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This stinks. Literally. Please help me.


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Hello,

I'm looking for advice on how to address concerns with a woman who is not only my co-worker but my also my friend.

When I say friend, I mean we text a lot, share funny memes with each other, she is pretty much the only person at work that I trust and confide in, and we have hung out multiple times outside of work. But it isn't the type of friendship where you tell your deepest secrets, borrow each other's things, etc.

 

One of the concerns is that her body odor has rapidly gotten worse. I am not exaggerating when I say it is to a point where you don't even need to be anywhere near her and you can still smell her on the other side of the retail store.

My co-workers distance themselves from her to avoid having to be anywhere near her.

Myself and another co-worker have gagged on more than one occasion.

If I am anywhere close to her and a customer is coming, I will move so they don't think it's me who smells.

 

It's not even a "B.O" smell. It's like a smell of poop not being cleaned from her butt, stinky feet, dirty hair, sweat, wet clothes that haven't dried properly, and sour milk all combined.

 

She is obese, with a belly that hangs very far down passed her lady parts and her chest is nearly 3 times the size of my head.I'm not implying that all large people smell. I myself am over weight and do not smell. I'm just saying this could be adding to her scent as she may not be able to clean all her parts.

 

She wears the same 3 or 4 shirts and shorts, just rotates them through the week. One of her shirts use to be white. It is now a grey color and the armpits are a dark grey / almost black color. When she wears her hair down it looks like someone has poured a bucket of oil over her head.

 

She has never mentioned any medical conditions or medicine she's on that may be contributing to this.

 

My other concern is just for her life in general.

 

She is in her late twenties. She has lived with her grandmother since she was very young and she relies on her for EVERYTHING, most importantly transportation.

She has told me that growing up she has never been allowed to have friends over because her grandma is a hoarder and thinks people will steal her stuff. The inside of their vehicle is disgusting. Garbage and odor. If something spills they put newspaper on it or a cushion or blanket instead of cleaning it. I can only imagine what their house looks like.

 

Her grandmother is in her late 70s. And while I do know many people that age or older who are still sharp as sharp can be, can still drive, etc this woman is not one of them.

 

I have been in the vehicle many times with the two of them and have feared for my safety and the safety of others every time.

This woman should not legally be driving. My friend literally has to tell he every move to make.

"Put your foot on the gas, put your foot on the break. It's a red light you have to stop. Those cars are moving you need to move. Put your blinker on, etc"

The one time I was in the vehicle, there were cars parked on the side of the road. We stopped in the middle of the road (cars lining up behind us) and my friend said grandma what are you doing? And her grandma said I''m waiting for those cars to move so I can move too. Meanwhile those cars were parked.

 

She has almost rear ended a number of people because her reflexes are super delayed, she can't make quick decisions. She will look away a lot longer than she should. She drives 40 always regardless if its 40 or 60 zone. It takes her almost a full minute to realize a light has turned green and to make the appropriate turn. She has gone down one way streets the wrong way. Many co-workers have been stuck behind this woman driving on their way to and from work and they always mention it to my friend and say that woman should not be driving. My friend always says " I know". But she won't do anything about it because if her grandma has no license that means she no longer has a ride to and from work, groceries, appointments, etc.

 

I'm concerned that she has no positive influence or life experience about how things work. When her grandma passes or has to be put into a home, this girl is going to be so lost. She's never been in a relationship, had a first kiss, etc.

 

A co-worker and I discussed going to our manager (who we assume has to be aware of the odor issue and just hasn't said anything), and discussing the matter with her. The thing is, it is going to be an awkward conversation regardless of how it goes. It isn't easy to tell someone they smell and I don't want my manager in that position just as I myself don't want to be in it. I don't want to humiliate her or make her feel like she is less than the wonderful person she is.

 

I don't want to hear that if I was really her friend then I would tell her myself, she'd rather hear it from a friend, etc. I am really her friend. But this is outside of my comfort level and not the type of relationship we have.

 

Aside from going to management, are there any other suggestions? Giving her deodorant / perfume / beauty products seems kind of pointless since I know she doesn't use them.

