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Topic: Book Aromas

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Subject: Book Aromas
Date Posted: 12/15/2009 1:57 PM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2007
Posts: 4
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I'm having a major problem with books smelling like dryer sheets, febreze, and other products that I guess people use so much they aren't aware of anymore. 

If you don't use this stuff, it's like being a nonsmoker; the smell is overwhelming to you but imperceptible to the heavy user.

Is anybody else having this problem?  I'm hoping that enough people are bothered by this that the use of highly aromatic household products can become something people warn you about, like pet dander and smoke.

And it's not just about the smell; this stuff can trigger asthma and migraines and give people contact dermatitis.  

Date Posted: 12/15/2009 1:59 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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Have you thought about using an RC to prevent receiving these books?  It may help.

Date Posted: 12/15/2009 2:05 PM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2007
Posts: 4
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Has anybody used one successfully for the issue?  

I'm having a consistent problem here and buying used books that people who use these products don't even realize how strong they smell.  I send books back that my family and I can smell through the wrapper, and the sender replies they can't smell anything.  

Date Posted: 12/15/2009 2:07 PM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2007
Posts: 4
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Sorry, there are a bunch of typos there - the text field doesn't wrap around properly and I can't see the whole sentence.  Let me rewrite it:

I'm having a consistent problem here and when buying using books that people who use these products don't even realize how strong they smell.

Date Posted: 12/15/2009 2:10 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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Smell RCs are really difficult as it they are so subjective.  You really can't complain about a smell to a sender if you do not have an RC, as the books still meet postability standards.

You can ask that your books not come from homes in which air freshener products are used, but you would likely get turned down a lot.   It's really up to you - i.e. weighing getting fewer books over all with getting more books you can read comfortably.

Date Posted: 12/15/2009 2:14 PM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2007
Posts: 4
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Yeah, if it's not as widespread a sensitivity as cigarette smoke then I'll probably go back to selling books at the used bookstore for credits.  But I'm wondering if there are more people out there and if everyone is thinking it's just them.

Date Posted: 12/15/2009 2:22 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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If you have an issue with it than use RCS.  There is no PBS rule against books with smells of smoke or perfumes.  So if you are sending books back at the senders expense (like refusing media mail deliveries) and having a lot of books go lost-your account will be in jeopardy.  The senders did not break any rules by sending you a book that smells like Febreze or smoke unless you had an RC askign for those. And be prepared to be turnded down alot with a smell RC.  Many people (like me) have a poor sense of smell. 

Date Posted: 12/15/2009 2:22 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
Posts: 1,083
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I think that a lot of people think if they apply these products to their used books it will get rid of cigarette and moldy smells.  Unfortunately all they do is compound the problem by adding that smell on top of the smell they are trying to get rid of.

I use an RC for this because I am allergic to strong smells, including perfume.  I have only once had a member say they would not send me books because of my RC.  I would rather lose out on a book than get one I can't read because of the smell.

I have a question for the regulars around here.  If someone cancels my order because of an RC, do I automatically go to the next book on the FIFO list?  If not, how can I order the book again, hoping to get one from a non smelly home?

Date Posted: 12/15/2009 2:41 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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If someone turns down your RC, it automatically rolls over to the next person in FIFO, you do not have to reorder.

If it is a WL book, you go right back to the front of the line.

Date Posted: 12/15/2009 4:02 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,790
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Well, just a thought but if you add a "no smoke"  RC, you will likely catch some of those books that smell like scented products, because people do use them to cover up smoke smell.

I don't have an RC about smoke, but I have received books from smokers with things like dryer sheets added in an attempt to cover up the smoke smell (that I don't care about in the first place).

You could try an RC something like:

"I do not wish to receive books that have been treated for smell using dryer sheets or other scented products. Also, please do not include any scented products (dryer sheets, etc) in the packaging for the book. Thanks very much for understanding!"

Date Posted: 12/15/2009 4:30 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,599
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I myself have books that probably have "smells" on them--I make handmade soaps that are scented, and I've had people comment before that they "smelled nice." I don't notice the smell myself because I'm so used to it. People who walk into the apartment say, "Wow, it smells great in here!" but unless I've just made a new batch of soap, I don't smell anything. I have turned down RCs that ask not to have books sent that are exposed to "perfumey scents" for that reason. So I personally would prefer that people who are allergic to, or just don't like 'smells' to have an RC stating such up front rather than complain afterwards. It's not anything I have control over--I cure my soap all over the apartment and the books seem to soak up the smells, so it does no good to complain afterwards! But if I know you don't tolerate 'smells' I can just decline.

