Maybe once or twice a year, for the last 5 years or more, my travels have taken me on a route past a 'junk' store, geographically sort of in the middle of nowhere. Hubby is never interested in stopping, and my work trips are always pinched for time. This week (spring break!) the kids and I took an overnight trip to a historic tourist destination, and I knew THIS would be the chance to check out the store. Today was the day! I was jazzed.
Oh. My. God.
The smell of years and years of cigarette smoke hit you the second you walked in the door. I'm not talking about one freshly butted-out cigarette. I mean it was like it was infused in every surface of every item in the store. One child visibly held their breath, the other one proclaimed loudly "it smells like CIGARETTES in here!" It was so overpowering that it distracted me from my mission. We did a quick loop and headed back out the door, while the owner -- laughing in that raspy, hacking way that smokers do -- was helping another customer. Even if I'd found something to buy, I don't think I could have bought it because it would have stunk up my car.
I was raised by smokers, who smoked in the house and car until we were teenagers, and until a dozen years ago, smoking in public places was legal...and common. You just got used to it drifting into the "non smoking" section.
But this was far, far worse than anything I remember. I wonder how many other customers they've lost because of the smoke smell...