Now, being a salesman and co-developer of some of the world's most effective riot control vehicle chemicals--the kind that actually do incapacitate and knock people down--allow me a moment to say what this really was--laziness.
At first, fire officials suspected that carbon monoxide or some other toxic fumes had sickened almost 150 people at a Texas bank call center. It turned out that perfume was to blame.
MedStar ambulance spokeswoman Lara Kohl says 34 people were taken to hospitals, 12 by ambulance, after reporting dizziness and shortness of breath Wednesday at a Bank of America call center in Fort Worth. An additional 110 were treated at the scene.
Fort Worth fire Lt. Kent Worley said the incident started with two people complaining about dizziness after a co-worker sprayed perfume. Others reported being sick when an announcement was made that anyone with similar symptoms should exit the building.
Investigators do not know what type of perfume was sprayed.
All it took was for one sad sack to crumple to their knees, put the back of their hand on their forehead, and say, "oh, my stars...I do believe I am about to pass out..." and the entire facility decided, almost as one, to get on the bandwagon and get out of a day of work by pretending to be overcome by the "perfume."
There is a remote possibility--a remote one--that the perfume in question was nerve agent. It happens. Laboratories are sloppy places. The perfume company could have mixed a vial of perfume with nerve agent or some other incapacitating and noxious chemical. Chlorine, perhaps. But, I seriously doubt it.