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View Full Version : Very weird experience yesterday



Mark Bolton
03-28-2009, 10:22 AM
I will start by saying that I can am only guessing here, but my guess relates this to tools so thought it was on topic, and I dont mean this to have anything to to with Tractor Supply...

Yesterday we were in TS looking at/for some things. I had been in there about 15-20 minutes in the back where the tools/trailer parts/and so on were (looking at Warn winches) when the tip of my tongue started to get numb/tingly. Kind of felt like I had burned it on some hot soup. A minute or two and my lips started to tingle. Had a weird taste in my mouth, kind of metal like. Then hit a wave of nausea/jittery feeling, little bit woozy/dizzy. Just weird. When we walked in the same smell as HF (grease/iron/shipping) was so strong in the store it almost knocked you over. Hit you like a brick wall. Like perhaps they just unloaded a fresh container. It was thick, and I mean thick in the air. So thick you could almost feel it in your eyes if you know what I mean. My wife thought she may have had the slight metal taste but wasnt sure and none of the other stuff.

We were just in for a quick look anyway, so headed back to the car and sat for a minute or two. Within about 30 minutes I felt fine. Was really weird.

I wondered if perhaps I had handled some tools and then rubbed my mouth or if perhaps I just have an aversion to overwhelming amounts of that in the air. Being a TS I would also have to wonder about all the other "stuff" in those places, weed killer, pesticides, and so on but am frequently in farm/feed stores and never had a problem. Have no way of knowing if a bag/bucket of something could have busted.

That HF smell was so thick its what had me thinking it was the culprit but who knows.

Mark

Eric Roberge
03-28-2009, 10:26 AM
Like an Alfred Hitchcock thing:eek:

Glad you're feeling better!

Don Abele
03-28-2009, 10:34 AM
Mark, what you are describing definitely sounds like an allergic reaction. I'm glad it cleared for without need for medical intervention. All too often, reactions like that continue to worsen until they shut off a persons airway. That's usually when they finally make the decision (go figure) to seem medical help.

Had you ever been in this store before? Were you hit with the same "wall" of smell? If the answers are yes and no, respectively, then something was definitely amiss and they should be looking into it.

I would recommend you contact the store and let them know. If others report similar reactions, it may prompt them to investigate the source and prevent this from happening to others (before someone gets really hurt).

Be well,

Doc

Mark Bolton
03-28-2009, 10:55 AM
Don,
Yes, I have been in that same store dozens of times but never had anything like this and no I have never hit the "HF wall" in there before thats why it was so noticeable to me. Like I say, I just chalked it up to a fresh shipment landing. It probably wouldnt have registered if I were in a HF where it would be expected. I have to say, this was even worse than the couple times I have been in a HF. I would liken it to what it may be like inside one of the sealed shipping containers full of the stuff. I did mention it to one of the guys on the floor as to how overwhelming it was.

Thinking of the shipping/grease/HF smell got me thinking of something like the cosmoline and really wondered if I had rubbed my face/mouth after handling some parts. Looking at it logically though, so many here clean pounds and pounds of that stuff, handle and have this stuff in their shop(s), it surely would have come up.

That was the only thing I noted different from any other time I had been there but it could well have been something else. The chronology had me pretty confident it was an in store thing. Oddly I had just come from getting my DOT physical several hours earlier, had an hour drive to the store, nothing to eat or drink prior,.... Will give them a ring just to let them know.

Mark






Mark, what you are describing definitely sounds like an allergic reaction. I'm glad it cleared for without need for medical intervention. All too often, reactions like that continue to worsen until they shut off a persons airway. That's usually when they finally make the decision (go figure) to seem medical help.

Had you ever been in this store before? Were you hit with the same "wall" of smell? If the answers are yes and no, respectively, then something was definitely amiss and they should be looking into it.

I would recommend you contact the store and let them know. If others report similar reactions, it may prompt them to investigate the source and prevent this from happening to others (before someone gets really hurt).

Be well,

Doc

Brad Townsend
03-28-2009, 11:19 AM
We could have a new condition for the medical journals called "Harbor Freight Syndrome".

