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Old 04-11-2015, 11:57 AM   #181
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When I moved to DC on 1980 I still smoked. One of my coworkers was an early anti smoking activist. She used to spray Lysol over my cubical divider. She was an expert of something or another and got invited to participate on the mgmt team in Union negotiations on that topic this was the proverbial smoke filled room. On the way in the chief negotiator saw the Lysol and said "you or the lysol but not both."
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Old 04-11-2015, 02:18 PM   #182
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We had a mechanical computing calculator ca. 1968. It was quite accurate and would produce results to several decimal places (not that the input supported using the added decimal places in every case.) Until it got boring, someone would inevitably force it to divide (for instance) 9961948237643 by 0.0000000034323 and then go get their morning coffee. By the time they got back, the machine was still cranking and folks were waiting in line to use the device. Big laugh (you had to be there.) One fine morning, someone (no doubt a leftie) cocked the machine sideways such that the mechanical carriage eventually struck the wall behind the heavy device. With appropriate graunching noises, it eventually shut down and would no longer work. Our boss was not amused as it cost a ton to get it fixed and we all went back to slide rules to make our calculations.

Shortly thereafter, we got our first real digital calculator. It was purchased outside our usual purchasing process, so we knew to the penny what it had cost our department. Can't recall the brand, but it cost $895 (in 1969 dollars). It would add, subtract, multiply and divide (as well as store one number for subsequent use.) I don't think it could do Sq. Rt.s but my memory is a bit fuzzy on that. The read out used Nixie tubes. It was very fast, but would not produce the number of sigfigs of the mechanical beast. Just as well. Trying to "distract" it with a ridiculous calculation was pointless as it was virtually instantaneous in it's response - very similar to today's calculators which you can purchase for as little as $0.50.

The laboratory in which I started my c@reer was located at a manufacturing site. The only other labs on site were for in-process testing to keep manufacturing running. We not only performed in-process and final testing, but did technical support and method development. Our staff was made up primarily of former manufacturing personnel who had been trained as technicians as well as folks such as myself who had recently graduated with BS degrees.

We had a mix of ancient equipment (an acid chewed "Spec 20", a corroded pH meter, "chain-matic" balances, in-house built gas chromatographs, etc.) as well as state of the art devices such as UV and IR spectrophotometers, specific ion meters, and Mettler balances (4 place). We soon added NMRs and state-of-the art GCs with a range of detectors (hot-wire, flame ionization, 63NI electron capture, etc.) But the lab itself was (literally) upstairs over a warehouse. The former function of the lab space was as a locker room. Exposed pipes overhead carried live steam and heaven knows what vile mixtures of chemicals - all on their way to or from the attached production building (which used to catch fire on a semi-regular basis.) Our precision balances didn't work very well when towmotor loads banged into the steel support posts underneath.

It was an interesting, if not illustrious beginning of a very long c@reer. I'm glad ALL of that is way behind me. But, at least I have some real good stories. YMMV
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Old 04-11-2015, 02:37 PM   #183
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I had to do a lot of presentations using transparencies in the 1980s. Afterwards, we used to wash the ink off in the sink and hang them up to dry, but not before making a photocopy of any material we might use again. One time I discovered I had used a permanent marker when the ink wouldn't wash off. They wouldn't give me any more transparencies so I had to buy my own, and they were quite expensive.
The company I worked for had a full time architect on staff, all he did was transfer presentations from paper to transparency for customer and executive presentations. A sort of human powerpoint In '84 I was transferred to our NY division HQ for a year and learned that presentations for the board or corporate executives were farmed to a outside business for $50 a chart. They spent more on charts than my salary that year.

