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Topic: Stinky book received - what to do?

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Subject: Stinky book received - what to do?
Date Posted: 12/16/2015 8:54 PM ET
Member Since: 12/1/2015
Posts: 1
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Hi! I just joined PBS a couple weeks ago, and my first book arrived today. It's a somewhat hard-to-find book, so I was very excited to get it. Before I even opened the package, though, I was greeted by an strong perfume odor. I made the mistake of opening it in the car, and the smell that burst forth was so bad that I started sneezing and had to roll the windows down. I held the book outside the car the whole way home to air it out, and it's sitting in a ziploc bag with a box of baking soda right now. Hopefully the smell will subside after a few days and I can read the book.

Am I allowed to mark the book as not in good condition?  

Date Posted: 12/16/2015 9:17 PM ET
Member Since: 12/3/2005
Posts: 3,394
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Hey Jayson! Welcome to PBS. Glad you found an awesome hard to find book, but sorry about the condition. Unfortunately strong scents are not a justification to mark an item as not in good condition. However, you can set up an RC (Requestor Condition) to make sure to not get any others in the future.

Here's some info from the help docs regarding RCs:

Requestor Conditions allow you to stipulate conditions about the books you want, if you have any requirements above and beyond the basic club standards that can be read in Book Condition Criteria for 'Swappability' at PBS. The text you write for your Conditions will appear verbatim on every request you submit, unless you turn RCs "OFF" before submitting the request. You can create and apply Requestor Conditions in your Account Settings, from the Settings tab in My Account.

To apply Requestor Conditions to your account:

  • Go to your Account Settings:

    • Place your cursor over My Account in the toolbar at the top of the site, and choose Settings from the menu that drops down.
    • Or, from My Account, click the Settings tab on the far right.
  • In your Account Settings:
    • Click the link "Requestor Conditions" at the top of the page
      • Or, just scroll down to see this area.
    • Choose "Yes" from the dropdown menu at the top of the Requestor Conditions text box
      • Choosing "No" will preserve your settings but not make them active--they will not be shown on a request if you choose No.
    • Type your text into the text box: 
      • Please be very clear
      • Your conditions should be easily interpretable and should NOT require (or ask for!) further clarification in Personal Messages.   If a sender is confused, she or he may decline your request.  The sender will NOT be able to contact you before accepting the book, so the RC text should be clear.

Last Edited on: 12/16/15 9:17 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/17/2015 9:55 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
Posts: 3,350
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you can't do anything about this particular book but as indicated you can put requester conditions on your acc't to affect future requests. The down side of requester conditions is that some books you may want will not be available to you because of your condiitons. Some people will deny your request and cancel because of your conditions and you may never know if something was really wrong with the book or the sender just objects to conditions.

Date Posted: 12/17/2015 10:34 AM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2014
Posts: 2,793
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Jayson I feel your pain.

When I joined PBS I was shocked to find out strong smelling books are postable.  

On the sister DVD site pungent smells are not allowed.  This is the DVD rule:  

Please make sure your DVDs and their cases are clean and free of any dirt, lint, liquid spills, pungent smells etc. 

On this site some members will say smell is subjective.  I do not see how this can be true when most people agree that certain things stink like skunks, vomit, raw sewage, urine, dirty diapers, musty things, etc. 

As Melissa and Charles recommended you need a "No Perfumey Books" Requestor Condition.  or whatever smell you don't want, "No smokey books". 

There's 2 opposing sides on the wording of no smokey books RC.

Please No books currently in a smoking home. 

I feel this is inadequate because you can buy a smokey book at Goodwll then bring it into your "currently no smoking home" and post it to those with the above RC.  I would not do this because I know they do not want a book that smell like smoke even if they refuse to say so. 

Heres my RC:

Hi there! 

I do not want a book that smells like smoke, perfume, air freshener or smells musty. 

I basically need the book to pass a sniff test.  

My nickname is lovejaneeyre if you want to pm me. 


EDITED:  Some people will sniff the book, it's fine and accept.  

