An urban legend that warns of car park criminals in parking areas using ether disguised as perfume to debilitate and rob victims has circulated in various forms since at least the turn of the century. Every few months, a new variant of the story emerges and begins circulating anew.
Story Claims Perfume Attacks Occurring at Aldi Car Parks
One current version claims that these perfume-fueled attacks are happening in Aldi car parks “across the country”. The warning circulates via social media posts like this:
Clicking on the social media posts opens a website with a full report about the supposed perfume robbery attempts. The report notes, in part:
I was approached yesterday afternoon around 3:30 pm in my local Aldi car park by two males, asking what kind 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 Price. I probably would have agreed had I not received an email a couple of days ago, warning of a “wanna smell this gorgeous perfume?” scam.
THIS IS NOT PERFUME – IT IS ‘ETHER’ (A POWERFUL DRUG!)!
It goes on to claim that, after sniffing the perfume, victims will pass out and the attackers can then take their purse, car keys, and other valuables.
Aldi Story Just A Revamped Version of the Same Old Urban Legend
But, of course, this is just a variation of the same false story that has been circulating since the year 2000. Alternative versions of the story have named other stores as the venues for the supposed robberies.
While ether is indeed capable of rendering a person unconscious, it would take a lot more than a casual sniff of the substance to achieve that aim. In fact, despite what movies and television dramas would have us believe, there are probably very few – if any – substances that would have such an instant knock-out effect after just one or two open-air sniffs.
And, for the record, there are no credible police or news reports about criminals using such tactics in Aldi car parks or anywhere else.
Genuine Perfume Peddlers May Add Undue Credence to The False Stories
Hawkers may sometimes try to sell perfume in car parks or outside shopping malls, and this activity has probably helped to keep the stories circulating for so many years. If someone who has read the warning online subsequently spots people peddling perfume, he or she may mistakenly conclude that the hapless peddlers are really dastardly ether-wielding criminals. Of course, the peddlers are really only selling perfume. Cheap and nasty scent perhaps, but just perfume nevertheless.
Passing on this nonsense warning will help nobody.
More on the Topic
This urban legend has a rather long and convoluted history. You can read more about it in this earlier Hoax-Slayer report.
And, a similar series of hoaxes has claimed – falsely of course – that a number of women have died after sniffing poisonous perfume samples sent to them by mail.