We were in a couple of local Sebring supermarkets yesterday, WalMart and Sweetbay, and it made me reminisce about my local Sainsbury's in Leeds.
My friend Daphne often wrote about this store after it's refurbishment late last year and how it had developed a 'smelly aisle', the source of which was never tracked down.
When I returned home to Leeds at the end of January this year, much to my unbridled joy, I too discovered 'smelly aisle' and the bond of friendship between myself and Daphne was cemented forever ! Thank you Sainsbury's.
There are no smelly aisles in WalMart. Or Sweetbay........or any other US supermarket I've ever been in. Now that's not to say there aren't aisles that have a distinctive smell depending on what products are on their shelves. Obviously an aisle containing scented candles or air freshener is going to have a smell, especially as people often try out a spray product when they think no one is looking.
Maybe it's only me !
But Sainsbury's 'smelly aisle' was different. For a start it was the sort of smell you'd never want to come out of a spray can - well unless as part of a personal attack device. Combine it with some mustard or pepper and any potential attacker would be helpless on the ground even before the other active ingredients of the spray entered their systems. Probably deadly at close range. UK police forces please note.
I remember trying to tie the smell down to something I may have encountered before. Sweaty feet ? Rancid meat ? Gym clothing left in a sports bag for a few months ? Parmesan cheese ? The squished skunk we passed on I-75 ? The guy next to me at Elland Road in 1975 ?
None of those quite matched the smell. It actually wasn't that bad but it was......smelly. I don't want my shopping aisles to smell like that. It didn't encourage shopping - in fact as January became February, I found myself avoiding 'smelly aisle' altogether. It can't have held any products I regularly shopped for as I don't remember thinking, oh crap, I'm out of xxx and so it must be in 'smelly aisle'.
I don't know when the smell went away or how it went away but....it went away. All at once I was free to shop anywhere I wanted again. To misquote the Southwest Airlines tv commercial, I was free to move about the supermarket.
So back to yesterday in Sebring. As I wandered the aisles, my finely tuned olfactory senses picked up various low level smells, all of them quite agreeable. Even the motoring accessories aisle had pleasant smells like leather seat polish and the stuff that removes dead bugs from bodywork. I'm not sure why the later should be scented as I'd not care that much and the bugs were long past giving a damn.
I think in general, anything that comes out of a can has to have a nice smell nowadays or we won't buy it. Even bug spray here smells ok. I appreciate that even if the bugs don't. I mean one doesn't want to be walking around in the deep forest smelling like Sainsburys !!