“Because We Can” Is Not a Good Reason


2014-07-17 – Today I participated in a focus group. But I’m not going to tell you how worthless focus groups are (I got a lunch and a Starbucks gift card). But I am going to tell you about an event at the start of the focus group that got me thinking.

The building where the focus group was held was a “security building.” That meant, among other things, that you can’t walk around the building without some sort of ID sanctioned by authorized representatives of the building.  (Never mind that people did this for generations before someone got the idea that buildings should be secured.)

Visitors  to the building needed to tell the authorized representative their business in the building and the authorized representative issued something like a HELLO-MY-NAME-IS sticker, but with a twist. Before handing you the sticker, they backed it up with a second sticker that said VOID VOID VOID in large red letters.

The authorized representative told me that the VOID VOID VOID contained a time-release indelible ink that would bleed through onto my clothes if I failed to take the sticker off within 24 hours. This, he told me, was intended to prevent me from using the HELLO-MY-NAME-IS sticker tomorrow.

The authorities in this building have apparently decided that it is worth the risk of ruining my suit jacket rather than, say, putting a date on the HELLO-MY-NAME-IS.

And then they told me the secret!

So naturally, I came home and encapsulated the VOID VOID VOID so that I can use the HELLO-MY-NAME-IS tomorrow . . . for whatever reason I would want to do that. Not!

When I encounter things like this, I wonder what the thought process was in adopting such a system—or even in inventing a time-release VOID VOID VOID.

Just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean that it is a good idea.

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