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WWYD in realation to work colleague's poor hygiene

(53 Posts)
scuzy Mon 29-Aug-11 14:23:05

i am not great with confrontation but if something doesnt happen I am going to have to approach management but have no idea how or what to say

someone who sits near me in work (constantly wheels over on chair with questions) has the most vile smelling teeth/breath. he smoke (as do I) but its a smell of plaque on teeth. they are awful. so much so that once he left my desk before lunch i hung out the window as could feel myself heaving. someone came over and said they knew why i was doing it and laughed it off saying "if i ever smell like that please tell me".

its unfair on others that have to sit around him/converse with him.

wwyd? approaching him myself is not an option as what the hell do i say???

zookeeper Mon 29-Aug-11 14:24:27

pot and kettle?

scuzy Mon 29-Aug-11 14:24:43

and it is strong very strong. i dont have a weak stomach ... give me dirty nappies, cow sh*t, gone off cheese any day of the week over this.

<throws up a little in mouth even thinking about it>

scuzy Mon 29-Aug-11 14:24:56

pot and kettle????

scuzy Mon 29-Aug-11 14:25:35

can you please elaborate?????

zookeeper Mon 29-Aug-11 14:26:48

well the smell of smoking on your breath may well be be pretty abhorrent to your colleagues too

scuzy Mon 29-Aug-11 14:28:58

right guess was expecting the non smoker brigade to come out on this thread.

but my teeth are not like that! i brush mine, floss even have toothbrush/toothpaste in bag that i use after my lunch.

his is vile and i will have to ask to be moved if something isnt dont. was asking for advice or if anyone has had this experience of someone with poor hygiene?

zookeeper Mon 29-Aug-11 14:31:09

sorry Scuzy. I realise that sounds aggressive; it was the first thought that came to my head when I read your post - I had the same problem with a smoker and it really made me feel ill but fortunately she left because i would never dared say anything. Approach HR?

SquongebobSparepants Mon 29-Aug-11 14:32:21

It's a hard one. I used to work with someone who smelt like piss. We have no clue why.
One day a newbie came in and announced they could smell piss, cue us all looking shifty and muttering something about not knowing where it comes from. The next day she smelt better.

Do you have the same line manager? Are the approachable?

zookeeper Mon 29-Aug-11 14:32:27

lol at non smoker brigade - you will just smell like a smoker who's brushed her teeth - i wouldn't be under any illusions.

Hope you sort it out

Tiredmumno1 Mon 29-Aug-11 14:34:03

Could someone in a managerial position have a word?

Failing that a bowl of mints on the desk in the hope he will take one every now and then

BBwannaB Mon 29-Aug-11 14:34:05

Could you keep a large pot of mints/gum on your desk and offer it throughout the day? Maybe he would get the hint?

treas Mon 29-Aug-11 14:35:42

It's a job for HR or your boss.

scuzy Mon 29-Aug-11 14:35:54

no we dont have the same line manager. and i doubt it will be taken seriously as further down the office there was a lady who had a drink problem and would smell like wee most days. she was approached by supervisors and management but nothing has changed.

i'm not a heavy smoker and i realise its impossible to hide smell of smoke - i am under no illusions thanks!

scuzy Mon 29-Aug-11 14:36:48

oh ladies am afraid to say its beyond mints. you can SEE the layers of plaque on this teeth!!!

Tchootnika Mon 29-Aug-11 14:39:26

Wince n mints? (Both as ostentatious as possible)

EricNorthmansMistressOfPotions Mon 29-Aug-11 14:40:15

Smokers' breath can be rank (I used to be one) but then there is proper bad breath due to gum disease or some other health issue. Someone who suffers with this needs to both see a doctor/dentist and chew lots of gum/eat mints when around people. It's basic manners. I think you need to speak to HR, or (cowardly) anonymous note?

Tiredmumno1 Mon 29-Aug-11 14:40:18

Buy him a toothbrush and toothpaste for xmas grin

Or has anyone else got the balls to say anything?

Last option is to get moved or quit, or whenever he comes to talk to you either back away a bit, or say i need the loo and run away grin

ticklebumpkin Mon 29-Aug-11 14:40:24

Not sure why the way you smell is being called into question op! I've worked with plenty of smokers who don't smell bad at all. I feel for you as I once had a colleague who smelled so bad that in the winter, when the heating was up and exacerbated the smell I used to spend the entire day feeling I'll and would throw up on the train on the way home as a result sad I used to have to take a flask of peppermint tea with me to work to settle my stomach! I ended up leaving, though not just because of him.

Have you got a decent line manager or h r person you can speak to about it?

MadamDeathstare Mon 29-Aug-11 14:42:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

defrocked Mon 29-Aug-11 14:43:58

*right guess was expecting the non smoker brigade to come out on this thread.
but my teeth are not like that!*

lol no smoker admits to ponging

but they all bloody well do grin

if you came to my desk after having a fag, i would have to discreetly cover my nose, its minging

MadamDeathstare Mon 29-Aug-11 14:45:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SquongebobSparepants Mon 29-Aug-11 14:56:37

I smoke. I can't smoke on work premises but I do smoke on the way in.
I went on a night out with workmates, people I spent a lot of time in close proximity to. When I lit up they were all gobsmacked. NONE of them knew I smoked.
SO not all smokers smell. tenuous fact.

scuzy Mon 29-Aug-11 15:02:18

thanks guys for the advice. jeez i dont think i'd have the balls to leave a toothbrush on his deak (though dont think thats nice) or speak to him directly. am going to speak to his line manager and see what he says. he's a nice guy. am afriad to be so official with it. what a horrible job to have to say things like that to workers .... i dont envy HR.

and folks this aint a smokers vs non smokers post. i swear no amount of cigarette smoke comes close to this.

defrocked if you had onion in your lunch or an egg salad or red bull i'd gag if you came to my desk too!!

but there is a difference between those smells and a definite as one poster pointed out dental gum disease smell rotting teeth smell. its rank!!

TalesOfTheUnexpected Mon 29-Aug-11 15:40:06

Totally agree that it is HR's problem to deal with. Raise your issues with them and see what they do.

I don't mind smokers tbh, but if it's gone to the level of digusting smells you describe, that's another matter!

I used to work in an office with a woman that had that Fish Odour Syndrome thing (although I know that was the cause now, this was 20 years ago, before the syndrome was known). Some days she was ok. Other days, we had to open windows. Work colleagues left mints, toothbrushes, soap on her desk. It was awful. It was rank body odour and breath.

It could be something like that, that this person has no control over. I thought for years that my colleague was a dirty cow. Turns out she had a syndrome she had no control over. She had excellent hygiene. She wore good and clean clothes. She just STANK! through no fault of her own.

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