LOS ANGELES – A repugnant stench designed to ward off bullies, lurk balls, prowlers and other societal detritus is making its mark on the $30-billion fragrance industry.
When a person sprays Get Off My Ass! around unwanted company, the noxious odor that permeates is so disgusting it compels annoying people to flee, according to Ray Breadburn, product creator.
“Just one squirt is all it takes to keep the creeps away,” claims Breadburn, who retired as an air quality inspector for the state of California five years ago, thanks to his product’s success. “The foul cloud that spreads from a single pump of Get Off My Ass! acts like a protective barrier, creating a 30-foot radius of stink that lingers around you for 10 minutes or your money back, guaranteed.”
Get Off My Ass! experienced exponential growth in the past five years, while sales in perfumes and colognes have been in decline. In the last fiscal year, for example, Get Off My Ass! generated $1 billion in sales, making it the most sought-after odor available for purchase.
It is a puzzling fact, some experts argued, considering the odor’s function is not to attract but repel human beings. Meanwhile, other experts noted a larger pattern at work.
“The popularity of Get Off My Ass! shows people are being bothered by other people on an unprecedented scale, and they are looking for socially-acceptable ways to keep undesirables at a distance,” said Tiffany White, a consultant for Scent Sense, a financial investment firm that monitors developments in the fragrance industry. “This desire is reflected by the correction currently underway in the market. Investors of Get Off My Ass! are benefiting from the trend, while traditional fragrance companies are struggling to compete.”
White emphasized that the sullen economic outlook for pleasant fragrances is expected to continue for the indefinite future.
“We have no idea how long this volatility in people’s disregard for other people will last, but judging by news reports, decency seems to be in ever-shorter supply, and products like Get Off My Ass! are in ever-increasing demand,” White said.
Get Off My Ass! naturally responds to a user’s body odor, so that its smell seems awfully familiar but bearable. That is not the case with the intended target.
“Basically, it smells like your own shit, except a lot worse,” Breadburn said. “At the same time, your enemy will have no idea what’s coming.”
Accounts of Get Off My Ass! successfully warding off annoying people have flooded online chat rooms and video sites in recent years.
Sara Atahl, a 27-year-old food server, said she regularly applies Get Off My Ass! to herself in order to avoid unpleasant encounters with pedestrians in the Miracle Mile area who often accost her as she walks to and from her apartment and the restaurant she works.
“For months I was harassed in the streets by vagrants asking for change, teenagers selling candy bars for their sport teams, and guys trying to get my phone number,” Atahl said. “Finally, I had enough. Ever since I started applying Get Off My Ass!, the sidewalks have been clear and hassle-free, and I’ve had no trouble getting to work on time.”
Mark Avakian, a 12th grade student at a San Fernando Valley high school, said he once used Get Off My Ass! to deter an overzealous teacher in class, but he is not sure he will use the product again.
“Mr. Smith was always looking over my shoulder, checking my notes and asking me weird questions about Brave New World,” Rivera said. “I decided to take action. One day I sprayed a squirt as he passed by my desk, and I guess it worked too well … not only did he and my classmates evacuate the classroom, but I lost my chance with Jeni, who sat across me and I’ve liked since 9th grade.”
Maria Avila, a Westside resident who has yet to acquire a parent license for her newborn, said she uses the noxious odor to deter a city representative who frequently approaches her doorstep to inquire about the status of her child.
“L.A.’s parent police are worse than the parking police,” Avila said. “I plan on paying the fees and taking the classes as soon as I can, but I don’t have the money or time right now, so whenever I see the lady coming, I spray my door … she runs away so fast, she’s never even rang the bell!”
Breadburn, who is gay, said two interns at his old job inspired him to make his famous people repellent.
“I often returned from the field and headed to the break room for a cup of coffee,” Breadburn said. “These two guys often followed me inside and made these off-colored jokes. I remember them well, because they were so lame … ‘Hey, how do five gay men walk?’ ‘One Direction!’ ‘What do you call a gay drive by shooting?’ ‘A fruit roll up!’ That sort of thing.”
Breadburn, born and raised in Los Angeles, said he never experienced sexual harassment in the workplace until his run-in with the interns. He was surprised by their remarks and not sure how to proceed. Instead of confronting the young men, however, he decided to remain silent, assuming they would outgrow their immaturity.
“They never did, and the more I held my tongue, the more frustrated I became,” Breadburn said. “One morning I told them, ‘You know, you two keep telling these stupid jokes and trying to get a rise out of me, it’s starting to make me wonder who’s more gay — me or you?”
The two young men rollicked with laughter, and Breadburn stormed out of the break room and back into the field, where he stumbled upon his idea.
That afternoon Breadburn inspected the air quality of a raw sewage facility near Torrance.
“The place stank like total crap, of course, and that’s when it hit me,” Breadburn said. “I took home a few samples, and with the help of a chemist buddy of mine, I developed my first batch of Get Off My Ass!”
Breadburn sprayed his product on the interns the next time they followed him into the break room.
“They cringed, gagged and staggered backwards toward their cubicles,” Breadburn said. “I followed them with my finger plugging my nose, and I shouted so the whole office heard, ‘You guys stink, now get the hell out of here!’”
Breadburn said the rest of the office staff cleared their desks and joined him for coffee in the break room.
“Those jerks were never hired, and they never bothered me again,” Breadburn said. “Some people have this amazing sense of entitlement … they think it’s okay to stalk and harass other people. Sometimes they need something harsher than words that lets them know it’s not okay and urge them on their merry way.”
Breadburn is currently teaming up with a computer programmer to develop virtual stink bombs that can be delivered to online trolls.
Stephanie Wilde, Dec. 18, 2018