perfume bothers you. In years it is the only one I have found. Of course i would hate anyone to recognize me by my smell! lol

      Great one!

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Zainab - I've worked with people who have used candles, air fresheners, heavy cologne/perfume, smoked in their offices, ate very fragrant foods in their cubicles at lunch, habitually burned popcorn in the community microwave, and habitually farted and took their shoes off thinking no one else could smell them. And this was in HR. Gag a maggot.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      ologsinquito - I can imagine they would feel very trapped and probably angry.

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      Musu Bangura 2 years ago from Nation's Capital

      FlourishAnyway, this is a great topic. I've dealt with people who have severe asthma and cannot be around any colognes, room sprays, or candles. It can be a challenge in the workplace as a lot of people automatically wear cologne or perfume when they come to work. I even think there are OSHA laws associated with it. I'll look it up!

      Me personally, I cannot stand the smell of cigarettes mixed with strong perfume. It's horrendous.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      LaryssaGeorge - We're happy to have your input. Thanks for stopping by!

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      ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

      Perfume can definitely be overpowering. Working with someone who's wearing too much scent, for eight hours a day, would be a form of torture.

    • LaryssaGeorge profile image

      Laryssa 2 years ago from Indiana

      Oh my...scents are a major issue for me. Due to health issues I am very sensitive to smell and can react horribly to perfumes. Thanks for spreading the word.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Jo - I'd take Chanel No. 5 over betadine any day of the week. I deplore the smell of that solution. Bless you for putting up with hospital smells. Thanks for sharing your story. I imagine your example says something about your love of that fragrance. I guess the mystery is figuring out what? You'll have to assume it was a good thing unless they speak up.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Nancy - Aww, I hadn't thought about our four-legged friends being overwhelmed. I bet they don't like it, given their sense of smell is often superior or comparable to ours.

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      Nancy Owens 2 years ago from USA

      I love the way you tackled this sensitive subject. It was news to me that we can actually identify an old person by smell! Can you imagine how overloaded our pets must be by the smells around them? While I like fragrance, I usually save it for special occasions. At work and meetings I don't wear it.

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Flourish, this is another exceptional hub! Through the laughter, I'm also thinking, this is all so true.

      As a nurse, I come into close contact with my patient, and while I want to smell fresh and clean, I don't want to overwhelm them, but I've been known to overdo the No 5. We had a team day recently, and we all submitted a personal object anonymously. The purpose of the exercise was to see how many of us would correctly guess who owned a specific object, thereby demonstrating how well we knew each other as team members. Well...they all knew who used the Chanel. Always interesting and very entertaining to read.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Dean - Some deodorants that people wear smell like Lysol to me, and air fresheners always make me wonder what they're covering up that's so nasty.

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      Dean Walsh 2 years ago from Birmingham, England

      I'm glad to read that I'm not the only one with a low tolerance to some deodorants and stuff - although actually the thing that really gets me is air freshener; it always smells so chemical and noxious and unnatural to me, I can't stand the stuff.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Sha - Thanks for sharing your experience about your signature scents. I've never heard of patchouli oil but am glad you enjoyed it so much. Have a great weekend.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Sherry - It's good to get your perspective. Not liking a scent is one thing but being allergic/asthmatic/having migraines as a result is quite another! Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 2 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Strong perfume or flowery fragrances actually make me feel ill. I don't have so much of a problem in an office environment, where generally there is some space between people, but being shut up in a car with someone wearing strong perfume can be very unpleasant for me.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Shanmarie - Although I like a good smell, it certainly is a very individual judgment of what is good. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Heidi - Great point. In instituting scent-free policies, companies need to be cognizant of not banning simply "certain kinds" of smells. Also, they need to be consistent in applying the policy to everyone, rather than just a few people who might be the most egregious offenders. (That includes visitors and executives when on-site.) You can get in a bad spot legally if, for example, you ask someone from a different culture not to warm up "Mexican foods," for example. It may venture into national origin discrimination, and that's not good either!

