The collapse of Washington Mutual and the FDIC-engineered fire sale to JPMorgan Chase has people worried — about Wachovia. Wachovia’s stock is down 45% for the week, and 27% today as bailout talks stalled in Washington and WaMu held a garage sale at the FDIC.
When Treasure Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and the Fed chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, convened a meeting with House and Senate leaders on Capitol Hill last night to discuss giving AIG an unprecedented $85 billion loan, do you think they had a laugh about AIG’s commercials? We picture Paulson saying something like, “Ha, ha, ha… ‘strength to be there.’ That’s rich! Rich! Ha! I’m on a roll!”
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York will lend AIG $85 billion. Explaining the breathtaking move the Fed said, “a disorderly failure of A.I.G. could add to already significant levels of financial market fragility and lead to substantially higher borrowing costs, reduced household wealth and materially weaker economic performance.” They’re not just dumping out the public purse on the counter, though. FBNY will take a 79.9% stake in the company, the collateralized loan is for two years, and is expected to be paid off by selling off assets. NYT writes, “the bailout is likely to prove controversial, because it effectively puts taxpayer money at risk while protecting bad investments made by A.I.G. and other institutions does business with.” You can say that again.
JetBlue is launching a new fee, $7 for a pillow and an allergen-rebuffing blanket. It comes with a $5 coupon to Bed Bath and Beyond. It’s all part of what JetBlue describes as a “basket of fee changes” which they project will rake in an additional $50 million this year. I guess that’s someone’s idea of targeted marketing. “Guys, we need to figure out a way to hone in on this lucrative “buys blankets” crowd…”
Duhn duhn da duhn! Envelope please… yes, America has voted and… the Worst Company in America award goes to…. Countrywide Home Loans (now owned by Bank of America)! The final vote was…
The first person in line at the 5th Ave Apple store in Manhattan was
some kind of activist Daniel Bowman Simon, part of a group who camped out in front of The Cube for over a week, hoping to use it as an opportunity to bring exposure to issues of, “sustainability, affordable housing, energy security, and locally-grown food,” who tried to bumrush the applauding Apple receiving line of Apple employees and penetrate The Cube with what appears to be a metal/aluminum-foil horse carrying an American flag. The world may never know now knows exactly what sort of brilliant political statement he was trying to make as he was quickly intercepted by burly security guards who jettisoned him away to make room for more obedient cult members. Video, inside…
How would you feel to learn that not only had your household become subscribed to a magazine against its will, you were not getting threats that your account was overdue and was about to be sent to a debt-collection agency? That’s exactly what happened to husband and wife Keith and Stacy with New York Magazine. After our post went up about them, NYmag, wanting to defend what Communications Manager Lauren Starke called, “the good name of our circulation department—one of the most solid in the industry.” We put them in contact with Keith. After a flurry of testy emails between the two, here’s what happened.
You know we’re at death’s door for the print industry when they have to resort to a sleazy subscription tactic like this debt collection warning New York Mag sent Keith’s wife for a subscription she believes she never signed up for. Keith called the number on the back of the card and a customer service rep said that an “affiliate” put in the order. Dawn let Keith cancel the order without fuss. When Keith asked why the company was threatening to send people to collections for something they never ordered , “Dawn” said, “Don’t worry…it doesn’t make a difference since we don’t have your social security number and we will never ask for it.” As if that’s going to protect you from a debt collector. UPDATE: NYmag says the subscription renewal was valid and the customer must have forgotten about it. Full response inside.
Here is the live audio and powerpoint from a recent presentation I gave called, “The 5 Things Your Customers Aren’t Telling You.” This is number 3, “Stop Hiding Behind Walls Of Robots.” It’s all about how companies think they’re saving money by replacing humans with machines but sometimes machines can’t do jobs as well as humans, especially when it comes to customer service. I brought the point to life with a funny little story about eBay and their wonderfully inept automated email response system. I hope you enjoy the video, including the intro and outro ditties I worked up on my girlfriend’s old Yamaha synth. [More]
A lot of blame has sloshed around for the sub-prime meltdown, from greedy borrowers to greedy mortgage brokers to Alan Greenspan, but if you want the real culprit, it was the repeal of the Glass-Stegall Act. On November 12, 1999, the champagne must have been shooting from the walls at Citigroup, which had worked behind the scenes for over 30 years to get the act overturned. After recovering from their hangover, they and their banking buddies went on a sub-prime lending orgy. But what was Glass-Steagall and how did it use to protect us?
I spotted a tote bag for Bear Stearns, the investment bank that recently nearly collapsed and JP Morgan Chase purchased, on sale outside a used goods store here in Brookyln. No doubt it was pawned off by one of the many recently liquidated Bear Stearns employees in the New York area (hey, that Tivo doesn’t pay for itself). I didn’t check the price tag, but it was probably more than $10, which is more than can be said for a share of Bear Stearns stock. Note the new Chase bank sign reflected into the store window.
Don’t Believe The Hypebeast gives a mock tutorial on how to become a “brand strategist,” basically some white douche who figures out how to make brands and products appeal to that fabled white unicorn, youth culture endowed with ungodly amounts of disposable income.
1. To be an influential and successful youth culture brand strategist, you’re going to need to be a White male, preferably with an affluent upbringing, but with a penchant for rap music and 80’s punk. Don’t have that particular penchant? Wikipedia that shit!
Hit the link for the next five easy steps to siphon monies from big brands wanting to get jiggy with it, whatever it is.
Protesters Taunt Goldman Sachs Employees By Singing "Frosty The Goldman" Outside Company Christmas Party
Last week a clutch of protesters sang parodic carols outside the Goldman Sachs Christmas party at the hoity-toity BLVD club to protest the companies involvement with subprime mortgages.
Huzzah! Dan’s quest to not live in an icecube has succeeded. He writes:
The boiler’s been replaced and I’ve had consistent heat and hot water since xmas. Now i just have this unholy clanking coming from the steam pipe every morning b/t 3 and 5 am which jolts me from my bed in fear that its about to explode and take me with it. The super says hopefully it will get resolved this week.
On Monday, I returned home from work to discover an unexpected message from the city building inspector tucked under my door, stating that he had come to check on my heat and hot water, but that, since I wasn’t home, he’d check things out in a neighboring apartment.
Renova is selling the first “fashionable” toilet paper, available in four designer colors: Black, Red, Orange, and Green. Their catalog copy reads, “A voluptuous texture. Colors for an outstanding style. A warm mystery in every single olfactive moment. Soft and glamorous…A paper full of pleasure.”
Again and again, apologetic public statements by company spokespeople feature the phrase, “taking it seriously,” or a variant thereof. Are all these companies really taking things as seriously as they say? Or is “taking it seriously” seen as an all-purpose incantation from the PR grimoire that magically erases away wrongdoing? A sort of “disaster ketchup?” Since we always like to see the good in humanity, we’ll refrain from passing judgment, and instead offer up eight recent iterations of the phrase so you can decide for yourselves.
After ripping down the almost collapsed ceiling and the neighbor’s kitchen floor, the guy discovered at least three different leaks, all converging on my ceiling.