B127 - Issues with smells

’06 Dec 05 Tuesday 4:30 am Yesterday at work I was serving a couple of women when I was suddenly overcome by the smell of smoke, stale cigarette smoke. It was intense to the point that I was becoming nauseous and disoriented and I had to steady myself. I turned to the door for fresh air while trying to check out their order, all the while, expressing what I was smelling and how it was physically affecting me. The two women pretended that it wasn’t them and I wasn’t sure it was them; just that it was someone around me. The cashier next to me looked concerned and later told me that she thought I was going to pass out.

The other people in line also looked at me with concern as they knew I wasn’t faking it. The two women had separate orders and as I gave the last woman her change I was again overcome and had to stop and grab the counter to support myself. I turned to the door as I felt fresh air coning in and I was again able to clear my head long enough to re-count the change and pack up their bags.

They no sooner left the store that I was able to breathe freely again and the people in line also noticed that I was now OK and as they came up to me they commented on it, saying that they saw me going through a rough time and were glad that I was now OK.

A few minutes later I served a older woman and this time I was overcome with the smell of perfume to the point that I was literally gagging and retching but not vomiting. I instantly broke out in a hot sweat and again I turned to the door for fresh air. This time Sherry, the cashier next to me was also aware of the odor of perfume and also commented on it.

In both case, with the cigarettes smoke and the perfume, I didn’t mention that it was the person I was serving, but that it was someone around me that I was smelling. The woman I was serving felt it was her and said defensively that she didn’t have much on and that I shouldn’t be working in a place serving the public if I was that sensitive to smells and fragrances. I replied that it wouldn’t matter if I was working or standing in line, the effect would be the same. I also said that just because people want to wear a lot of smelly toxic perfume that doesn’t mean that I have to be silent and pretend that it doesn’t bother me when it does. I’m going to express what it is doing to me and if they don’t like me expressing myself, that’s their problem. The woman was silent. I gave the woman her change and again within seconds of her leaving the store, I was fine, as if it never happened. That was the only two experiences I had for the rest of the day and the first since I started working.

I had another incident that I’d like to share. There were three cashiers on duty and two customer lines. When I finished with my last customer, I looked around to the line at the two cashiers behind me and I saw that a black lady was “next” in line. I made eye contact and asked her over to my counter. As she made her way toward me I turned around to see a white woman coming toward me to purchase her products. I put my hand out and told the white woman that I had called this lady from the other line and that I’d cash her out first. The wite woman was OK with that but the black woman looked at the white woman and saw that she only had three items and so she told the white woman to go head of her. I cashed her out quickly and then the black woman put her stuff on the counter and said, "thank you, I appreciate that” I said nothing but nodded my head as I was concentrating on her purchases. As she was leaving, she stopped at the door and turned and again said, “thank you, I appreciated that.” I smiled and at the same time I could feel her almost break into tears and my eyes also welled up. She turned and walked out of the store. It was sad as I also realised that while I didn't deny her, she still denied herself and put another person ahead of her... but that was her choice in that moment.

Today I go to post this to my blog and I find the following headline... Stop discriminating by race Things that make yo go Hummmmm?


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