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Topic: Smelly, Smokey Book - Is this an "official problem"?

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Subject: Smelly, Smokey Book - Is this an "official problem"?
Date Posted: 2/21/2008 8:56 PM ET
Member Since: 1/13/2008
Posts: 33
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Hi -

I just got a book that stinks of cigarette smoke.  Even the bubble wrap surrounded by the book stinks! 

I guess my question is, my first instinct is to click on "received with problem."  However, I get the feeling that doing so is like giving someone negative feedback on ebay - you don't want to do it unless you absolutely have to.

Would it be best to just PM the sender first and tell him or her that the book smells rather "smokey" and since I never said anything about needing books that came from "smoke-free" homes - it is a matter of preference? 

And since I don't consider the thing an official "problem" that "violated" any rule could I just send the book back (I don't mind sending it back at my own expense) and get my credit back?

PS: I would prefer not to add a stipulation when I order a book that tells the sender that I want the book to come from a smoke-free home, but perhaps it is wise?

 

 

 

Date Posted: 2/21/2008 8:59 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,183
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If you do not have an RC against smoke smell, then I would say it would be wrong to mark it RWP.

Date Posted: 2/21/2008 9:08 PM ET
Member Since: 1/13/2008
Posts: 33
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I think you're absolutely right about that -- I'm thinking, though, that if I can mark the book "received" and/or send the sender a PM that says I would like to send the book back... that MIGHT be okay?

 

 

Date Posted: 2/21/2008 9:08 PM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2007
Posts: 1,101
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If you do not want to run into this problem in the future you need to put something in your requester conditions( make sure it is on too- some have conditons listed there, but it is not actually turned on). You cannot mark this book as RWAP since you did not have any conditions and there is nothing against sending boks out with certain smells.  I don't know why you couldn't send the book back if you wanted to but I would pm the person first and ask them if they would be willing to give you the crdit back for it before you mailed it.

Date Posted: 2/21/2008 9:20 PM ET
Member Since: 1/13/2008
Posts: 33
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Actually, getting the credit "back" doesn't matter so much to me -- although the following may sound overly-fastidious, I just want to send the book back because I don't want my other books to smell and I don't want to donate it anywhere, because it does smell.

If I ask for my credit back from the sender (and they give it to me) would they lose THEIR credit for sending the book?  Because if that is the case, I don't want my credit back -- they fulfilled their part of the deal, and should receive a credit. 

 

Date Posted: 2/21/2008 9:23 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,183
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Yes, if you asked for your credit back, they would be giving you the credit they got for sending the book.

Date Posted: 2/21/2008 9:29 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,689
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Another option would be if it is perhaps a WL item go ahead and post it and mail it out to someone, you could PM them and make sure they don't mind getting a book that smells of smoke or you could post it in the Bazaar with information about it.

In the future if you don't want books that smell like that it would be best to put requestor conditions.

Date Posted: 2/21/2008 9:48 PM ET
Member Since: 10/23/2005
Posts: 7,718
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Or you could put some baking soda in a gallon size zip baggie, put the book on top and stick it out on your porch, a week should do it. If you have cats some clean litter will also remove the smell, same baggie treatment should work. or some charcoal briquettes, but make sure to protect the books with some layers of tissue first.

Date Posted: 2/21/2008 10:10 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 2,027
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It is for this reason alone that I have requestor conditions.  I understand that some books are used and may have uncertain backgrounds.  I understand that some people love to smoke (I was one of them.), but I don't to smell the smoke through the wrapping.  If some people aren't comfortable sending me books, then I'm not comfortable receiving them.

Date Posted: 2/21/2008 10:12 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I would just stick in the garage and let it air out. But no, don't mark it RWP if you didn't have smoking conditions.

Date Posted: 2/21/2008 10:19 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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I agree with mrslefty - IME, smokey books air out pretty easily.

Date Posted: 2/21/2008 11:17 PM ET
Member Since: 1/13/2008
Posts: 33
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Thanks, you guys!

