Although we must acknowledge that hindsight is 20/20, it can sometimes still be difficult to imagine what someone was thinking before they committed a significant blunder.
This goes for politics, sports, organizational management, and, of course, the business world.
Plenty of Redditors were eager to respond to a recent thread that asked folks to share the biggest business head-scratchers they've encountered.
These are sad stories that involve the financial struggles of both business owners and employees. And yet, we hope they're at least a tad instructive.
Redditor Devvint_ asked:
"What is the Worst Business Decision You've Ever Seen?"
Many talked about the pitfalls of new ownership. There is something about new owners that leads to sweeping changes without an acknowledgement of what's been working for years.
Don't Fix What Isn't Broken
"In my hometown there was an independent fast food and homemade ice cream place, long established and run by close friends. It was a goldmine. They decided to sell and retire."
"New owners immediately changed everything. Painted it a wild color, removed some attractions on the grounds, changed the 60 year old menu and switched to commercially made ice cream. They lasted 8 months."
She Had the Chance
"My late great uncle started a fish and chips restaurant. He had his own unique recipe for the fish and it was very popular. Businessmen had offered him thousands in cash for it over the years, but he always declined. After about 40 or so years, he decided to retire and hand the business over to an ambitious recent college grad."
"He offered to give her the recipe and even volunteer his services for a bit while she got comfortable in her new role as owner. "
She declined both and within a year, she was forced to sell the restaurant after coming close to declaring bankruptcy. My great uncle died and took the recipe with him to his grave"
Out of Touch
"There was a Tex-Mex place I loved in Fairbanks, Alaska. The food wasn't GREAT, but it was consistent, and the prices were fair."
"Well, a new owner came in, and they decided to revamp it into a fine dining steak house. $30 was pretty much the lowest cost you could get for an item, and this was in a neighborhood that had a substantial crime rate and was right across the street from the bikini barista and the marijuana dispensary."
"I stopped going, and they went under shortly thereafter. I walked in once before the place closed down, and it was dreary and empty and they had tried to bring some of the classics back to the menu, but it was far too late by then."
"You were too good for this world, Los Amigos."
Window Cleaners Share The Best Things They've Ever Seen | George Takei’s Oh Myyy
Worthless and Ugly
"A developer my dad worked with sold off a beautiful piece of land next to a river in a very desirable area, he sold it to another developer. The new developer cut down every tree on the 6 acre site, as he said, 'he wanted to see what he had.' "
"The land then started to slide into the river, rendering it worthless and ugly."
Other people talked about major overhauls that a company made in the hopes of driving more revenue. Of course, these schemes backfired completely.
When Dollars and Cents Is All They Care About
"Take a help desk that has been consistently rated extremely well by its customers for their first-call-resolve, attitude, and helpfulness; outsource it to a company that's been rated towards the bottom of the list for over a decade because it costs less than the salaries/benefits of your former in house help desk."
"Then complain when your first-call-resolve drops through the floor and your customer satisfaction is at an all time low."
Full Speed Ahead
"Property management company I used to work for had a number of student properties and high-rises that were always a struggle to fill in the summer months when students went out of town."
"Head office came up with an offer that anyone who signed for two years got the four summer months at 50% off. Sounds like a good deal, 50% rent is much better than zero. We signed tons of students."
"However the lease templates that head office sent over showed the reduced rent rate on the lease rather than just adding the discount as a separate addendum. I noticed this discrepancy and reported it - and was subsequently ignored."
"Which meant the students were signing a legal document that guaranteed them 50% rent for two years."
"The company lost hundreds of thousands in revenue."
Talking the Talk
"A radio station i used to listen to recently changed their format from 80% music, 20% talk show to 100% talk show. Then they were like 'oh you can still listen to the music but it's only going to be on our app.' "
The Exact Wrong Move
"Circuit City was pretty stupid. When the recession hit, they decided to stop selling appliances and instead focus on DVDs and televisions and such. (Appliances are known as being a recession proof item. People always need refrigerators and microwaves. They don't need DVDs.)"
