A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Smell: FM Complaints

Sorry, Billy. It seems a rose by any other name does not smell as sweet. At least, not if that rose is in an open office, where the sense of smell is apparently a prickly and dainty thing.

After my earlier post about stinky occupant complaints, several of you wrote me with your own absolutely hilarious stories. Thank you! They're awesome and I'm posting three of them here for the group to enjoy.

"Like every facilities manager, I get a lot of odor calls and have tenants with personal issues, and sometimes the two collide.  My two stories fall into this category.  The first was a medium drama episode that occurred one afternoon, which escalated rapidly to an employee threat about hazardous working conditions and an anxious employer who almost evacuated the premises and sent the whole staff home.  After about a half hour of searching for the source of the ‘noxious fumes’ that only the person making the fuss could detect, we discovered that the life-threatening odor was emanating from a dozen roses on the cubicle desk next to the overwhelmed co-worker.  The bouquet was banished from the building by the manager to appease the still agitated complainant, and their company instituted an anti-fragrance policy shortly thereafter.  Air fresheners in the restrooms were also removed, special HVAC filters were installed, and other preventive measures were implemented. The second was similar to the first, except that it involved a report that the building was on fire although there was no smoke and no alarm. This one occurred around the holidays.  Fortunately I immediately determined that the source of the smell was a cinnamon scented candle warmer located in the shared workspace. That time, everyone knew what it was before I arrived, but they needed an outsider to come to the same conclusion independently.  In contrast to the first case, the odor won, and the festive wax stayed." 

"We were building additional floors above an existing occupied building.  An office area called repeatedly over the course of several weeks complaining about a “mold” smell they were experiencing.  Time after time, I went to area but by the time I arrived, there was no odor.  My frustration level was high and it was climbing.  I began taking an additional “nose” with me to ensure I wasn’t “blind” to the odor in question. Finally one day the other person with me noticed a big clue outside the window.  As we were standing there, a crane was lifting 'portapotties' back up to the construction area.  It turns out that on a weekly basis, they were being moved off the higher floors, taken to ground level and pumped out right in front of the air intakes for that office area.  I will let you make your own joke about the occupant’s inability to differentiate between mold and what was actually causing the odor."

"Some years ago, in an open office area many signs were posted stating, 'Severe Allergies, This is a NO FRAGRANCE ZONE.' The occupant of the cubicle would complain vehemently about any odor. One afternoon while servicing equipment in the area, our maintenance staff watched as flowers were delivered. Immediately, the allergy sufferer went into a sneezing fit and complained loudly that this was a no fragrance zone and everyone should know not to bring flowers to that area and they needed to be removed. Apparently her coworkers were tired of the constant over reactions and had the flowers delivered to themselves. They then explained this bouquet was UNSCENTED SILK flowers. The individual was transferred out a few days later."

Keep the stories coming! If you have a funny, memorable, or unbelievable occupant complaint story, please post it in the comments below or send me an email at naomi.millan@tradepress.com.


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