Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Business Smells

I was reading the paper yesterday and saw an ad for a tire sale and all of a sudden it was like I could smell tires.
I was all, "Yuck! I hate that smell!" And that made me think about how certain businesses smell.
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When I was very young, Mom was always going to the Cloth Barn because she did quite a lot of sewing for us. This is an actual picture of that old Cloth Barn which is no longer there. I couldn't believe it was on the internet:

Anyway, I absolutely hated the smell of that place. I don't know what the hell they were using to make fabrics and fabric dyes with back then, but that place burnt the bejeezus out of my eyes and nose. I go in fabric stores all the time now and it never smells like that.
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For three or four months, I worked outside sales for a pest control company and I really really hated the way that place smelled. You could smell it as soon as you pulled into the parking lot. I had to check in in the mornings and evenings and I kept my time there to a bare minimum. The place smelled so toxic - and I imagine it was.
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I worked at three different printing companies and I absolutely LOVED the smell of those places. To me a printing company smells like fresh paint and I love the smell of fresh paint.

Of course, not everyone loves the smell of fresh paint or of printing companies. On occasion, someone would come to take me to lunch and ask, "Ewww, how can you stand that smell?" That always surprised me. Also I've seen TV ads for low smell paint which puzzled me, because the second best reason to paint is for the smell.
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Like cloth stores, another place where the smell has improved is hair salons.

I used to hate the smell of a hair salon. It burned my eyes and nose just like the cloth store of my youth. But as this century rolled around, people pretty much stopped getting perms and that was the smell that was so hideous.
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My very favorite business smells are those sort of hippy (hippie?) oil and candle shops. They remind me of funky little shops at the beach when I was a kid, so that's more of a relationship smell memory I guess. (Sort of how I love the smell of diesel engines because it reminds me of the county fairs of my childhood.) And although the oil and candle shops sort of bombard with you with a multitude of smells, I abhor the perfume counters in department stores. So that's probably odd.
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I imagine someone out there loves the smell of a tire store and hates the smell of a print shop or a candle shop. And there are probably people that have always loved the smell of a hair salon and relish standing in a department store and trying on various perfumes. I guess except for the smells that are hard wired into our animal brains: baby head good, rotten food bad, people will never agree when it comes to smells. But I know what I like. What do you like and dislike?

13 comments:

Jazz said...

Oh I hated the smell of hair salons, perms, perfume and the all pervading cigarette smoke... Shudder.

I love the smell of bookstores.

Mr. Jazz said...

I love the smell of napalm in the morning :-) Seriously, I love the smell of my favorite bakeries, indian restaurants and shops that sell (and burn) Nag Champa incense.

XUP said...

I don't like hair salons or paint or pesticides or candle shops or perfume counters. I have a lot of problems with smells in general. I hate the way my house smells after cooking or cleaning, I don't like any lotions or soaps or detergents that smell. Basically, it has to be a really fresh, natural, clean and subtle scent for me to actually like it.

Big Brother said...

I don’t mind the smell of new tires or garages. Don’t like the smell of perms, pesticides and other such like things. The smell that I just love is the smell of fresh wood, a wood shop, fresh wood shavings or a the wood section of the neighbourhood hardware store.

Carole said...

I remember reading that they found a way to take the smell out of the air from the Hershey factory in Hershey, PA. I was so surprised! Seems like living in a town that smells like chocolate all the time would be a huge plus to me! Same with coffee, or bread/bakery. I think they are making low smell paints nowadays for people with smell sensitivities like babies and migraineurs. I too like the smell of fresh paint however, and I get migraines. I'm from Amarillo, TX originally, and it smells like a feedlot a LOT of the time. Smells awful, but folks there say it's the smell of money. Ewww... haha

Things I don't like the smell of...the cosmetic counters at department stores, nail salons, really strong perfume in a restaurant, some smelly seafod (we've talked about that). Seems "smell" can illicit a lot of reactions. haha

geewits said...

Jazz,
~~I used to love the smell of bookstores, but now it seems they all smell like coffee. And the smell of coffee reminds me of working in an office, so I don't care for that. Same reason I don't like the smell of popcorn.

Mr.Jazz,
~~Bakeries are good, but I can't stand the smell of Indian food. There's an Italian restauarant down the street that smells delicious.

Xup,
~~So you prefer outdoor fresh air to any sort of indoor smell? I bet you would love the smell of Muir Woods unless the old loaminess of it would be too strong for you.

Big Brother,
~~I don't frequent wood shops, but I do love that smell. Same with leather shops.

Carole,
~~But did it actually smell like chocolate? Because the output from a brewery certainly doesn't smell like beer and the output from a pickle plant certainly does not smell like pickles. Bakeries on the other hand? Yum.

Ian Lidster said...

What I hate is the smell of fuel oil. Back when we had an oil furnace I detested it when it was filling time. Makes me gag.

geewits said...

Ian,
~~What about the oily smell of an outboard boat motor?

XUP said...

No, I like old loaminess. I like woods. One of the best things I ever smelled was standing in an old pine forest on a peninsula that jutted out into the ocean -- pine, forest and ocean all in one.

geewits said...

Xup,
~~Nice! I imagine that's a favorite smell for everyone who has been there.

Carole said...

Gee, yes, the town was said to smell of chocolate for years. To quote an article on visitors and tourism, "Throughout the community, visitors will find reminders of its sweet heritage, from the heavenly smell of chocolate in the making to streets like Chocolate and Cocoa avenues that are lined with Hershey's Kisses street lights."

VioletSky said...

for years, I stopped going to movies because I hated the smell of butterred popcorn. I still hate it, but it doesn't seem to be as pervasive and gag inducing.

I have lived near a cookie factory (yummy, they're making the Bourbon Creams tonight!) I also lived near a chocolate factory (bitter chocolate, but still good) and a soup factory (think Lipton's powdered soups, not very tasty)

Gnightgirl said...

I love the smell of Farm 'n Fleet, and I think it's the tire smell that I like about it. I LOVE the smell of printing presses, of ink and solvents. In the right environment, I like the smell of gasoline, and if it's racing fuel, even better, takes me back to our racing days as kids.

I can't think of too many places that I don't like. Except one of our favorite mexican restaurants; the owner has oddly hung a bathroom deodorizer in the enclosed foyer. I hate associating my meal with the bathroom before I'm even seated.