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      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      I used to wear a different scent every day when I worked outside the home. I'd choose a scent that seemed to go with my outfit. I was never told I was offensive. And I never wore a lot. Rule of thumb, if I can smell me after the scent dries, I have too much on.

      I reserved my signature scent - patchouli oil - for casual Friday. My VP used to say, "It must be Friday. I smell patchouli oil". Fortunately, I never got any complaints. In fact one co-worker liked it so much I gave her an extra bottle I had on hand.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Rajan - It can sometimes take your breath away! Thanks for reading and commenting.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Faith Reaper - Yes, I've had similar experiences!

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      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Yes, I have read about the third hand smoke too and how it is especially dangerous as it mixes in with the chemicals in materials of fabrics and such, even sofas and other furniture. A smoker would give me clothing and it was very nice but it had a terrible smoke smell to it due to being in her car or home where she smoked. I could not even ride with her in her car even if she did not smoke due to the smoke already being trapped in the fabric of the seats! It even smells much worse to me ...the third hand smoke.

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      Rajan Singh Jolly 2 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      An eye opener hub no doubt! Too many times have I encountered people who are bathing in their perfumes literally smothering other peoples' breath. We need to be more scent conscious.

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      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      This is quite a topic... and one that I also addressed some years back in an old blog about the impact for events and expos (some exhibits even use smell to attract visitors!).

      One other point is that smell sensitivities (or lack thereof) can be culturally based, too, adding to the difficulties in addressing this in the workplace. In a culturally homogenous work environment, anyone who is out of place smell-wise will be obvious and could have relationship issues regardless of how he might fit in otherwise. Awesome discussion of a touchy topic!

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      Shannon 2 years ago from Texas

      Very humorous, yet 0h-so-true! I don't work in an office, but I know what it is like. Of course, I do like perfume on occasion, but not with anything else scented. And not taking a bath in it. Some wear so much, it ruins the good smell of it. Plus, I think that in a work place especially, people should be aware that others can be sensitive to or just plain allergic to perfume scents.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Christy - The thought of telling a worker they have a problem with body odor, bad breath, or wear too much fragrance makes most managers cringe. At least that manager handled it! Thanks for sharing and commenting!

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      Christy Birmingham 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Well explained, and this really can be an issue in the workplace. I remember it happened within one office I worked in - the supervisor told the employee her perfume was too strong and that she needed to scale it back. You're right that those words need to be said in a respectful manner. Voting up and sharing!

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      fpherj48 - I'd go for perfume over BO any day, although the mix can create one funky odor.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Flourish......I'm fairly "sensitive" to most scents, fragrances & odors.....not in an allergic way, just reaction-wise. I must say, if I had to choose between 2 evils (heavy perfume or unpleasant body odors) I'd vote for the perfume. At least that wouldn't make me nauseous.

      Your hub is very clear and complete. What people need to keep in mind is that "we" are usually not aware of how strong or overpowering a scent may be, because we "adjust" to it......but it can hit someone else like a bomb.

      UP++

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Faith Reaper - We hear so much about first hand smoke (i.e., inhaling a cigarette, cigar, etc.), and we know about the dangers of second hand smoke (i.e., catching a whiff or more from others who are smoking around us). However, many people may be unaware that there is thirdhand smoke, too. It's the unseen particles that linger on clothes and other surfaces for days, months, and even years. I used to work in an office of a tobacco manufacturer where people smoked indoors and they even had a sign that said "Enjoy Smoking" at the entrance. Every day I would take a wet wipe and clean the surface areas of my cubicle. It was covered in filth from the air.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Awesome hub, Flourish! Boy, I am with you on this one for sure. When I get into an elevator, and someone has on "their" lovely perfume, my allergies instantly kick in and I am blowing my nose and sneezing, watery eyes and such for the rest of the day. I do not use perfume, and I wear unscented deodorant and body lotion, as I just cannot take it. If I am going out, I may spray a small amount of perfume in the air and then walk into it so it will not be overwhelming to me or anyone else. Of course, those who smoke have to do it outside of our building, but when they return, it seems like everything they touch, like files and such, has a smoke smell. Then starts the watery eyes again.

