One of my favourite hotels always has a large bowl of fruit sitting on the counter in their front desk area, available to any of their hotel clientele who want a quick snack. Recently, as I checked in one evening, I mentioned to the front desk agent that I felt the onset of a cold. She helpfully recommended that I boost my Vitamin C consumption. To which I laughingly responded that their fruit bowl never contained oranges, only apples and bananas. She paused, and then earnestly replied, “Oh, we tried adding oranges, but no one ever takes the oranges, just the apples and bananas. So now we just leave them out.”
The convenient fruit principle
At first thought, you might assume that this discrepancy exists because most people like apples and bananas more than oranges. But when you consider it further, the reason is much simpler. Apples and bananas are easy to eat, but oranges are not. As delicious as oranges are, you usually need a knife to eat them. And if they can be peeled, most times they are quite messy. So hotel guests looking for a quick and easy snack always pick the apples and bananas. I call this the “convenient fruit principle”, and it applies just as much in the workplace as it does at snack time.