What’s the Worst American Company?

Submit your vote for Worst American Company in the comments or to tips@consumerist.com. (Use the subject ‘Worst American Company’ in the subject to help us filter, if you would.)

ll round up the qualifiers, make a nice chunky tournament ladder, and let the companies face-off in a dance-to-the-death.

Use any criteria you wish—but be sure to tell us why they are the worst.

Oh yes, we
ll drop plenty of kung-fu movie quotes in the mix.

My style is the best!

Is that… my blood?


Edit Your Comment

  1. factotum says:

    Halliburton: never has one company so profited from the bloodshed of war.

  2. Ben Popken says:

    Good one!

  3. Rick Dobbs says:

    I would like to nominate “The Airline Industry As A Whole.” And include Southwest and Jet Blu. They both suck as well, they just don’t suck as bad as the rest of the industry. My 180,000 miles a year says so.

    If I have to nominate ONE company, then I’d have to go with Sprint PCS. They work great as long you don’t have to talk to anyone.

  4. Well, Sony BMG gets a mention for illegally damaging thousands of PCs with their rootkits. (Rootkits that, ironically, illegally contain code copyrighted by others.) Then lying about it. Then downplaying it. I don’t think they’ve even released a fix for the rootkit yet, have they?

    Even still, I’d have to vote for Halliburton, a nasty, nasty organization.

  5. People Paula says:

    Soooooo easy . . . The US Postal Service.

  6. mrscolex says:

    I definitely wanted to post to this, but I wanted to include a company that was a bit under the radar. Of course we’re bound to hear of the usual companies in the mix, Microsoft, Halliburton, blah blah blah, I wanted to include a company that perhaps nobody has heard about but they ought to.

    ChoicePoint. Check out their website at http://www.choicepoint.com

    Looks all happy and friendly doesn’t it? Smiling kids having fun. Thats exactly the image I think of when I imagine a massive database on every citizen of the united states.

    ChoicePoint is one of the few companies that the government contracts for information on its terrorist databases among other things.

    Where to start on a company like this? We’ll start with an easy source, Google News

    ChoicePoint leaked the records of 145,000-163,000 people back in October of 2004. The citizens who had their records leak didn’t find out about it until Feb of 2005, and even then initially only the people who were residents of the state of California were notified per state law. (Everybody was eventually notified to the best of my knowledge)

    In 2002 ChoicePoint willingly gave (choicepoint claims they were duped) records of more than 1500 individuals to a Nigerian businessman in california. I quote from the atlanta journal constitution: For at least two years beginning in 2002, Oluwatosin used cellphones, fake addresses and anonymous mail-drop boxes in the Los Angeles area to masquerade as a business owner and trick ChoicePoint into selling him access to addresses, real estate records, bank data and other details of consumers that ultimately led to millions of dollars in credit card fraud.

    The funny thing is that most people don’t even know that their records are kept on this Georgia based company’s data system.

    Recently, the FTC levied a 10 million dollar fine against choicepoint, and choicepoint agreed to set up a 5 million dollar trust for victims who may have lost money as the result of ID leaks from their systems. Fortunately, if you do the math on total possible number of people who have had their data stolen, you get a whopping 30 bucks per person. Thanks choicepoint!

    At one point the TSA almost agreed to use the databases that ChoicePoint holds to do their security checks for flights, but the plan was scrapped after outrage that the government was trying to circumvent privacy laws.

    But in June of 2005, that didn’t stop the CIA from granting a contract up to 20 million dollars to ChoicePoint for batch processing of public records.

    According to consumer affairs, ChoicePoint operates as a front for Data Mining for over 25 federal agencies.

    So go take one last look at their happy website with the children dancing. Makes you sick doesn’t it?

  7. airship says:

    Wal-Mart. They kill small towns; they kill their own suppliers; they leach off the government for benefits for their employees; and they promote the idea that cheaper is better, no matter what the hidden costs.

  8. mrscolex says:

    Mixed up a few of the details, the nigerian businessman was the one responsible for losing up to 165,000 records. They were the same case and they were both related– except that the nigerian business man was only prosecuted for having access to 1,500 specific records. Sorry about the confusion…

  9. Kevin Meyers says:

    Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart!

    Profiting on poverty, relying on government-sponsored programs to provide their employers with health care benefits, and mercilessly destroying small towns with every new Super Center.

    Halliurton may have profited from the destruction of Iraq, but Wal-Mart is profiting from the destruction of America.

  10. ValkRaider says:

    My vote is for WAL-MART.

    No way to count all of their evils.

  11. Man, tough one because it’s eitehr a shitty product or poor customer service that qualifies. Sucks if you’re a grunt working at one of these places and you have no other gig.)

    Ok, niceness disclaimer out of the way:


    (Which I believe is Latin for “evil motherfuckers”) Rent the doc called “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room”, and hide shit ahead of time you might end up throwing at the TV.)

    Worst still IN business: U.S. Government

  12. (Hey Ben, ya gotta do a Best Company thread as well.)

    Shit, wait, there aren’t any. Nevermind.


  13. Ben Popken says:

    Oh, we will. We thought we’d do the easy one first.

  14. RaginCajun says:

    How about Target? Same employment practices as Wal-Mart. They just haven’t reached big enough scale to upset the underdog-worshippers out there. (By the way, as someone who grew up in a small town that was practically saved by Wal-Mart — eh, nevermind, why get into it here?)

    How about Apple for creating an iPods/iTune bundling system that is much more egregious than anything Microsoft did in the 90s.

    How about Google for selling out in China and trying to hold itself above copyright laws?

    But, ultimately, I have to go with Subway Restaurants, for forcing Jared upon us.

  15. Aaron D. says:


    search for them on google,

    responsible for both Agent Orange and Bovine Growth hormone.

  16. Eusie says:

    I submit for your consideration:

    Sallie Mae

    The have a convenient history of “loosing” paperwork on in school deferments so they can double collect on fees from student loans.

  17. Amy Alkon says:

    Wal-mart. For having the public pay their underpaid workers’ health care costs, among other things.

  18. mikelite says:

    can I nominate the US Gov’t for so many easy reasons?

  19. christy says:

    H&R Block. I have heard some real horror stories from people that attempt to get their taxes done there by what I can only assume are chimps in people clothes. I find it especially terrifying because when your taxes get messed up you are being screwes over not once, but twice.

  20. Dave says:

    Gotta be Walmart. Or is it WalMart? Or Wal-mart? Whatever.

    The land of everyday low prices is hell on suppliers, driving all but the biggest out of business, forcing them to adopt Walmart’s purchasing practices. Their 500lb gorilla mentality affects all their suppliers, but hits the small-time manufacturer the hardest — those who either make stuff for Walmart directly or make stuff that is used to make stuff for Walmart.

    Read http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/77/walmart.html for a peek inside the way they operate. The article is a few years old, but they are still at it, and more cut-throat than ever.

    I work for a printing company, and know of several other similar printers who have been driven into bankruptcy by the demands of their customers who sell directly to Walmart. And those businesses that survive Walmart’s purchasing practices end up in very unhealthy condition.

    We hatesss them, precioussss!!! We’ll never buyssss from them! Ever! We’ll tell all our friendsssesss to stayssss away!