General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

Travelling with boss- and overpowering car air freshener

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stormyskies:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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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