Why Does This Bus Stop Smell Like Cookies?

At last, bus shelters will have a pleasant smell. Or so says the California Milk Processor Board, which plans to embed the alluring scent of cookies into outdoor milk ads in San Francisco. Commuters would take a whiff and, in theory, scamper off to buy some milk. And damn my sinuses if this sort of thing isn’t becoming commonplace. The San Francisco Gate mentions “marketing blitzes” such as “the ‘new car’ aroma at auto dealerships, ‘fresh-brewed coffee’ smells in convenience stores and ‘rose scents’ for florists,” none of which has yet met my persnickety olfaction. Which might be for the best. In the article, a University of Washington professor says that for asthmatics and others sensitive to chemical products, “this is a serious health issue.” Welcome to San Francisco, where even death is scented. Nevertheless, I like the smell of cookies, and for once I think the majority shares my opinion. So carry on, milk board, and if you focus your next media blitz on public restrooms, don’t let the lactose intolerant catch wind of it. UPDATE: San Francisco has ordered this campaign immediately discontinued, after activists complained that the lovely cookie smell could trigger asthma attacks and allergic reactions in people who are scent sensitive. For now, it’s back to urine only.