A good friend of mine has a delicate problem, and she asked me how I thought she should handle it. I figure I'd lay it out here in the discussion thread and ask your advice.

She has a contract with an administrative hearings board to provide court reporting services.

A few months ago, she started using a new freelance reporter. He seemed nice enough, shows up on time, et cetera.

Well, she got a call from her client today. They asked that she not send him anymore. They said he had a smell. When she tried to press her point of contact (POC), the POC informed her that she is just relaying the message that they don't want this court reporter to come back because he had a smell. She couldn't find out what kind of smell it was. I mean, could it be feet, perspiration, smoke, dirty clothing?

How would you handle this? She doesn't want to hurt the guy's feelings.

Views: 23

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Could also be horrible perfume that many men wear. I won't call it cologne or after-shave because the way they pour it on themselves, they REEK.

Anyway, I'd press them to get something specific re this smell. And then I'd tell the guy the truth. I think the truth is the kindest thing because he at least KNOWS why he's not going back on the job and MORE IMPORTANT, he can do something about the smell issue. Maybe he ate a whole head of garlic the night before and he reeked. Who knows. If that's the case, it would be a huge gift to tell him the truth, hard as I know that is.

Golden rule here because I'm advising based on what I'd want.
Boy, that is a really sensitive situation. Nothing that is said to him is going to make him feel good. Maybe just not say anything to him and just contact someone else to take the job. I feel bad for him.

I had sort of the same problem with a videographer I worked with. I really, really liked this guy but he just did not shower. It was BO, no doubt about it. The situation fixed itself when he got a girlfriend. I could tell he started to care about his appearance and everything worked itself out. Good thing because I did not want to say anything to him.
It sounds like the POC was not told what the smell was.

This is tough stuff, but you have to be honest. If this reporter's smell is offending one client she's heard from, he is offending a bunch more that she's not hearing about.

I actually had to handle the identical situation was when I was an office manager for a nonprofit. Some of our volunteers were there to get experience that would enable them to enter the workforce. One really good guy -- he worked and learned -- came in with hair pomade that caused a severe allergic reaction in one of the employees. The woman looked awful, and the situation clearly had to be dealt with immediately. He could not come back the next day with that on his head. I didn't really have time to think it over, just kind of went with my gut. I told him what he was doing right (everything, really) and then said, "But I'm going to have to ask you to leave off the hair pomade." And then I explained exactly what the complaining employee looked like and probably felt like and emphasized what a small and fixable problem this really was. A day or two later, I told him I appreciated his being able to handle being told he needed to change something and follow through. That's what worked for me.

My best guess is that he's wearing some dreadful scent and it triggered someone's asthma. This is, in fact, serious business. I am asthmatic and seem to be very typical in that I'm only allergic to a few things, but being around those few things has serious consequences for me. Having to consciously breathe because you'll stop if you don't work at it is scary as all get out. Maybe he needs to be reminded that there are some people who can get surprisingly ill from certain scents, so it's important to be as smell-neutral as possible.

Luck (sigh). It IS a tough one.
I do agree with Catherine. Entering into my 40's, all smells intensified, horribly so. A little bit of perfume/cologne, cigarettes, body odor... all magically as intensified (bordering on migraines). Even scented body lotions from my employee(s) would cause me to want to leave the office (btw, 50's/menopause magically made everything go back to "normal").

You've got to find out what's causing his "smell." It may not be feet, perspiration, or poor bathing habits. It could be as easy as too much cologne or, possibly, smoking. If it's as easy as leaving off his daily spritz of scent, he's warned. If it's his odor from cigs, he's also warned, but possibly not something that he's willing to correct.

If he's dong a good job in every other sense of the word, you have to give him an option to correct his "smell."