"They also wanted to cut down on labor costs, so they fired a lot of managers and assistant managers, and just left a lot of entry level employees because they were cheaper to pay. Well, entry level employees don't really know how to fully run a store, so pretty much every Circuit City became dog sh**."
Driving Them Away
"There was a shopping plaza near me with a fairly large gift store. Not a gift shop in the museum sense, basically like a Hallmark store but independent. It wasn't exactly bustling, but they apparently did solid business and a lot of people in the community really appreciated having it there as a place to buy gifts and wrapping paper and such."
"The owners of the shopping plaza raise rents to the point that the shop goes out of business. The reason this was stupid is that the store front sat vacant for like 15 entire years. Seriously, this place closed when I was a child and I'm now 27 and the vacancy was only taken over very recently."
"If their goal in raising the rent was to have a more profitable store move in to that space, they certainly failed and missed out on decades of rent as a result."
"In the early days of the personal computer, a fairly prominent developer Osborne went under because they showed off their new model far in advance of when it was actually going to be available."
"So predictably dealers immediately cancelled all orders for their current computer model in preparation for the new improved version. Inventory stacked up and they were bankrupt before the new model ever came out....."
"Its known as the Osborne Effect."
"Cincinnati's deal with The Bengals."
"It has cost over $1B since 2000. It has some of the most ridiculous requires for the city and is widely considered the worst business deal in the history of sports deals."
"The city hasn't remade anywhere close to $1B by having the team. Arguably, they've gained nothing."
"This is all while the Bengals are perennial stinkers. They've made being terrible a lucrative business model."
And some discussed those "flash in the pan" style business decisions that seemed like a good idea to drum up a short term rush.
Unfortunately, these small tweaks had pretty huge consequences.
Hopping on the Bandwagon
"I worked for a video store during the time Finding Nemo came out on DVD. The video store I worked for got a huge fish tank put inside. It was so big they had to shrink the game rental section. The tank had clown fish in it."
"The tank was also locked and we couldn't feed the fish or clean it. This was supposed to be done by someone who I never saw come in."
"So the tank ended up filled with a bunch of dead Nemos in a nasty as fu** tank. Needless to say parents were very unhappy about it. The local paper did a small article about it too which didn't help an already dying store. I have no idea what they thought an expensive as Hell fish tank would do for their business."
"A friend of my husband's owns a sports bar. A few months ago he offered $1 beers. The place QUICKLY became overloaded with homeless people and the regulars didn't like it and stopped going.
"Special didn't last long."
Heart Was Never In It
"Target's expansion into Canada"
"collapsed in 2 years and cost them Billions" -- USSMarauder
"It was so bad."
"We were expecting competitive prices and good products. We got Walmart quality products at higher prices and you'd go into the stores and they would have empty shelves and one product you liked would be there one week but not the next. It would end up at another target the next town over."
"They really treated Canadians like they were doing us the favour letting us shop there." -- warmaster_whorus
Wrong Part of Town
"Panera Cares opening less than a mile from my college campus."
"For those who don't know, Panera Cares basically just let you order food and would list a 'suggested donation' based on what you ordered, but ultimately it was honor system. The cashiers would just make change for you so you could put cash in the donation box."
"If you can't afford a meal it's fine to not pay but you are supposed to volunteer to work for two hours to cover it, but this isn't actually required."
"I think generally these things are supposed to be for really affluent neighborhoods where people probably donate even more than is 'suggested.' "
"But students from the college basically turned it into a real life Tragedy of the Commons experiment. There was almost never bread available because everyone would just take it. The lines were insane and people would donate like $1 if anything. It closed within a year lol."
So if there is one thing to take away from this list, it's this: if you find yourself managing a small business or even a larger scale set of employees, listen to what worked before and think through your changes for a good while.
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Fame is one of those things people tend to want until they have it - or that people shy away from entirely because they understand how sideways it tends to go.
