You don’t have to look too far to find a steady flow of examples of corporate stupidity:

1. Two weeks ago, I stayed at the Sheraton Wall Centre in Vancouver. Today I received a survey invitation personally signed by Denise Coll, President, North America, for Starwood (Sheraton’s parent company). It was entirely in French, and adding insult to injury, there’s a line in the French text saying that if you don’t speak French you may change the language of choice at the survey link! Honestly, I kid you not.

I wrote Ms. Coll a quick email:

Dear Ms. Coll:

After my recent stay at the Sheraton Wall Centre Vancouver, I received this survey invitation from Starwood. I would suggest that if you’re going to do these kinds of surveys it might be worthwhile to think them through before putting your name and reputation at the bottom.

How did you decide to send me the questionnaire in French? I’ve been a Starwood Gold member for some 10 years and you’ve never communicated with me in French before. Was it perhaps my very francophone name? And your line: “Aussi, bien que la présente invitation soit en français, vous aurez la possibilité de choisir votre langue de préférence après vous être connecté au site mentionné ci-dessus”. Are the people who design these surveys completely stupid? What if someone doesn’t read French to know that the survey language can be selected at the link???????

2. I bought a bag of Robin Hood large-flake oats yesterday. The nutrition information is provided per one serving of a 1/4 cup. But, the cooking instructions for one serving uses 1/3 cup of oats! Obviously, there’s a “serving” that shows a low caloric count, and another that represents the quantity one would normally eat. But they are both called a “serving” within two or three lines of text!

I am convinced that stupidity reigns supreme at some major multinationals!