      Great hub and I hope it helps to make more people aware!

      Up and more, pinning and tweeting

      Enjoy your weekend,

      Faith Reaper

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Bill - LOL. I'm sure most people want to smell good for themselves as well, but if you can smell yourself, it's probably too much of a good thing (or just a thing). Have a great weekend!

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I really don't like the smell. I mean, it doesn't gag me or anything, but I just think of it as one more attempt to lure that isn't necessary. Trust in your personality to lure; that is much more indicative of who you are. Now I need to go wash off my cologne and get busy for the day. :)

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Danida - Yes, all kinds of fish can be stinky! It makes you wonder if people should be eating at their desks at all. Pickles gross me out. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      MsDora - Thank you for your kind kudos. People can get very riled up on both sides of the issue -- definitely a delicate matter. It's very challenging to approach someone with this issue and have it go well.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Better Yourself - You've just given us something to think about with church! Thanks for visiting, voting, and commenting!

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      Better Yourself 2 years ago from North Carolina

      What a great hub! My allergies flare up so easily at perfume and cologne but thankfully I do not have a lot of co-workers in the same office as me and I can work from home some which really helps. And this applies to church, people should be respectful of being in close proximity to others and in church you can always move seats if necessary. Well done, Voted up :)

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      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Too much of good thing can be a bad thing--as is the case with fragrance. Then there are people who need to use something, but do not. Your article gives so many reasons for people to consider their own situation; and how to deal with people who offend one way or another. Very interesting and also very comprehensive. Thank for dealing with this touch subject so ably.

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      Danida 2 years ago from London

      Original hub!

      People always seem to throw on too much perfume or deodorant. I once knew this girl who would spray her deodorant for something like 30 seconds. Crazy. Lynx can also be nice but after a while becomes sickly.

      Our sense of smell is powerful -- it's the sense that is linked most to nostalgia. Therefore, let people remember you in a good way and spray something nice!

      PS. About the smelly foods...tuna has also been linked to being notoriously smelly. I love tuna but there are some who gag at the smell of it.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Frank - Thank you. I'm one who always appreciates a good smell.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Rafiq23 - Thanks for stopping by. I hope the hub creates awareness on both sides of the issue.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Devika - Those perfume counters are especially big trouble spots while shopping, but some folks manage to smell like the perfume counter all by themselves. People who work with fragrance-loving others often are upset by the mere lack of control they feel about their own environment. Thank you for reading, voting, and taking the time to comment.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Sujaya - Hmm. I'm not sure I understand, however thank you for stopping by.

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      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Melvin - I'm glad you enjoyed this. It's an honor that you found it interesting.

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      Melvin Porter 2 years ago from New Jersey, USA

      FlourishAnyway, you wrote a very well-written and well-researched article on a sensitive subject. I learned a lot from reading your article. You incorporated a lot of very interesting information here. Voted up and interesting.

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      sujaya venkatesh 2 years ago

      bathing ones be at bay flo

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      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      What an interesting hub!

      A few days ago while going out shopping I had passed by many people and each one had a strong perfume on it was blown on my face and could not stand these smells. Too much put on and I felt smothered. I can only imagine how it can be in the workplace. Your ideas are helpful and most informative. You always write interesting and thought-provoking hubs. Voted up, and useful.

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      Muhammad Rafiq 2 years ago from Pakistan

      Nice Hub with valid points to avoid overpowering scent! It's important not to bother your people through the scent or cologne. Great Hub FlourishAnyway!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      flourish what an interesting idea for a hub and I like the readers poll too LOL

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