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Topic: My Requestor Condition, good or not good?

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Subject: My Requestor Condition, good or not good?
Date Posted: 4/15/2013 9:41 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2010
Posts: 6
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I have this as my requestor conditon:

"Please, no books from heavy smokers or books that smell like smoke."

I just got this response from a book I requested, which they declined to ship:

"Won't mail books to someone with such picky requests. I don't have the money to waste on shipping if that particular person doesn't fit there wants"

Is my request unreasonable, or is this someone who had a bad day or who is extremely sensitive about their smoking habit, or just wanted to be a brat about my request?

I've since done this to my Requestor Condition:

"Please, no books from heavy smokers or books that smell like smoke. I'm asthmatic and have allergies to smoke."

Ok, I'm not sure a smoky book will trigger my asthma, but I have had very bad experiences and asthma attacks with second hand smoke in the past and don't want to risk it, plus just the smell sends me back to one very unpleasant time (was almost hospitalized).

That good enough or does anyone think it's unreasonbale? How many people here use Requestor Conditons? I've never come across any I thought were unreasonable, but I would say only 20% of the books requested from me have a Requestor Condition on it...

Date Posted: 4/15/2013 10:01 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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The response you quoted wasn't very nice.  Sorry you received such a response. 

I don't think your requestor condition (RC) is unreasonable, but I would decline it because it is vague and subjective. 

For example, I do not smoke, but I have a very poor sense of smell and some of my books are used. I would not want to send you a book that might trigger an asthmatic attack, even though my books are probably okay. 

What constitutes "heavy" smoking? What if someone is a "light" smoker but the book smells like smoke?

I would accept a "currently in a non-smoking home" RC because that is objective. However, some books that smell like smoke can get through. I guess it depends on your (missed out on okay books) vs. (filtering out smoky books) tolerance level. 

Good luck. 



Last Edited on: 4/15/13 10:01 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/15/2013 10:02 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2010
Posts: 4,320
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I don't see anything wrong with your requestor conditions.  I don't smoke & as long as a book I own doesn't smell smoky, I will send it to someone whose RC sounds like yours. 

Maybe this person feels that you're receiving their book for "free" so you should accept it no matter what, but they would be mistaken since you are spending a credit for it.  I say don't let it bother you.  There are a lot of non-smokers on PBS who would send the book to you.

Date Posted: 4/15/2013 10:21 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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The smoke RC is very common.  Chalk it up to the sender having a bad hair day and ignore the whine.

Date Posted: 4/15/2013 10:29 PM ET
Member Since: 9/8/2009
Posts: 626
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Boy, somebody was having a snark fest, weren't they?  Sorry you got a nasty response.

I agree with Sophia about the subjectivity of the RC, though.  What constitutes a heavy smoker?  Could you RWAP a book with an RC like that?  For someone who lives with a 3-pack-a-day smoker, their 1-pack-a-day habit might seem light to them.  I, too, have a poor sense of smell, so I decline any scent RCs automatically. 

Date Posted: 4/15/2013 10:31 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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Smoke RCs are some of the hardest to write, as smell is so individual. It breaks down into the milder ones, usually worded as "currently in..." And the stricter ones.

Please recall that some members do not have a sense of smell.

Date Posted: 4/15/2013 10:59 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2009
Posts: 279
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Maybe that person was upset by the words, "heavy smoker." It kind of makes it sound OK to send the book if you are a light smoker. It's a bit open-ended.

Date Posted: 4/15/2013 11:21 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,130
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Well, as a non-smoker, I would send a book to your RC. If I didn't think my book smelled smoky.

Just ignore the response you got. Most people do not feel that way about RCs.

I have an RC too, although it's not smoke related. It hardly ever gets turned down, and I put it in all my book orders.

People get all caught up over parsing the exact wording of RCs on the forums ... I think yours is easy to figure out ... you don't want smoky books. I don't know why people over analyze this stuff so much.

If the RC mentions smoke ... then the person doesn't want a book that smells smoky. What the heck is there to analyze over and over?

If you have a bad sense of smell and don't think you can tell if books might be smoky, then decline. If you are a smoker, decline. If you got the book from your Mom who smokes, then decline. Done.

Date Posted: 4/16/2013 7:47 AM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2009
Posts: 1,411
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I'd decline it but only because I live with a smoker (who switched over to water-vapor cigs but I know the smoke smell can linger for a long time). I do agree that 'heavy' smoker is a bit subjective and I would just change it to 'Please no books that currently reside in a smoker's household'. 

Date Posted: 4/16/2013 8:15 AM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2010
Posts: 4,177
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Smell is subjective and will more often than not get a request declined.  The response you got was uncalled for.  A simple "Does not meet conditions" would suffice.


Date Posted: 4/16/2013 12:07 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2010
Posts: 6
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Thank you all very much for your responses and insights. I really appreciate it! The point about smell being subjective (and some users not having a good sense of smell) is a very good point. I didn't think of that. I've been told my entire life that I must have a very keen sense of smell as I usually smell things long before most of those around me. So, yeah, that's not a good qualifier, which I didn't think about before.

I'm going to change my RC to what's been suggested "Please, no books that currently reside in a smoker's household" or something very similiar.

Thanks again!

Date Posted: 4/16/2013 4:01 PM ET
Member Since: 5/7/2009
Posts: 794
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I am a nonsmoker and I don't permit smoking in my home.  If someone wants to smoke they have to go outside. Not so bad as I live in the south.   So... I never really knew what a smoky book smelled like.  Then I received one in a swap.  I had to give it away to someone who didn't mind the smell.  Needless to say I now know what a smoky book smells like and I know mine do not smell like smoke.  I don't mind that condition and always send.

