More than 5,000 different fragrances are in products that are used on a daily basis. These products include health and beauty aids, laundry aids, household cleaners, paper products, oils and solvents, drugs, plastics, industrial greases, and even foods. Since fragrance formulas are considered trade secrets, manufacturers only have to state fragrance on the label and do not need to identify the chemical makeup.
Today we drove down to Metro Atlanta. In Canton, GA we stopped at a Cracker Barrel restaurant because my husband loves their beef stew and corn muffins.
For those who don't live in the south, this chain restaurant offers a gift shop area where customers browse while waiting for a table. I've bought and received nice gifts from their stores. Checking out the store is one of my favorite parts of stopping at Cracker Barrel.
As soon as I opened the front door, a "fragrance" hit me in the face. Inside I recognized the "Christmasy" smell that had been sprayed inside the store. How sad. The smell of the good food would have been preferred by most of the older folk who were dining there today.
As we were seated, I told the hostess, "I wish you'd tell your manager that the spray fragrance used here today is really bad for people like me who have asthma. In fact, many older people have lung problems and these sprays are extremely bad for us."
"She forgot what you said the minute she walked away, " my husband said.
"I know. But I am going to keep talking. I can't change the world, but I'll make a difference where I can."
Thankfully, inside the restaurant no potpourri odor ruined the meal. The food was delicious.
My husband headed for the counter to pay the bill. I spoke to the hostess as I hurried past. "I'd love to spend time here and shop, but I can't take the smell."
The young woman called after me, "I told our manager what you said, and he said he'd speak to our retail manager about it. I've never thought about those sprays bothering anybody. I just thought they smelled good."
And so, my husband was mistaken. She didn't forget what I said, and perhaps I educated three people today about MCS -- the hostess, her boss, and the retail manager. Maybe that isn't much, but if we all speak up instead of just getting upset and leaving, our voices will make a difference.