Cardiff’s Favourite Smell

Just to prove I can write light news:

There are many lovely smells in the world. A loaf of freshly baked bread being taken from the oven, a garden on a cool evening just after the lawn has been mown, flowers on the windowsill, roast chicken or fresh coffee brewing.
Of all these contenders, a recent poll has revealed Cardiff’s favourite smell. What is the clear favourite? Disinfectant.

A third of Cardiffians voted for the sweet scent of bleach in a poll carried out by National Car Parks Limited who are trying to offer a new initiative to deal with that mainstay of delightful smells – the stairwells of Cardiff’s multi-storey car parks.

Cardiff car parks have traditionally given the phrase Eau De Toilette a whole new meaning, and the delightful smell of other people’s bodily fluids has been enough to drive a third of people away from using Cardiff’s busiest car park.

The poll showed that almost a third of car park customers in Cardiff (31 per cent) are unlikely to use a car park again if it smelt particularly bad. In addition, more than two in three people (65 per cent) named and shamed stairwells as the worst smelling area of car parks, with almost half associating this area with the smell of urine (49 per cent).

So, instead of urine and vomit, NCP are working out a way of pumping smells into their multi-storeys that we consider to be far more pleasant.
In the survey, Cardiff voted for disinfectant as their favourite smell (33 per cent), followed by mint (16 per cent), cut grass (15 per cent) clean laundry (13 per cent) and fresh bread (9 per cent).

NCP chief Executive said: “For many of us car parking is the front door to our jobs, favourite shops, cinemas or theatres. Smell is an important part of the experience. We know there’s work to do, so drawing on new and innovative technology as well as public opinion, we will improve all aspects of our car parks.”

“We are committed to offering our customers a pleasant and positive experience in our car parks and we fully recognise that unpleasant smells could drive customers away.”

Cardiff University Professor Tim Jacob, who is an expert in the psychology of smell, said: “Smells have a massive impact on our mindset and can influence the way we feel. Pleasant smells tend to put us at ease whereas bad smells warn us of something unpleasant or even dangerous. To a degree, smells can even control the way you behave in certain situations, probably more so than you may realise.

“For instance, it has been reported that citrus fragrances can have an antidepressant effect, helping to improve symptoms of depression. Certain odours such as rosemary and peppermint have been shown to increase alertness while driving and the impact of smells even has an effect on our subconscious, with some influencing the quality of our dreams.”

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