And I apologize for making a tasteless joke of your experience, as it could have been serious and am glad you got the heck out of there and are okay. Recent news reports of imported drywall from China giving off gases strong enough to corrode copper plumbing and wiring makes one frightened for the very air we breath.

I currently serve on a library board of trustees in the midst of constructing a new building. One of the things we are striving for is LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) as a "green" building. One of the requirements specifies that after the building is finished, it will sit empty for a full 34 days with the air handlers running to flush out any harmful vapors from new building materials. It seemed excessively cautious, but maybe not after all?

Mark Bolton
03-28-2009, 11:33 AM
It seemed excessively cautious, but maybe not after all?

Brad,
I dont think its excessively cautious by any means. Until the standards and QC from imported goods can truly be verified any precautions would likely be well founded.

I tend to downplay this thinking I just had a high sensitivity to something however there may well be someone with an even higher sensitivity.

Mark

James White
03-28-2009, 11:58 AM
I was once told that the "HF smell" is the the off gassing of the tires. I know that TSC has lots of tires.

James

Mark Bolton
03-28-2009, 12:10 PM
I was once told that the "HF smell" is the the off gassing of the tires. I know that TSC has lots of tires.

James

That seems odd as I have been in many tire warehouses and never smelled the HF smell. While I can imagine there may be tires in the same containers as iron tools it would seem they would have to include a lot to saturate the wood, cardboard, and paper(manuals), that come with the iron tools.

I had always thought the smell was a combination of grease/cosmoline, shipping container, and whatever a chinese factory smells like.

Its a smell unique to these tools/stuff. I dont smell it in many other warehouses.

Mark

Steve Rozmiarek
03-28-2009, 12:29 PM
Mark, having never even been in a Tractor Supply, maybe you could help out with what ag or lawn care chemicals they might carry? Most of those have a very distinct, potent smell, and if someone broke a liquid continer, it would easily fill a normal sized store with a wall of stink. I'd imagine that they have the ususal 2-4,D's, Roundup products, and some fertilizer. I doubt that those would affect you, but there are some others that may. Especially some of the insecticides. It is also possible that you breathed some dry fertilizer dust, which tastes like iron to me, and like Doc said, you had an alergic reaction to it.

To be clear though, MOST farm and lawn chemicals, according to the DEQ, are less toxic then table salt, but certainly not all. I pointed out the insecticides, the older formulations of those are getting less use by ag, as there are better, safer products now. I doubt a store would allow any of those products into their building, but I've never been in Tractor Supply.

David DeCristoforo
03-28-2009, 1:54 PM
"... the "HF smell"..... "

That sounds yucky. This is making my very glad I have never been in a Harbor Freight store.

Carlos Alden
03-28-2009, 2:41 PM
Mark - sorry you're having what seems to be an allergic reaction to something.

I lived in Northern China in 1986. The sole source of heat was from coal stoves (except our apartment and the school classrooms, which as steam heat, when it worked right...) and coal smoke was omnipresent for about four months. Coal was used to fire boilers as well as being burned in little indoor stoves and outdoor stoves. When I smell coal smoke now it instantly takes me back and is a very nostalgic smell for me.

Tool connection: When I walk into a HF store that smell jumps right out at me. I don't know if it's a petroleum product used in production that smells like coal or if it's from factories running coal heat or using coal for other things, but it's there, and it's likewise nostalgic. A few years ago I bought a Craftsman benchtop drill press, and when I first opened the top to change the speed I was hit full force with memories of sitting in my apartment with good friends, great food, and Chinese beer. Amazing how the mind works.

Carlos

Pete Bradley
03-28-2009, 2:48 PM
I think you should get checked out by a doctor pronto. Most likely it was just a reaction to something in the store, but some of what you're describing could be associated with a stroke. A buddy of mine had some symptoms that went away, didn't see a doctor, and had a major stroke 6 weeks later. Turns out he had a blood condition he'd never known about, and it will be years if ever before he can talk normally again.