I still have a set of Sharpie transparency markers in my office.
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Old 04-11-2015, 02:42 PM   #184
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Many mentioned the Fax machine in the early 80s. I remember now that we had to go to the "Communications" department to ask them to send a fax for us, and they charged our department for it. This was a mid-size plant with about 3000 employees. Yet, they had photocopy machines all over the place. Apparently the photographic process used by photocopying is a lot simpler than the scanner that is needed to digitize and rasterize a Fax original.
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Old 04-11-2015, 02:50 PM   #185
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snip..........
Shortly thereafter, we got our first real digital calculator. It was purchased outside our usual purchasing process, so we knew to the penny what it had cost our department. Can't recall the brand, but it cost $895 (in 1969 dollars). It would add, subtract, multiply and divide (as well as store one number for subsequent use.) I don't think it could do Sq. Rt.s but my memory is a bit fuzzy on that. The read out used Nixie tubes. It was very fast, but would not produce the number of sigfigs of the mechanical beast. Just as well. Trying to "distract" it with a ridiculous calculation was pointless as it was virtually instantaneous in it's response - very similar to today's calculators which you can purchase for as little as $0.50.
.....snip YMMV
The serious early electronic calculators, HP, TI, then there was Rockwell with the radio commercial jungle " You can't go wrong with Rockwell, they really can't be beat , they have big green numbers, and little rubber feet"
I know someone who worked at the warranty service center at the time. They had droves of 55 gallon barrels full of defective calculators , the ones that really could be beat ! He told me save up a little more and get a TI or a lot more and get an HP.
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Old 04-11-2015, 03:08 PM   #186
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Amen!
I was a heavy smoker when young, and after I quit, (decades ago), I was absolutely mystified at how my nonsmoking friends had been able to put up with me. I asked them, and they just said "It was so common that we had no choice but to deal with it." Good people.
My poor wife suffered with me for 20+ years before I quit. But I still remember when we were first dating, she occasionally started up a cigarette for me, although she never smoked.

I remember now I started to go outside to smoke when I had my firstborn. We were married for 6 years then.
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1977
Old 04-11-2015, 05:33 PM   #187
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1977

1977 in engineering. One phone for 4 desks (was on a swinging arm), almost everyone smoked, ashtrays on almost all desks. IBM cards submitted to run programs. One secretary for 30 people to type reports and distribute them. Presentations with heatslides (also called viewfoils) on overhead projector. IBM selectric typewriters used to create presentations. In test areas still had a few mercury tubes for low pressure measurements.
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Old 04-11-2015, 05:38 PM   #188
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He told me save up a little more and get a TI or a lot more and get an HP.
Heh, heh. Yup. I used to carry an HP25 on my belt. I think it cost $800 or so - charged to Megacorp. It was amazing compared to anything else - once you mastered "reverse Polish" (hope that's not racist or something.) Those of you who used TIs and then migrated to HPs will know what I'm talking about.

I looked like a geek with my calculator, but we had a true geek who wore his HP home every day. One time, we were having a party at a local watering hole and someone asked Mr. Geek a question (totally unrelated to w*rk.) Mr. Geek whipped out his calculator and showed them the answer.

Ah, yes, the old FAX machines. The rare FAX we sent or received was on our one unit, located in the ADMIN bldg. It served 2000 people (really closer to 250 of us who didn't actually "w*rk" for a living.)

Pocket protectors - such standard equipment that the company actually provided a generic (non-advertising) version. It was to protect the white (not blue or striped or anything else) shirt we wore - with a tie.

Arm chairs. When I began in the late 60's, the corporate standard desk chair for entry level empl*yees had no arms. Once promoted to the first rung of the "corporate" ladder, a chair with arms was ordered and the old chair was retired to the next "newbie."

Years later, I was on an elevator at the Corp. headquarters ca: 1985. A young woman got on my elevator and stood waiting for the doors to open at her floor. Some management types behind me commented on her white stockings (rather than corporate flesh-tone).

At plant sites (not Corporate), most of the Corporate standards were eventually relaxed or done away with completely - often at times of plant-site or Corporate crisis. This all happened for my plant site in the mid seventies when our largest money-making product was threatened with governmental whim (well, that's the way we looked at it at the time.) We w*rked any hours we wanted (typically 12 to 14 hours, 6 or 7 days a week), wore what we wanted and dispensed with the typical Corp. bs reports and rigamarole. By the time we "saved the day" (literally) we could never go back. But it was a shock to go to Corp. and have to wear a coat and tie for a meeting or just a shirt and tie to "visit" another department. Don't miss those days, either. Retirement from such silliness is kind of like beating your head against a wall so it will feel good when you stop. Of course, YMMV.
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Old 04-12-2015, 02:21 AM   #189
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Heh, heh. Yup. I used to carry an HP25 on my belt. I think it cost $800 or so - charged to Megacorp. It was amazing compared to anything else - once you mastered "reverse Polish" (hope that's not racist or something.) Those of you who used TIs and then migrated to HPs will know what I'm talking about.
We have two old HP 12Cs here and know what you mean. Didn't take too long to get used to them. Just wish I had them in college. They're still going strong.
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Old 04-12-2015, 02:54 AM   #190
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I had an HP41C in college. Loved that beast.