But what about people who end up famous after their deaths? Or who managed to get more famous from the afterlife?
Reddit user GCanuck asked:
"Which historically famous person do you think would be most surprised to learn they are famous?"
If your mind immediately went to that Vincent Van Gogh scene from Dr. Who then 1. you're a nerd (me too!) and 2. you're not alone.
Here's what Reddit had to say.
The Little Painter FellowVan Gogh Reaction GIF by GIF IT UPGiphy
"Vincent van Gogh."
"His paintings made billions of dollars for rich people, but couldn't trade a painting for a meal during his lifetime. Had to be supported by his brother."
"It’s amazing how many pieces he created in such a short time considering how unsuccessful he was in selling them while alive. He kept banging them out despite his 'failure'.”
"He was encouraged to paint as part of his therapy/rehabilitation. He was a pretty disturbed guy, and not in a romantic way."
"Have you ever seen the Doctor Who episode about him?"
"This is what actually prompted this question for me."
"Most of the world has read your diary."
"Wait...All of my diary?"
"Her Father censored some of it because she talks about her body and other things, I can't really blame him for that. Modern prints are uncensored."
"She’d have been thrilled, but I don’t think surprised is the right word. She dreamed of being a published author. She knew that she was creating something valuable and important with her diary, and she wanted it to be published."
"I wonder what she'd think of her diary being turned into a stage play including a Broadway run and thousands of young girls doing their best to recreate all the different facets both good and bad of how she acted during her time in the Annex."
Herman The Whalebart simpson episode 3 GIFGiphy
"He had a few early successes with seafaring books, but Moby-Dick was a total flop that got bad reviews, and he spent the final decades of his life working in the customs department."
"He would be shocked to hear he wrote the Great American Novel."
"My boyfriend is from New Bedford, MA. Apparently the local high schools there had big murals depicting scenes from Moby Dick." "
*That* would have amazed Melville."
"Dude, that's the best part. You never know what's coming next. It's like:"
"45 pages of unintentionally hilarious interactions between Ishmael and Queequeg."
"30 pages of incredible, brooding drama written in stage play format for some reason."
"100 page essay about some minor technical details about whaling and how some village built their chieftain's hall out of a whale's ribcage."
"Another 20 pages of Ahab chewing the scenery and embodying mankind's self-destructive obsessions"
"Then Queequeg speaking his last words but then deciding he doesn't want to die yet and miraculously springing back to life."
"Like the ocean itself, you have to accept that Moby Dick moves at its own pace lol"
We, In Fact, Did Not Forget
"Hegelochus, an actor who mispronounced a word in a play in the year 408 BC and was mocked so thoroughly for it, his mistake has made it into the collective ledger of things historians know about and generally agree upon having happened… and we're still aware of it over 2,400 years later."
"Imagine making a meme today with a word misspelled, and others found that misspelling so egregiously mockable that you are still known for it in the year 4422."
" 'Oh come on get over it. No one will remember about that by tomorrow' -Hehelochus’ mom probably"
"He must have went to sleep running the moment in his head over and over again, but he probably tried to comfort himself by thinking, 'well, at least it's not like some space-age hyper-futuristic society is going to be discussing this thousands of years from now on their magic boxes powered by lightning in some language that doesn't even exist yet'."
"This is the worst nightmare of everyone that has been told to stop worrying because no one will pay as much attention to what you're doing as you."
"Counter point: Hegelochus."
"Kafka. Rarely published in his lifetime, and when he did it was in obscure magazines which nobody read."
"Explicitly asked that his works be destroyed after his death. It's only because his executor disregarded his wishes and published his unfinished works (which comprise the majority of his oeuvre) that he is famous today."
"Kafka is a good example of how much can anxiety ruin a person's life"
"Kafka wrote his stories to be shared with a group of friends like story-telling at a campfire"
"Blind Willie Johnson."
"He passed away blind, poor and sick, lying in the ruins of his house after it was burnt down."
"And his song 'Dark was the Night, Cold was the Ground' left our solar system not too long ago aboard the Voyager to be listened to by life among the stars."
