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Salespeople question

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Knitterly:
A question popped up today which thankfully remained entirely theoretical.

Mr K and I are furniture shopping.  Many of the stores we have been in are thankfully uncommissioned, so we are not pounced on when we walk in the door.  Some of them are commissioned, and it is pretty obvious when you're dealing with commissioned sales staff. 

We walked into one store today and were immediately "met" by a salesman.  Unfortunately, he smelled overwhelmingly strong of cologne/smoke/body-odor (not specifiying which of these three, as I don't feel it matters and the question may apply equally to all three).  Suffice it to say, he smelled headache-inducingly unprofessional.  Mr. K and I made a getaway by saying that we just wanted to look for now, and thank you.

We walked away.  About 10 minutes later and on the other side of the store (but still in Mr. Smell's department), we found an item that we liked enough to ask some questions about.  Unfortunately, now that we were in need of a salesperson, there was none to be found.  I tracked someone down, but he did not work in the furniture dept.  He went to find us an associate.  As he paged an associate, Mr K and I wondered what we should do if Mr. Smell should come to our aid.  We liked the furniture enough that we wanted our questions answered today, but we strongly did not want to deal with Mr. Smell.  Would it be rude to say "I am sorry, we would rather deal with someone else." Can you say why?
Would it be rude to say that "I am sorry, but the smell of cologne/smoke/other is too overwhelming.  We need to deal with someone else, please."

Fortunately, a very pleasant (and more pleasant smelling) associate came to help us, so we did not have to deal with this issue today. 

I suffer from migraines which are triggered by strong odors, especially cologne and smoke.  Mr K has an allergy to smoke and it can trigger asthma attacks.  Body odor is, of course, much more difficult to deal with, and I would think there is no polite way to address that.

Thoughts?

wheeitsme:
I think that it is okay to mention the migraine thing.  And it works for all but the body odor.  "I'm sorry, I understand that you have every right to smoke/wear that cologne.  Unfortunately, it's a migraine trigger for me.  And my migraines aren't pretty.  Is there someone else who can help us?  Thank you for understanding...."

Nebulous:
I agree with wheeitsme - you can and should request for someone else to help and it would not be rude. Perhaps play it up a bit by covering your nose and mouth with a cloth and saying something like "I'm sorry, but I'm very sensitive to strong odors and I seem to be having a bad reaction to your cologne/perfume. Would it be possible for someone else to assist us?"

I also think this would work even in cases of strong body odor - don't assume it's BO, just treat it like they are wearing a cologne or perfume. Either way, you shouldn't have to suffer due to a salesperson having a strong scent that triggers a bad reaction.

wheeitsme:

--- Quote from: Nebulous on January 20, 2013, 06:20:16 PM ---I agree with wheeitsme - you can and should request for someone else to help and it would not be rude. Perhaps play it up a bit by covering your nose and mouth with a cloth and saying something like "I'm sorry, but I'm very sensitive to strong odors and I seem to be having a bad reaction to your cologne/perfume. Would it be possible for someone else to assist us?"

I also think this would work even in cases of strong body odor - don't assume it's BO, just treat it like they are wearing a cologne or perfume. Either way, you shouldn't have to suffer due to a salesperson having a strong scent that triggers a bad reaction.

--- End quote ---

I hadn't thought of that! (bold and italics, mine).

citadelle:
If a salesperson has a reaction to a customer's smell, should s/ he politely hand that customer off to someone slse? What if it is a cashier who reacts to a customer's cologne?

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