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Old 08-31-2011, 01:27 PM   #1
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Hi ladies,

Here is a rant because I feel like I need to share my frustration with somebody:
I work in office environment, we no longer have cube farm - now we have "dog bone" workstations (because that allows management to squeeze more people onto the floor). So sounds and smells travel quickly and far.

We now have have a cafeteria that produces nothing but crappy and unhealthy foods. Lots of it is deep fried.
The lady who shares my side of the dog bone workstation is a fast food addict. She lives mostly on burgers, fries and coke. But now that we have the cafeteria, she brings (pretty much on a daily basis) something deep fried to her desk and eats it there. Her number 1 fave is something that could be probably filed under "tater tots" (drowned in ketchup and/or gravy).

No matter how dedicated I am to weight loss and to clean eating (I think Tosca Reno would be proud of me) I am human and I have to admit that the smell of the tater tots puts really bad ideas into my head. (I have been warding them off successfully, but it's a struggle).
How would you deal with the situation? Should I simply remove myself from the workstation when she brings her deep fried goodies and linger somewhere for 10 minutes until she is done and the smell is gone? (Although this is not always possible, I am on the phone a lot). Although we do have a caf, there really is no place to sit (for a long time - we are in the middle of huge reconstruction).

Ok, thanks for reading. Like I said, I needed to share my frustration.
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Old 08-31-2011, 01:32 PM   #2
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Ooh, that's a toughie because it's not like you can just be like, "hey, please don't eat those tots," so I can see why you'd be frustrated. It's hard to stay sane with food sometimes when there are smells wafting all over the place, and especially when they are so close to where you are physically at. I give you a lot of credit for not folding and staying strong! If you feel that it is best to get up and go for a quick walk while she is eating, then by all means do it...do whatever it is that will keep you strong and will make you feel better!
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Old 08-31-2011, 01:37 PM   #3
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I would try to change your thoughts associated with that smell...so when you find yourself thinking 'mmm...how I would love to have some tater tots too', try to replace it with another negative association..try to create an image of what her arteries must look like, or worse, her colon. Lol..sorry.

I was wondering, does your office have a policy about eating at your desk? Where i work we are not supposed to eat at our desks, but if it's a non-heated, non smelling type thing - such as a salad or sandwich it's okay. If this applies at your place of work you could ask the manager to remind her that hot or smelly food should be eaten in the cafeteria.
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Old 08-31-2011, 01:43 PM   #4
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I'd keep a little table top air freshener mister on hand to use. It shouldn't be close enough not to bother her food but near enough to you to ward away the smell.

You might have to test the range at home first to make sure it doesn't land on her food. Hope it turns out for the best.
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Old 08-31-2011, 01:49 PM   #5
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Have you tried putting a bit of scented lotion right below your nose? I used to do that when I was pregnant and certain smells would bother me. It sounds like a really tough situation because she doesn't have anywhere else to eat and you're normally stuck at your desk. I'd try to find some other smell that will overwhelm it for you and just try not to look at her while she's eating (or maybe you eat at the same time so you have your own food to concentrate on?).
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Old 08-31-2011, 01:50 PM   #6
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I second taking a walk. I would remove myself from the area and take a lunch/walk break during the time she's eating. Or I would eat before her so you're not as hungry when she brings up the fried food.
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Old 08-31-2011, 02:34 PM   #7
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It's hard to smell food like that and not want it. But, just 'cause you like the smell and want to eat the food doesn't mean you have to.

I was driven crazy by the smell of alcoholic beverages for a long time after I quit drinking. In fact, even now, after 25 years, the smell of certain kinds of alcohol are really appealing! But that doesn't mean I have to have a drink, or that I have to make everyone around me stop drinking in my presence. I really don't care what other people eat or drink--it's not mine, that's all I have to tell myself.

OTOH, anyone who sprays air freshener near me is going to get socked! I have multiple chemical sensitivities, and I can't stand those perfumed sprays. They make me physically sick. We're not talking just a simple dislike, we're talking headache, nauseous sick.

So Tomato, I hope you can learn to let it go...

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Old 08-31-2011, 02:55 PM   #8
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This is kind of an off-the-wall (ha) suggestion, but how about a scented facial mist?

I used to use this in one of my old offices, when my desk was across from the kitchen. Kitchen had no door, and the smell would make me gag -- people would throw out their smelly leftovers in the trash can right next to the opening.

It really helped and it didn't take off my makeup.

I used one from Mario Badescu ... it had herbs and rosewater and aloe ... it was $12 but so worth the peace of mind. And luckily, no one else could smell it.
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Old 08-31-2011, 03:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayEll View Post
OTOH, anyone who sprays air freshener near me is going to get socked! I have multiple chemical sensitivities, and I can't stand those perfumed sprays. They make me physically sick. We're not talking just a simple dislike, we're talking headache, nauseous sick.
I would hope being in extremely close quarters, such sensitivities and allergies would have been conveyed to surrounding coworkers. This is how it is dealt with in every office I've worked in. If not, I wouldn't expect to hit someone when they used it.

