How do I ask the seller if they are heavy smokers without offending?

Gabs007

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Feb 5, 2018
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I had a couple of items where the smell of smoke was really in the fibers, especially with leather items, it is so difficult (next to impossible) to get out, not talking about the whiff of nicotine but that terrible old ashtray smell that hits you like a sledge hammer. I tried to delicately (I thought I was polite) asking with "I hope you don't mind me asking, but I had a few items that really smelled very strongly of cold smoke and I couldn't get the smell out. I am not fanatic who hates smokers, but I have asthma, and if it smells strongly of smoke, I rather pass. Sorry for the intrusion, just thought I ask in advance. Have a nice day and good sales!"

Most of the replies were "How dare you?" ranging from how can I suggest they smoke (I wasn't) to "How dare you question my personal habits, they are none of your business" - is there any way I can put it even more politely? I don't want to offend, I don't want a ton of returns, I also don't want to be stuck with a stinking item that is useless. As an ex smoker, things don't stink to high heaven if you don't chain smoke and air, personally while I was still smoking, I only smoked in one room of the house and always with the window open as I hated the cold smoke. Have I breached (unknowingly) some code or something?
 

smallfry

My Sweet Angel
O.G.
Dec 18, 2005
7,527
3,193
USA
I had a couple of items where the smell of smoke was really in the fibers, especially with leather items, it is so difficult (next to impossible) to get out, not talking about the whiff of nicotine but that terrible old ashtray smell that hits you like a sledge hammer. I tried to delicately (I thought I was polite) asking with "I hope you don't mind me asking, but I had a few items that really smelled very strongly of cold smoke and I couldn't get the smell out. I am not fanatic who hates smokers, but I have asthma, and if it smells strongly of smoke, I rather pass. Sorry for the intrusion, just thought I ask in advance. Have a nice day and good sales!"

Most of the replies were "How dare you?" ranging from how can I suggest they smoke (I wasn't) to "How dare you question my personal habits, they are none of your business" - is there any way I can put it even more politely? I don't want to offend, I don't want a ton of returns, I also don't want to be stuck with a stinking item that is useless. As an ex smoker, things don't stink to high heaven if you don't chain smoke and air, personally while I was still smoking, I only smoked in one room of the house and always with the window open as I hated the cold smoke. Have I breached (unknowingly) some code or something?
I would not purchase from anyone who responded to your questions in that way! If they're offended by the question, they're probably smokers and their items do smell :biggrin: (no offense to tPF'ers who smoke!)

You could just ask if the item is being stored in a smoke free environment, because you are very sensitive to smoke.
 

so12monc

Member
Apr 25, 2019
311
211
New Hampshire
I don't think you've breached any code. It's your right as a buyer to know the condition of the item, just like tears or stains. I am sensitive to smoke as well. I would just ask if this is from a smoke free home & if there are any odors. If they don't answer or get cranky I wouldn't buy from them. That's their problem not yours!
 

Gabs007

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Feb 5, 2018
2,222
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I would not purchase from anyone who responded to your questions in that way! If they're offended by the question, they're probably smokers and their items do smell :biggrin: (no offense to tPF'ers who smoke!)

You could just ask if the item is being stored in a smoke free environment, because you are very sensitive to smoke.
Great idea, thank you, didn't think about that one
 
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Gabs007

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Feb 5, 2018
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I've been asked that and I'm never offended.
Some people were quite offended, it wasn't my intention to offend and I really don't care if they do smoke or not, as long as the item doesn't really have that cold nicotine smell. It wasn't as if I was accusing them of smocking crack or anything.
 

northerndancer

What, me worry?
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Dec 30, 2007
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Some people were quite offended, it wasn't my intention to offend and I really don't care if they do smoke or not, as long as the item doesn't really have that cold nicotine smell.
No offence should be taken if you ask if the bag is from a smoke-free (or pet-free) environment if one is concerned about lingering smells or allergies. I know what you mean about that "terrible old ashtray smell" but I'm not sure a smoker would be able to differentiate between that smell and a casual smoke smell so it is probably not worth asking.
 
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Gabs007

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Feb 5, 2018
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No offence should be taken if you ask if the bag is from a smoke-free (or pet-free) environment if one is concerned about lingering smells or allergies. I know what you mean about that "terrible old ashtray smell" but I'm not sure a smoker would be able to differentiate between that smell and a casual smoke smell so it is probably not worth asking.
I don't know, we have friends who smoke, but they never seem to reek of smoke, but sometimes if you are shopping somebody smells like they were taking a bath in an ashtray.

I get the pet allergies, but in all honesty, I tend to keep clothes in a clothes room, where the cat and dog are not allowed in, I get allergies, I seriously do, but I would assume that people do not use clothes they are selling as pet blankets and clean them before they send them off?
 
T

the_black_tie_diyer

On eBay Germany it's commonly and providently put in the description by many, and also relates to pets:

"Tierfreier, Nichtraucher Haushalt" translated: "Pet free, and non-smoking household"

I wouldn't take any offense if asked about it, because I didn't wrote it in my listings, back when I used eBay.

I've seen complaints/ negative feedback for a single hair (animal or not ...) People. :smile:

Kind regards,
Oliver
 

SWlife

For the love of beautiful things
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Oct 18, 2006
15,250
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I would be very short with the question- hi, is this item from a smoke-free, pet-free home? In my case, I wouldn’t mind the pet at all, but my question makes it less like I’m singling out one offense.
If someone gets their knickers in a knot over that question, then I’d rather do business elsewhere.
 
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Gabs007

Member
Feb 5, 2018
2,222
2,942
On eBay Germany it's commonly and providently put in the description by many, and also relates to pets:

"Tierfreier, Nichtraucher Haushalt" translated: "Pet free, and non-smoking household"

I wouldn't take any offense if asked about it, because I didn't wrote it in my listings, back when I used eBay.

I've seen complaints/ negative feedback for a single hair (animal or not ...) People. :smile:

Kind regards,
Oliver
I am not selling anything on eBay anymore, but yes, ages ago somebody sent me a stinking message because in the parcel tape (not anywhere near the item) there was one of my hairs, long hair bending forward while using parcel tape, parcel tape caught hair... I recently saw a funny one on German eBay (looked for a brand that is rare in the UK) "Ich habe eine Katze und falls Sie ein Haar finden, dürfen Sie es behalten" (Got a cat and if you find a hair, you can keep it) made me laugh, I looked at her feedback and indeed somebody had complained about a single cat hair.

The odd stray hair doesn't phase me at all, but I had items that were fury without actually being intended
 

Rockysmom

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May 24, 2008
1,408
1,189
I know that feeling of receiving a bag that smelled like old ashtray. So you have every right to ask and if a seller is offended or won’t answer then move on. Plenty of sellers who care about what they sell and will answer politely.
 
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alyssamay_xx

Member
Oct 26, 2020
127
57
I got a pair of shoes yesterday that smelled heavily of smoke :sick:
I told the seller that it wasn’t mentioned in her listing and she got so mad at me :tdown:

I think something like that should be mentioned in the listing :sad: