Weather Forecast


Andrea's column: Get a whiff of this

Over the years, I have become sensitive to fragrances. I learned to dodge department store employees who handed out samples and tried to spray a bit of the smelly stuff on my wrist as I passed by.

Now, I avoid the perfumed papers in the sale advertisements these same stores mail to customers. There are so many of them between the pages that the fragrances mingle together and they all smell the same. Eau d´ Putrid.

Over the years, I have asked the worst offenders to send me only scent-free mailings. (You know which stores I mean; their "big sale" come-ons are relentless.). The hiatus lasts a short time but then, the stinky stuff begins to appear again. I should have my name removed from their lists but I'm afraid I might miss out on a "must have" bargain.

Like the denim jacket I ordered a few weeks ago. The price was too good to be true for something so cute but it smells so awful I haven't tried it on. When the package was delivered, my husband brought it inside, sliced through the packing tape with a scissors and pulled open the top. We were bombarded by a horrible odor. As he slid out the jacket, I looked inside the container and saw three of those same perfume ads at the bottom.

The sign posted next to the door of my rheumatologist's office telling those who enter the clinic that it is a "fragrance-free" environment tells me I'm not the only one bothered by scents.

Every time I see it, though, I wonder about the new patient who dabbed a bit of Chanel Number 5 behind her ears or the gent who slapped some Old Spice on his cheeks before they left home. Do they get to the door and then have to search the hallway for a rest room so they can wash off any hint of a scent?

Last month, I was scheduled to see a new doctor. The clinic where he practices had the same "fragrance free" sign outside the entrance door. Again, I pondered the plight of those who unwittingly spray or slather themselves with a scented product. Finally, I asked the receptionist why the person who sets up the appointments doesn't warn everyone about the policy. "That's a really good idea," she said, as though I was Einstein reincarnated.

When my visit was over and the lab technician was done taking blood samples, I asked for directions to the rest room. She said there was one right around the corner, much closer than the one in front by the waiting room, she assured me.

As my hubby and I headed towards home a bit later, I couldn't help but notice the over-powering odor of something floral. As I moved my hand to my head, which had begun to throb, I realized it was the smell of the hand soap from that bathroom.

Last Sunday, as I read the obituaries in the Minneapolis paper, I came across one that ended with, "Please do not wear scents." Was it intended as a rule to live by or does the family not want anyone attending the service to use a perfumed product and then mingle with mourners? Perhaps it was out of respect for the deceased who had been sensitive to scents.

Would they, too, have a sign outside the church or mortuary warning the bereaved they are entering a "fragrance-free" environment? Whatever the reason, let's hope everyone reads to the end of the notice in the paper. Let's hope, also, someone thinks to check the soap in the rest rooms. Some smell so bad they could wake the dead.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

(651) 460-6606