Walk A Mile In Our Shoes – Part 3

This is part 3 of my series where I address some of the comments I’ve heard and read and provide a view from someone who suffers similar problems to those of Susan McBride. See the previous entries:

Walk A Mile In Our Shoes – Part 1
Walk A Mile In Our Shoes – Part 2

7) “Why don’t you just stay home?
We didn’t tell that to the people who were bothered by cigarette smoke. We didn’t tell that to the people that needed a wheel chair ramp. Although, I suspect that many of you who would suggest that I stay home would make the same suggestion to the person in a wheel chair. But for the fact that it wouldn’t be politically correct…

8 ) “Why don’t you work somewhere without fragrances?
And then when I ask where, you tell me to start my own business. Great idea. Would you like to give me the money to get that started?

As if everyone could start a business and immediately have money to support themselves? That’s not a relistic answer at all.

9) “Why don’t you just wear a mask?”
What happens when it permeates my clothing, gets into my car?

The entire intent of the modern fragrance is that it permeates everything. They use VOCs because the are volatile. That helps the scent remain airborn. Until it lands on something, like my clothes.

It may sound trivial to you (I see you out there rolling your eyes), but to those of us with a chemical sensitivity, these fragrances come home with us. B/c we wear no fragrance, we can smell it. Whereas if you wear all kinds of fragrances already, you won’t notice it. (Liken it to how you feel after going into a smoke-filled bar – it’s the same thing to the chemically sensitive.)

So I can’t take the mask off when I leave the office b/c it is in my clothes. Once I’m in my car, the smell is in my car. So, pretty much, I’ll have to wear the mask EVERY time I’m in my car. Then I come home, I have to change clothes and shower for the second time that day.

And worst of all, I have to relive that fragrance in my clothes when I go to do the laundry. Wear a mask? You’re forcing me to be like the boy in the bubble. It was OK for him b/c he was only one person. But there are literally millions of us. More than anyone truly knows.

10) “For some women perfume is essential to their sense of femininity; they never leave home without spraying some on. It would be the epitome of unfairness to ban perfume in the workplace to accommodate just one employee.

First, if Priscilla needs perfume to feel feminine, then she needs some serious help. We shouldn’t all have to suffer her perfume just to accomodate her feelings of inadequacy.

Second, for every Susan McBride that comes forward, there are likely many others that will be helped. In fact, she’s doing everyone a favor by getting these toxins out of the workplace. Every office needs a Susan McBride.

See the previous entries:

Walk A Mile In Our Shoes – Part 1
Walk A Mile In Our Shoes – Part 2

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5 thoughts on “Walk A Mile In Our Shoes – Part 3”

  1. Thank you for speaking up. i have just heard of the Susan McBride case and i am so happy to hear that this might happen all over. I have said for many years i was going to do it! thank you for you info!!!

  2. Well here’s the short version of our office nightmare. For the last 6 yrs. several of us have suffered with our co-worker’s chemical soup of scented products day in and day out. After asking, pleading, requesting etc. our co-workers to tone it down, all to no avail, two of us went to management, also to no avail. We work for a Union, appealed to them for help, also to no avail. Now were asking the Human Right Commission, of our county government, to help in obtaining some sort of office accomondations under the ADA guidelines so we can continue to work w/o becoming ill everyday, so far this too is of no avail, they want more information from our doctor. The next step is the same action Susan McBride took – lawsuit. Where is it written that people think they have a right to wear something to the office that makes other workers sick? Everyone w/o the problem considers it a control issue, I do too, control over my health and well being.

  3. Lynne –
    My heart goes out to you. It is so sad that people have to be this way. And it’s situations like yours that force lawsuits – as all reasonable means of resolution come to nothing.

  4. I did not have a problem in my office until my boss moved a woman into my space. I knew she wore horrible perfume but she was in another part of the office and my space was fine until he put her in there with me. I suffered with it for months and finally asked her very nicely to please not wear it. Her first response, was How do you know it is me? in one week, she went without perfume for one day. She continued to spray it on and I told her I could not work in it and left and worked in another area. The next week, I told her we had to talk about her perfume and she said, no, she had a right to wear it and she will not stop. My boss has moved me permanently to another desk whic is not ergonomic for me. But I am feeling100% better. This woman claims to be a charitable Christian person. ONe of my fellow workers told me he can smell her perfume through the walls. IN fact, she is wearing it even heavier to show me she can. I am sure others have encountered this type of mean selfish vindictive person – their right to stink is also their right to make you deathly ill.

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