We've all had our wardrobe malfunctions or outfit mishaps on the worst possible day. This is wont to happen when the nature of an event or commitment is especially unclear. What is "snappy casual," and how is it different from "business casual" or "business professional"? And which of these is one supposed to wear to meet the President? Unfortunately, a Utah resident didn't know he would be sitting at a roundtable with President Obama and did not dress for the occasion. Capitalizing on the fluke, his friend posted a picture on Reddit of his buddy wearing a polo to the White House meeting.
According to Reddit user cc971172, who posted the photo on Tuesday, his friend thought he would be sitting in the audience of Obama's speech at the Utah Air Force Base, but this was a bit of a misunderstanding. Instead of sending an audience member, the Obama administration had asked Vivint Solar to send a representative for a special roundtable with the President. Marvin Lance Futch, who works in Vivint Solar's computer-aided design department, was the representative chosen. When he arrived at the event, he was sent not to a small seat in a large audience, but a cushy chair at an intimate round table, just two seats away from the President himself — and markedly underdressed for the occasion.
As you can see in the photo below, one of these things is not like the others. Everyone else at the table, including Obama himself, is appropriately suited up.
The Reddit user who originally posted the photo elaborated in the comments, reminding the Internet that although the situation is humorous, it's also pretty serious for the people involved.
I still haven't had a chance to talk to my friend in the picture. But I have learned that the event did not have a lot of communication beforehand. It sounds like the leaders of the company sent him because he is in the Air Force and part of the speech Obama gave was about employing veterans in our industry. It wasn't known by our company before hand Obama wanted our representatives' input in such a small group meeting.
The details are a little hazy right now. I know the person responsible for the mix up is in some serious trouble. But I'm sure the CEO is kicking himself over missing this chance to meet the President.
Here's what Kady Cooper, spokeswoman for Vivint Solar, had to say about the incident in an official statement, via Business Insider:
Lance Futch, a lead photovoltaic CAD designer at Vivint Solar and active Utah National Guardsman, had been invited by the White House to join the ceremony audience and was instructed to wear business casual clothes. Upon arriving at Hill Air Force Base, Lance was ushered into a roundtable discussion with the POTUS, Senator Orrin Hatch, Representative Rob Bishop and Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker.
The discussion lasted about 40 minutes and President Obama asked Lance personally about Vivint Solar, the second largest residential solar provider in the United States, and whether there was a career path for transitioning military service veterans in the solar industry.
Poor guy. The miscommunication wasn't his fault. And he's certainly not the first White House guest not to live up to expectations. Remember this kid, who face-planted on the Oval Office couch last summer?
The photo was taken last June and uploaded to the official White House Flickr stream — months late, in September 2014 — with this caption:
President Barack Obama visits with a departing United States Secret Service agent and his wife as their son dives into a couch in the Oval Office, June 23, 2014.
Can you blame the kid? How comfy does that couch look? And how many chances is he ever going to get to do that again?
And there have been seriously awkward guest encounters even more recently. At the White House Christmas party in December 2014, Fox News reporter Megyn Kelly accidentally made a jab at the President while in conversation with him. Kelly said Obama asked her if she thought the White House was "a pretty fun place," to which she responded:
It is. Maybe we'll be here in two years.
Kelly publicly apologized for the comment on Jimmy Kimmel Live, insisting she didn't mean to insinuate that the Republican party would be taking over in 2016. Instead, she said it was just a weird, awkward attempt to make a joke about herself running for President with her husband.
I think all he was thinking was, "Who is 'we'?" Oh, she’s with Fox News. Oh, I don’t like Fox News. Oh, that’s for Republicans, she must mean the Republicans! Is this a shot at me at my Christmas party?" President Obama, I apologize. I didn’t mean it that way.
Images: Getty Images