This is really helpful!  I HAVE added things so my "requestor condition" will come up after I place an order.  You guys are right -- this would have stopped the problem in the first place. 

 

 

Date Posted: 2/22/2008 3:21 AM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 6,421
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Absolutely have to vouch for the cup of unscented kitty litter with some baking soda in a paper bag out in the garage, porch, or even the basement if no other "out of the way" place is available. I've only had one book that I could remove smoke smell from, and it at least became tame enough to have in the same room to get some recipes out of (obviously a cookbook) but I couldn't have read it had it been a novel. I haven't rec'd a lot of them, but I have rec'd a few, and I'm pretty quick to smell smoke and these were readable after I 'cleansed' them. Find a friend with a kitty, and give it a try. Cheaper than anything you could do except throw it away. :)

Date Posted: 2/22/2008 5:40 AM ET
Member Since: 1/13/2008
Posts: 33
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I really appreciate your guys' feedback -- and I'm especially grateful (although maybe this is going to sound like a pat on my own back! :) that I came here (on the forum) before making a decision.  As I thought it out and read peoples' responses, I realized it would be completely inappropriate to leave a RWP.  Anyway, I went ahead and marked the book "received" - JUST "received" - I didn't send any PMs or anything - I'm just going to leave it be.

Honestly, I learned from e-bay that it's always good to go on discussion forums like this first to ask for advice before addressing an iffy issue.

I'll try out these home remedies for the book!  What could it hurt, eh?  It's a big, thick, cookbook, though so I'd have to use one of those kitchen-sized garbage bags with either the unscented litter or with the baking soda, or possibly both.  Plan B is to go ahead and list it on the Bazaar here.

One last thought: I think I had always assumed (wrongly, I guess) that NO ONE would want a book that smelled like cigarette smoke; wouldn't this be true?  I wonder if the "smoke-free home" would ever be part of the posting conditions...

 

 

 

Date Posted: 2/22/2008 7:05 AM ET
Member Since: 6/28/2006
Posts: 2,218
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I don't think it will ever be part of the posting guidelines....too many people still smoke today, and their houses are one of the few legal places left to do so. 

There are some people that realize that the smoke smell clings to everything, and there are those that don't.  When I was a smoker in a dorm room at college, I never realized how the smell permeates EVERYTHING!  I had clothes that stunk for months afterwards. 

My mom never smoked, and can't stand to read a smoky book now.  I did smoke, and hate the smell, but can deal with it.  However, it usually airs out a bit before I ever to get reading a book, what with Mt. TBR and all.  :)

Date Posted: 2/22/2008 9:03 AM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 6,421
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Kate, if there is anyway to get the book to stand on end, in a paper grocery bag, with the covers opened and the pages fanned out, then pour the mixure of kitty litter & baking soda (yes, use both) across the top of the pages so that a bit of the dust goes between the pages, you will get much better results.

The reason for the paperbag inclusion is that it actually draws the odor out of the book also. I've had the best results by using the total combo method :)   Maybe stand the paperbag up in the bottom of a garbage bag, already sitting where you are going to leave it, then standing the book in it, adding the litter mix, and then bringing the garbage bag up around and closing it with a twisty or such. Good luck!

(Oh, and for a good cookbook, most will overlook the smoke smell, since they aren't going to be holding it like they would a novel!  :)

Date Posted: 2/22/2008 9:10 AM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2007
Posts: 2,164
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Just to add this to the mix...I know of one member who has said that her mailman smokes like a chimney inside his truck so every piece of mail she sends out or receives smells like smoke.  So, it may not actually be the sender's fault.

Date Posted: 2/22/2008 9:55 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,689
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ewwww...now I would have to register a major complaint if my mail person caused my mail to stink like smoke.  I'm highly allergic and if it came smelling like smoke because of the mail carrier something would have to be done.

