Occupy Perfume Counters (Occupy PC, or OPC)
by, 27th October 2011 at 06:46 AM (4217 Views)
[Please do not take the initial premise (in the title of this post) seriously. I am just trying to dramatize a situation and make a point.]
Some radical perfumistas are occupying perfume counters across the country, and even the world, because they are frustrated by the trends they see in the perfume industry leading to downgrading the quality of fragrances and pricing their products beyond the reach of “the 99 percent.”
In the meantime, many in the media are pointing out that the protesters have no concrete demands which would remedy the situation. The anger and frustration, all admit, are understandable; but the issue is very complicated, and the solutions to it are hard to define. In the meantime, the protesters, while well-meaning, are creating a hazardous situation for shoppers (say the perfume counter operators) by occupying private property and creating health and safety concerns by smelling up the environment around their encampments with strange odors.
Local governments have tried to dislodge the protesters and break down their encampments by enforcing local health and safety ordinances through the use of police in riot gear deploying tear gas, rubber bullets, and billy clubs to subdue the generally peaceful recalcitrants. The position of the authorities is that a few dangerous radicals are questioning the very basis of our fragrance production and distribution system, and trying to destroy its financial base by discrediting the time-honored companies and institutions that created it, such as LVMH, Symrise, Givaudan, IFF, IFRA, and others.
The Occupy PC radicals claim that these companies are upstarts which have turned the fragrance market on its head and made a mockery of perfume industry origins in such pre-takeover firms as Guerlain, Coty, Houbigant, L T Piver, Chanel, and others. They assert that these venerable houses have been bought, sold, and cannibalized over and over again through many mergers and corporate takeovers. They say that artisanship and pride in quality have been replaced by a bare profit motive, employing leveraging, downsizing, subsidiary sell-offs, and other corporate tricks.
The protesters also claim that the EU and other governments have been complicit in this trend by instituting poorly researched and implemented health and safety regulations as a scare tactic to fool consumers into thinking that they are being protected. These regulations are in fact designed, the radicals claim, to enhance the profits of the mega-corporations, which control the markets and are seeking to substitute cheap synthetics for traditional, higher-quality (often natural) ingredients. The mega-corps, the radicals also allege, keep trading on the names and prestige of the original houses while cheapening, reformulating, remarketing, and destroying the products of the old industry, as well as its business ethics.
In the name of these questionable allegations, and without responsible reform suggestions (beyond dismantling the corporate and regulatory structures that hold the industry in place), the radicals are viewed by industry and government as jeopardizing the fragrance institutions and the stability of their markets. Corporate spokespersons also say that the radicals are seeking to undermine public confidence in a modernized and streamlined fragrance economy. According to these same spokespersons, the fragrance industry operates in accord with the free-trade principles which they say all responsible parties support and espouse.
What will happen to the Occupy PC movement? Only time will tell, but pundits believe that, like other flash-in-the-pan social movements of the past several decades, it may well fade in the face of market forces and inexorable trends in modern consumerism, not to mention “economic efficiencies.”
[This article was prepared from various sources, none of which represent the advertising base of our publication.]
I know some of you may try to see in this post some application to other Occupy movements (with the appropriate changes to the details, of course). It would be a mistake to assume any connection whatsoever. Thank you.
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