If none of the suggestions above work, you might try a product called Nose Better(?) I think. It's similar to Vick's but not nearly as strong and meant to actually go in the nose. It's used to congestion but will ward off about any smell. The only downside is you'll smell it long after the fried bits are gone and may ruin your lunch if you haven't eaten it yet. I guess it's a trade-off.
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Old 08-31-2011, 03:23 PM   #10
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Get a small bottle of aromatherapy oil something in the sweet/floral. It really clashes with savory greasy smells. A good whiff may knock cravings right out because they smell bad together.

(i.e. 2 days ago I had mexican in the crockpot YUMMY smell. And I baked chocolate chip cookies YUMMY smell. But TOGETHER? They cancelled eachother out and just smelled NASTY)
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Old 08-31-2011, 03:32 PM   #11
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At the veterinary hospital, I use Vicks for the stuff I don't want to smell.

Maybe a visual of how those tater tots would look on your behind, they do kinda look like cellulite.
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Old 08-31-2011, 06:58 PM   #12
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I like the suggestions about going for a walk, or putting lotion under your nose!

You could also buy a small desk fan and point it so it blows the smell away from you. Also, if it helps, keep pictures of you at your highest and current weight close by.
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:08 PM   #13
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You're sitting close enough to one another that you can smell each others lunch but you don't talk to her? I think i'd try the truth (or a slight variation) tell her that you aren't allowed to eat fried foods (maybe a health reason) that you are struggling trying to lose weight and her fried tots are really making it hard for you.
Alternatively you can take your lunch at the same time she takes hers and just leave so you aren't tempted.
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Old 09-01-2011, 12:23 AM   #14
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Personally, I think it's disgusting when people bring their food with them to some closed quarters and chew and smack away. Where I work, people show up to work early with their fast food lunches or dinners and eat during our mid-day meeting between shifts (they're coming in, while others are leaving). I'm so grossed out by it that it overrides the hunger or craving induced by the aroma.

I don't understand how anyone can chew and eat away within any proximity of anyone else who is not eating. Yuck. I hate being the only person eating in a room. I will wait, or eat somewhere else.

It would be nice if you could bring up the idea of a policy which dictates meals be consumed in approved areas such as the cafeteria or employee break room.
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Old 09-01-2011, 12:24 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XLMuffnTop View Post
I would hope being in extremely close quarters, such sensitivities and allergies would have been conveyed to surrounding coworkers. This is how it is dealt with in every office I've worked in. If not, I wouldn't expect to hit someone when they used it.

Except that many people with multiple chemical sensitivities and allergies to perfumes and strong odors, even to cigarette smoke, often keep their condition to themselves to avoid negative repercusions. It's often safer to hide your problem as best you can to avoid being labeled a troublemaker, a spoilsport or a hypochondriac.

I don't tell many people, because I'm tired of seeing and hearing the sympathetic looks and words to my face and the eyerolls and jokes when they think my back is turned, not to mention outright accusations that I'm exagerating.

I think for many people, the experience is so far from their own that they find it hard to believe. When I was still working, I had confided in one of my cubicle mates, and while she seemed sympathetic I found out what she really thought when I had tried a new hand lotion and my hands turned vividly red - it looked like I'd plunged my hands in boiling water. She asked what happened to my hands, and I told her that I had used a new hand lotion without doing a patch test on my wrist or inner elbow first.

I don't remember her exact words, but they were accompanied by a shocked horrified expression on her face, and words to the effect of "Oh My God, I had no idea that you really do have a real problem."

She might as well have said, "I had no idea you were telling the truth."



But as to the OP's situation, I would say that if you're reasonably skilled in diplomacy, and have a good relationship with the woman, and assuming you're comfortable sharing the information you can mention that the food smells are making it difficult for you to stick to your diet and concentrate on your work, and ask if she would mind eating somewhere else when it's convenient for her - and when it's not, letting you know when she's going to be bringing something back to her desk, so you can avoid the desk area for a while.

If you ask in a noncritical way, and acknowledge the potential inconvenience to her, and approach it in the spirit of "can we work something out," rather than a "you need to change for me," I think it can work out fine.

If you don't think it will go over well, or don't want to approach the problem directly, then I think a strong counter-smell like Vicks or perfumed lotion or even sugar-free gum or breath mint, or breath spray would work better than spraying something in the cubicle (which not only could trigger reactions in sensitive office neighbors, also could be interpreted as a passive aggressive act).
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