Baldini cries for Chénier, his shop assistant, and tells him he'll be in his study and shouldn't be disturbed. Baldini explains that he's going to create a perfume to use on Spanish hide for a count, and that the count wants something similar to Amor and Psyche, a popular perfume by Baldini's rival Pélissier. The two decide that the scent is truly vulgar and assert that Baldini certainly won't take his inspiration from the "bungler" Pélissier. Baldini heads for his study while Chénier thinks that Baldini will, per usual, not be struck by inspiration, but rather curse and rave and create terrible mixtures, and several hours later, Baldini will reappear and Chénier will suggest that they send someone to discreetly purchase Amor and Psyche from Pélissier.
This exchange between Baldini and Chénier is humorous, as it's obvious that it's all for show, and it's implied that Pélissier is likely a very successful perfumer, and Amor and Psyche is likely a fine perfume despite all Baldini’s negative talk about it. This indicates that the business of perfume is a competitive and personal one, and often about keeping up acts and facades.
Chénier thinks that Baldini is no longer a great perfumer, despite how great he'd once been, and can no longer keep up with current trends. Chénier thinks that this is a shame, as Baldini is sure to ruin his shop and Chénier will be too old to take it over by that time.
Once again, characters only see each other as means of achieving some kind of advancement. Chénier sees Baldini only as a way through which he can someday own his own perfume shop, and he worries about his chances given Baldini's decline.