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.