It's so easy to get the wrong impression about meetings -especially in the sense that, despite the return on investment they bring in for companies seeking new or renewed business, they're wasteful in this age of cost scrutiny where every dollar is important to the bottom line.
The wrong idea is what the media got when it heard about a late September report released by the Justice Department's acting inspector general that uncovered "wasteful or extravagant spending" at law enforcement conferences over the course of the past two administrations. One item seemed to catch the scrutinizing eye of the media: muffins at a 2009 training conference costing $16 a piece.
Well, all hell broke loose, and the press jumped on the bandwagon of criticism of waste at government meetings -- despite the fact that there really was no $16 muffin. In fact, three days after DOJ's study was released, Hilton Hotels (one of whose properties hosted the conference where the muffins were eaten) issued a statement clarifying that the $16 charge was for a full continental breakfast plus tax. Instead of a detailed invoice, the hotel just listed the charge as "muffins." Indeed, the meeting space was also included in the price.
Comedian Stephen Colbert, the host of Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, a satirical news show, has a few funny -- and true -- things to say about the tendency by some to get hysterical whenever they hear about meetings costs -- whether it's in the private or public sector.
Click on the image below to watch Colbert's humorous take on "Muffingate."
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