For the second time now, I have purchased something stinky from Big W. It is very disappointing to unwrap your new purchase, only be inebriated by the toxic smell.

The first purchase of something smelly was boxing day last year. It’s a bit of a long and boring story, but basically, on boxing day, I decided to make bean bags for Elka’s reading corner, so bought a load of colourful canvas from Spotlight. Of course, you need styrofoam balls to fill bean bags, which I bought from Big W. I then went back, as I decided making the bags was a big hassle, and they sold  inexpensive, funky red velvet “heart” chairs, which required about three bags of styrofoam balls each. So between the fabric, the bags themselves and the balls, it was an expensive affair. Then there was the fiasco of pouring millions of feather light balls into bags without spilling any – visions of tiny white toxic balls suffocating our daughter filled us with fear. But I was happy with the outcome. Two delightful red heart chairs on which to sit and read a book.

About a week later, I realised that every time I sat on a heart chair, I got a headache. Every time I entered the living room for that matter I got a headache. The culprits were the  heart chairs and their toxic innards.

In a huff, Greg and I piled the heart chairs into the car, and headed to Big W. I played the sickly wife holding child, and Greg the assertive male, and between us, we tried to convince various Big W staff that the bags were very smelly and were the cause of my headaches. The staff took turns giving us patronising looks as they put their noses in to smell the styrofoam. “I don’t smell anything”, they would say. Eventually they took it to the manager, who took it back to the assistant manager, and as it turns out there is a  policy that states that any item that causes illness or pain to the customer can be returned. I only had the receipt for the bags, and couldn’t convince the various managers and staff that the bags were useless to us without the balls. In protest, we ended up leaving  both sets of heart chairs and their balls on the counter, as we couldn’t get any money back.

I told you it was a long and boring story. Anyway, the moral was although we had wasted all that money I vowed never to have that toxic crap in my house again.

Then, the other day, I bought a shelving storage unit that hangs in the cupboard…and it stinks! Honestly, I am not hypersensitive to these things, but it smells very much like petrol. The cupboard smelt, the room smelt. Eventually I turned it outside, sprayed it with essential oil, wiped it down, and after two days airing, it smells just as bad.

Who knows what they spray these innocent household items with. The universe is punishing me for not buying locally. Next time I buy a must have from Big W, I am going in with a gas mask, and a very critical judgment.