Monday, September 13, 2010

Customer Service Chronicles: Body Odor

Yes, it’s that time again. It’s time to continue our discussion about how customers stink. I know right now you might be thinking that I covered the spectrum of stench in my July post about this same topic, and I couldn’t possibly have more to say, but I only scratched the surface then. I also know that you’re worried that I might be taking on too much at one time in trying to delve deeper into the world of retail stank, but I can reassure you that I know what I’m doing, and that I’ll be biting off a chunk of the topic no bigger than either you or I can handle.

Today, we will be focusing on body odor, or BO. BO is the most pervasive and enduring of customer smells. It can pack a wallop and even give you pause, but regardless of its intensity or effect, it is unmistakable and easy to distinguish from other lingering smells. Summer is the prime season for BO, as several days’ worth of sweat and dirt accumulate on unwashed customer bodies coalesce to create a pungent aroma that travels long distances in the hot, low-density air. One customer in particular, a regular at the store where I work (joy), and a notorious non-bather, could be smelled approximately 20 feet away in the heat of August.

We all know what BO smells like, but most of us are fortunate enough to be able to escape it, either by walking away from the source and/or locating the nearest fire truck to request a good hose-down of the source. If your job is to work face-to-face with people reeking of BO, however, you are not so lucky. Continued exposure can have some unusual effects, such as leading you to characterize and distinguish between individual people’s BO. One recurrent customer (who is a gigantic pain in the ass) has the typical BO base with notes of corn bread, while a few others I’ve encountered recently smell as if their BO were spiced with Top Ramen flavor packets.

Join me next time as we continue our journey experiencing the spice of customer service life that is stench.

11 comments:

Maxabella said...

Oh yucko! I certainly DO NOT miss working with the general public when you bring back such ripe memories!!! Do you think they can't smell themselves they've been stinky for so long? I'm always fascinated by the fact that they are oblivious to their repulsion... What the?

Rich said...

I worked in a rural town(I was transferred there, not by choice) and the entire town had a general smell of BO. Especially this one branch of the populous, lets just call them the cult. There would be a dozen of them come in at once(1 time per month thank god) and the instant they opened the door you were hit by a blast of nasty so strong you would almost vomit. A fairly new Associate did in fact vomit when 3 of them got within 10 feet of her it was so bad. Apparently their bathing habits were once a month, whether they needed it or not. I know because I asked. I almost lost my lunch several times as well. Now I am going to have to post about this! ;D

Sandman Moon said...

Ha ha ha ha ha! Reminds me of my days back at the ol' bookstore! (For some reason, the Dungeons & Dragons aisle was particularly aromatic!) I love the part you wrote about hose downs from fire trucks, corn bread, and Top Ramen! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! The best is when the customer is also wearing a t-shirt that doesn't quite cover their hairy belly button on their sagging belly. Or if they are wearing nice colored gravy splotches on their shirt!

Fuyume said...

im following through tag along tuesday xx

Smash Bravo Team said...

Okay, well that's gross! You see normally I tell people I work from home because I just don't like people, now I am going to say something that includes how badly they can smell. Eww! Just thinking about it is making me feel sick. BTW we're your newest followers!

Feel free to drop by our blog anytime, we would love to have you! :)
http://sammymakessix.blogspot.com/

Mommy Kerin said...

Stopping by from the Tuesday Blog Hops!
Hope to see you hop back by!

Be sure to also join my blog hop today!

Kerin :)
hergoodintentions.blogspot.com

Minima Sapala said...

I think the most disgusting thing is when the BO is paired with greasy hair, so greasy that it's parting all over the place all by itself and just hanging in long greasy strings.

Actually though, I once spied an old man outside of a bar with long gray hair like that and I wrote a poem about how much it turned me on.

Sigh. The nasty side of life has always attracted me...

Colleen said...

Another Tuesday Tag Along follower here. Interesting post about BO. I have traveled in Europe on trains a lot... I can NOT describe the stench that some people subject others to in small confined metal tubes. It's called soap and water people... Try it some time.

Kristin said...

Hi! Following you on Tagalong Tuesday!

Good stuff, btw.

Kristin
Keenly Kristin

Shark said...

BO spiced with Top Ramen. Amazing. Hilarious and repugnant and vivid. I love it so much I need to wash my mouth out.

Ron Cooper said...

Good to see you on Spotlight Saturday! Following you now. My blog, is called “Inspire!” You are welcome to stop by!

http://inspiredbyron.blogspot.com/