I recently received an e-mail from a club operator who has been dealing with a sensitive issue at his club. He's at a loss about what to do, so I thought I'd share this issue with you in hopes that someone out there has come across a similar situation and has a solution for him.
He has a group of about 60 to 90 women from Somalia who are members of his club. They emit a strong odor that has taken over the women-only area of his club and the women's locker room. Since the issue came up, he has researched this culture to figure out why the odor is occuring and what he might be able to do about it. He thinks the odor may come from spices used for cooking and improperly burned incense in the home.
The problem is that the club has received numerous complaints from other members about the odor, and he is afraid that the club is losing out on new members who are offended by the odor when they come on a tour. So far, no members have cited the odor as their reason for cancelling their memberships, but he says he can't be sure that this hasn't been a reason for cancellations.
He doesn't want to lose members because of the smell, and he doesn't want to lose this group of women.
Here is what he has tried so far: an extra porter and cleaning attention to the area, constant HVAC in the area, electronic scent sprayers, employing oder-neutralizing products, and a sign disallowing foot washing in the hand sinks in the woman's bath area. He also contacted his attorney who recommended speaking individually to the women, but he has not done so yet, because he is concerned about offending and hurting feelings.
Have you ever come across a situation like this in your club? What suggestions do you have for this club operator? Please respond using the comment button below if you have any suggestions for him.