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“We are experiencing a persistent odor in this store,” say notices posted at the below-ground Blockbuster Video at 17th and P Streets NW. That much, patrons can tell for themselves; a moldy,
garbagey smell hangs in the air, and customers mill about with wrinkled noses. Customer Michael LeMoine says his girlfriend complained about the stench after a recent video run: “I think the word she used was ‘putrid.’” The notices attribute the stink to “a heating/air conditioning malfunction” and promises that it “poses no threat” to customers. One employee says the eau de rotten eggs comes from a combination of a broken sewer main nearby, a busted ventilation system, and “being in a basement.” ‘Til the air-handling equipment is fixed, store managers are relying on stopgap measures: propping a door open and tucking bottles of lemon-scented odor neutralizer in the new-releases section. —Annys Shin