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RADIOTIKSPARK1 SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 638
7/12/12 1:10 P

Thanks again everyone!

Today I went armed with some grapefruit and thyme room spray and four tangerines to eat (and leave the peels out) and enough guts to say something...and she didn't come in!

As I said before, there is no HR: I am a researcher and she is a phd student. Sadly there isn't any grandmotherly type: mostly just a bunch of men (I think having one of them do it would break her). Also she has been having health problems...

But yes, I will rip the bandaid off. Better just be the direct American.

GUDDIGO Posts: 1,081
7/12/12 10:32 A

Leave an anonymous note....

SPOORK Posts: 1,193
7/12/12 9:54 A

You don't. Speak to your supervisor or HR about this. They will handle the matter.

CAMEOSUN SparkPoints: (86,617)
Fitness Minutes: (5,698)
Posts: 10,426
7/12/12 9:51 A

Is there an older, even elderly female (Grandmotherly-type) that you can confide in and she can talk with the person?

TIG123GER SparkPoints: (77,547)
Fitness Minutes: (17,448)
Posts: 2,116
7/12/12 8:13 A

We have a guy in our office who has a BO problem and his supervisors are aware of it but don't know how to handle it. These are great suggestions that I'll pass on to them. It really affects everyone - employees and customers.

DLDROST Posts: 8,082
7/12/12 7:14 A

There's nothing worse... Our daughter had a BF that had that issue it was AWFUL he's no longer she came right out and asked him to shower and use deo....

RADIOTIKSPARK1 SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 638
7/12/12 2:28 A

Wow these are actually great ideas (well, except the stop going to work one ;) ).

I like the direct Peruvian approach: she sounds like one of my german friends. She pretends that she has to be blunt because her english isn't very good...her english is perfect.

My plan is to see if I can grab some potpourri on the way to work, plus I am having tangerines for lunch and I will keep the peels in a little bowl until the end of the day. And then if any sort of possible moment comes up I will either work the conversation towards deodorant with some subtlety ("It is so rainy here, and with all of us so damp we all have to be careful with BO" etc). Or, if it is really bad, I will just say something direct about it.

I wish I could go to HR, but this is at a University. I am an employee and this is a phd student...and not even a student at this university. She is being allowed to use the office as a favor.

Somehow I think it would be easier if it was a man. I feel like there is so much baggage that women carry that anything said about appearance or personal care can give someone a complex. Then again, I would want someone to tell me. If you are going to be a person who is direct like the Peruvian lady, I feel like you have to establish that early. Sigh.

Thanks guys, you've inspired me to not just grin and bear it. It isn't good for anyone.

EOWYN2424 Posts: 9,108
7/12/12 1:46 A

I stopped going to my Young Methodist Adults meetings because one of the members had strong bad BO. I've tried hinting it to him but he doesn't seem to get it! So I stopped going!

NEWKAREN43 SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 2,071
7/11/12 11:19 P

I actually handled this issue one time. Maybe I was too young to be intimidated or just stupid, I don't know but here's how it went down. I worked in retail, we had a store manager and several assistant managers (I was not in management, I ran one dept and did back up bookkeeping in the office - I was literally nobody). One of our asst managers had a terrible BO problem, no one wanted to tell him. I thought, you know, this guy might not know, he might really be embarrassed, but if no one tells him, this could kill his chances of being a manager one day or being successful. So, I took him aside, out of hearing of all others and I just said, "I like the way you work, the way you treat us employees. I think that you don't know that you have some pretty bad body odor when you work really hard, which I think we all do here on a daily basis. I think you need to change deodorant because yours doesn't seem to work for you when you're running all around the store." And I stopped, it was kind of his turn to talk, and I'd given him what he needed to know...he thanked me. He said that he had no idea that he smelled, was pretty mortified that he was offensive and you know, we never smelled him again. I hope he is successful today, I have no idea.

My advice: be brave, believe the best in the person. Compliment them and what they do well or why you care enough to tell them this. Try to be honest, not overboard obnoxiously complimentary and break the news.

JANIEWWJD SparkPoints: (599,151)
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Posts: 17,063
7/11/12 11:08 P

I would talk to the office nurse, if there is one, and have her talk to her or the office in general.

MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 17,582
7/11/12 10:56 P

I feel your pain. I knew someone who was like that and no amount of beating around the bush. Giving them gift sets of soap. Or asking them if they like a certain product, got them to see the error of their ways.

