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Topic: Stink = Return to sender?

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Shelly -
Subject: Stink = Return to sender?
Date Posted: 2/18/2010 11:31 AM ET
Member Since: 11/13/2009
Posts: 3,036
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I haven't had this issue yet but it stems from a problem another member posted about. I have a RC that I want books from a currently non-smoking home. What if someone sends me a book, and I can smell it thru the wrapper? Do I have to open it? Can I just mark it return to sender without opening it? Does that then cost the sender the money for the return trip? Would I get my credit back for returning it?

Lisa N. (LDN) - ,
Date Posted: 2/18/2010 11:42 AM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 10,807
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I don't think you have to open it, but I think you have to receive it.  You'd mark it RWAP (received with a problem) and then you contact the sender to request your credit back.

Date Posted: 2/18/2010 11:51 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,185
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The only time it is allowed to mark a book return to sender is if it arrives postage due. You will need to mark the book Received With a Problem - RC not met and ask the sender to return the credit.

Keep in mind that a stinky package does not mean the member sent stinky books. Postal carriers smoke in their vehicles and they can make the packages reek. I have gotten some that really stunk, but the book was in plastic inside and the smell had not soaked into the book so tossing the wrapping got rid of the smell.

You also state that your RC asks that the book currently be in a non-smoking home. That could lead to some smelly used books and if the sender says their home is smoke-free, you'd probably not get the credit back. Its a bit of a catch-22, you want the RC open enough to not have everyone with a used book turning you down because they can't know where it came from and might not smell things the same as you, but that also opens it up to getting books that might smell but still meet your RC.

Date Posted: 2/18/2010 12:09 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
Posts: 1,083
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I have a RC that I want books from a currently non-smoking home.

I think you need to change your RC.  This one is open for abuse.  Let's say I have a paperback I got from a neighbor who is a heavy smoker.  I have had it in my home for about a month and it is requested by you.  Well, since I don't smoke, the book would meet your RC. 

You need to add something to the RC to say "and does not smell like cigarette smoke".  If the book truly comes from a non-smoking home, the person sending it should be able to smell cigarette smells and would have no excuse if they sent a smelly book to you.

Shelly -
Date Posted: 2/18/2010 12:13 PM ET
Member Since: 11/13/2009
Posts: 3,036
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Some smell doesn't bother me. But if it smells like you just stuck your nose in an ashtray, that does. I know 'smell' is subjective so I didn't want to put that in.

Date Posted: 2/18/2010 12:20 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,696
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Keep in mind that a stinky package does not mean the member sent stinky books. Postal carriers smoke in their vehicles and they can make the packages reek. I have gotten some that really stunk, but the book was in plastic inside and the smell had not soaked into the book so tossing the wrapping got rid of the smell.

Melanie is right. My mailman chain smokes, and every single piece of mail we get absolutely reeks! If the actual packaging stinks that badly, likely the exposure is from the outside, not the inside.

Date Posted: 2/18/2010 12:23 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 6,633
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I think you need to change your RC.  This one is open for abuse.  Let's say I have a paperback I got from a neighbor who is a heavy smoker.  I have had it in my home for about a month and it is requested by you.  Well, since I don't smoke, the book would meet your RC. 

Part of the reason why there are members with RCs that say "currently smoking home" is because smell is subjective.  They'd get denials like, "I don't know; I can't smell the book" or "I don't know if the book has ever been near a smoker.  It's used."

Date Posted: 2/18/2010 12:28 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,662
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If the book truly comes from a non-smoking home, the person sending it should be able to smell cigarette smells and would have no excuse if they sent a smelly book to you.

Smell is a variable sense .... lots of people can't smell things that other people can. Many people think their nose is just fine but really, their sense of smell is much less than other people's. My husband, for example, has a terrible sense of smell but he believes that he is normal ... and that I am making up smells if I can smell something that he can't.

Shelly -
Date Posted: 2/18/2010 1:11 PM ET
Member Since: 11/13/2009
Posts: 3,036
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We have a PO box and thus far, over 8 years, have not had any other stinky mail.

Date Posted: 2/18/2010 1:29 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,597
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If the RC reads "not currently in a smoking home" I don't think it would be possible to mark it RWAP for smoky smells unless you have proof that someone in the person's home smokes. They might have just picked the book up at a thrift shop or UBS. They are following your RC if their home is a non-smoking one.

On the other hand, having an RC that asks the sender to subjectively decide whether the book smells isn't a good idea either. I decline those that say "no smoky smelling books" because my sense of smell might be less acute than yours.

That said, I truly do not think this is a big concern--I have yet to receive a smoky smelling book in almost 1,500 books received.

Cheryl

Date Posted: 2/18/2010 2:04 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2009
Posts: 115
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My husband and I have been through a house fire.   I think our noses are each sensitive to different chemicals from the fire.    Some items I still think smell smokey, others he thinks smell smokey.   We have similar issues with mold, we each smell it at times what the other one doesn't .   It really can depend on the nose, suspect we have different numbers of different kinds of receptors.

With the smoky package, I'd open the package, set the book outside for a day and or two and then if the book still smelled, I'd RWAP it politely.  If the person told me that they got the book used and couldn't smell the odor, I'd not ask for my credit back, but I also would probably try to avoid getting more books from that person (to avoid frustration on both ends).

 

Date Posted: 2/18/2010 2:06 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2009
Posts: 115
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One more thought.   Maybe the book came from a non-smoking household but the packaging is being reused and came from smoking household.  There are lots of possibilities.

Date Posted: 2/18/2010 3:41 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
Posts: 1,083
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Part of the reason why there are members with RCs that say "currently smoking home" is because smell is subjective.  They'd get denials like, "I don't know; I can't smell the book" or "I don't know if the book has ever been near a smoker.  It's used."

I wasn't suggesting taking out the "currently smoking home", I was suggesting adding "does not smell like smoke".

Melanie is right. My mailman chain smokes, and every single piece of mail we get absolutely reeks! If the actual packaging stinks that badly, likely the exposure is from the outside, not the inside.

Wow, if that happened to me I would complain to the Post Office.  I'm sure they don't know their carrier is polluting all the mail in his truck.  I am severely allergic to cigarette smoke (happened after I quit smoking!), so this would be a health issue for me.