Stupidity is contagious. It gets us all from time to time. Even respectable companies can catch it. As I do every week, let's take a look at five dumb financial events this week that may make your head spin.
1. First Bank of Second Chances
$25 billion doesn't seem to last the way it used to. Bank of America
Fed up yet? Bank of America clearly overpaid for Countrywide and Merrill Lynch, when waiting a few days -- or ideally a few weeks or months -- would have provided the financial services giant with far better entry points. Why are we entrusting it with even more money when it's a head-shake away from being a Darwin Awards winner?
2. Jobs: So hard to find these days
The problems here rest in the company's handling of the information and its lack of a public succession plan. Jobs' absence from the Macworld Expo keynote earlier this month over a presumably minor "hormonal imbalance" condition should have raised flags, despite Apple's claims that his condition has deteriorated since the company made that statement. A better-prepared Apple would have been chattier about Jobs' health, or at the very least peppered Macworld with enough blowout announcements to ease the investing community into warming up to Apple post-Jobs.
3. The notbook netbook
Let's bring Apple again one more time. The country's third-largest computer maker -- by unit volume -- became the country's fourth-largest in the fourth quarter. Gartner is reporting that netbook leader Acer swiped market share sequentially at everybody else's expense.
Market leaders Dell
One can always suggest that diving into the low-cost netbook market would kill Apple's margins and cannibalize sales of its premium-priced MacBooks, but is this the alternative? Will last year's 9.5% be Apple's market-share peak if it decides not to play the netbook game? Interim Apple CEO Tim Cook has been handed one hot potato.
4. Flame-broiled firestorm
According to WhopperSacrifice.com, "Facebook has disabled Whopper Sacrifice after your love for the Whopper sandwich proved to be stronger than 233,906 friendships."
Can someone get a read on BK's diabolical marketing strategy? The Whopper Freakout ads tormented Whopper fans with hidden cameras filming their reactions to fake news about the sandwich being discontinued. Whopper Virgins forced the sandwiches onto burger virgins in remote pockets of the world, folks with very limited diets and unsophisticated palates. How far away are we from Whopper Executions, with BK trolling Death Row for inmates willing to make a juicy burger their final meal in exchange for some ad time?
5. Eight-minute apps
Speaking of apps getting pulled, Chipotle Mexican Grill
Whether it was the sheer volume of users, or the sheer volume of negative reviews, the quick-service burrito chain earns kudos for acting quickly. But it still earns this week's final spot for putting out an App Store application before it was ready for primetime. Tsk, tsk. Chipotle would never serve up an undercooked burrito, would it?
Let's beat the dumb drum:
Chipotle ‘B’ shares are a Motley Fool Hidden Gems selection. Bank of America is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick. Dell is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Chipotle Mexican Grill is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. The Fool owns B shares of Chipotle. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services 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. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.