"I really like to think one day-thousands and thousands of years in the future, an alien race will find that golden disk and hear his voice."
"I think the fact he had such a poor life but could one day live eternally amongst the stars is so beautiful."
"Found out about him through a VSauce video."
"I listened to a couple songs and really liked them, he had a great voice and had a great talent for playing guitar despite being blind. Such a humbling and inspiring story he had"
"I remember learning about this in a Vsauce video and crying profusely afterwards, but not only from sadness, also from hope, and some other emotions I can’t possibly describe."
"The fact that he died at the lowest of lows, blind, sick, poor, and alone, yet he very well could be the man that teaches the stars about the very essence of humanity… there’s just something so intrinsically beautiful about that."
"Humanity, flawed as it is, is as intrinsically kind and beautiful as it is evil. The world forgets that sometimes."
Other Madonnamona lisa oh no you didnt GIFGiphy
"Lisa Gherardini, the Mona Lisa model."
"She was just some unremarkable random wife. Fast forward a few hundred years and she ended up as one of the most recognizable faces in history."
"HER NAMES NOT EVEN MONA LISA?!"
" 'Monna' was a shortening of the Italian word 'madonna', which was the equivalent of the English 'Madam'."
Honor Well Pass Death
"This is the dead body they used in Operation Mincemeat."
"The man basically consumed rat poison to commit suicide."
"His corpse was then used for a British secret operation to carry fake documents for the Nazis to find in order to make them think they were invading Greece and not Sicily."
"This man died in a alleyway and went on the become a dedicated Major in the British military buried with full military rites - under his fake name, but still him in physical form."
"He was originally buried under his covert identity (in Spain where his body washed ashore after being deposited in the sea nearby by a Royal Navy submarine), Major William Martin of the Royal Marines."
"In 2009 or thereabouts his real name (Glyndwr Michael) was added to his gravestone."
"I thought he died of tuberculosis so it’d be more convincing he was a British serviceman who drowned? Or maybe that was the guy used to make the Nazis think the Allies were invading Calais instead of Normandy."
"It was rat poison but it's not clear if it was a suicide."
"The poison was in the form of a paste that would be smeared on pieces of bread; rodents eat the bread, rodents die. Or in this case; poor Welshman eats the bread, poor Welshman dies."
"It's not clear whether he knew the paste was poison, or whether he was just hungry and thought he genuinely found some bread lying around."
"Where the confusion comes in is that the guy in charge of Mincemeat claimed the body was that of a young man who died of pneumonia, and that the parents had given permission for his body to be used as it was."
A Real Hero
"A literal hero of humanity who in some ways is still alive."
"Her family deserved so much better though."
"Can I get a short version? I don't think I've heard of her before"
"Her contribution to science is and continues to be gigantic"
Laws Of Inheritance
"Gregor Mendel, the monk and scientist who experimented with pea plant traits to describe what we today literally call Mendelian inheritance."
"The significance of Mendel's findings, which he published in 1866, went almost completely unrecognized during his life and after his death. His work was only rediscovered in the early 1900s when modern ideas about inheritance and selection started taking hold."
"I can differ there. When he first stated his theory, he was sure it was correct (as it was) but was rejected. I can imagine him not being surprised at the fact that his work was re recognised as right later down the line"
"It's entirely possible you're correct and Mendel suspected that someday he'd be proved right. At the same time, however, he spent decades after his discovery trying and failing to elicit interest from the academic public or individual biologists, and retired from science to become a monastery administrator, which looks a lot like 'giving up'."
Okay, so we learned some interesting history today. How about you?
Don't you love a good myth?
Let's put some of NSFW ones to the test.
RedditorWizzlyG33wanted to hear about what lies need to be exposed when it comes to sex, death and all things over the top in life. They asked:
"If MythBusters had a NSFW episode, what would you want to see on it?"
