Walking into an ice cream parlor is supposed to be one of the most pleasant sensory experiences you can have, with the assortment of frozen treats giving off a very enticing aroma. This is particularly true of the Dairy Queen franchise, which offers signature items like Blizzards at hundreds of locations throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Unfortunately, one location in Calgary has been having trouble satisfying patrons who walk in expecting the scent of vanilla. This Dairy Queen has smelled like the explosive flatulence of someone who has just eaten rotten eggs. And someone finally found out why.
Sujad Bandali told CBC News that the mystery odor had been plaguing his location since it opened in January 2015. At first he was so concerned it might be something dangerous—like a gas leak—that he called utility workers and area firefighters to check for a burst utility supply pipe. He also had the building examined for carbon monoxide, which is normally odorless but may be accompanied by a foul smell as a result of incomplete combustion [PDF]. He made sure there wasn’t a sewage problem.
Nothing was found. His place just stunk.
Curiously, not everyone could detect it. Bandali said half his staff wasn’t bothered by it, while some customers exited as soon as they caught a whiff. Bandali posted a warning on his front door alerting people to the smell awaiting them upon entering. Predictably, this was bad for business.
A desperate Bandali offered a free Blizzard once a week for a year to anyone who could tell him where the smell was coming from, a move that was widely publicized. Help finally arrived Wednesday when the local gas company, ATCO, arrived for yet another inspection. (Presumably, they came at Bandali's request, not solely because of the Blizzard offer.) This time, a worker performed a “dead check,” turning off all the gas appliances in the building and then looking to see if the gas meter was still running. If it was, that would indicate a gas leak. It was running. A small leak was coming from the ceiling. With the repair made, the store finally smells of the welcoming aroma given off by their Peanut Buster Parfait inventory.
Bandali told CBC News that he was relieved that the source of the franchise’s fumes was finally located. This discovery, he said, proved that “I was not losing my mind.”