#SensoryAssault at the Avalon Mall

…And we’re not talking about the holiday shopping crowd or even the people smoking in places that are specifically marked as non-smoking (though I consider that a sensory assault and a health hazard as well).

As with all malls, there are a large number of stores in the Avalon Mall, and three (or four) have been problematic, sensory-wise, until about a few months ago (when some were added, see below). Bath and Body Works – in the section between CIBC and Scotiabank, and the escalators; Saje – second floor between the cinema and Lawtons; and The Body Shop – across from Saje, all have very distinct and strong smells coming from them, that can be rather aggravating for anyone with hypersensitive smell, or a sensitivity to particular types of fragrances. As you probably know from other posts on my blog, I’m both. Sephora, as a makeup store, can also have problematic smells at times.

There have also been complaints about the new restaurant/entertainment section, The Rec Room, in terms of the light and noise, but I haven’t yet gone into that section, so can’t say anything from my own experience yet.

But now there’s a (sort of) new store, set right in the open area where the Santa Claus is, next to Laura Secord (of all things!), called Lush.

Lush has a wonderful reputation in their home country of Great Britain for being environmentally aware and focused on products that are healthy as well as beautiful – I made a new friend through doing NaNoWriMo this year who just immigrated from England, and she uses their products exclusively. There were a number of articles about their opening the store in the Avalon Mall.

Unfortunately, walking anywhere near the Lush store is a nightmare – I used the term sensory assault for good reason.

The smells from the store reach throughout the entire section that they’re in; when I’m anywhere in that section of the mall (including coming up to the escalators from either the ground floor (where they’re located) or the second floor, I can smell them – and the smell is overpowering. Even for someone who isn’t hypersensitive to odours, according to my new friend.

The smell reaches around the Laura Secord shop, the outside of the Coles and the Second Cup shop, the entirety of the open space where Santa is currently set up, overwhelms the smells from Sephora, and even makes the smells from Bath and Body Works (previously the second strongest smells in the mall, with Saje being the worst) seem not bad.

Every time I’m in that area of the mall (and I go to the Starbucks and/or the Second Cup there frequently; the Second Cup is in that area, and with the renovations you have to pass by Lush to get to the Starbucks if you’re taking the bus), I have to move around with my hand clasped over my mouth and nose, and that only helps alleviate the smell a bit. (It usually worked for Bath and Body Works and Sephora.) Walking into that space is literally like walking right into a stone wall made of smell.

I can bypass Saje – previously the worst offender – and The Body Shop by just going along the south side of the second floor with no issues. I could tolerate Bath and Body Works by going to the other side of the hall from the store and covering my nose as I was passing. But Lush is a problem, because none of those things works, and they’re right in a busy intersection (especially for those who come by bus at present).

Unfortunately, I have no idea what to do with these facts. I would love to scream at Lush Cosmetics for accessibility issues, but I don’t think that will do much for anyone, and likely won’t get me anywhere. The only thing I can think of to do at the moment is wear a nose-and-mouth mask whenever I’m in the area – and the only ones I have of those are the flimsy paper ones you can get in drug stores. They’re great for dealing with cleaning the litter box, but I suspect they’ll be near-useless for dealing with the sheer overwhelming strength of the smell from Lush.

Does anyone else have any suggestions?

Oh, and as an aside, happy International Day for Persons With Disabilities to all!


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