Top 5 Stores I’d Like to Shop in but CAN’T

Since fragrances trigger headaches for me, I won’t be wandering in a Yankee Candle store and you can bet I only visit stores like Perfumania in my nightmares. While I avoid the stores that are obvious olfactory overloads, there are some stores I avoid that seem too fragranced for what they sell. These are shops that the idea of browsing them is out of the question for me. This is my list of the top 5 stores I’d like to shop in but can’t.
  1. Bed, Bath & Beyond
  2. Pier 1 Imports
  3. Joann Fabrics & Crafts
  4. Victoria Secret
  5. Macy’s
Bed Bath & Beyond and Pier One Imports are in a league of their own. These two stores are so fragrant that I can get a migraine headache within minutes of stepping inside.
BED BATH & BEYOND– A year ago, there was a frying pan I wanted and the only store I knew had it was Bed, Bath & Beyond. It was on sale and I had one of those $5 off coupons. So on a good weekend day I decided to do a strategic strike with no time for browsing…. get in & get out. I quickly found the frying pan and grabbed a plastic spatula on the wall next to it and off I went. The spatula has a rubber handle that absorbed the store’s fragrances. I washed that spatula at least 50 times now and it stills smells of the store. It’s over a year old and still reeks. Why is their store so smelly? Is it just the candles they carry? I think they must also pump a fragrance through the store as well. Next time you walk in one of these stores notice how the smell greets you. I find it overpowering. Until they change their stinky ways, I am not going in their store again.

PIER ONE IMPORTS– Big time olfactory offender. When I just walk past their doors the smell wafts out and attacks me. Scented candles galore, air fresheners being tested and who knows what else is contributing to the cloud of fragrances. I can’t even window shop this store without being at risk for a headache.

JOANN FABRICS & CRAFTS– Joann is in a different class as the first two offenders. I can on occasion make a mad dash in there to grab one supply. I just hold my breath when I’m near the candles and I don’t linger. I do not shop there when I’m feeling migraine-y. I do wish they would tone it down with the smells.

VICTORIA SECRET – Some stores are better than others. I think it depends whether the associates are actively spraying their perfumes in the air or not. It’s really hard to avoid the perfume section since it is located with the cash registers. And it’s not just the stores. I have ordered clothes from their catalog and some had to be aired out because they reeked of perfume.

MACY’S– I’ll still step into a Macy’s on occasion. I stay far way from the perfume counters. If I buy an item from their store I must quarantine it to the guest room for weeks to let it air out. I would love to shop Macy’s like most people and wander about the store but doing that is risky business for my head.

Are there stores that bother you because of their use of scents? Please comment.


8 responses to “Top 5 Stores I’d Like to Shop in but CAN’T

  1. Sorry to hear about your experiences! But I am glad I am not alone. Macy’s has me on their over return list….all because I returned so much perfume(and gasoline smelling) stuff, or mail order because I can’t check it in the store first. BBB is near our home and you can smell it blocks away. keep up the mom showed it to me.

  2. I think bbb is the worst! I can’t stand to be in the parking lot of the store. As the automatic doors open and close for shoppers, I am holding my breath and trying not to breath.

  3. Macy’s uses a powerful strong and sickening automatic air freshener in thier dressing rooms and wash rooms. I like the store, but I cannot shop there any more.

  4. The fragrance in Bed Bath & Beyond seems to be getting stronger every year. I bought a silicone steamer basket that was infused with the store smell that I could not wash off and did not even use as I did not want my food to taste like BB&B so I returned it. I asked them if they purposefully spray something in the ventilation system and they insisted not. And I just bought some flannel sheets (made in Turkey) and guess what?! They had been scented with the store smell! Luckily a good wash with a nuns enter detergent and vinegar removed the smell. I have been getting sheets there for years for my massage business and this scenting of the linens is a new development. Yuck!

  5. Great list. Not only can’t you breath while in the stores, but when you leave your clothes smell the same–and the products you buy. In the couple years since you wrote this post, more stores are including scents in their ‘experience.’ And if it isn’t pumped in, there are individual products sitting in the store–cinnamon pine cones next to the produce section of the local Jewel grocery store (I got the manager to move them!), scented candles next to the checkout line at Barnes and Noble (the manager there said they now have to sell these products to make up for lost book revenue. Ugh. Hello

    We presently live in a condo where we get these scents in from other units. We have decided to move and have been disappointed to note: apartment buildings pump the scent in; new home builders have copious scented plug-ins in their home models and in the sales offices (why!? when new homes smell just fine–they smell *new*).

    I have been in restaurants that use scented products. I wasn’t sure if it was coming in from the ductwork or if it was present in the form of a plug-in or other such product. A couple of Red Robins and a local pizza place. Not sure what it says about the food at any place that needs additional scenting.

    Also disturbing, the medical facility where my doctor is located pumps in scents in the lobby area and the bathrooms. His nurse station is a small room in the facility where patients go to pick up prescriptions and medical orders. The women who work there all have scented products at their workstations. My bank, Chase, has scented stuff everywhere, including a scented Purell dispenser next to the line for the teller and the tellers themselves use the Purell which then gets on everything they touch. And I have been in several BP gas stations that were completely scent-filled, as in: how do the people who work in there survive? Seriously, it was like some sort of defense department experiment. Or Bed Bath and Beyond.

    • I’m amazed to hear of perfumes in your doctor’s office. In many places, it’s illegal and the doctor would lose his license. ,,, I made another entry about my brother having a reaction to perfume on an elevator, and he was dead by the time he got to his floor. What I didn’t mention – the hotel he was in was supposedly scent free. As it turns out, that only means the rooms. Anybody can stay there smothered in perfume or cologne.

  6. And Target. Everything I buy at Target anymore smells the same. The *bags* smell. I no longer purchase anything plastic there. If it doesn’t have a wrapper I can throw away, or if it can’t be washed a few times, I just don’t buy it. This one makes me sad. I used to love that store.

  7. Tried a J.C. Penny for the first and last time about 35 years ago. Made the mistake of walking by the perfume section and got a sample spray. Spent four days in the hospital recovering. Did better than my brother, who was on an elevator when a woman with perfume got on. He was dead by the time he got to his floor.

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