Stupidity is contagious. It gets us all from time to time. Even respectable companies can catch it. Let's take a look at five dumb financial events this week that may make your head spin.
1. A $15 mistake
What are you thinking, Delta? Falling fuel prices will make running a carrier, profitably, so much easier. Introducing a new fee at this point just feels like gouging, especially given the effective Southwest ads poking fun at the fees. Delta could have been the lone holdout to this practice, but now it's simply seen as a late follower. Then again, going by the timeliness of flight arrivals and departures throughout the industry these days, aren't they all late followers?
2. The $1,600 question
The skeletal spine-contoured chair supposedly offers comfort breakthroughs that promise to make sitters more productive, but it sure picked a lousy time to roll out a piece of furniture that costs roughly twice as much as the once ballyhooed Aeron. Companies are laying people off and scaling back on office spending. The public is skeptical after bailing out the banking industry and wants to make sure that money isn't being blown on executive bonuses, resort junkets, or $1,600 chairs. I don't care how good the Embody's lumbar support is, this is not the time to introduce office luxury.
3. No more "rent to own" at Netflix
If you're a fan of picking up used DVDs through Netflix
The logic may be sound. Studios don't want cheap secondhand product on the market. Netflix wants to focus on the rental experience. There is money to be made by simply unloading a surplus of fading releases to a wholesaler. However, this forces Netflix subscribers to hit local DVD rental chains, rival e-tailers, and real world closeout superstores for celluloid bargains. For a company that prides itself on convenience, why is it sending its subscribers out to the very establishments it seeks to supplant?
4. You've got hate mail
A few years ago, AOL decided to tear down the wall. Instead of pushing its profitable dial-up access service, Time Warner's
As you can imagine, paying AOL subscribers have been plummeting on a quarterly basis for years. Growth in Web ads hasn't been enough to offset the revenue lost in the migration away from America Online, but at least it was -- yes, was -- growing. Online ad revenue at AOL fell by a head-scratching 6% this past quarter.
I got it! Build a new wall! Charge people to see those same ads! Not a good idea? I know. Besides, AOL beat me to it. It's called America Online.
5. Use the salesforce, Luke
The name salesforce.com
It makes sense, given the company's established relationships with forward-thinking clients. Unfortunately, salesforce is breaking into this space just days after Microsoft
Let's beat the dumb drum:
Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Netflix and Amazon.com are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. It would be a smart move to try one of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of dumb and smart business moves. Investors can learn plenty from both. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story, save for Netflix. Rick is part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool's disclosure policy worked one summer as a car hop.