Author Topic: Travelling with boss- and overpowering car air freshener  (Read 2833 times)

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stormyskies

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Travelling with boss- and overpowering car air freshener
« on: May 07, 2013, 08:23:34 PM »
Is there any tactful way for an auto passenger to bring up the topic of overpowering car scents? I frequently have this problem when carpooling, but feel especially sick in the car of my new boss, "Jill". I was recently job-shadowing Jill and visited various sites with her while we both travelled in her automobile.  Jill is a very intelligent, competent and caring woman who has taught me a lot. The only problem is that her car literally makes me ill. 

I am not technically allergic, but often experience nausea from moving vehicles, and also from overpowering artificial scents. The combination of a moving car with an inescapable air freshener is especially horrific. I haven't said anything because I don't want to hurt or offend Jill. I'm also aware that it's impolite and off-putting to talk about one's health and symptoms with bosses and co-workers.

The only polite thing that I've come up with so far was "Would you mind if I opened a window to get some fresh air?". This helped somewhat during city driving, but is impractical for highway driving. We're no longer job-shadowing, but Jill still offers car rides to the newer employees when we're all travelling to the same location.

I've broached this subject in the cars of family members ("I'm sorry, but the Pina Colada Luau scented dangly-thing is really bothering me") but it's obviously more difficult in a work setting. Does anybody have ideas? Thanks!

Marguette

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Re: Travelling with boss- and overpowering car air freshener
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2013, 08:31:47 PM »
ĒIím sorry, but Iím sensitive to car scents and I tend to get carsick.Ē

You are reluctant to bring up the subject, but really, which would be more impolite and off-putting with a boss and co-workers: to make a quick, apologetic explanation, or to throw up in their car?

Also, it isnít clear whether accepting Jillís offer for a ride would be your only option for getting to the other locations, or could you drive yourself?

Surianne

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Re: Travelling with boss- and overpowering car air freshener
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2013, 08:36:36 PM »
I've never had any luck with this -- unfortunately, people often think that those of us who are scent-sensitive are liars.  So I just try to turn down carpooling if there's another way to get there.  I'm hoping to piggyback on some of the advice you're offered!

JenJay

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Re: Travelling with boss- and overpowering car air freshener
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2013, 08:48:11 PM »
Is it possible to take your own car or ride with someone else? There are a couple of fake scents that give me a headache and I know that, even if the air freshener is removed, the scent will linger strongly enough to affect me. If not I vote for being honest. If I was in Jill's place I wouldn't take it personally, you can't help what affects you. I'd want to know so you could be as comfortable as possible!

Lynn2000

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Re: Travelling with boss- and overpowering car air freshener
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2013, 10:35:42 AM »
If possible, I'd just avoid driving with her. The window opening thing was a good idea.

My thought is, what's going to happen after you tell her you're sensitive to strong smells and can get carsick? Are you going to ask her to take the air freshener down (picturing it hanging from the rearview mirror) and put it... where? Unless she puts it in the trunk you'll still probably be able to smell it.

And, her removing it at the start of one ride is not really going to significantly reduce the smell, I wouldn't think. So in order for you to ride in her car at all comfortably, she would have to throw away the air freshener several days in advance and possibly let the car air out extensively, and then never get another air freshener. And that seems to me too much to ask, unless maybe several of you are going on a long "office road trip" to a conference, or she is going to be your long-term carpool partner, or something like that.

Sorry, not trying to criticize, I hate those strong, artificial scents too and would probably be miserable also. I'm just not sure what outcome you're looking for by telling her.
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bopper

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Re: Travelling with boss- and overpowering car air freshener
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2013, 10:59:16 AM »
"Jill, I am going to drive separately this time or perhaps you would like to ride with me.  I get car sick so it is best for me to drive. That way I can be at my best when we get to the site."

Bexx27

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Re: Travelling with boss- and overpowering car air freshener
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2013, 11:06:23 AM »
It's not the least bit rude to tell someone you prefer to drive yourself because you tend to get carsick. It's not "impolite and off-putting" unless you are graphically describing projectile vomiting or something. The air freshener doesn't need to be part of the explanation, especially since as Lynn2000 pointed out, there's nothing she can reasonably do about it.
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Twik

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Re: Travelling with boss- and overpowering car air freshener
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2013, 10:47:09 AM »
Let's put it this way - if I were in Jill's shoes, I would far rather have someone confess that the freshener was bothering me than suddenly lose their lunch in my car. I don't think it's rude to explain that you're having a bad reaction to the scent of the freshener, and that you will have to find another ride if she prefers to keep it.
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sparksals

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Re: Travelling with boss- and overpowering car air freshener
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2013, 11:00:43 AM »
Scent sensitivity is a real medical issue.  Does it also bother you in other places like the office or at home, or just in the car? 


I would avoid by saying you prefer to drive, that you have an appt after.


Dawse

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Re: Travelling with boss- and overpowering car air freshener
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2013, 05:37:05 PM »
Do you own a car? If so, perhaps you could suggest you 'take a turn' at driving next time you're travelling to the same place - 'Oh Jill, you always drive - let me this time, it's not fair for you to drive us all over the place all the time!'

If not, next time you know you both have to travel to the same place maybe try 'I hope you won't mind if I make my own way there by bus/train/taxi/hover craft, only the last time we carpooled I ended up feeling very carsick for the last part of the journey and I'd rather not repeat that experience.' You don't necessarily have to tell her WHY you felt carsick. That would probably only work a little in advance though.
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DavidH

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Re: Travelling with boss- and overpowering car air freshener
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2013, 03:25:38 PM »
I don't see anything wrong with saying that you prefer to drive yourself since riding with someone else can make you carsick.  The challenge here, as others have said, is that it's not easy or quick to remove the scent from her car, just taking down the air freshener won't really solve the problem.  I think opening the window was the most you can really do if you find yourself forced to ride with her.

rashea

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Re: Travelling with boss- and overpowering car air freshener
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2013, 11:00:04 AM »
I think if you were telling her that her perfume made you sick it would be tough. But if she's reasonable, I think she can handle being told that car freshener makes you a bit off. I know I can't stand any of them, and I've never had anyone who wasn't willing to put it in a little bag and tuck it into the glove box. It's not a great fix because it permeates the whole car anyway, but it brings it to a tolerable level.

If someone's sensitive, I can see being more careful, but for most people I'd just tell them.
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Re: Travelling with boss- and overpowering car air freshener
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2013, 04:01:31 PM »
I agree with the others who say to tell her that you have a problem with overpowerings scents.

I have that problem too, and when my then boyfriend (now DH) put a new car freshener in his car, he was willing to have open windows and air the car out for me.  Now he is almost as bad as I am with perfumes.

Twik

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Re: Travelling with boss- and overpowering car air freshener
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2013, 04:23:03 PM »
"Polite" is not always synonymous with "indirect". In this case, you are not making an accusation, you would just be saying that you are having a bad reaction to the air freshener. She can then make the choice to remove it temporarily, or to suggest other alternatives, such as you driving yourself.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."