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A weekly show where knowledge junkies get their fix of trivia-tastic information. This week, Paige looks at 23 less than stellar business moves.

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Hi, I'm Paige. Welcome to the salon. This is mental_floss on YouTube.

1. Ratners Group made "crap"
And did you know that in 1991, the jewelry company, Ratners Group lost £500 million pounds in value. This is all because the company CEO, Gerald Ratner, made a speech in which he said, "We also do cut-glass sherry decanters, complete with six glasses on a silver-plated tray that your butler can serve you drinks on, all for £4.95. People say, 'How can you sell this for such a low price?' I say, 'Because it's total crap.'" And that's the first of many bad business moves, whether intentional or unintentional that I'm gonna tell you about today.


2. Don't post your SSN on billboards
In 2010, the CEO of LifeLock, Todd David, put his social security number on billboards and advertisements to prove that the company could protect people from identity theft. His identity was then stolen 13 times.

3. "Edsel is a no-go"
The 1958 Ford Edsel is famous for being a failure and losing millions of the company's dollars. They spent tons of advertising money on things like the hour-long TV special, The Edsel Show. They also ran a promotion in which every Edsel dealer in America was given a pony to give away to a lucky family who test drove the car. But it turned out that people just didn't like the car's appearance, price, and gas mileage.

4. The DeLorean isn't as cool as it looks
Speaking of which, the DeLorean Motor Company went bankrupt in 1982 after they had only made less than 9,000 DeLorean DMC 12s. They may have looked fancy, but the cars only had 130 horsepower, the floor mats rubbed onto shoes, and the doors stuck. I'm glad we got one before they went out of business.

5. Consumer Reports sorta killed Sharper Image
In 2002, Consumer Reports published that Sharper Image's air purifier, Ionic Breeze, was ineffective. Sharper Image sued them, but the suit was dismissed and the company ended up having to pay the Consumer's Union. Then, in 2005, the air purifiers were found to actually be bad for the environment. In 2008, the company closed all its stores.

6. BlackBerry had such potential
In 2009, Fortune magazine named BlackBerry the fastest growing company in the world, but by 2013 the company made up only 3% of the cell phone market. They just didn't believe that consumers would buy smartphones with apps, so they invested in that technology too late.

7. Remember when Razr was the coolest?
Motorola had a similar problem in 2007. They stuck with the Razr while other companies were making smaller, more innovative phones. Also, in 2005, they built the first phone for a small tech company named Apple. The plug got pulled on that deal and we all know what happened next.

8. Don't forget to sign your lease!
In 2014, Powdr Corp ended its legal fight over one of Utah's largest ski resorts, Park City Mountain Resort, all because they made the "honest mistake" of forgetting to renew their 20-year lease with land owner, Talisker Corporation, which was an amazing bargain at $150,000 dollars a year. Talisker took the opportunity to sign a new tenant.

9. Rupert Murdoch tanked Myspace
In 2005, Rupert Murdoch's company bought Myspace for $580 million dollars, only to sell it in 2011 for $35 million. He admitted, "We just messed it up." He said it was because they added unnecessary bureaucracy.

10. Circuit City went bankrupt
Circuit City filed for bankruptcy in 2008 because of management issues, too. Two other major problems: putting stores in inconvenient locations, compared to places like Walmart and they stopped selling appliances.

11. Western Union dropped the ball on the telephone
In the 1800s, Western Union turned down Alexander Graham Bell's $100,000 dollar offer for the telephone's patent. The company's president called it a toy. Within 2 years, he realized his mistake and said $25 million dollars would have been a bargain, but it was too late.

12. Blockbuster should have bought Netflix
Blockbuster could have bought Netflix in the early 2000s for just $50 million dollars. They were actually given multiple offers throughout the decade, but turned them down each time. Now, Blockbuster is no longer around, and Netflix is worth about $20 billion dollars.

13. Ross Perot made huge mistake
In 1979, Ross Perot turned down an offer to buy Microsoft Corp for $40 to $60 million dollars, although Bill Gates claims it was more like $6 - $15 million. Perot has said, "I consider it one of the biggest business mistakes I've ever made."

14. 20th Century Fox was too cheap to pay Lucas
To cut costs on Star Wars in 1977, 20th Century Fox gave George Lucas gave all licensing and merchandising rights, so they could save $500,000 dollars on his paycheck. Those rights have made Lucas a billionaire. You're welcome for our contribution to your billions, George.

15. is probably still kicking itself
In 1999, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, offered to sell Google for a million dollars to Excite, which you'll now know as They even lowered the amount to $750,000, but were rejected. Google is now worth around $395 billion dollars.

16. No one wanted to buy pet supplies online spent a lot of money on advertising between 1998 and 2000 with a Superbowl commercial and a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon. But the online pet store ended up losing $147 million dollars in 2000. The problem was probably that people just didn't want to buy pet supplies online.

17. Whoopi Goldberg couldn't save Flooz
This was also the time of, which lasted from 1999 to 2001. At the website, you could buy an online currency that certain websites would accept, in place of credit cards. They had $35 million from investors, but it's hard to invent a currency and even commercials with Whoopi Goldberg couldn't save Flooz.

18. Decca Records could've signed the Beatles
In 1962, The Beatles auditioned for Decca Records. Executive Dick Roe claimed that guitar groups are on the way out and the company signed the band Brian Pool and the Tremeloes instead. That year, the Beatles had their first hit, Love Me Do, with Parlophone Records.

19. JC Penney was just too honest
JC Penney got rid of coupons in 2012, claiming it would be the end of fake prices. That meant things wouldn't be labelled as more costly for the sake of markdowns and coupons. It turns out that customers liked fake prices and the company apologized for its honesty one year later.

20. Kodak refused to convert to digital
In 1975, Kodak engineer, Steve Sasson invented the digital camera. According to Sasson, "It was filmless photography, so management's reaction was, 'That's cute -- but don't tell anyone about it.'" Kodak refused to adapt to digital and applied for bankruptcy protection in 2012.

21. Corn syrup and silica gel, yummm!
Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company, founded in 1856, was the top brewer of beer in the US before prohibition and after. It lost its status in 1957, but was still number 2. The company started really going downhill in the 70s, when the president replaced some barley in the recipe with corn syrup and silica gel.

22. Sprint and Nextel did not mesh well
In 2005, Sprint bought Nextel for $35 billion dollars. One of the major problems - the two companies used totally separate technologies, which meant that they had to add radios to both companies existing towers. In 2013, Nextel was finally shut down for good.

23. AOL Time Warner took a major hit in 2002.
Finally, I return to the salon to tell you that in 2000, America Online acquired Time Warner. In a deal worth $350 billion dollars, AOL ended up owning 55% and Time Warner owned 45%, but the new board had an equal number of directors from each group. It was supposed to bring Time Warner up to speed with AOL and the internet, but the dot com bubble burst in 2001 and AOL Time Warner had a $99 billion dollar loss in 2002.

Thanks for watching mental_floss on YouTube, which is made with the help with all these nice people. Again, I'm Paige and if you wanna check out my channel you can find it here. Don't forget to be awesome.