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People Are Sharing Business Decisions Companies Have Made That Ended Up Hurting Them

Companies are people too.

They mess up just like we all do from time to time. Fortunately, some of the decisions companies have made are so bad they’re funny. That’s when Reddit steps in and never lets a business forget how stupid they were. Whether it’s a local pizza place or a bank worth billions, people love to see other people fail.

Coincidently, I love to write about people watching other people fail. It’s fun. What a joy to be alive where I have all this information at my fingertips.

As a person who’s never owned a small business but did see the Michael Keaton movie The Founder (2016) once, I think I’m well-equipped to tell you which companies made huge mistakes. Honestly, the amount of Shark Tank I’ve watched has made the following list even funnier. I hope you enjoy it.

Here are the best responses to the questions: “What’s the worst business decision you’ve ever seen?”:


1. Don’t fix what ain’t broke.

“In my hometown, there was an independent fast food and homemade ice cream place, long established and run by close friends. It was a goldmine. They decided to sell and retire. New owners immediately changed everything. Painted it a wild color, removed some attractions from the grounds, changed the 60 year old menu and switched to commercially made ice cream. They lasted 8 months.” –Strokedoutbear

2. The boss is always right.

“Property management company I used to work for had a number of student properties and high-rises that were always a struggle to fill in the summer months when students went out of town.

Head office came up with an offer that anyone who signed for two years got the four summer months at 50% off. Sounds like a good deal, 50% rent is much better than zero. We signed tons of students.

However the lease templates that head office sent over showed the reduced rent rate on the lease rather than just adding the discount as a separate addendum. I noticed this discrepancy and reported it – and was subsequently ignored.

Which meant the students were signing a legal document that guaranteed them 50% rent for two years.

The company lost hundreds of thousands in revenue.” –kor_hookmaster

3. No refunds.

“I used to work for a company that was bleeding money. In order to try and save money, they decided to stop honoring returns/refunds, but still advertised that they did.

Whenever someone would ask for a refund, you were supposed to tell the person that it would be processed in the next 6-8 weeks, then get them off the phone.

6-8 weeks later, when they ask where their money is, you were supposed to apologize and say their paperwork got put in the wrong stack, and that it would be put in the correct stack and would then be processed in the next 6-8 weeks.

If they complained about the length of time, you were supposed to tell them you can ask your supervisor to expedite it, and they should see it in 4-6 weeks instead.

If they threatened legal action after months and months, you were supposed to tell them to contact the company legal department ( we didn’t have a company legal department) and then hang up on them. Then, make a note in their account. No one should field calls from that account further.

More than half the call center quit in a single week in protest of this decision.

Company collapsed in on itself within a few months.” –HaElfParagon

4. What’s in the secret sauce?

“My late great uncle started a fish and chips restaurant. He had his own unique recipe for the fish and it was very popular. Businessmen had offered him thousands in cash for it over the years, but he always declined. After about 40 or so years, he decided to retire and hand the business over to an ambitious recent college grad. He offered to give her the recipe and even volunteer his services for a bit while she got comfortable in her new role as owner. She declined both and within a year, she was forced to sell the restaurant after coming close to declaring bankruptcy. My great uncle died and took the recipe with him to his grave.” –TheBoomExpress

5. Right on Target.

“Target’s expansion into Canada.

Collapsed in 2 years and cost them billions.” –USSMarauder

6. Losing Nemo.

“I worked for a video store during the time Finding Nemo came out on DVD. The video store I worked for got a huge fishtank put inside. It was so big they had to shrink the game rental section. The tank had clown fish in it. The tank was also locked and we couldn’t feed the fish or clean it. This was supposed to be done by someone who I never saw come in. So the tank ended up filled with a bunch of dead Nemos in a nasty as fuck tank. Needless to say parents were very unhappy about it. The local paper did a small article about it too which didn’t help an already dying store. I have no idea what they thought an expensive as Hell fish tank would do for their business.” –OhTheHueManatee

7. We’re like family.

“Cafe I work for decided it wanted to fire everyone except for the leads and the manager. Then told the manager they weren’t paying her salary anymore AND she needed to take on more work. Assumed people would do it because they ‘love their jobs.'” –ambrosiadeux

8. Tumbling into failure.

“Tumblr banning porn was a huge mistake what turned a relevant and highly profiting social platform into a barely known failure.

It was worth more than one billion dollars and got sold for 3 million, it took only a year for its traffic to disappear and the worth of the service to lose 99.9% worth.” –Umbraldisappointment

9. Panera’s bad business decision.

“Panera Cares opening less than a mile from my college campus.

For those who don’t know, Panera Cares basically just let you order food and would list a “suggested donation” based on what you ordered, but ultimately it was honor system. The cashiers would just make change for you so you could put cash in the donation box. If you can’t afford a meal it’s fine to not pay but you are supposed to volunteer to work for two hours to cover it, but this isn’t actually required.

I think generally these things are supposed to be for really affluent neighborhoods where people probably donate even more than is “suggested.” But students from the college basically turned it into a real life Tragedy of the Commons experiment. There was almost never bread available because everyone would just take it. The lines were insane and people would donate like $1 if anything. It closed within a year lol.” –WallOfTextGuy

10. Give us a call.

“Take a help desk that has been consistently rated extremely well by its customers for their first-call-resolve, attitude, and helpfulness; outsource it to a company that’s been rated towards the bottom of the list for over a decade because it costs less than the salaries/benefits of your former in house help desk. Then complain when your first-call-resolve drops through the floor and your customer satisfaction is at an all time low.” –amalgamas