Now, perhaps the greatest discovery since air conditioning first freshened a summer scorcher.
Did you know some magazines offer subscriptions that come free of those scent strips?
You want an unscented New Yorker? Call (800) 825-2510.
A scent-free Mirabella? Dial (800) 283-0484. A New York magazine whose presence doesn't linger? (800) 678-0900.
The toll-free numbers to magazines' subscription departments, located around the country, typically appear in microscopic type near the front or the back of each issue. Call and you may be heard.
At the moment, for example, all the Hearst Corp.'s magazines accept scent-strip advertisements, but only four will make scent-free editions available to subscribers upon request. The four are House Beautiful, Town & Country, Victoria and Harper's Bazaar, whose aromatic October issue contains five strips.
Hearst's subscription department's number is (800) 888-3045.
The New Yorker and Gourmet are the only two Conde Nast magazines that will sell scent-free subscriptions or purge the inserts from copies already on order.
At the same time, for every reader who recoils at scents rising from the printed page, many more are believed to sample the fragrances offered via inserts. "Otherwise, you wouldn't see manufacturers running them," said Roberta Garfinkle, vice president and director of print media with the ad agency McCann Erickson. "They drive business and draw people into stores. I would be really surprised if the number of people who don't want them comes up to anything in the thousands."