The Smell Test

Here’s the question for you this Foodie Friday.  Let’s say you pour yourself a nice hot cup of coffee and go to the fridge for some milk.  You notice that the “sell by” date has passed although it was only a few days prior.  What do you do?  If you’re like most folks, you do the smell test – you sniff the milk to see if it has an off odorand, therefore, might have something wrong with it.  It doesn’t have to be with foods that you think might be “off” either.  It’s a smart thing to give some produce – melons, for example – a quick sniff because the better, riper stuff has a fresher, more “melon-y” smell.

English: A profile of a beautifully shaped hum...

Image via Wikipedia

Of course, we don’t just use the smell test in the kitchen or the supermarket, and that’s the point today.

Last week, I wrote about Paula Deen and her announcement.  This isn’t going to be another post about that other than to say one problem I (and others) had is the fact that she made her “not a big deal” announcement while on a drug company‘s payroll.  In my mind, it doesn’t pass the smell test (and in fairness, she has since stated she’s donating all her drug company income to charity).

Let’s take Google, who also did something in the past week that fails my smell test.  Again, without a long explanation (you can get one here), they’ve altered the way you see search results and just might be favoring their own content over that of other entities.  For a company with a “don’t be evil” mantra, something doesn’t smell right.  I’m sure you can find a number of other things that smell fishy in your own lives.

Our customers, employees, and partners are constantly sniffing.  We do so as citizens – why did a politician vote a certain way and how does it tie to campaign donations?  We need to odor-check ourselves constantly if we’re to pass that test, and we can’t minimize the impact of even a vague whiff of something being off.  To ignore that is a big blind spot for any business.

What do you think (and please don’t tell me this stinks!)?

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