Pop Quiz: You want to change your employee uniforms and need to know which sizes to order do you.

A. Ask your employees their sizes

B. Ask a clothing manufacturer to deliver uniforms based on population statistics

C. Ask your employees to take a picture of themselves in their underwear and upload it to an app

If you're Dutch Grocery Store Albert Heijn, you picked C, and boy was this a bad idea.

The BBC reports that after they began the trial in one grocery store, they had to cancel it due to outrage from, well, everyone but the committee that approved this. The BBC says:

Albert Heijn has insisted that participation in the trial was never mandatory. A spokesman told Dutch media that the firm had been trying to find a better way of collating all the sizes of its 100,000 workers and felt an app would be more helpful than receiving 100,000 emails.

I agree that an app would be a better idea than 100,000 emails. But, somehow, their desire to be cool and innovative rather than do something straightforward--gather sizes--got out of hand.

They could have created an app with a drop-down menu where each employee could select their size. They could have had the store manager collect an order list for each store and have the manager email the file to headquarters. There are so many non-intrusive ways to get employees' sizes.

But, in case you thought that this seems like a great idea to outfit your staff, let me tell you a simple rule of business: Never ask your employees to take pictures of themselves in underwear or other tight-fitting clothing. This is always a bad idea. Even if you are looking for underwear models, this is a super creepy way to do it.

Even promising, as Albert Heijin did, that no one in management would see the pictures isn't good enough. This is not something you should do. And even though it was "voluntary," you need to understand that it is still creepy and inappropriate. For goodness' sake, if it's inappropriate behavior on Tinder, it's inappropriate behavior at your grocery store.

So, next time you want to come up with a new and innovative way to solve a very simple problem, consider that the old fashioned method may be the best one. Just ask sizes. It's that simple. No tight fitted clothing needed.

Published on: Nov 27, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.