Cheryl



Last Edited on: 12/15/09 4:31 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/15/2009 5:08 PM ET
Member Since: 2/21/2009
Posts: 2,925
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"Smell" is just so subjective, you really need to have RCs (and be prepared to be turned down). I don't have a good sense of smell at all, a friend can smell grilling a block or two away! I have a smoking home and have had people turn off their smoking RCs, and then purchase again later more than once  as well, so evidently my books aren't too "smoky," - but I live in FL so either the a/c is on or the windows open 98% of the time. I trade a lot of books with an elderly asthmatic neighbor who also has a lung disease, and she doesn't have a problem, but if she were on here, I'm sure she'd put RCs because heavy smoke and dryer sheets do bother her. Although I never smell anything with my books, I've received one I could smell (maybe a cigar or pipe smoker in the home?)

On the other hand, I've never to my knowledge received a book purposely (or even inadvertently through general household use) scented w/dryer sheets (and I personally buy unscented because that is a smell that I do smell and dislike) or Febreze .  

Date Posted: 12/15/2009 6:40 PM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2007
Posts: 28
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Darn Cheryl, your bookshelf is on hold.  I was going to see if you had any pleasant smelling books I wanted!   :D

Date Posted: 12/15/2009 6:55 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,187
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No one needs to notify the receiver about anything that is postable- smoke, pet dander, perfumes are all OK to send without notification as long as there isn't an RC about them. If you are sensitive, you will need to add an RC and brace yourself for turn downs from people who don't like smell RCs. (Don't worry, there are plenty of us who don't have a problem with them too).

I am very sensitive to smells and haven't noticed any strong smelling books lately. I've had some light odd smells (not pretty, but not BAD either, just off). If it is consistant, are you sure its the books and not something your carrier is causing?

Date Posted: 12/15/2009 7:13 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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Darn Cheryl, your bookshelf is on hold.  I was going to see if you had any pleasant smelling books I wanted!   :D

Ha!  I did the same thing.  I'm a perfume-y person.

Date Posted: 12/15/2009 8:46 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,800
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I use scented candles a lot.  I would worry that those would make my books too "smelly" for you.  

Date Posted: 12/15/2009 10:05 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 2,164
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I got a book that had a dryer sheet in it the other day.  Couldn't smell a thing and could only smell the sheet if I held it up to my nose.  My conclusion = I have a lousy sense of smell.  Perfumes and fragrances just don't bother me.

Date Posted: 12/15/2009 11:33 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,790
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I don't have a smoke RC, and I have only received maybe 3 or 4 books that were extremely smoky (out of more than 400). I've probably received another 10 or 20 that were mildly smoky, tough.

I have gotten 2 with dryer sheets tucked in them, though.

I think dryer sheets stink and they make me sneeze, but the smoke doesn't bother me, I can smell it but it doesn't trigger any allergies or anything. ... I just let the books air out a little bit.

I would much rather receive an untreated smoky book than one that has had dryer sheets in it.

Date Posted: 12/16/2009 4:25 AM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 6,421
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I would think if the RC was specific about not wanting books that have been specifically treated for odors such as a fabric sheet or perfume, not including  houses in which candles or other aromas are present, but specific to those that are definitely self treated, you might be able to get away with not having any subjectivety conceived by the senders. I'm not sure.

If I were to get any more than I have, I'd have to include an RC for them, but so far so good, I've only rec'd a couple, and those not too terribly bad, but if they were to include an actual dryer sheet in the book, I'd not only be upset, I'd be unable to read the book! But, without RCs there'd be nothing I could do except tell the sender that some people are allergic, as myself, to perfume aromas such as dryer sheets and they really should consider not using them as they are worse than the original smell. Just an FYI type of PM, hopefully they wouldn't get too upset with me for sending it.

Date Posted: 12/16/2009 5:52 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,424
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Under the Health and Fitness forum, there is my older thread about smelly books.  I am both smoke and perfume sensitive.  I know well the joy of getting a headache from a book.  I do have ways to cope with it.  I have a RC.  I have labeled my buddy list with tags so I can find and check the unscented buddy book shelves.  (Called tag groups.)  I do have a number of books currently in quaratine with sunshine and baking soda.  Some really smelly books go directly to the library donation bin.  (Received one that smelled of mothballs.  Yuck.)  But in general, I've had much better luck with PBS than I did buying used books on eBay or other sites.  I know it is a risk that I take.  And I choose to take it.

I really hate dryer sheets.  Those are nasty.