When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

26 January 2006

Business 2.0: 2005's 101 Dumbest Moments in Business - February 1, 2006

Ah, it's that time of year again - time for Business 2.0's "101 Dumbest Moments in Business" list.

Some of my favorites from the past year:
  • The superheated real-estate market creates a new trend: the conversion of abandoned lunatic asylums in major urban areas into condominiums and apartments. (editor's note: This story just works on so many levels.)

  • Commodities brokerage Refco lasts a total of nine (nine!) weeks on the New York Stock Exchange before having to disclose that its CEO has hidden over $400 million in debt "off the books." (Refco filed for bankruptcy and has been delisted; the CEO may well be headed for the Big House.)

  • Confectioner Russell Stover runs into a little trouble with the Catholic Church over its new line of Easter candies: little chocolate crucifixes...

  • ChoicePoint -- the self-proclaimed "leading provider of identification and credential verification services" -- admits that it sold the personal data of 145,000 people to a number of unauthorized recipients, including an identity-theft ring in Los Angeles. ChoicePoint thoughtfully offers the victims a free credit report -- but still makes them pay to see the detailed information that was provided to the criminals...

  • The Iowa Pork Producers Association announces that it may retire a contest used to promote its product -- due to the lack of interest among young Iowa women in being designated "Pork Queen"...

  • Attempting to reformulate Alpha-Bits into a healthier cereal made with 75 percent whole grains and no sugar, Kraft Foods runs into "letter integrity" issues: The whole-oat flour yields an edible alphabet that's too chunky to read, while the elimination of the sugar coating causes the floating font to break apart more readily...

  • With the help of Latin pop sensation Thalia Sodi, Hershey introduces Cajeta Elegancita, a new candy bar for the Hispanic market. Though the wrapper features a picture of Sodi, apparently she neglects to fill her Yanqui partners in on a subtlety of Spanish: In Mexico, "cajeta" can be used to mean "nougat." Elsewhere in the Spanish-speaking world, however, it's common slang for female anatomy (editor's note: "cajeta" translates literally as "small box," being a diminuitive of "caja," or box.)
And there's more. Much, much more.

Business 2.0: 2005's 101 Dumbest Moments in Business - February 1, 2006

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