Business Done Right and Wrong

The WNC staff always strives to put forth their most professional image.
The WNC staff always strives to put forth their most professional image.
Regular readers know that I am not a big fan of McDonald’s. There is a whole section of our search engine dedicated to eviscerating them. I have written about everything from how their food will not decay, which is not natural, to how performance artists use Mc-food to kill insects. Just so we’re clear, I am not a fan. Now, that being said, I must give credit where credit is due. Charles Ramsey, the hero in Cleveland who rescued those three young women, has turned down reward money and tried to live a normal life. But there is one reward he will not be able to ignore. He likes to eat his lunch at McDonald’s. Well, someone has to or they’d go out of business. Anyway, without any fanfare or fuss McDonald’s quietly gave Mr. Ramsey a gift certificate which will allow him to have free burgers for the rest of his life. It was only when a reporter followed up with Mr. Ramsey did the world find this out. That was a classy move by a company not exactly known for its subtlety. So, for today, McDonald’s get a pass from me. I might even try a burger.

Well, let’s not get crazy.

Now let’s look at a few companies that could take lessons from the nice folks at Mc-Corporate. First up are the owners of the Russian ship, Lyubov Orlova, which was being sent to Canada for scrapping due to debts. It’s filled with toxic waste and is in poor shape. Naturally they lost it. That’s right, somewhere in the Atlantic is a ship full of poison that, if it sinks, could do untold amounts of damage to the ocean and the life it contains. You might think that knowledge would spur them into action to find it. You would be wrong, but you can be forgiven for thinking it.

Canada, for its part, doesn’t seem too broken up over the loss, as the boat had been abandoned in Canadian waters in 2010 after a reported financial dispute between the owner and a charter company, per Fox News. Once the ship drifted into international waters, the Canadian government largely washed its hands of the issue. As The Globe and Mail reported back in February, Canada’s transportation department said in a statement it was “very unlikely that the vessel will re-enter waters under Canadian jurisdiction.”

The boat’s whereabouts have received a good deal of attention in the international pressu, and the mystery surrounding the vessel has even spawned a website, “Where is Lyubov Orlova?”

On a sobering note, however, if the boat has wrecked somewhere, it could be leaking toxic fluids into the water, according to French environmental organization Robin du Bois.

“In case of a collision or sinking or any accident, the Lyubov Orlova will immediately release fuel … other toxic liquids, asbestos … mercury and other non-degradable floating waste,” the group declared in a statement, according to LiveScience.

But other than that everything’s fine.

Speaking of catastrophic meltdowns, I would be remiss if I ignored the fun loving couple who owns Amy’s Bakery in Arizona. After getting dissed on national TV by Gordon Ramsey (no relation to Charles) and issuing one of the most profanity laden Facebook rants in history, which they blamed on a hacker who seemed to imitate their speech patterns perfectly (sure, I believe them, and I believe in the Easter Bunny, and ….), they decided to reopen their restaurant. They did this quietly since people didn’t show up.

Finding out how the place is run by douchebags will do that to a business.

But, to make matters even more fun, it turns out that the husband half of that daffy duo may be in the country illegally.


Ryan Grenoble has the whole story.

Amy’s Baking Company has had a rough go recently, and it may yet get worse: Sami Bouzaglo, one of the restaurant’s owners, may be facing deportation.

According to a report in The Arizona Republic, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials are investigating Bouzaglo, an Israeli citizen, regarding time he spent in prison prior to his immigrating to the United States. Bouzaglo’s immigration lawyer did not disclose details of the case to the Republic, but the paper, citing a “high-ranking law enforcement source,” reports that Bouzaglo’s international record hints at involvement in “drug distribution, threats, and extortion.”

The Scottsdale, Ariz., restaurant originally soared to infamous heights after a disastrous “Kitchen Nightmares” episode appeared to trigger a self-destruct sequence on the company’s Facebook page. Owners Sami Bouzaglo and his wife, Amy, later stated the bizarre, profane posts (“You people are all s**t,” “I AM NOT STUPID ALL OF YOU ARE,” among others) were the work of a hacker.

More recently, the restaurant’s PR firm, Rose+Moser+Allyn, which was hired specifically to manage the resulting storm of negative publicity, quit. Company spokesman Jason Rose diplomatically explained to Fox News, “It’s fair to say, that while we were in agreement on some approaches, there was disagreement on others.”

The report of Bouzaglo’s deportation hearings comes less than a day after Amy’s Baking Company marked its “grand reopening.”

I know someone who lives in Arizona and had eaten there before. He said it was bland food for bland people and the service was sketchy. He would not go back a second time.

All things considered their bankruptcy would be a gift from above.

I’m just saying that anyone stupid enough to steal their staff’s tips while being filmed deserves what they get.

But the biggest meltdown appears to have started when a guy’s speech from 2006 resurfaced a couple of weeks back. Mike Jeffries, the C.E.O. of Abercrombie & Fitch, claimed that his store only cared about selling clothes to the “cool kids.” I once did a video for an A&F party in NYC, so I guess I was, for a brief shining moment, a cool kid.

Anyway, since the speech reared it’s self absorbed head on the internet A&F sales have plummeted.

Abercrombie and Fitch suddenly has much bigger problems to deal with than an overly-opinionated CEO.

The retailer announced Friday that U.S. sales fell 17 percent in the first quarter of the year, and that future profit forecasts have been cut, according to the Los Angeles Times. On a conference call, the company’s CEO, Mike Jeffries, cited inventory shortages as the root of the problem.

The declines in sales actually came before controversy erupted over Jeffries’ 2006 remarks, in which he defended the exclusivity of his brand and said the company markets to “cool, good-looking people.” The comments’ reemergence sparked massive protests from teen activists, bloggers and media personalities alike, who called on Jeffries to start making plus-size clothing for women.

Abercrombie was forced to issue not one, but two apologies about its CEO’s off-the-cuff remarks. In the first apology, which was met with severe opposition on Abercrombie’s Facebook page, Jeffries said that he “seriously regrets” that his “choice of words was interpreted in a manner that has caused offense.”

The retailer was forced to make another apology after a group of teen activists went to Abercrombie’s headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, to protest Jeffries. After meeting with the activists, Abercrombie issued a statement stating that the brand is committed to “anti-bullying in addition to our ongoing support of diversity and inclusion.”

They’re diverse as long as you wear a medium or smaller and their inclusive as long as you have cash to buy their tiny clothes.

Look, A&F have never hidden the fact that they have a target market. They want the young and edgy. Why else would the release an ad that bordered on gay teen porn? And that was one of their more normal ads.

What happened here is the perfect storm. People are suddenly far more sensitive to the feelings of others and are trying to be more inclusive of various lifestyles and suddenly here’s this narcissistic billionaire jerk saying how he only takes money from worthy people.

By the way, to the guy who gave A&F clothes to the homeless, I got the joke. Unfortunately I think that using homeless people as props so you can make a political statement is degrading to them and counter-intuitive to your purported statement since you are clearly saying “Here are the ugly and unworthy people and I’m making them dress up like emo whores!”

You might want to try that again.

Kat Curtis – Screw You, Times Square (NSFW) from steve prue on Vimeo.

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