You can buy a simulation app for it now.
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Old 04-12-2015, 12:42 PM   #191
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I mentioned smoking in the workplace in my earlier post and how that evolved over time - When my company moved in 1991, our new office building (WTC Tower 7) had no smoking. That was a godsend for me because I had some smokers in the old building after I switched divisions in 1989. The department head, a smoker himself, gave me his table fan for me to put on the top of my cabinets to keep the smoke away after I got switched to another desk a few months before we moved to the smoke-free building.


Another huge bit of happiness was when the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) banned smoking on its trains in 1988. Before that, the LIRR had smoking cars in one or two of its cars depending on total train length. While there signs printed on the outside of the smoking cars, the presence of these gas chambers sometimes forced me to stand inside a crowded N/S car instead of sitting in a gas chamber. Another downside of the smoking cars was that I sometimes had to walk through them to get to my desired N/S car when some of the cars did not reach a short platform. I would take a deep breath before entering the car and try to walk quickly through the car before I got to the other end. Sometimes I made it, sometimes I didn't (if I was walking behind a slow-ass passenger). When I didn't, that first breath while still inside the smoking car was really awful.


I was able to avoid the smoking areas on airplanes when I flew in the 1970s and 1980s before smoking got banned on most domestic US commercial flights in 1990. But one time, I accepted $20 ("the easiest $20 I'd ever make," he told me) to switch seats with a businessman who wanted to switch seats with me so he could be with his business partner. There were 2 problems with that - my new seat was the last row of the NS rows so I had smoke drifting from the smoking rows to mine. The second was that my new seatmate was a horrible obese man whose large midsection hung over the armrest and kept me from sitting comfortably for the long flight. I later went to my old seat and told both men, "This is NOT the easiest $20 I'd ever make!"


At my original work place on my 23rd birthday in 1986, a smoker tried to sneak a lit cigarette onto an elevator with me and about 10 other people, none of which I knew. I refused to allow the elevator door close until the offender either put the cigarette out or left the elevator. Nobody came to my aid, including some old man who kinda watched over things in the lobby after I yelled out, "Security!" The other riders were yelling at ME, not the smoker, for delaying the elevator's departure. Then everyone else left the elevator, including one passenger who told the smoker, "Stay on the elevator with him (me)!" Both men left the elevator and I had a quiet, peaceful, and smoke-free ride to my floor. Nice way to start my 23rd birthday, huh? I wish I had thought of notifying my office's HR so they could report the behavior of the lobby man (who was a smoker himself) and get him into some trouble he so richly deserved.


In college in the early 1980s, I had to pester my dorm's management to get them to post "No Smoking" signs in the elevators, as many dorm residents often sneaked lit cigarettes into elevators. I also got the dorm management to create a separate non-smoking area in the cafeteria's seating area. It wasn't full enclosed or separately ventilated but it was the best they could do.


On Long Island, its two counties (Nassau, where I lived when not in college in Manhattan, and Suffolk) had different non-smoking laws, with Suffolk being a bit stronger at the time. Having lived near the border between the counties, we often went out to eat in Suffolk to avoid encountering smokers sitting near us.


In the 1990s, when both counties and New York State were considering and passing stronger anti-smoking laws, I frequently wrote my elected leaders in Nassau and NYS to urge them to pass strong, loophole-free laws to stamp out smoking in places such as restaurants, movie theaters (another lousy place for smoke-free air), workplaces, and pool halls. These laws got passed so my fellow non-smokers and I can now eat out, go to movies, and shoot pool without any fear of having our lungs subjected to the awful air of smokers.
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Old 04-12-2015, 01:42 PM   #192
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I mentioned smoking in the workplace in my earlier post and how that evolved over time - When my company moved in 1991, our new office building (WTC Tower 7) had no smoking. That was a godsend for me because I had some smokers in the old building after I switched divisions in 1989. The department head, a smoker himself, gave me his table fan for me to put on the top of my cabinets to keep the smoke away after I got switched to another desk a few months before we moved to the smoke-free building.


Another huge bit of happiness was when the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) banned smoking on its trains in 1988. Before that, the LIRR had smoking cars in one or two of its cars depending on total train length. While there signs printed on the outside of the smoking cars, the presence of these gas chambers sometimes forced me to stand inside a crowded N/S car instead of sitting in a gas chamber. Another downside of the smoking cars was that I sometimes had to walk through them to get to my desired N/S car when some of the cars did not reach a short platform. I would take a deep breath before entering the car and try to walk quickly through the car before I got to the other end. Sometimes I made it, sometimes I didn't (if I was walking behind a slow-ass passenger). When I didn't, that first breath while still inside the smoking car was really awful.


