As is our habit, we provided Ad Age with a list of our Top 10 Business Debacles of the Year. Are you ready for the pain?
Business is about doing shit for one supposedly inscrutable reason: to make money. Even if what you’re doing loses money, as long as you said you did it to make money, you’re cool.
Okay, we got the bathroom humor of Kellog’s All-Bran commercial last year. We’re not sure if this commercial for Extended Stay Hotels, which shows guests so relaxed that they pass gas—or what the French call un petit éclatement—is quite as effective. Maybe they should change the tagline at the end to, “Our windows can be opened.”
United Airlines’ pilots have had enough of Glenn Tilton, the CEO of United, and have started a website that calls for his resignation. In addition to listing Mr. Tilton’s various faults, the website asks you, the consumer, to help them by submitting your United Airlines horror stories. (CC: The Consumerist, naturally…)
Say you want to staff your call center with friendly, high energy, intelligent people who want to help customers and who enjoy their job. How do you find them? Well, apparently you hire people, train them, then offer them $1,000 to quit.
For the retail managers lurking here: an analysis of data from a “US specialty retailer” shows that not reducing staff during lean times leads to an increase in profit margins. [The Times South Africa]
Macy’s Inc. plans to eliminate the former Marshall Field’s headquarters in Minneapolis and cut more than 2,000 jobs as part of a move to consolidate regional offices and boost sales and cut costs.
TigerDirect has gone through with its plan to purchase CompUSA, including its website, inventory, and “16 of the best CompUSA retail stores,” according to an email sent by CEO Gilbert Fiorentino to TigerDirect employees. The tipster writes, “This also includes Tiger absorbing a fair amount of their stock, though most of what’s in the stores IS going to get cleared out.”
Well now you’ve done it, shoppers of America: your refusal to spend enough money at Macy’s is forcing the department store chain to shutter nine “underperforming stores in Indiana, Ohio, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Utah and Texas,” reports Reuters. Seriously, what does it take to get you to buy stuff from them? They gave out coupons!
Today, in an attempt to anger fans of both regulation and deregulation, the FCC approved two new rules. The first one restricts cable companies to owning no more than 30% of a market; the second one “gives owners of newspapers more leeway to buy radio and television stations in the largest cities.” One nice thing about the first rule is that Comcast can’t buy any more cable companies. One bad thing about the second one is that it will likely mean that Rupert Murdoch will win “permanent waivers to control two television stations in New York, as well as The New York Post and The Wall Street Journal.”
Maybe not you, but someone’s been doing a lot of shopping at Best Buy this year, because they just posted higher 3rd quarter earnings than they had predicted, based on “strong sales.” Sales were $238 million versus $150 million a year ago. [Reuters]
The sad news is that 1 in 3 lottery winners are in serious financial trouble or even bankrupt within 5 years. Why? The suddenly wealthy often never learn to manage their money.
Travelodge, which runs more than 300 budget business hotels in the UK, is training its staff on how to respond to the 70% surge in the past year of naked men sleepwalking through their hotels: “One tip in the company’s newly released ‘sleepwalkers guide’ tells staff to keep towels handy at the front desk in case a customer’s dignity needs preserving.” The sleepwalkers have been reported asking questions like, “Where’s the bathroom?,” “Do you have a newspaper?” and “Can I check out, I’m late for work?”
Home Depot has agreed to sell its Home Depot Supply Unit to three private equity firms — Bain Capital, the Carlyle Group and Clayton Dubilier & Rice for $10.3 billion, the buyers announced this afternoon, confirming a report by DealBook.
Yay! Home Depot’s troubled supply division has long been fingered as the cause of their notoriously crappy customer service. One can only assume that resources once diverted to the business supply division can now be refocused on consumers. Let’s hope that’s how it goes. —MEGHANN MARCO
After losing the first round of Worst Company In America, Monsanto suffered from low self-esteem and decreased motivation.
What’s the most unethical thing you’ve ever done in business? There’s a new blog, Ethics Crisis, asking just that and the responses are starting to get interesting. And If the business people aren’t honest with each other, they just might not be honest with their customers, doncha think? Here’s the best one so far: