NEWS: Cardiff Airport receives Golden Lemon award

The Golden Lemon Award for outstanding stupidity in 2010 goes to Cardiff Airport with its announcement last month for plans to charge £2 for use of trolleys as ‘improving the current service’ – for a previously free facility.

The award, presented by the Flexible Thinking Forum, aims to tackle bureaucratic thinking in the community and promote greater creative thinking skills.

The Welsh airport received the award, with judges claiming it had added a new dimension to stupid thinking scale – ‘6 star stupidity’ – for assuming the public would be stupid in recognizing the changes as a service ‘improvement’.

The Golden Lemon Awards were designed to highlight acts of bureaucratic and stupid thinking during the year.

The judges had previously used a 5 Star rating scale consisting of:

1 Star Stupidity where a stupid act is committed through lack of knowledge
2 Star Stupidity a stupid act which makes sense in one context but may be stupid in another. 
3 Star Stupidity a stupid act which makes sense in the present but may not over time
4 Star Stupidity ‘compound stupidity’ – where one stupid act leads to another
5 Star Stupidity is repeating any 1,2,3, or 4 star acts of stupidity

They have now added 6 Star Stupidity as an extra level, for acts assuming the public would be gullible and stupid to believe the excuse given for the stupid act.

The lemon was chosen as a symbol for the awards after an experience by Andy Green, author of ‘Overcoming Stupidity’ when a restaurant refused to offer a slice of lemon for his drink, as it would need to  carry out a risk assessment if staff  were to use a knife to cut the lemon.

Stupidity is defined by the Forum not as being of low intelligence, but an act which creates negative value caused by inflexible thinking, without asking questions.

Commenting on the accolade award judge Andy Green said: “The Golden Lemon is a light-hearted gesture with a serious message designed to make organisations be more accountable – and demonstrate that casual spinning of facts should not be tolerated. The public should not be treated as ‘stupid’.”

“During 2011 with businesses facing increasing pressure, needing to obtain extra income or reducing operational costs, we expect to see more organisations resorting to what is called ‘stealth pricing’ – charging for previously free services. We hope they do not resort to dressing the moves up as service improvements.”

The Flexible Thinking Forum is a not-for-profit initiative established in 2008 which promotes greater understanding and use of innovative, creative and flexible thinking skills in the community.

More details about the Flexible Thinking Forum can be found at: www.flexiblethinkingforum.org.uk

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