Pete

Mark Bolton
03-28-2009, 9:01 PM
Mark, having never even been in a Tractor Supply, maybe you could help out with what ag or lawn care chemicals they might carry?

Steve,
They carry many of the standard farm supplies. Of course lawn related items but also things like Crossbow and other more AG related items. The list would be too long but basically many of the things you would find in your local farm feed store.

I am not one to push something unless I know for a fact. I am a fact/fiction guy. But my gut has me feeling I may have touched my face after handling some parts. Like I said, it was real thick. It was that distinct smell times a factor of 10.

Whats odd is I was looking at winches and the guy on the floor showed me a pallet of winches on sale that were "ramen noodle" winches. I dont like to buy that stuff but picked up a box of each model (3) and read them before moving over to the Warn winches which were caged. This was about when this started.

If I were to wager an honest guess I think I may have just had a sensitivity to something I touched. I am not a very "fussy" guy with this sort of stuff. (unfortunately) I have been around all sorts of chemicals, solvents, and bad stuff, in my life but never had a problem.

Without facts, I cant even say it was something in the store for sure. I feel I have to be honest about that.

Still weird,
Mark

Mark Bolton
03-28-2009, 9:08 PM
"... the "HF smell"..... "

That sounds yucky. This is making my very glad I have never been in a Harbor Freight store.

David,
I envy you. I think I have been in a HF twice total and have stopped at these "traveling tool sales" that frequent our area twice. They also fill the venue they occupy with that same smell.

As you surely know, you are not missing a single thing. Most anything you buy at these things in a moment of weakness will be a nightmare to use and likely wind up in the trash shortly after you attempt to use it.

A local community center (right across the street from our shop) hosted one of these sales and we walked over at lunch. I couldnt find a single thing to buy but saw a couple of 5 roller outfeed stands. They were 35 each, I thought the rollers would at least be worth that. Nope,.... a match to 70$. Will never go into another one as long as I live.

Mark

Mark Bolton
03-28-2009, 9:15 PM
when I first opened the top to change the speed I was hit full force with memories of sitting in my apartment with good friends, great food, and Chinese beer. Amazing how the mind works.
Carlos

I can absolutely understand. I, as I am sure many, have very similar triggers. I have one for the smell of an outboard boat motor from my childhood.

Oddly, those type triggers are usually so powerful I would imagine you are likely on to something. It has always smelled like a petroleum product to me when I have smelled it.

As weird as it sounds, its nice to hear that someone actually has a comforting memory when smelling, what I find to be, such a nasty smell.

I wont deny the fact that I have associated this smell with something I dont like, low quality tools that have many other repercussions other than an immediate waste of money. That said, I dont think I had a psychosomatic reaction due to the smell.

Mark

Mark Bolton
03-28-2009, 9:18 PM
I think you should get checked out by a doctor pronto. Pete


Yikes, well I do have a follow up for my DOT physical with my doc so thanks for the heads up. I will surely run it by her.

Thanks,
Mark

Pete Bradley
03-28-2009, 9:28 PM
Better safe than sorry. Let us know how it turns out.

Pete

David G Baker
03-29-2009, 12:55 AM
I get similar sensations when walking through the weed and bug killer section at Wally World and the Borgs.
I would check with a Doctor just to be safe, you may have something else cooking inside of you.
I have asthma and when I go into a new store with freshly stocked shelves, new carpet and paint I get a lung overload and have to get out of the store.

Frank Hagan
03-29-2009, 12:57 AM
Definitely let the doc know about it. Stroke, migraines, brain tumors, etc. can all have the tongue tingling and the taste of metal in the mouth. They can also give you nausea.

Or, the nauseated feeling can be a form of "hysteria" that follows a weird smelling event (they call it hysteria, although its really an effective defense mechanism to make you remember the unpleasantness).

Craig Nickles
03-29-2009, 7:15 AM
Mark,


Not to be an alarmist or anything, but I think I would go see my Doc just to be sure. There are some stroke symptoms that are similar, some taste issues and the tingling are just a couple of them. Better safe than sorry in my book.