Last Edited on: 4/16/13 4:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/16/2013 6:47 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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I read heavy smoker as someone who was overweight and smoked *sighs* been a LOOONG day so far..LOL

Date Posted: 4/16/2013 7:14 PM ET
Member Since: 12/3/2005
Posts: 3,394
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Sorry, you definitely got someone cranky.  Hopefully it's a random one but they do happen.

I think the new wording should hopefully work well for you.  Like a few others, I'm one that has a horrid sense of smell so can't really trust my sniff test, but can approve that it is a non-smoking household.

Good news is you're next in line for that title.

Date Posted: 4/16/2013 8:38 PM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2011
Posts: 593
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LOL, Xengab.  What is really funny about that is how society has really targeted smokers and passed a lot of legislation about it and now they are targeting the heavy people.  If the person who turned down that RC was heavy and smoked they got a double-whammy!  <-Not really as RC's are not personally targeted, it  was just funny to imagine that!

Regarding the original topic . . . my husband smokes so I simply decline and say, "I'm sorry, but my husband smokes."  I actually keep my books in a closed room that he doesn't go into.  Furthermore I have a closed cabinet that I keep my PBS bookshelf books in.  I even have a several boxes of Baking Soda that I set in the cabinet.   Still . . . my sense of smell is really poor and I don't want to send out a book that someone is unable to enjoy.

Date Posted: 4/17/2013 9:17 AM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2010
Posts: 288
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The RC is subjective, but the response was insulting when it didn't need to be. I don't think adding the reason why you don't want books that smell like smoke will make a difference. The problem is that some people will think you are retaining a wild card that lets you reject any book you get. Smoking is a pretty common RC.

Posters seem to agree that changing the RC to say you won't accept books that are "currently in a smoking home," or something to that effect, works best. That's quantifiable--either someone smokes in the home or not--and doesn't get into the smell that some may not notice.

Date Posted: 4/17/2013 3:49 PM ET
Member Since: 8/31/2008
Posts: 84
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Sorry you received a rude response, no need for that.   I decline all smoking requests with a simple "OK" as my response.  I don't smoke, nor does anyone in our home.  To me it is OK to have a RC, as well as it is OK for me to reject most of them. Peace

Date Posted: 4/17/2013 6:09 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 10,086
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I have a similar RC and have not had many turn me down due to having a "subjective" RC. I would much rather be turned down by someone admitting their book has been exposed to smoke than get smelly ones because someone "doesn't smell well".

Date Posted: 4/20/2013 9:19 AM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2009
Posts: 621
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I have a terrible sense of smell, so I turn down smell requests, but do accept "not currently in a home where someone smokes" because no one in my home smokes.  Having said that, when I turn down an RC, I'm polite and either explain that I don't trust my sense of smell or, if I'm in a bad mood, simply type "Sorry, my book does not meet the RC."

Date Posted: 4/21/2013 10:58 PM ET
Member Since: 1/26/2006
Posts: 4,389
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I have that I will not accept books CURRENTLY in a smoking household.  I get the 'I don't know the history of the book' line but not too often.

Sianeka - ,
Date Posted: 4/26/2013 2:35 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2007
Posts: 6,630
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Kirstin (HausMaus): I have a terrible sense of smell, so I turn down smell requests, but do accept "not currently in a home where someone smokes" because no one in my home smokes.

Me too!

Date Posted: 4/29/2013 10:56 AM ET
Member Since: 10/15/2006
Posts: 44
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I have severe asthma as does my hubby and have smoke/mildew RC - nicely phrased with the reason but I still get the occasional nasty gram.  believe me, nasty reply is better than health incident any day!

Your RC is perfectly reasonable and nicely put - I would gladly send a book to you.  I have only declined two in all the years (since 2006) and they were a} rude and b} closed with comments about probably reselling the book on Amazon

Date Posted: 4/29/2013 10:20 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 3,524
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Mine states

"Sorry, due to a severe allergy, I cannot accept books that have been in a smoking environment."

I have never received any 'hate mail' because of it.

Date Posted: 4/29/2013 10:31 PM ET
Member Since: 4/24/2008
Posts: 310
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In the course of several years I have traded on this site and on another for a short while.  I've gotten used books from Amazon, half.ebay.com and ebay.  I have lost count of the books that I have received.  I don't have a requestor condition, never have.  I have had only one book that smelled smokey.  I let it air out a couple of days and it was fine after that.   I don't put in requestor conditions because I think it scares  off people.  People aren't supposed to mail off questionable books anyway according to the rules of this site.

Date Posted: 6/1/2013 6:49 PM ET
Member Since: 12/11/2008
Posts: 42
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So, I go back and forth on the smell RCs.  No smokers live in my home or even regularly visit my home (and if any did, they would certainly NOT smoke inside).  But  I just got 3 kid book requests in a row that had RCs of, "currently in a smoking home or smell of smoke."  I get it - you don't want your kids smelling smoke. 

Well, I have a cold.  I can't smell anything.  So I basically turned it down and said what I indicated above - I don't have a smoking home and wouldn't put smoky books with my kids, but "smell" conditions are vague and I can't smell anything now because I have a cold.

I've been a member for 5+ years and only twice gotten books that smelled smoky; both were cookbooks. 

Last Edited on: 6/2/13 11:38 AM ET - Total times edited: 1