People being robbed with "perfume"?

My wife received an email I will paste after my message. It concerns people selling “perfume” in parking lots that is in fact ether or some chemical that causes unconsiousness. After sampling the “perfume”, the victim is then robbed or worse.

My first thoughts were that this is an urban legend, but my wife swears that a sketchy-seeming person tried to sell her some “perfume” in a parking lot when she was a college student, and this person quickly backed off when her then-boyfriend approached them.

Any truth to this? Here is the email:

>
>It was about 3 weeks ago, I was at the shell in Auburn getting gas.
>It was about 11:30 p.m. I was approached by 2 men and 2 women in
>a car.
>The man that was driving asked me “What kind of perfume do you
>wear?”.
>I was a bit confused and I asked him “Why?” He said “We are selling
>some name brand perfume, at cheap prices.” I said I had no money. He then
reached out of the car and handed me a paper that was laminated, it had many
perfumes on it. I looked quickly at it and gave it back. I said, I have no
money.
>He then said it is OK, we take check, cash, or credit cards. Then
>the people in the car began to laugh. I just got in my car and said no
thanks.
>Then I received this e-mail yesterday, and it sent chills up my spine.
>
>Please read this. It is not a joke.
>Wendy McGee
>
>Here is the e-mail that I was sent:
>
>Dear Friends:
>I know not all of you are women that I am sending this to, but I
>am hoping you will share this with your wives, daughters, mothers,
>sisters, etc. Our world seems to be getting crazier by the day.
>Pipe bombs in mailboxes and sickos in parking lots with perfume.
>Be careful!
>
>I was approached yesterday afternoon around 3:30 pm in the
>Walmart parking lot at University Drive (Des Moines), 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 rate. I probably
>would have agreed had I not received an email some weeks ago, warning of
a “Wanna smell this neat perfume?” scam.
>
>The men continued to stand between parked cars, I guess to wait
>for someone else to hit on. I stopped a lady going towards them,
>pointed at them, and told her about how I was sent a e-mail at work about
someone walking up to you at the malls or in parking lots, and asking you to
SNIFF PERFUME that they are selling at a cheap price.
>
>THIS IS NOT PERFUME!
>
>IT IS ETHER!
>
>When you sniff it, you’ll pass out. And they’ll take your wallet,
>your valuables, and heaven knows what else.
>
>If it were not for this e-mail, I probably would have sniffed the
>“perfume.” But thanks to the generosity of an emailing friend, I
>was spared whatever might have happened to me. I wanted to do the
>same for you.
>
>PLEASE PASS THIS ALONG TO ALL YOUR WOMEN FRIENDS, AND PLEASE BE ALERT, AND
AWARE!!
>
>IF YOU ARE A MAN AND RECEIVE THIS PASS IT ON TO YOUR WOMEN FRIENDS!
>
>Ladies this happened to me yesterday and I didn’t smell the
>perfume either, thanks to this email!
>
>This is true! Believe me, I know! I was over by Big Lots in the
>parking lot at lunch time when I was approached. So either day or
>night, it does not matter.
>
>There were 3 guys together when I was approached. I called the
>police when I got back to my desk. Like the email says above, LET
>EVERYONE KNOW ABOUT THIS. YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY, COWORKERS, who ever. It
helped me.
>
>The first thing that popped in my head was this email warning

False according to Snopes.

I would think it would take more than just a sniff of ether for you to pass out.

My first thoughts were that this is an urban legend, but my wife swears that a sketchy-seeming person tried to sell her some “perfume” in a parking lot when she was a college student, and this person quickly backed off when her then-boyfriend approached them.

From Snopes:
** The fact is, there are companies (such as Scentura) that do hire people to sell perfume door-to-door or in parking lots, and some of these salespeople do indeed work in pairs, pitch their wares from cars, and employ aggressive sales tactics (which include approaching women and asking them what kind of perfume they’re wearing). But now that this legend is circulating, people dutifully report any sighting of perfume-selling strangers in parking lots as “proof” that this fictional crime wave of ether-bearing robbers is real. It isn’t real, no matter how fervently the fear-mongerers want to believe it is. **

I got a very similar email, with the same kind of detail, about a man approaching women claiming to have seen the woman dropping a twenty dollar bill.

Um, ether is highly highly volatile and has a distinct, it’s not like a perfume, I just don’t think that card thing would work.

Do women really need to be warned against strange men in parking lots?