JASTAMPER11 SparkPoints: (57,593)
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Posts: 2,323
7/11/12 8:28 P

Anarie.....ha ha ha...that is so true, she could get away with it. I would have liked to work in that office....did anyone bring in ethnic food??? I love to try that as well.

REENIE131 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (28,673)
Posts: 2,045
7/11/12 8:26 P

I Iiked the suggestion of vicks under your nose, or maybe something minty lotion or something. That way you don't have to risk ticking her off and having her make the month very uncomfortable for you, but you also don't have to smell her. I also like the idea of talking to your HR dept.

JOYCECAIN SparkPoints: (137,945)
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Posts: 3,627
7/11/12 8:24 P

You would have to handle it delicately. You could be subtle and ask them about a cologne,saying it is to strong. Find out what type of product they use, ask them if they tried a new product out.

ANARIE Posts: 13,205
7/11/12 8:14 P

I used to work in an office that was totally international. There were about 50 people sharing one huge open-plan office space, and we represented at least 30 nationalities. One day I was sitting with a Peruvian coworker when one of the younger American guys came in from his smoking break. The Peruvian woman looked up at him and said, "You smoke?!? You need to quit, or at least wash your hands and brush your teeth after each cigarette. It makes you smell really bad, and women especially don't like a guy who smells of tobacco. You're so good looking, you'd get all kinds of dates if you quit smoking."

He was stunned for a second, but then he said, "Wow, I didn't know you could smell it on me. No one ever told me. Thanks." We never smelled smoke on him again, and before the end of the year he had quit.

After he left, I told her, "Uh, you know Americans have this thing... We really don't talk about how someone smells." She said, "Of course I know that. But HE doesn't know I know! You can't tell him, but I can get away with it because I'm a foreigner."

Well, you're a foreigner. She doesn't know that you've noticed that no one else will mention it. Just tell her, and pretend you don't know there's anything "wrong" with it. The worst she can think is that you haven't adapted to the culture.

I think the most natural way to do it would be to buy her a package of an unusual brand, take it in and give it to her, and say, "I noticed that the kind you're using doesn't last the whole day. This one has always worked great for me!" Then you're putting the blame on the (non-existent) deodorant, not on her, and you're handing her the solution right along with the presentation of the problem. If you present a solution at the same time as the problem, people very rarely get offended even if the "solution" is totally bogus.

It's possible that she'll get all huffy and say, "I don't use deodorant because it's poison!" and go off on that old e-mail hoax about deodorants causing cancer because they "hold the toxins in," but even then she would be mad at the deodorant-industrial complex, not at you, and you might be able to bring up the crystal deodorant or some of the different "natural" brands. Either way, she will know that she stinks without you having to be rude about it.

JASTAMPER11 SparkPoints: (57,593)
Fitness Minutes: (35,465)
Posts: 2,323
7/11/12 8:05 P

I worked with a person like that at a fast food restuarant. I think it got in her clothes and when the clothes got warm it just started to smell.

Do they wear deodorant in the UK? I am not really sure. I usually have the problem of too much perfume.

I_HEART_MY_FAM Posts: 1,809
7/11/12 8:04 P

Sorry is all I can say. What a terrible dilemma to be in. I honesty cannot say what I would do since I have a keen sense of smell. I probably would have to put vicks vapor rub or some other strong stuff under my nose. I think the person knows she smells and just doesn't care.

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,458)
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Posts: 9,717
7/11/12 8:01 P

Do you have an HR department? This is a job for HR to handle. You need to go to them and complain that the body odor is interfering with your ability to do the job, and let them handle it!

RADIOTIKSPARK1 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (2,813)
Posts: 638
7/11/12 6:19 P

I'm not quite sure where to ask this but, since all of us have had to deal with our sweaty exercise selves, I thought you all might have some ideas.

I am in a classic situation: for the next month I am sharing a small office with a woman. She clearly does not use deodorant. It is...noticeable to the point of being unpleasant. To make matters worse, this is the UK and I am already a brash American: there is such a keep calm, carry on attitude that I know that anything said directly would be a major breech of etiquette. Why do I know that? Well although she is perfectly nice, she has a reputation in the office as being the kind of person who interrupts you while you are working, who starts talking and can't seem to stop, who kind of hangs over you and doesn't get the hint. Despite the mild complaints about this, no one will dare say anything. It wouldn't be proper. Everyone just takes it.

So Spark folks...any ideas? I just have to make it through the month. I don't think I am allowed a scented candle... anything?

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