Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) shares have taken a severe beating in 2022. The home goods retailer's stock price stands 91% below the 52-week highs of March and 81% short of its year-ago reading.

Many investors see a great buying opportunity in these low share prices. Bed Bath & Beyond is a popular meme stock with a robust following on social media, and the stock supports a generous amount of daily trading.

Bed Bath & Beyond's average daily trading volume, measured in the total dollar value of the shares changing hands, is comparable to other meme-stock favorites such as electric truck maker Nikola (NKLA -0.34%) and crypto-mining specialist Riot Blockchain (RIOT 4.01%).

As heavily traded as Riot and Nikola are, they can't hold a candle to Bed Bath & Beyond's market activity considering each stock's total market footprint. On an average day in the last three months, 4% of Nikola's shares found new owners, and Riot traders moved 9% of that company's market cap. Meanwhile, 16% of Bed Bath & Beyond shares were traded daily.

In other words, lots of people are buying and selling this stock right now, and people on the buying side of that equation are hoping for a soaring recovery. Bed Bath & Beyond's stock is valued at just 0.03 times trailing sales today. The valuation chart below suggests two possible outcomes to this drama:

BBBY PS Ratio Chart

BBBY PS Ratio data by YCharts

Market makers expect either a tremendous turnaround story where brave buyers near the bottom of this chasm will multiply their investments many times over, or an upcoming bankruptcy filing and liquidation.

I'm not saying that the happy ending is unthinkable. You might recall the late summer of 1997, when Apple (AAPL 1.66%) was dealing with negative free cash flows and falling revenues, and arch-rival Microsoft (MSFT 0.74%) saved the Macintosh maker's bacon with a $150 million investment and a five-year technology alliance. Today, Apple is the most valuable stock on the market, $300 billion ahead of its old friend, Microsoft. Nothing is impossible.

However, Bed Bath & Beyond faces a nearly hopeless task here. The company's woes started long before the COVID-19 pandemic showed up, but the health crisis may have settled the score. Trailing sales are plunging, the company is burning more than a billion dollars of cash annually, and the book value is actually negative nowadays. In other words, if worse comes to worst and Bed Bad & Beyond files for bankruptcy protection, shareholders will most likely walk away from the fiscal rescue process empty-handed.

BBBY Revenue (TTM) Chart

BBBY Revenue (TTM) data by YCharts

So I would not recommend buying this stock today, even from the deepest and darkest corner of Wall Street's bargain bin. Bed Bath & Beyond has moved into that spot for good reasons, as the company has struggled to find customers in this era of rising e-commerce retailers. It's hard to run a nationwide chain of big-box retail stores at a profit nowadays.