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People Who Smell Bad. Would You Tell Them?

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Hi Everyone,


I don't mean for my post to sound mean.


I work in shop and every day certain people come in to browse and quite frankly they smell awful.


This one woman's odour is particularly bad. I know she has several cats so that may contribute to her disgusting scent.


I actually believe this woman knows she smells bad as she tries to mask the scent with talc and other things, but this only makes the bad smell even worse. I dread serving her.


I can only guess she messes her under clothes and then tries to dry out the evidence instead of washing.


It is a mixture of dirt, fish and urine. I stand back when she is near me as I, and other colleagues, can literally taste the smell.

Personally I am very hygienic and like to keep myself clean and smelling nice at all times. I don't have a lot of money to buy the sprays I prefer but do my very best to keep my standards high.


Her smell is worse than sweat. I thought the next and only stage is a dirt / tramp-like smell, but this is even beyond that and I didn't think it was actually possible.


She's not poor and often buys items from my shop I couldn't afford on my wage so why can't she just buy a cheap bar of soap and spend a day cleaning herself.


Would any of you guys ever tell someone you hardly know they smell bad and do you think it is selfish of them to choke other people with their fumes?



Thanks in advance for your feedback.

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Having cats does not make a person smell. A rotten smell can come from a variety of health issues and not just hygiene. I would smile and say nothing. Be kind to her. Other people are not perhaps because she smells. If you are kind to her over time you might develop a relationship with her and you can either say something...or not. You only have to put up with it for the short times she is there.

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It all depends if you want those people to come into the shop ever again. If it's your shop, you'll lose not only their custom, but likely that of all their friends and acquaintances. If it's not your shop, and one of the people you're 'helping' complains to the manager, then you risk losing your job.


One thing you might like to consider is that if your diet is significantly different to another person's; e.g. you eat garlic, they don't, you eat cheese, they don't - you will probably smell awful to them.


I've come accross people whose body odour is so bad that I've taken a deep breath before going near them, so I can breathe out slowly and take in less smell - but that doesn't make them selfish.

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Having cats does not make a person smell. A rotten smell can come from a variety of health issues and not just hygiene. I would smile and say nothing. Be kind to her. Other people are not perhaps because she smells. If you are kind to her over time you might develop a relationship with her and you can either say something...or not. You only have to put up with it for the short times she is there.


I agree. I have four cats and I do not smell in the least and nor does my house.

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If she is a customer and you are there to serve her then keep your opinions to yourself. Yes, I know it sucks but you aren't there to be these people's personal hygiene assistant. She already knows she stinks as you said, which tells me the problem may well be something else like a medical issue or she's got a mental health issue about bathing. Regardless there is nothing you can do, but be polite, smile and stand downwind since the alternative is she complains to your boss about being rude and gets you fired. Trust me, if it's that bad she's already heard plenty about it from other people.


Sorry, one of the bad things about being in a service industry can be the people. It can also be a good one, so just be kind and tolerate all behavior except that of the criminal kind--i.e. threats, grabbing you, sexual innuendos etc.


I have cats, dogs, horses, chickens, sheep and one overly affectionate ferret someone dumped out on the highway that I rescued. I don't smell bad as a given because of the animals around me, in fact I take extra care not to because I know not everyone loves the smell of horses, sweat and leather. Although I do.

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I had this very same thing ..a customer .


He smelt BAD ...so much that when he came to me I had to try not to breathe in , anyway the other customers (it was a bookies so it was regular punters) started to complain . Even the chair he sat in stank to high heaven . We bought air freshners etc ..but there was no diguising it .


I couldn't do it , I couldn't tell him , it should of been my manager but he wouldn't do it , but the more the others complained the more someone had to do it .


they did


he changed bookies and never came in our shop again .

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If it were someone I was close to - a friend or family member - then yes I would. A customer? Absolutely not.


Although I might try to get to know them better and find out whether they needed help. Could be due to depression or mental illness. I would maybe try to get them medical help or help them clean their home if necessary.

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Don't get me wrong. I would never tell her she smells. I wouldn't risk losing my job or the company's custom. I just needed to know if anyone else had experienced similar situations. I also have pets, including poultry. As a family we keep them very clean for their sake as well as ours. I actually think this woman allows her pets to soil everywhere.


Thanks or all your opinions.

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I'll be honest. I'd probably complain to my husband and friends but at work I'd smile and deal with it.


Probably not the best way to handle it, but that's really what I'd do. I'm not sure if there is a polite way to tell someone they smell. And it's true you don't know her circumstances or why she has this odor.


Do you have a small table-top fan or something that can give you some sort of relief when she is there?

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Usually that kind of odor is indicative or a health condition rather than lack of cleanliness. If she is trying to mask it with talc, etc. then she is already painfully aware of the problem and likely there is not much she can do about it. Yes, I have encountered a similar situation. It was actually sweat in that case. The client's only solution was actually surgical and that wasn't going to happen any time soon as she had other health issues to boot that would delay going under a knife for some time. It was awful as the whole building would smell and we'd have to open every door and window to air out the office, not to mention spray what we could. It was enough to make you gag, but what can you do.

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I wonder if she has this: link removed

Yes ,this is what I mean we don't know what anybody circumstances are. I know I certainly wouldn't be discussing any medical conditions with somebody I don't even know. And certainly not as a sufferer of medical conditions that's none of anybody's business.

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Only if I was a very, very close friend.


She might not have a working nose and doesn't realize how she smells... or... she does and she likes how she smells.


However---all stores have the right to refuse service to customers. The manager of the store should tend to her and not you, since you can't say anything to her and the manager is the one holding the cards here.


If she came in your store smoking, they'd say something to her. If she came in your store drunk, they'd say something to her. If she came in with no shirt and no shoes, they'd say something.


Or they can do what Patsy does, LOL: link removed

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In that situation, no I wouldn't. Practical tip: chewing or sucking on a strong candy helps.


I have had to deal with people who stink. And by deal with, I mean address the issue with them. I've also had to address some other uncomfortable topics, such as asking a worker to wear their dentures to work. Yes, seriously.


And I used to work in home care, and so was around a lot of smells and general body stuff going on. I always asked myself "how would I feel in that person's situation?".


I'm sure she does genuinely stink as you say, but at the end of the day, she's just a person. If it were you, how would you like to be treated? There's your answer.

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No her clothes look dirty / scruffy and her hair looks dirty and matted. Her hair is almost as flat to the point it looks stuck on her scalp. Kendahke: I like your answer. So very true.


Our manager realises how she smells and they also can't stand serving her. The smell makes them feel sick too.

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