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Topic: How to avoid a "smelly" RC?

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Subject: How to avoid a "smelly" RC?
Date Posted: 8/13/2009 1:04 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2009
Posts: 151
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I know members don't like recieving RC's that include "smell" since smells can be defferent from person to person. If you don't want a book smelling of smoke, one can simply write "no books from a smoking household." That easily fixes the problem. But what can you do about mold? "No moldy books" or "No books with mold" makes it seem more like a visual thing than one to do with smell.

I recieved a couple books (not from this site) that smelt moldy. They looked perfectly fine, but you could tell from touch and smell that they had very obviously been in some damp dark corner of someone's basement. My mom is highly alergic to mold. She broke out in hives and was sneezing constantly whenever in the same room as the books. I'm not so sensitive. The smell didn't bother me much. But I touched the books and ended up with a rather ichy hand afterward. Into a cooler of baking soda and air fresheners went the books.

I don't ever want to encounter this issue again. Currently, my RC says "no books smelling of mold." I trust that anyone who's doubtful will turn down the order (and a few have). But is there something I could say other than "smell?" I know some members automatically reject any RC's with "smell" in them. 

How can I say it better? "No books that have been stored in a damp area?" :-p

Date Posted: 8/13/2009 1:33 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,086
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"No books that have been stored in a damp area?"

You will get a lot more rejections of this one, I would think. I am more likely to smell a book for mold than I am to know if it has ever been stored in a damp place.

The amount of rejections that you will get is most likely to be related to the age of the books you are ordering. If I have a newer book, I would be fine sending it to a "no smell" RC. If I have an older book that I bought new, I probably wouldn't send it, even if I couldn't smell anything. If I have an older book that I got from PBS or from the UBS, I definitily would not send it.

If it is that important to you, I think you have to go with the "smell" RC. I can't think of a better way to word it. You will get some rejections ... that's just the chance you take.

Date Posted: 8/13/2009 1:43 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,804
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If I were "Highly allergic" to anything that can be transported on books, I doubt I'd be trading on a used book site.

I am not sure there is any way to make sure it would never happen again.   I can't think of any way to word it that either wouldn't get you refused all the time (subjective) or so long that most wouldn't read it.   

Old musty books can smell moldy and not be at all.   That's why I think this is so hard.

Subject: "smelly"
Date Posted: 8/13/2009 1:57 PM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 63
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Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be much understanding of people with allergies.

Mold, mildew, spores are my biggest allergens: immediate reaction to my sinuses.

Dust mites & tobacco residue (smoke) are another.

I have no food allergies other than shrimp, which as a coastal person I miss.

Smokers are now in the minority- so why do some smokers become belligerent about nonsmokers not wanting smoke exposed books?

Maybe a smoker could start a swap site just for smokers.

Smelly books could be a potential flag of allergic reactions... so I'm afraid of them.

I'd rather be refused a book due to my RCs, than receive something that makes me miss work- my source of income!

Janet M.

Date Posted: 8/13/2009 2:40 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,212
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Unfortunately, the people who are going to send you books like that are probably so used to the smell being around that they will not notice it enough to correctly turn down the RC.

If it is a big concern, put up the RC and bear the turn downs (maybe turn it on and off depending on how bad you want the book or if mom will be reading it or not). Otherwise open the books away from mom and if they stink, get them out of the house ASAP.

Date Posted: 8/13/2009 3:58 PM ET
Member Since: 4/13/2009
Posts: 285
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I'd keep the RC on the mold smell, but add the reason why.   That might help cut down on folks refusing to send non-smelly books just because the don't like your RTC.  "Stored in a damp area" would only work for folks who are sending books they bought new, so I wouldn't use that.  

Date Posted: 8/13/2009 4:08 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,086
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If you add the reason why ... you will be taking the chance that even more people won't send to you.

The smell thing is already subjective, but I (and probably other people) am willing to make a good faith effort to fulfill it, if I can. I will smell my books, and if I am pretty sure that they are not smelly, I would be inclined to take a chance and send it out.

However, if you say you are highly allergic, I would never want to take the chance that I might miss something that could make you sick. That would mean an automatic rejection, unless the book was recent and I purchased it new.

Because you are highly allergic, this might be a desirable outcome for you. All people who are not 100% sure of their book will decline to send it. You will get more declines. Only you can decide if this is what you want.

Date Posted: 8/13/2009 4:14 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,508
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Any time you have a RC, you will be turned down now and then. However, it seems to me that being turned down is preferable to getting a moldy smelling book in your situation, so I'd keep the RC.  I might add something like "Due to allergies, no moldy smelling books" but it isn't necessary.

Date Posted: 8/13/2009 4:56 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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Since you need it, you can't avoid it.  I have this in my RCs:

"I am sorry but, due to severe asthma, I am unable to accept books which smell strongly of tobacco smoke, mildew or mold ... etc etc"

I've never had smell rejections except for smoke.  You might also want to include your user name in your RCs, in case someone wants to PM you before accepting (folks often PM me and say "it smells like old book -- is that ok", etc).