Bosses Behaving Badly

National Semiconductor

At least they were classy enough to do it face-to-face…

In June, National Semiconductor boosts morale by handing every employee a 30-gigabyte iPod, for which it makes computer chips.

In July, National lays off 35 employees – and demands their iPods back, claiming that the portable music players are company “equipment.”

 Alarm One

Jeez, what a crybaby…

A jury in Fresno, Calif., awards $1.7 million in damages to Janet Orlando, who quit her job with home security company Alarm One after team-building exercises during which she and her colleagues were forced to eat baby food, wear diapers, or submit to being spanked on the butt with a rival company’s yard signs.

Mayor of New Lenox, Ill.

Hey, which one of you deadbeats ordered the $250 Cobb salad?

Mike Smith, mayor of New Lenox, Ill., pays a $1,462 tab at a strip club with his official village credit card.

By way of explanation, he says none of the other attendees had the means to pay the bill.

 Northwest Airlines

And don’t forget, you only need one kidney…

In July, bankrupt Northwest Airlines begins laying off thousands of ground workers, but not before issuing some of them a handy guide, “101 Ways to Save Money.”

The advice includes dumpster diving (“Don’t be shy about pulling something you like out of the trash”), making your own baby food, shredding old newspapers for use as cat litter, and taking walks in the woods as a low-cost dating alternative.

B2/Raytheon CEO

Still, copying does have its drawbacks…

In April, just nine months after a Business 2.0 cover story trumpets the wisdom of Raytheon CEO William Swanson and his folksy hit book, Swanson’s Unwritten Rules of Management, a San Diego engineer makes a shocking discovery: 17 of Swanson’s 33 rules are similar – and in some cases identical – to those in The Unwritten Rules of Engineering, a 1944 text by UCLA professor W.J. King.

While conceding that he failed to give proper credit, Swanson insists he didn’t intend to plagiarize, suggesting that old photocopied material may have wound up in his “scraps.”

By way of punishment, Raytheon’s board freezes Swanson’s salary at its 2005 level of $1.1 million and cuts his restricted stock grant by 20 percent.

Radio Shack

From: RadioShack
To: RadioShack employees

Subject: Your former job
In August, RadioShack fires 400 staffers via e-mail. Affected employees receive a message that reads, “The work force reduction notification is currently in progress. Unfortunately your position is one that has been eliminated.”

Cablevision Systems

Thus giving an entirely new meaning to the phrase “working stiff.”

Not to be outdone by UnitedHealth and Comverse, cable-TV operator Cablevision Systems admits in a regulatory filing that it granted stock options to a corpse.

The company awarded the rights to purchase thousands of shares to former vice chairman Marc Lustgarten, despite the fact that he died in 1999; the options included provisions that allowed them to pass to his estate.


Because if there’s anything America loves, it’s a politician…

In an attempt to put a smiley face on its tarnished image, Wal-Mart hires heavy-hitting public relations firm Edelman, which sets about using tactics derived from political races to reverse public perceptions of the giant retailer.

Dubbing its campaign “Candidate Wal-Mart,” the firm trumpets all manner of new Wal-Mart initiatives: improved employee health-care benefits, higher starting pay levels, new stores in downtrodden neighborhoods, reasonably priced organic foods, and a flat $4 fee for hundreds of generic prescription drugs.

As a result, candidate Wal-Mart quickly becomes, well, the most popular politician since Spiro Agnew. By year’s end Wal-Mart suffers its first quarterly profit drop in a decade, sees same-store sales decline in November’s run-up to the crucial holiday shopping season, and suffers a series of public relations gaffes so stunning that it lands six spots in this year’s edition of the 101 Dumbest Moments.


Guess the translator took the phrase “viral marketing” a bit too literally…

In August, McDonald’s runs a promotional contest in Japan in which it gives away 10,000 Mickey D’s-branded MP3 players.

The gadgets come preloaded with 10 songs – and, in some cases, a version of the QQPass family of Trojan horse viruses, which, when uploaded to a PC, seeks to capture passwords, user names, and other data and then forward them to hackers.


Throw the cash down the well…

Amid efforts by Kazakhstan to prove it’s not the backward land portrayed in the movie Borat, the nation’s central bank misspells the Kazakh word for “bank” on its 2,000- and 5,000-tenge notes.

Steve Wynn

Tearing Picasso a new one…

After striking a deal to sell Picasso’s “Le Reve” (“The Dream”) for a record $139 million, casino mogul Steve Wynn decides to show the masterwork to a group of visitors in his Las Vegas office.

As he gestures, Wynn hits the painting with his elbow, causing what’s later reported as “a distinct ripping sound.” Wynn cancels the sale and spends $85,000 to have the painting restored.


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  1. […] Original post by Brainlessworld ( […]

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