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Sadly hoarders and people who live with them often have heath and hygiene problems. There may not be access to a bathroom or running water. You could try inviting her to a hair place/spa. She may not realize this is odd or offensive. Do not accept rides from her, unless you can offer money. Find another way to work. Can she spend a night at your place?

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"It's not even a "B.O" smell. It's like a smell of poop not being cleaned from her butt, stinky feet, dirty hair, sweat, wet clothes that haven't dried properly, and sour milk all combined."

 

Can't get that one out of my mind now :eek:

 

If this is as bad as you say, why has the manager of the store not said anything... the store could be losing business because of this. Sorry to say, if you speak up, you will most likely lose a friend, or be the recipient of every excuse in the book...

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So in my store we have three managers. One is the store manager, then there's a manager who does basically the H.R stuff,and then there is a merch manager.

The manager who does the HR stuff is not someone I trust. She has slipped up with information that shouldn't have been shared, been involved in petty arguments with staff, etc.

But we do have a human resource phone number which is basically just like head office. So would I call that number, or go to the store manager?

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It honestly is that bad. I mentioned this over year ago to someone about the smell, thinking maybe it was me ( knowing it wasn't ) but asking to make sure. It has gotten so much worse since then. I think my manager is just a really nice person who doesn't want to offend her or have that awkward conversation, but times up it needs to happen.

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I stopped taking rides from her grandmother for fear of safety and disgust of the state of the vehicle.

The one thing I don't get is even though she lives with her grandmother, she still sees her mother and her father and her 7 siblings who are all different ages. How has not one single person said anything to her. From what I have seen, the father and mother don't have odors and neither do any of the siblings I've met. I know she has access to water at home, but even if she didn't surely she could go to her mom or her dad's place to shower.

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So in my store we have three managers. One is the store manager, then there's a manager who does basically the H.R stuff,and then there is a merch manager.

The manager who does the HR stuff is not someone I trust. She has slipped up with information that shouldn't have been shared, been involved in petty arguments with staff, etc.

But we do have a human resource phone number which is basically just like head office. So would I call that number, or go to the store manager?

If you don't trust the person who is your HR contact, then yes, dial the number.

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"It's not even a "B.O" smell. It's like a smell of poop not being cleaned from her butt, stinky feet, dirty hair, sweat, wet clothes that haven't dried properly, and sour milk all combined."

 

If this person was working in a retail store and I walked in... I would RUN out!

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Go to some higher up that's also removed from the drama at the store level and request anonymity or privacy in the report and make your concerns about the business in general known (how it affects other employees and customers coming in). Stick to the facts and keep it brief and short. Don't get involved gossiping with the other store clerks or staff about this person. Don't go in the vehicle and don't add to any commentary about their driving. Keep your work hours there professional.

 

If the overall vibe at your work is negative and not very in line with what you want out of a workplace maybe it's not a bad idea also to figure out other options or look at other options.

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Go to some higher up that's also removed from the drama at the store level and request anonymity or privacy in the report and make your concerns about the business in general known (how it affects other employees and customers coming in). Stick to the facts and keep it brief and short. Don't get involved gossiping with the other store clerks or staff about this person. Don't go in the vehicle and don't add to any commentary about their driving. Keep your work hours there professional.

 

If the overall vibe at your work is negative and not very in line with what you want out of a workplace maybe it's not a bad idea also to figure out other options or look at other options.

 

And if that doesn't work you also can report to whatever government agency manages health inspections at stores- does this one sell any food products? Anyway if she is unclean and handling items that then go to the customer she's putting everyone at a health risk.

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  • 3 months later...

The best thing to do is get a license if you can and have no legal or medical reasons not to. Perhaps save up for a car and insurance. Alternatively find reliable forms of public transportation.

The inside of their vehicle is disgusting.

I have been in the vehicle many times with the two of them and have feared for my safety and the safety of others every time.

This woman should not legally be driving.

She has almost rear ended a number of people because her reflexes are super delayed, she can't make quick decisions. She will look away a lot longer than she should. She drives 40 always regardless if its 40 or 60 zone.

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