I was able to avoid the smoking areas on airplanes when I flew in the 1970s and 1980s before smoking got banned on most domestic US commercial flights in 1990. But one time, I accepted $20 ("the easiest $20 I'd ever make," he told me) to switch seats with a businessman who wanted to switch seats with me so he could be with his business partner. There were 2 problems with that - my new seat was the last row of the NS rows so I had smoke drifting from the smoking rows to mine. The second was that my new seatmate was a horrible obese man whose large midsection hung over the armrest and kept me from sitting comfortably for the long flight. I later went to my old seat and told both men, "This is NOT the easiest $20 I'd ever make!"


At my original work place on my 23rd birthday in 1986, a smoker tried to sneak a lit cigarette onto an elevator with me and about 10 other people, none of which I knew. I refused to allow the elevator door close until the offender either put the cigarette out or left the elevator. Nobody came to my aid, including some old man who kinda watched over things in the lobby after I yelled out, "Security!" The other riders were yelling at ME, not the smoker, for delaying the elevator's departure. Then everyone else left the elevator, including one passenger who told the smoker, "Stay on the elevator with him (me)!" Both men left the elevator and I had a quiet, peaceful, and smoke-free ride to my floor. Nice way to start my 23rd birthday, huh? I wish I had thought of notifying my office's HR so they could report the behavior of the lobby man (who was a smoker himself) and get him into some trouble he so richly deserved.


In college in the early 1980s, I had to pester my dorm's management to get them to post "No Smoking" signs in the elevators, as many dorm residents often sneaked lit cigarettes into elevators. I also got the dorm management to create a separate non-smoking area in the cafeteria's seating area. It wasn't full enclosed or separately ventilated but it was the best they could do.


On Long Island, its two counties (Nassau, where I lived when not in college in Manhattan, and Suffolk) had different non-smoking laws, with Suffolk being a bit stronger at the time. Having lived near the border between the counties, we often went out to eat in Suffolk to avoid encountering smokers sitting near us.


In the 1990s, when both counties and New York State were considering and passing stronger anti-smoking laws, I frequently wrote my elected leaders in Nassau and NYS to urge them to pass strong, loophole-free laws to stamp out smoking in places such as restaurants, movie theaters (another lousy place for smoke-free air), workplaces, and pool halls. These laws got passed so my fellow non-smokers and I can now eat out, go to movies, and shoot pool without any fear of having our lungs subjected to the awful air of smokers.
I take it you don't like smoking.

How do you remember all this stuff? Do you keep a diary?
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Old 04-12-2015, 02:04 PM   #193
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I take it you don't like smoking.

How do you remember all this stuff? Do you keep a diary?
I despise smoking. And smokers.

I have told these stores to many people over the years so that helps me remember them all. Here's another one.

Similar to the elevator story on my 23rd birthday, about a year earlier, on another special day, I had another run-in with a smoker just a few minutes after finishing my last final exam as a college student.

I went to an office building near where I had finished that last final exam to speak with a professor and was waiting in the lobby for an elevator. There was a woman pacing around near the elevators, too, but she was smoking a cigarette. I always took careful notice of a smoker waiting with me for an elevator to see what he or she would do once the elevator door opened.

The door opened and she entered first but did not put out the cigarette. I stood in the doorway and would not allow the door to close. I said to the lady, "Please put out the cigarette." She gave me an angry look but did not leave the elevator or put out the cigarette. I repeated my request and she did not do anything differently. I yelled out, "Security! Security!" and a security guard seated at a nearby desk walked over. I said to him while pointing at the smoker, "She's smoking in the elevator." He pointed at her motioned to her to leave the elevator. She gave me another angry look and left the elevator. I let the door close and proceeded to my destination.

Too bad this tactic did not work nearly a year later, leaving me on my own to fend off a smoker and the other riders who all amazingly chose to leave the elevator instead of joining me in demanding that the smoker put out his cigarette so I would let the door close and the elevator start moving. BTW my other hand, the one not pressing the "Door Open" button was hidden in a clenched fist prepared to defend myself if anyone tried to attack me.

