Monday, May 16, 2016

Elderly man's Quaker Oats recipe competition entry was rejected for being hand-written

William Smith has been eating oatmeal every morning of his life, so when the 80-year-old Massachusetts man saw a Quaker Oats "best recipe" contest, he was quick to mail in his favourite: oats topped with brown sugar, pineapple and coconut flakes. But Smith's "Hawaiian Special" recipe, which he wrote by hand on a piece of paper, was rejected and returned to him a few days later, with a letter accompanying it.

"Please be advised that your letter, with attachment, does not constitute a valid entry into the Contest in accordance with the Official Rules available at," wrote a representative for PepsiCo, which owns Quaker Oats Company. "The submissions are accepted through either the contest application on Quaker's website, select retailer websites, Twitter, or Facebook during the submission period," the letter read. "We will not accept entries via alternative methods of entry." Smith, who doesn't own a computer, called the letter "discouraging" and a form of age discrimination.

"When I see corporate America and how they can't take a paper submission, I think it's ridiculous," Smith said from his home in Sturbridge. "They don't realise where they came from." Smith decided to send in his "Best Bowl" recipe in late February after seeing an advertisement for the contest and its prize: $250,000. On a piece of paper, he jotted down four ingredients in legible handwriting and including the bowl's name, "Hawaiian Special." "I have been using your product since 1946," he wrote. "I am 80 years old." A PepsiCo spokeswoman Jody Menaker said the company had apologised to Smith for the tone of the letter he received in response to his entry.

"For this specific contest, entries could only be accepted online," she said. "The intent behind that was not meant to make the promotion seem inaccessible, but rather to ensure a level playing field across all submissions." Menaker added that PepsiCo greatly appreciated Smith’s enthusiasm and support of the contest, as well as his love for Quaker. Smith knew that winning the money was a long shot but said he never expected to receive a rejection letter for his failure to submit his recipe electronically. "I realise times have changed but I’m sure the man on the Quaker Oats box doesn’t recognise a computer either," he quipped. "I think it’s age discrimination but I would never force the issue," he said. "When you reach a certain age, you have to let things go."


Unknown said...

Must be an 80 year old thing since my 79 year old stepfather and 78 year old uncle can use a computer just fine,

Anonymous said...

Well geez, Susan. What a mean spirited person you are. Are you sure you didn't write the rejection letter to this man. How many young people do you have in your family that helped the old codgers in your family work it out. Maybe, just maybe, he doesn't have anyone to show him how to use a computer. Or maybe Susan, he's been doing other things besides sitting on his old bum in front of a computer, like actually going out and living life. How's that for being mean. Wow.

Elagie said...

Wow, Anonymous, talk about mean. I think Susan is right. It's a pity this guy hasn't figured out how to use the most basic computer skills in the last 30+ years. And it's sad that he didn't learn how to directions and that he thinks he's above the rules. If the worst that's happened to him because of it is that he missed out on an oatmeal contest, he's lucky. (And your imaginative story that he's been "out living life" is possibly true, but it's just as likely, he's just been sitting on his old bum watching television or drinking beer instead of actually learning something new.)

Anonymous said...

Susan is just spouting the party line.

A single nuclear explosion high above the USA would take out so much of the entire digital record and system that America would crash completely. It would be particularly horrific in urban areas. This putting all your eggs in one basket is long-term national suicide, especially for a nation that thinks it can control the entire world militarily, forcing everybody everywhere to submit.

This is not unlike America's gender-free fetish. The reason Confucius and Moses and the other great leaders of antiquity wanted women kept strictly out of public life, out of the marketplace, and in the home is that all economies, especially those based on trade, will eventually crash. Rise and fall, rise and fall has long been the pattern, so ancient leaders realized that if half the economy stays home caring for children, the elderly, and gardens, then the wealth that half the people creates is not subject to predation by money manipulators and market crashes. People who do not go all-in on urbanism and trade, conquest, and cash will survive and thrive over the long-haul.

These Americans and Europeans are but neo-Viking barbarians who think they can press on forever. They are newcomers to literacy compared with the Indians, Chinese, and Arabs. They think they can double their available labour by putting women into the work force, pour everything into one mega system and press on forever to the stars. In gender-free spaceships they will find endless planets to rape and abandon as they did the earth. That every citizen must earn to stay obsessively close to the little devices that tell him what to think is naturally part of this program.

Anonymous said...

Well, that escalated quickly.


xoxoxoBruce said...

Or maybe he can't afford a computer, which explains why he's eating crappy Quaker stuff. But who cares as long as he's available for everyone online to judge, having never met or even heard of him before. At least he's smart enough to let it go.

Anonymous said...

Well Elagie, seems you and Susan know each other. She can defend herself, I'm sure she doesn't need anyone to hold her hand. She's mean. End of story.

Will-L said...

Some of the comments are a bit too serious.

My wife's grandparents are in their 70's and do not know how to use a computer and do not own one. Some people just cannot adapt to using 'complicated' gadgets.

It would have been great PR for PepsiCo if they politely rejected his entry for not meeting their contest rules but offered him some coupons for their Quaker Oats products.