Some people will decline because they think you're picky and they don't want to deal with you.  

We all have to take chances.  

Most people are reasonable and just want to things to go smoothly!



Last Edited on: 12/17/15 10:49 AM ET - Total times edited: 7
Date Posted: 12/17/2015 11:56 AM ET
Member Since: 6/8/2005
Posts: 1,005
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I had the same thing happen last summer.  It was as if someone poured perfume over the book it was so strong! And I have allergies to that kind of stuff! Luckily it was summer and we had nice weather so I set it outside to air out.  I seriously left it out there for days.  Man was it ever nasty when I got it  though.

Date Posted: 12/17/2015 1:46 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,276
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Welcome to PBS and I just wanted to say that strong smelling books are the exception rather than the rule, just sorry it had to be your first experience.

Requestor Conditions would be the way to go, but smells are so subjective, it is hard to write one that won't be consistently rejected. I, personally, will turn down any request asking for a "sniff test" because my sense of smell is not as keen as others and I do not want to risk being RWAPed over something that I can't perceive. Unfortunately many members take the same stance as me. Good luck and hope that your future transactions have happier outcomes.

Date Posted: 12/17/2015 8:39 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 3,519
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I once received a book that smelled so strong, I could smell it through the package. When I opened it, I found scented stars and an advert asking me to become a dealer for such in a company pyramid scheme.  I mentioned it here and someone told me that person had already been reported and asked me to do the same. I did, as it is against PBS policy as it violates USPS rules for media mail.

Otherwise, you can't do much. I have a non-tobacco odor RC and, when receiving a strongly scented book, put it out on the porch to lose its smell. After several days, I can tell if the scent was used to cover up tobacco odor. If so, I RWAPed the sender. This happened to me several times, but not in the last year or longer.

Date Posted: 1/11/2016 3:01 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Some members wrap books with dryer sheets (often strongly floral odors) in the belief that it will eliminate smoke and other unpleasant odors...I find the dryer sheet odor is sometimes harder to remove than other undesirable smells.

Last Edited on: 1/11/16 3:02 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/11/2016 7:34 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 10,072
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Dryer sheets come in scent free also so that's what I use if I receive one with a questionable smell after first trying to air it out.

Date Posted: 1/11/2016 9:56 PM ET
Member Since: 1/25/2010
Posts: 3,083
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Scented dryer sheets don't really help with smoke, they just add another potential allergen... The scent-free ones might help absorb the smoke smell though.

Daniel T. - ,
Date Posted: 1/12/2016 1:50 AM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2008
Posts: 272
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People have tunnel vision sometime and do not think about the result of what they're doing. We had a problem at work several weeks ago with people spraying perfume into the air. Probably some social media thing at the time. Not sure. Management issued a directive to cease. It did. Thank goodness.

Date Posted: 1/12/2016 8:54 AM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 5,044
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We had a problem at work several weeks ago with people spraying perfume into the air.

This would've been an asthma nightmare for me.

I work in a lab. Many years ago, the company hired a teenager, niece of a board member, as the receptionist. The woman must've bathed in perfume. It would've been a nice scent had it not nearly killed me (asthma). I complained that it was triggering asthma attacks, but everyone was afraid to say something to her since she was so-and-so baord member's niece. Until the perfume cloud got so strong that it actually interfered with our analytical equipment. Yes, our GC/MS (gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer) started detecting perfume components in sample analyses. After that, she was told that she was not allowed to wear perfume. She left shortly thereafter. Gotta wonder what the perfume was compensating for.

Date Posted: 1/12/2016 8:39 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 10,072
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Some people can't smell perfume on themselves so way overuse it. 

I used to have an ok nose for perfumes, but I no longer can smell it on myself though I can still smell it on others.  With all my other menopause sypmtoms, I can only add this 'symptom' to that long list of weird things that have happened to me. (please know that I myself have not increased how much I use since this started)

I'm glad the lab equipment 'caught' the problem for you, Sheryl!

Last Edited on: 1/12/16 8:41 PM ET - Total times edited: 2