Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Smell sells

To Whom It May Concern:

Why can the smell of popped popcorn be smelled farther away than any other food? Is there a fact behind this question, or is it just a phenomenon?

-- JS, San Diego

Oh, there are facts hidden everywhere. The place is crawling with them. They're even in the smell of popcorn, along with a little hucksterism. For something to produce a smell, the odor molecules have to vaporize. The faster they are dispersed, the stronger the smell. And the warmer and moister the environment, the more the scent will linger. (Do air-freshener and pet-odor-killer sales peak in August? We'll get an elf on that question right away.) Given those facts, popcorn has a lot going for it smellwise. Corn pops when water in the kernel turns to steam and explodes the seed coat. So there's your sudden release of odorants in a hot, damp environment. Popcorn is a crowd-pleasing stinkfest.

But maybe you're thinking about popcorn scent in a movie theater or store. Long ago, chemists devised a fake popcorn odor that needs only heat to release it. Add a fan and a ventilation system and you have eager buyers. Chemists can fake pretty much any smell there is, and then somebody uses it to sell us stuff. It's all very sinister. Examples: a scratch-and-sniff gunpowder ad; scented slot machines in Vegas that made people stay longer and spend more; male-sweat-scented bills from collection agencies (increased on-time payments 17 percent); fake new-car smell in a bank's car-loan brochures; and old-fashioned-home-cookin' scent in anything microwavable. The topper might be the Chicago scent-development lab that tested smells to see which got men hottest. Eau de JLo? No! Cinnamon buns, by a landslide. Pure erotica.

And the truth is now out about everybody's favorite, that new-car smell. The real stuff is the scent of volatile chemicals wafting from fresh plastics: toluene, styrene, ethylene glycol butyl esters, benzene, acetone…. A smell to close a sale by. We recommend you drive your new car for the first 1000 miles with the AC on and the doors open.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Three poems for August by Dorothy Parker

With an acidic wit and keen eye for flawed humanity
Next Article

Will San Diego survive a fall without classical music?

Just as symphony, Mainly Mozart, La Jolla Music Society were getting stronger

To Whom It May Concern:

Why can the smell of popped popcorn be smelled farther away than any other food? Is there a fact behind this question, or is it just a phenomenon?

-- JS, San Diego

Oh, there are facts hidden everywhere. The place is crawling with them. They're even in the smell of popcorn, along with a little hucksterism. For something to produce a smell, the odor molecules have to vaporize. The faster they are dispersed, the stronger the smell. And the warmer and moister the environment, the more the scent will linger. (Do air-freshener and pet-odor-killer sales peak in August? We'll get an elf on that question right away.) Given those facts, popcorn has a lot going for it smellwise. Corn pops when water in the kernel turns to steam and explodes the seed coat. So there's your sudden release of odorants in a hot, damp environment. Popcorn is a crowd-pleasing stinkfest.

But maybe you're thinking about popcorn scent in a movie theater or store. Long ago, chemists devised a fake popcorn odor that needs only heat to release it. Add a fan and a ventilation system and you have eager buyers. Chemists can fake pretty much any smell there is, and then somebody uses it to sell us stuff. It's all very sinister. Examples: a scratch-and-sniff gunpowder ad; scented slot machines in Vegas that made people stay longer and spend more; male-sweat-scented bills from collection agencies (increased on-time payments 17 percent); fake new-car smell in a bank's car-loan brochures; and old-fashioned-home-cookin' scent in anything microwavable. The topper might be the Chicago scent-development lab that tested smells to see which got men hottest. Eau de JLo? No! Cinnamon buns, by a landslide. Pure erotica.

And the truth is now out about everybody's favorite, that new-car smell. The real stuff is the scent of volatile chemicals wafting from fresh plastics: toluene, styrene, ethylene glycol butyl esters, benzene, acetone…. A smell to close a sale by. We recommend you drive your new car for the first 1000 miles with the AC on and the doors open.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

More palm greasers’ help wanted

Tom Sudberry, Peter Cooper give to Barbara Bry
Next Article

Treetop Tutoring Center: Jeanne Volk‘s triple tutoring whammy

“Kids miss school friends they were used to seeing and playing with most days.”
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close