I received a rather, um, interesting forward from my mother tonight. Maybe you've seen it already?
PLEASE READ. THIS IS SERIOUS BUSINESS.
> This is something that happened to Ryan and me on the way back from Texas
> last spring. I didn't think much of it until now. The reason we were a
> little suspicious is we had been riding in a jeep all day with 100 degree
> temps and we stopped at a truck stop for something to drink. When I was
> leaving a young girl followed me out and asked what kind of cologne I was
> wearing? Well after 7 hours in a car sweating. I don't think you could
> I was or was not wearing any cologne. We just got in the jeep and said no
> thanks. So this does happen.
> To all my female friends:
> It was about 3 weeks ago, I was at the shell station in Auburn getting
> gas. It was about 11:30 p.m. I was approached by 2 men and 2 women in a
> The man t! hat was driving asked me "What kind of perfume do you wear?" I
> a bit confused and I asked him "Why?" He said "We are selling some name
> brand perfumes, at ch! eap prices." I said I had no money. He then reached
> out of the car and handed me a paper that was laminated, it had many
> perfumes on it. I looked quickly at it and gave it back. I said, I have no
> money. He then said it is OK, we take check, cash, or credit cards. Then
> people in the car began to laugh. I just got in my car and said no thanks.
> Then I received this e-mail yesterday, and it sent chills up my spine.
> Please read this. It is not a joke. -Wendy McGee
> Here is the e-mail that I was sent:
> Dear Friends:
> I know not all of you are women that I am sending this to, but I am hoping
> you will share this with your wives, daughters, mothers, sisters, etc.
> Our world seems to be getting crazier by ! the day. Pipes bombs in mailboxes
> and sickos in parking lots with perfume. Be careful!
> I was approached yesterday afternoon around 3:30 pm in the Wal-Mart
> parking lot at University Drive (Des Moines), by two males! , asking what
> of perfume I was wearing.
> Then they asked if I'd like to sample some fabulous scent they were
> willing to sell me at a very reasonable rate. I probably would have agreed
> had I not received an email some weeks ago, warning of a "Wanna smell this
> neat perfume?" scam.
> The men continued to stand between parked cars, I guess to wait for
> someone else to hit on. I stopped a lady going towards them, pointed at
> them, and told her about how I was sent a e-mail at work about someone
> walking up to you at the malls or in parking lots, and asking you to SNIFF
> PERFUME that they are selling at a cheap price.
> THIS IS NOT PERFUME! IT IS ETHE! R! When you sniff it, you'll pass out. And
> they'll take your wallet, your valuables, and heaven knows what else. If
> were not for this e-mail, I probably would have sniffed the "perfume." But
> thanks to the generosity of an emailing friend, I was spared whatever
> have h! appened to me. I wanted to do the same for you.
> PLEASE PASS THIS ALONG TO ALL YOUR WOMEN FRIENDS, AND PLEASE BE ALERT, AND
> AWARE!! IF YOU ARE A MAN AND RECEIVE THIS, PASS IT ON TO YOUR WOMEN
> Ladies this happened to me yesterday and I didn't smell the perfume
> either, thanks to this email!
> This is true! Believe me, I know! I was over by Big Lots in the parking
> lot at lunch time when I was approached. So either day or night, it does
> matter. There were 3 guys together when I was approached. I called the
> when I got back to my desk. Like the email says above, LET EVE! RYONE KNOW
> ABOUT THIS. YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY, COWORKERS, who ever. It helped me.
> The first thing that popped in my head was this email warning.
I'm open to the possibility that I could be wrong, but--as I told my mom--this is the way I see it: urban legend.
First of all, how many people have access to ether? To my knowledge, it's not widely used (yes, I know that doesn't mean it's not available to sickies, but it does mean that it's not as readily available.)
Second: the stories--particularly with regards to the numbers and genders of the (potential) perpetrators--keep changing. Could there be a number of people in on it? Possibly. But the whole thing seems a little too amateur to be the product of a big crime ring (the only conspiracy theories I give any weight to are those dealing with the J.F.K. assassination. Even then I'm critical.)
Above all, though, I find the rhetoric of the e-mail most suspect. More often than not, the rhetoric is vague (the Des Moines Wal-Mart incident is the most specific.)--almost of the "it happened to a friend of a friend of a friend of mine's cousin's uncle's sister-in-law" variety. Still, there appears to be some attempt at a constructed narrative, as the e-mail appears to build towards a climax and denouement (just like all of those urban legend e-mails.) All it leads me to is the conclusion that we have ourselves a very poorly written "horror story." I mean, if it were a real warning, don't you think they'd have gotten to the point quicker?
And don't you think it would have registered at least a blip on the evening news radar?
Off to read more of Diderot's The Nun.