What is it with smokers who think they are entitled to smoke in elevators, something which has been illegal (and dangerous and rude) for many years before the 1980s? Even when called on their rude and illegal actions, they all too often refused to do anything differently.
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Old 04-12-2015, 02:45 PM   #194
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The only time I recall confronting a smoker was when some dipstick started to fuel his car with a lit cigarette in his mouth...
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Old 04-12-2015, 03:34 PM   #195
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On my first transatlantic flight (1980) I was seated about two thirds of the way back, next to the window. The passenger immediately in front of me lit up as soon as the no smoking sign was turned off. I stood up and said "excuse me, but this is a nonsmoking section". She quit. Had she caused a fuss, I had every intention of notifying a crew member.

Flying with smokers, especially long haul, was pure misery. I remember the business class seats would have two rows of nonsmoking and two rows of smoking. One time I got a nonsmoking seat in row 5 - totally useless! I was inhaling second hand smoke throughout the journey.

Flight attendants were strong supporters of nonsmoking policies because the smoke would accumulate in the upper part of the cabin, where they inhaled it while walking about the cabin in the course of their work.

I was very glad to see smoking prohibited on airlines and ultimately in all public places.
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Old 04-12-2015, 03:41 PM   #196
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On my first transatlantic flight (1980) I was seated about two thirds of the way back, next to the window. The passenger immediately in front of me lit up as soon as the no smoking sign was turned off. I stood up and said "excuse me, but this is a nonsmoking section". She quit. Had she caused a fuss, I had every intention of notifying a crew member.

Flying with smokers, especially long haul, was pure misery. I remember the business class seats would have two rows of nonsmoking and two rows of smoking. One time I got a nonsmoking seat in row 5 - totally useless! I was inhaling second hand smoke throughout the journey.

Flight attendants were strong supporters of nonsmoking policies because the smoke would accumulate in the upper part of the cabin, where they inhaled it while walking about the cabin in the course of their work.

I was very glad to see smoking prohibited on airlines and ultimately in all public places.
Even when I smoked, I usually didn't on flights because the air was already so bad. On one flight from Madrid to Miami the smoking was so bad the captain declared the flight "smoke free" for the remainder, saying the smoke overwhelmed the air circulation system. Most of the passengers applauded.
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Old 04-12-2015, 03:59 PM   #197
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With all the discussion about smoking, I seem to recall that a few non-smokers claimed not to be bothered by smoke. Hard to believe, but that's what they said.

Nowadays, many people are trying to get everyone to cease wearing "scented products" (perfume, cologne, scented body lotion) to work. Perfume - even strong perfume - has never bothered me, and I was surprised when a cow-orker confronted me saying my scented product was giving her a terrible headache. I had dabbed on a little perfume after my shower and thought it was long gone. At first I resented her complaint; and then I thought, "Well, what if it's doing to her what cigarette smoke does to me?"

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Old 04-12-2015, 04:21 PM   #198
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I guess part of the reason I'm wondering these things is what could I do if I were to switch careers from my high stress 24x7 IT management position to something else that allows me to leave work at work after 5pm and on the weekends. I guess I'm just feeling nostalgic and imagining a simpler life of the yester years.
This thread has certainly brought out a lot of nostalgic thoughts about 'what it was like back in the day' and I don't really have much to add to the office side of the discussion as my feet were firmly planted on the production floor for most my career. But the last part of the OP's question, quoted above has me wondering if there is such a job available these days, at least for a job of any professional capacity? It would seem that work which commands higher pay is typically more demanding of specific skill sets that are not easily sourced from the general population, making them more likely to have some form of on-call responsibility. If not on-call or oddball shifts (think medical or skilled trades), then it could be long hours and travel (legal, upper manglement), or any combination of the above. Where might one find higher than average pay in a leave it all behind at quitting time job where one still utilizes professional skills?
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Old 04-12-2015, 04:28 PM   #199
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Where might one find higher than average pay in a leave it all behind at quitting time job where one still utilizes professional skills?
Maybe in government jobs?

Certainly not in the private sector these days, as profit is essential to staying in business.
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Old 04-12-2015, 04:42 PM   #200
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Nowadays, many people are trying to get everyone to cease wearing "scented products" (perfume, cologne, scented body lotion) to work.
Not sure if it's still in force, but a number of years ago the city of Halifax passed a law against wearing any strongly scented products. Last time I was there, I noticed signs to that effect in a couple of buildings downtown.
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