Teens are mad about the store's policy of spraying itself silly with a signature scent, called "Fierce." Is scenting public places ethical?
There was a big stink over at Abercrombie and Fitch yesterday, when a bunch of teenagers from Teens Turning Green, an activist group concerned about cosmetics safety, stormed an AF in San Francisco. Their beef? The store's policy of spraying shops with a signature perfume that is branded and—as anyone who has ever been to an Abercrombie can attest—intense.
Now, we've talked about the ethics of scent-marketing before on this site, and it's generated some debate, and even a counter-argument. At issue are two main things. First, the question about subjecting people to smells that affect their feelings and behavior without their knowing it. Maybe it's no big deal, or maybe it is—there are good arguments on both sides. Second, and perhaps more compelling, is the idea that perfumes are cocktails of mystery chemicals protected under trade secret laws that can be allergens, hormone disruptors, or worse.
According to the Teens, they were responding to complaints from employees at AF who, obviously, have it way worse than the rest of us because their job requires them to inhale the stuff all day long. According to Lemondrop, a former AF employee said: "They made us spray the signature scents every 20 minutes like clockwork, so the store always smells. Most stores even have scent sprayers in the ceiling. After a while, you start to get dizzy."
The protest yesterday resulted in the store closing and the police being called.
Civil disobedience aside, I think this scent marketing stuff is going to only get more heated. What's your take?
Image via NBC