Since he was a child, William Smith has eaten a bowl of Quaker Oats every morning, so when the 80-year-old Sturbridge, Massachusetts man saw the Quaker Oats “best recipe” contest, he was excited to mail in his favorite! His recipe: Oats topped with brown sugar, pineapple and coconut flakes. He calls it his “Hawaiian Special”.
He included the carefully cut contest label from the box with his recipe, and handed the letter to his mailman the next afternoon. A few days later he received his recipe back,…with a letter explaining that his recipe had been rejected because it had been written by hand.
“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 www.bringyourbestbowl.com,” wrote a representative for PepsiCo, which owns the 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 rejection 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 anymore, I think it’s ridiculous. They don’t realize where they came from.” Smith said.
Smith decided to send in his “Best Bowl” recipe after seeing an ad for the contest and its prize: $250,000, even though he admits actually winning the money was a “long shot”.
“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.”
(The photos were provided with a little help from Smith’s granddaughter, Jacklyn.)