But if you've met the guy/gal and you know it's body odor or poor cleansing habits or not cleaning their clothes properly, come on, stop kidding yourself, the person's a slob.

p.s. to Marge: It's not just men, women or the WORST offenders of too much "scent."
Yeah, you're right, Judy, about the overdousing of scent, male & female. My across-the-hall neighbor, such a nice guy, what could he be thinking. It's just awful. And lately a few female friends, too, I hate whatever they're wearing. I tend to wear Jean Nate because I love it and figure it's benign with a fresh smell. One of my friends told me recently she hates it. So I hardly ever wear any scent because I would hate anyone to hate being in my presence the way I hate being around others with their strong and awful perfumes. I'm going to start asking and keeping a list of what I hate.

I LOVE Obsession After-Shave. I think men should wear after-shave and not cologne. I think I liked Old Spice as a kid but I'm not sure. I know I loved Canoe, though!!
These are some great responses. I had not thought about it being a perfume odor, but that could also be just as offensive as body odor.

Actually, this may be a lead she could use to initiate the conversation, saying that her POC got a complaint that there was a "scent" in the room, and they thought it was from the court reporter. That way, she could then ask him if he wears cologne or smokes. If he does not do either, then she can mention personal hygiene.

I know when I quit smoking cigarettes on February 16, 2008 at 1:30 p.m. -- [funny how I remember the exact date and time, like it's a birthday] -- my sense of smell definitely got stronger.

Yesterday, I was standing in line at Starbucks, with about three people in front of me. In my peripheral vision, I noticed the lady in front of me turning around and taking quick glances at me. Finally, the lady speaks to me, saying, "You smell so good."

I thanked her and was relieved to know that she wasn't staring at me because I looked goofy. I had just gotten out of the shower before going to Starbucks.

In recent times, I have been using Philosophy's Amazing Grace shower soap and lotion. I very rarely use perfume or cologne anymore. Amazing Grace smells like soap and water to me, just a clean smell. It is not strong. I really like it. In fact, my brother, a diehard Marine, likes it too. I have to buy it for him in the department store because he doesn't think it's manly for him to buy it himself. I guess it's what you could call a unisex smell.

Of course, to each their own. Since I quit smoking, I don't like strong scents, body odor, cigarette smoke, or the smell of fast food cooking in grease.
Jennie - I love Amazing Grace as well. My mom buys me a huge bottle every year for my birthday. Have you tried any of the other "Graces"?

Kim, I sure have. I tried the Pure Grace. It is nice, but there is something about that Amazing Grace that keeps me coming back. It is so fresh smelling.

I splurged this year and bought Hope in the Jar, 100 bucks. It is supposed to last 8 months. It really does make my face feel so smooth and nice.

My daughter is stuck on Beautiful by Estee Lauder. Every Christmas, I get her a Beautiful set, with the lotion, cologne, and, powder.

The thing that I love the most about Amazing Grace is that it is not overbearing. It really does just smell clean, like soap and water, almost like a clean baby smell.
I would be interested in where all you can buy this Amazing Grace soap and how much it costs. I, too, have breathing problems (but, alas, I am still a smoker), and I can hardly tolerate perfumes. It keeps me from going to church even, because of the strong perfumes and colognes the congregation "takes a bath in". I just pray a lot at home and follow the TV evangelists on Sunday. I also had bronchial asthma for the first ten years of my life, then enjoyed many, many years of dormancy, and then much later in life it was triggered again by certain chemicals I was exposed to. I have been diagnosed with COPD, so it's difficult in my "Golden Years".

As to the young man with the body odor. I think you would be doing him a disservice by not telling him the truth. The truth we can face openly and act upon to solve our problems. He needs to hear the truth in as nice a way as possible from someone who cares.

See if you can smell Philosophy Amazing Grace in a local department store before you purchase it.

There is nothing worse than buying something and then hating it afterwards. You should see how much makeup I purchased that I never used because it didn't look right on me after I got it home. I mean, I'm talking thousands of dollars. Either the shade was too dark or there was just something about it that was terrible. I end up throwing the makeup away, sometimes never using it.

They sell Philosophy on QVC, and in my area, they sell it at Bloomingdales and Nordstrom, I think. Sephora also sells Philosophy.

If you get a chance to check it out, report back and let me know what you think!


© 2024   Created by Kelli Combs (admin).   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service