Picking up a gift for an upcoming baby shower, The Fella and I spent an hour wandering the aisles of the local megastore (where the expectant parents registered), alternately cooing at tiny socks and cursing the shop’s Byzantine organizational system. [Author’s note: I just wrote and cut, wrote and cut, wrote and cut some descriptions of the difficulties posed by just trying to buy the specified goddamned adorable towels and socks. You can well imagine.]
As we walked up and down and all around the aisles, I had ample time to notice the wafting fragrance of Fresh New Baby throughout the store, which I assumed came from some of the baby-care goods: salves and powders and unguents. Absently, I noted that the scent came in waves: sometimes subtle, sometimes strong, sometimes unpleasantly potent.
And then I looked up.
The megastore has large vents for air circulation. The vents pump air through the warehouse-sized space.
And anytime we stood under a vent, the baby smell became very strong indeed — oppressively so, even. As we moved away from a vent, the scent diminished, then began to grow again as we approached another ceiling vent.
I’ve done a little cursory online searching with no corroborating result, but I’m reasonably sure that my conclusion is correct: the baby megastore pumps the air full of artificial baby smell.
If any readers have occasion to visit their local baby megastore, I’d love some independent verification on this.