101 Dumbest Moments in Business
2005's shenanigans, skulduggery and just plain stupidity.
31. Next up: the caramel crown of thorns.In March, Russell Stover unveils its new Easter candy: 6-inch chocolate crucifixes. The Roman Catholic diocese in Bridgeport, Conn., denounces the confection, saying that an edible version of the cross on which Jesus Christ died is not an appropriate Easter-basket mate for marshmallow chicks and chocolate bunnies.
32. From the best stuff on earth ... to a sewer on 17th Street.Snapple abandons an attempt to erect the world's largest popsicle when the 24-foot-tall, 35,000-pound frozen treat begins melting as it's being hoisted upright in New York's Union Square Park. Snapple attempts its stunt on an 80-degree day in June; the record remains a 21-footer erected in more temperate Holland.
33. It'll be even clearer when the accents are from Bangalore.
34. Bummer. But we're still going ahead with the "Schindler's Shopping List" campaign, right?Fighting a proposal that would limit superstores in Flagstaff, Ariz., Wal-Mart signs off on an ad in the Arizona Daily Sun that asks, "Should we let government tell us what we can read? Of course not ... So why should we allow local government to limit where we shop?" The ad is illustrated with a vintage photo of Nazi supporters throwing books into a bonfire. Wal-Mart later apologizes, saying it had not appreciated the photo's "historical context."
35. Meanwhile, in other news about Wal-Mart and Germans ...In November, Wal-Mart loses an appeal of a ruling that its attempts to prohibit workplace romances among its 10,500 employees in Germany conflict with the country's laws. Wal-Mart had tried to introduce a 28-page ethical code that reportedly banned "lustful glances and ambiguous jokes" as well as "sexually meaningful communication of any type."`
36. We know why you fly ... JetBlue.The winner of the American Airlines "We Know Why You Fly" contest, which promised to award 24 round-trip tickets to the traveler who submitted the best video about his airborne experiences, turns down the grand prize. Why? Because American fails to cover the winner's federal, state, and local income taxes, which amount to about $19,000, or $800 per ticket.
37. A miracle? That's not for us to say. But after the drapes caught fire, our house did keep burning for eight straight days.In September, Continental Creations of New Bedford, Mass., recalls a line of $20 dog- and cat-festooned menorahs on which "the cups holding the candles could ignite, posing a fire hazard."
38. Jeez, it's just a little beeping noise. Don't go having a heart attack.In June, Guidant recalls 50,000 heart defibrillators -- about 38,600 of them already implanted in people's chests -- that might, in rare cases, short-circuit when they're supposed to deliver vital electrical jolts. The recall comes after the devices were reported to have failed at least 45 times, including two instances in which the patients died. Guidant fixed the flaw in devices made after mid-2002 but neglected to inform doctors and continued to sell units produced before the fix. The recall advises patients that, should the device malfunction, it will emit a beeping noise, at which point they should contact their doctors or head to an emergency room.
39. That may be, but you don't have to rub it in."Jessica recognizes that she has a very broad fan base." -- A spokesperson for Jessica Simpson, explaining the size-2 entertainer's introduction of a plus-size line of jeans in August.
40. Just google him. We hear it really ticks him off."F***ing Eric Schmidt is a f***ing pussy. I'm going to f***ing bury that guy, I have done it before and I will do it again. I'm going to f***ing kill Google." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, in response to the departure of Mark Lucovsky, a former Microsoft "distinguished engineer" who left last year to work at Google. The alleged aria, punctuated by the tossing of a chair, was cited in a sworn statement by Lucovsky that became public during court hearings over another Microsoft-to-Google defection in September. Microsoft denies Lucovsky's version of the incident.
From the February 1, 2006 issue