Date Posted: 2/22/2008 10:40 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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My MIL is a chain smoker.  I'm not allergic to smoke really, but I don't like the smell. It's gross. She didn't realize the smell of smoke permeated everything. Until one time my DH went to visit w/o me and the kid.  She offered to wash his clothes before he packed and he told her he'd wash them at home because of the smoke smell. She called me all offended and asked if I washed even clean clothes after visiting them.  I do because everything reaks of cigarette smoke.  Everything she sends for my daughter goes in the garage until it's aired out, if I can't stick it in the washing machine. 

I've never gotten  a smelly book though.  I've received around 100, I think and not one smelly one.  I don't have a non-smoking condition.  I know I can air the book out if it smells. 

Date Posted: 2/22/2008 11:48 AM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2007
Posts: 142
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I have received one smelly book (in about 55 total) and I did finally put a Requester Condition on because of that one book.  It was pretty smoky and I aired it outside for a week or so.  It's hard to get into the sensory experience of losing oneself in a book if you keep getting pulled back out by a smell that disturbs you.  I worried when I put my RC on that I would irritate people with the additional request (whether they were a smoker or not, I didn't want to seem like I was making them jump through hoops to send me a book.)  I haven't had any problems since, however!

Date Posted: 2/22/2008 12:14 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,667
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I'm one of the unlucky ones with a chain-smoking mailman. I DID complain but was told there was nothing they can do about it because he drives his own vehicle - they can't smoke in the official USPS trucks but there's no rules in place about smoking in their own cars. I've had occasion more than once to wish that they WOULD implement such a rule.

Subject: Smelly Books
Date Posted: 2/23/2008 1:44 AM ET
Member Since: 2/20/2007
Posts: 8
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            My problem is that almost every other book I get from PBS reeks of perfume.I couldn`t figure out why until someone told me it`s probably to cover moldy or smelly books so they can send them,then all you have is such stinky books some of them almost gag me.

Date Posted: 2/23/2008 5:12 AM ET
Member Since: 1/13/2008
Posts: 33
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Sherry N. - I do appreciate the specific instructions on airing out the smokey book.  I don't have a garage, but I'll use the paper (grocery) bag method.  One concern: did you find that afterwards you would, like, ALWAYS be finding granules of baking soda/and or kitty litter in the book?   Then again, I'd prefer that to the smell.

As for books smelling like perfumes... wow - I hope that theory about covering the odor of books that smell like mildew is wrong!  I've heard you can dry out the smell of mildew  - but, I mean, unless this is some sort of rare, family heirloom book, why bother?  Toss it out.  Especially since if you put the thing on your bookshelf (the physical  one, that is - not the virtual one here :) the mildew can spread to other books.  I've worked in numerous used bookstores and on the rare occasion a mildewy book would make it into our store, we'd dump it.

In fact, although I suppose one could add on requestor conditions that you don't want a book with an obvious smell - be it roses or mildew - I think that if there IS mildew (the smell is rather unmistakable and you can usually see little black dots on the pages and/or inside cover) the book can be classified as damaged:

re: smokers -- as Maggie C. mentions, it's hard to believe that cigarette smoke clings to stuff like books.  Plus, I would assume that if one smokes in his or her home, there's no detecting that the place actually smells of smoke because you just get used to it...

 

 

  

Subject: Smokey books
Date Posted: 2/23/2008 6:38 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,415
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I  am no allergic to smoke-I just don't much care for the smell. i don't have requestor conditions and have gotten only one book that really smelled.  After spending a week or two on the back porch, it was fine and has been sent on to its new home.

Date Posted: 2/23/2008 7:00 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2007
Posts: 8,942
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  My problem is that almost every other book I get from PBS reeks of perfume.I couldn`t figure out why until someone told me it`s probably to cover moldy or smelly books so they can send them,then all you have is such stinky books some of them almost gag me.

I get quite a few that are "perfumey," but I think it's probably just residue from plug in air fresheners or something like that.  I have a very, very sensitive nose, and have never smelled an underlying scent on those books.

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