14 Jun

Smoke smells: a minor rant

(Disclaimer: I know some smokers that I love dearly and who are very considerate in their smoking habits, and manage not to make everything in their vicinity smell smoky. This is not aimed at them.)

I just got a book in the mail that I ordered from an Amazon Marketplace seller. The book’s condition is fine — but it stinks. Stinks to high heaven. Stinks of cigarette smoke. When I read the book, I feel my throat contract and I just want to throw the book away. It’s awful.

The description of the book did not mention the smoke smell. Possibly the seller did not even notice. (And it’s possible the smell came from a previous owner, not the seller herself. I have owned a smoky book for 4 years and it still smells of smoke, though not as strongly. But if I resell it, I will have to mention the smoke smell.)

But, hey, smokers? Cigarette smoke smells like crap. You smell bad. The things you keep around you stink. I know you probably don’t realize this, since smoking ruins your sense of smell, but my God, it is amazing how bad smokers and their things smell, and amazing how little smokers probably realize this. Because no one wants to smell bad, right? Wouldn’t they take steps to avoid this?

Books that you have owned reek. Furniture, clothing, automobiles, and any other items you own that are capable of absorbing odors stink. At least cleaning will remove some of it, but other things are more difficult to fix.

When you walk past me on the sidewalk, you stink. Honestly. You probably wear deodorant every day and pride yourself on cleanliness, but it doesn’t help this problem. When you come up to talk to me, I lean away because of the smell, or I hold my breath as much as possible. But I will never tell you what I am thinking. Maybe you would be ashamed to know that I am not the only one who notices that you smell funny. Almost everyone who doesn’t smoke notices, which means, here in Seattle, about 80% of the people you meet are thinking something like “Hmm, nice guy, but he smells terrible.”

The last taxicab I rode in stunk terribly. The cab driver wasn’t smoking with us in the car, but it didn’t matter. It stunk of stale old smoke. I would pay an extra 10 cents a mile fare for a clean, non-smelly cab. Maybe more.

I believe you have the right to smoke. Don’t get me wrong. I just wonder if smokers have a clue how foul it really is, to those of us who don’t smoke. It really is as if you never take a bath, or something.

So if you want to smoke, go ahead, but the least you can do is mark your eBay or Amazon sales items with “SMELLS LIKE CIGARETTE SMOKE” — even if you don’t notice the smell — so non-smokers like me can go buy items that don’t smell rotten. I would appreciate it.

18 thoughts on “Smoke smells: a minor rant

  1. Hmm. It might. The only time I ever tried Febreeze the smell of the Febreeze bothered me, but that was a long time ago when there was only one variety of Febreeze. So maybe I’ll try it again. Thanks!

  2. Wendy, Try putting a the book into a plastic bag and set a small dish of ground(cheap) coffee on top of the book. Seal it up and let it sit for 2-5 days. Normally it removes all of the odors. Mary Lu

  3. My wife has been selling items on eBay for several months now and has received complaints of things smelling like smoke. Well, neither myself or my wife smokes. The only thing we can figure is that our postal carrier smokes or somewhere in the postal route.
    Anyone know how to address this? We are stumped!
    Kevin
    kevin@mrmicro.net

  4. That’s a good question. Are the items sold things that you’ve bought from elsewhere? Could they possibly already have the smoke smell when you acquire them? I know I’ve bought a few used books that already smelled smoky, and if I were to resell them I’d have to mention that smell.

    I can’t imagine that a wrapped package could absorb much smoke even if the carrier smokes…

    Perhaps if you wrap the items well in plastic before shipping? Then they should not be able to absorb any smoke along the way. And if you still get complaints at that point… well, I’d be mystified.

  5. I was blessed to find your web page as I am very allergic and sensitive to cigarette smoke odors. I just bought a book off of ebay that stunk and I also am sensitive and bothered by Febreeze, however I am going to try the coffee method.
    Thank you again for all the help!

  6. I know my mail carrier smokes. Our regular mail doesn’t smell of smoke but packages do. The cardboard and especially fabric absorb the smell. Since this is a rural route they use their own car so I don’t see how any law or regulations would effect this. A P.O. box? I have some brand new sheet and comforter sets and clothes on the way. I left our carrier what I hope was a nice note about our packages often smelling like smoke and my concern about my upcoming delivery. I left it up to the postal employee whether they put my pacakge in a plastic bag BEFORE they put it into their car or whether to have me pick up my packages at the post office. Let’s hope the bags haven’t been stored in their car. Should I have to do this? Should I have to rent a P.O. box so that MY shipments don’t become contaminated enroute? I wouldn’t think so. I used to smoke, years ago. Maybe I’m extra sensitive to it. I wonder if U.P.S. and Fed Ex have different regulations about smoking in the vehicle? They use company vehicles out here. Maybe I’ll be lucky and none of my packages will come via U.S.P.S..

  7. Our postal carrier smokes — constantly. It is annoying. I have complained with no results.
    I see him delivering our mail with a cig hanging out of his mouth. It is so annoying, considering I get clothing shipped here sometimes.
    Why does the USPS allow them to smoke in their vehicles. It is not right.

  8. Get a life you saddo. I have sold things on Ebay new things and there is always one sad winy arsed winger such as yourself probably angling for a freebie who complaints of something smelling of cigarrette smoke such as recently brand new clothes never worn stored in a wardrobe, and before you sart NO I do not smoke NO the clothes have never been worn in perfect condition. You are so obseessed with SMOKING you are probably just imagining it . WHy not stop buying on ebay and give people a break

  9. “Winger”? They were a terrible band. Perhaps you mean “whinger.”

    I promise I won’t buy from you on eBay. Your attitude sucks. What’s your eBay name so I can avoid you?

  10. I ordered a window covering, a bed comforter and matching sham from AMAZON and all of them arrived saturated with cigarette smoke. In early June 2009.
    I contacted the USPS and was told that in fact carriers are allowed to smoke in their vehicles (and some even are allowed to take them home)!!
    My first inclination was to blame the AMAZON Seller- I did contact her and she notified me her house was 100% smoke free.
    I can’t believe our tax dollars pay for a Carrier to ride around and contaminate our packages.
    So every body lay off the retailer OR seller it’s most likely not them and how can they be held responsibly for the USPS smoking up our items !!

  11. I buy and sell books on ebay. If I run across a smoky book, I put it into a plastic bag with a cup of kitty litter. I fan the pages and carefully close the bag. All smells disappear.

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