Photo: Armastas (iStock)

Batten down the hatches on that gag reflex. The Belleville News-Democrat has found what may be the current reigning champ for the title of America’s most inhospitable work environment in the Family Care Pharmacy in Breese, Illinois, which is currently enduring a stench that rolls in rank waves from the aisles of a now-shuttered grocery store.

The last two locations of the Schuette grocery stores closed unexpectedly nearly two weeks ago when the family-owned chain filed for bankruptcy. This particular location, a Schuette SuperValu, is also home to an independent pharmacy, which remains in business despite the store’s closure. And while the customers and employees may be gone, the food, much of it now rotting, remains. As the BND reports, a metal gate stands in between the pharmacy and the aisles of food, but it’s no match for the smell.

Employees have reportedly lit candles, doled out air fresheners, and done pretty much whatever they can to beat the funk, but alas. Here’s BND’s Cara Anthony, taking you on a journey.

Store employees spray the store with fragrance. The rotten smell still lingers. They put an air freshener by the front entrance. The smell still lingers. They’ve even placed an air freshener by the postal center nearby. The smell lingers on.

You may ask, and rightly, “why is there still food in there?” According to Carmen Sledge, a spokesperson for (and member of) the Schuette family, it’s because they weren’t able to remove anything—including, like, cheese, and steak, and mounds of apples, and cottage cheese, and chicken, and fish sticks, you get the idea—from the store during or after bankruptcy proceedings. The property has now been taken over by the local Germantown Bank.

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The bank did not respond to the paper’s request for comment, and the pharmacy owner also could not be reached. A county health official is expected to pay a visit on Tuesday, citing rodent and insect infestations as a concern. Presumably, the mélange of mouldering pears, warm deli meats, and family-size, formerly frozen salisbury steak meals is also an issue they hope to address.