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Topic: This might be a no brainer...

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Subject: This might be a no brainer...
Date Posted: 12/8/2009 8:12 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 16
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First off, I was diagnosed last year with a lung disease (no I never smoked just in case anyone wanted to know) and unfortunatley my lungs and throat react very quickly to the smell of smoke, even just walking by a smoker causes problems. Anyway knowing of my difficulty we have the follwoing as part of our RC. "Please understand due to health issues that we are unable to accept books from smoking homes or books that smell of smoke."  A book arrived that smells very heavily like it was in/near a fire or something, not like regular cigarette or tobacco smoke. Just to clarify, this does not smell like it was sitting next to someone's fireplace, I wouldn't have a problem with that (I can be near a fireplace with no troubles), this is some kind of heavy, cloying smoke. Should we RWAP the sender? Do we need to adjust our RC? Not sure if we are overthinking this, thanks for your input.

Dawn & Ron

Last Edited on: 12/8/09 8:20 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/8/2009 8:24 PM ET
Member Since: 4/6/2007
Posts: 1,429
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Last Edited on: 6/5/11 1:28 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 12/8/2009 8:37 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2007
Posts: 4,581
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Maybe something like "Please understand due to health issues that we are unable to accept books from smoking homes or homes where a wood-burning fireplace is in use."

Date Posted: 12/8/2009 8:52 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2007
Posts: 13,134
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Also might want to add "wood-burning stove" as well as the fireplace. 

Date Posted: 12/8/2009 9:11 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 16
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I am sorry for the confusion. It's my fault for saying "smells very heavily like it was in/near a fire or something" , but this is way more than the smell of a fireplace. As I mentioned in the OP I would not have a problem with a book that was sitting in a room with a fire, I can sit next to a wood burning fireplace with no complications. My husband brought the book into work to ask others to smell it, he did not explain to them why they were being asked to smell the book and the common response was that it smelled funny. I wish we had smell-a-post available to give everyone some idea but please understand this is more than fireplace wood smoke smell. As I am writing this explanation it occurred to me that maybe they tried to cover up the smell, maybe that's why the smell is so strange.

Thanks again,

Dawn & Ron

Date Posted: 12/8/2009 9:18 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2007
Posts: 1,642
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I wonder if it came from a home using a kerosene heater--I always think that gives off a kind of funky smell but only because I'm not used to it.

Date Posted: 12/8/2009 10:53 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 6,421
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There are also other types of heaters available out there, I was to a home recently that uses corn cobs, that I would think would give off a distinctly different smell, as would a coal burning house, there are still some of those out there. And it is possible the sender tried to cover up the smell. Since there are many variables, I think you may just have to live with a few books that arrive smelling 'funny' because of different forms of heating and perhaps different forms of smoking. Who knows, maybe it is a pot smell or some sort of other drug used in a smoke type method, but the person doesn't consider themselves a smoker, even tho their choice of drug use does involve smoke.

I don't know if I would mark it RWAP or not either. If it is bad enough that you cannot air it out in a couple days to at least some degree, then I'd do so, most smokes can be aired out in a couple days sitting on a table with the pages fanned out (porch, garage, unused room, etc) but I don't know that I'd necessarily ask for my credit back, if I couldn't determine whether they were a smoking house.

I would, however, change my RCs to state "any type of smoke smell" rather than the plain "that smell of smoke."  that you have. Whether it makes a difference or not, who's to say. Whether you will ever order another book from this person out of the 80,000+ members on PBS is just as unknown :)

Date Posted: 12/8/2009 11:13 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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You could try adjusting your RC to say any strong odor (other than printing), but members could view that as subjective and your rate of declined transactions will probably increase.  Tough situation Ron & Dawn, best wishes on your health  :)

Date Posted: 12/9/2009 6:05 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 16
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Thanks for all the input. I have updated our RC, do you guys think this is will?


  • Please understand due to health issues that we are unable to accept books from smoking homes or books that have any kind of smoke smell.  (We realize that a lot of books are purchased used and from a lot of different sources. As long as a book does not currently smell like smoke and is coming from a smoke free environment thah there should not be a problem.)
  • For hardback books only: please include their dust jackets and no library markings.

Feel free to click and decline this request if you don't have the book in this condition.

Thank you for your time and understanding. Have a great day!

Dawn & Ron"

We have been airing this book out since this weekend and it still has a strong smoke odor. I use my husband as my tester because he has no sense of smell (it amazes me what he can't smell) and as of yesterday he is still able to smell. I think it has improved marginally but I will not be able to read due to the strong reaction from my lungs. To be honest, my first thoughts is that it smells like it has been in a house fire. My brother's house was struck by lightning and burnt down earlier this year and unfortunately that is what it reminds me of. Except it has another funny sweet like odor with it or over it. No, I would not request a credit back since I can relist it even though I am unable to read it. But am still unsure how to handle things with the seller.

Just curious since people mentioned it in their responses. Have people actually had problems with strong smoke smell coming from books that have been in a room with a fireplace, stove or other heating device? I really never heard of it or smelled one myself that was really strong.


Date Posted: 12/9/2009 7:11 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,741
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Maybe it was in a house where they burn a lot of incense? I constantly burn incense in my house when I am home, to cover up the catbox smell LOL but the incense burner is in my home "library" so I could well imagine someone sensitive might pick up on any residue...

Date Posted: 12/9/2009 7:31 PM ET
Member Since: 2/21/2009
Posts: 2,926
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Admittedly, this would be rare, but a neighbor's house burned down a couple years ago on Easter. My windows were open (at first!) and I was selling on Ebay at the time. I put a caveat on all my auctions because I sold a lot of new items (clothing with tags, etc.,) that couldn't be washed. That smell is weird (there's a lot in a burning house that isn't wood), and lasts a long time.

Still,  you can't include every possibility in your RC (well, you can try), but since not everyone has a finely developed sense of smell, you should probably be quite specific - smoking homes, homes heated with wood or other burning substances, blah, blah blah - a "smoke smell" may or may not be noticeable to many people, although it is to you..  

Date Posted: 12/9/2009 7:38 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
Posts: 1,083
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I'm betting that it was a book that was in a house that burned.  I think that your RC is pretty specific and should cover you in the future. 

My allergies prevent me from reading books that smell of smoke or chemicals (including perfume).  I realize that may cut down on a lot of people being willing to send books to me but if I can't read the book, it's worthless and a waste of money.

Actually, I haven't had anyone turn me down because of my RC. 

I did receive 6 books that smelled strongly of something like mothballs.  At that time I had not put the "chemical smell" in my RC so I really had to take the blame for it.  They do seem to be airing out and I may be able to read them soon.

Date Posted: 12/9/2009 9:58 PM ET
Member Since: 9/13/2007
Posts: 2,520
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Sounds like smoke damage to me. 

Date Posted: 12/10/2009 8:40 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 16
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Thanks everyone for your input and a special thank you for those who have passed on their well wishes and understanding. We still have the book airing out in the garage and for some reason it smells better today. Last night a cold front went through and maybe the lower humidity had something to do with it.

We have decided to not WRAP the sender but will be sending a PM asking what the book has been near. This way I can try to find out what has triggered the strong reaction from my throat and lungs. Hopefully we can word it so as not to offend but make them understand that I am only trying to learn for the future. Any advice on how to word it will be appreciated.

Dawn & Ron