Oh JamieSeason 1 Love GIF by OutlanderGiphy
"A five second segment where Jamie points at a diagram and says, in complete deadpan, 'This is where the clitoris is.'"
"If they did such an episode, I could see this being in it for sure."
"I want them to purchase every pill they see on the internet that would make their penis bigger and see what happens."
"I think we can call that one BUSTED already. In what version of any world can you imagine there is a simple pill to make your junk more impressive and every dude you know doesn't already have a case of 10000 pills stashed under the bed?"
"Can you actually get an STD from a toilet seat?"
"This is an interesting thing actually. It was a myth deliberately perpetuated to make people less ashamed of asking for STD tests."
"Fun fact: There are multiple STDs that can be dormant (like inactive) for years. Like several years."
"You’d never know you had gotten it. Then something triggers it, maybe an infection or something, and then you start showing symptoms/Can now test positive. So technically a partner from years before could have given it to you and you either think your SO is cheating or haven’t been with anybody in a long time. Either way it’s scary when you think about it."
"Does a person really stay conscious for a few moments after beheading?"
"There was a French physician who tested this in the early 1900s. After a criminal was beheaded he picked up the head and shouted the criminal's name. The guy opened his eyes and made eye contact with the physician over a period of 30 seconds whenever his name was called. Edit: I provided the source in other comments but here it is on the original comment."
Theorieslooking down homer simpson GIFGiphy
"Size correlates to what? Feet? Nose? So many theories."
"I have size 12 feet and a massive nose and huge hands and the little guy is small."
Oh the lies and the rumors and the shade.
More is MoreSeth Meyers Dancing GIF by Late Night with Seth MeyersGiphy
"They did prove that women with larger breasts will get more tips. Which isn’t really not safe for work, because Kari literally was working at a coffee shop."
"If breast enlargements will help your job would you be able to write them off on your taxes?"
"How deep underwater are you still able to orgasm?"
"Pretty sure there's no lower limit. When you're underwater, your body is under pressure, but for the most part doesn't actually get compressed. Only your air spaces (lungs, sinuses, inner ears) are really subject to compression from ambient water pressure. There can be painful exceptions like air pockets inside a tooth filling, which I do not recommend experiencing."
"Most of your body is water or various solids, which push back on the ambient water pressure. You prostate shouldn't be blocked by water pressure any more than your bladder is. Source: am old scuba diver, I've done all kinds of things a hundred feet underwater. At that depth the ambient pressure is 4 bar, which in olden-tymes units is nearly 60 pounds per square inch. Also: fish do it underwater, doesn't seem to stop them."
"Does pineapple make your semen taste better?"
"Post orgasm clarity: How much better can you solve puzzles or remember something?"
"Well, recently I did a lot of reaction time tests on humanbenchmark.com and while normally I get average of around 140-145, after a good O I consistently got around 130-135, very often getting single clicks close to 120 which almost never happens in other cases. And it's weird because I feel more tired but apparently my reaction time improves for some reason."
Safety FirstSafety Helmet GIF by Just SecondsGiphy
"A take on the top ten OSHA violations list to see if they are as dangerous as they say."
"Safety regulations are written in blood."
Well that is a ton of great suggestions. Let's work on it.
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Many people value solitude, and having time to themselves.
For others though, loneliness can be a crippling feeling.
Having no one to talk to or spend time with can get wearying after an extended amount of time.
Something many people know more than ever after the global pandemic hit in spring of 2020.
But while some people simply succumb to being lonely, others will find ways to help them cope with, if not completely forget, being all alone.
Redditor No_Blackberry_6286 was curious to hear the different ways people have of coping with their loneliness, leading them to ask:
"Reddit, how do you cope with loneliness?"
Make the most with what makes you happy
"I've learned to enjoy my own company and focus on my hobbies."
"Funny enough, this gives me stuff to talk about when I am around people."
Voices in the background
"Listening to people talk on YouTube so I feel less alone in my house."
Millions of friends, just one click away.
"Chat with random people on Reddit."internet computer GIFGiphy
Still figuring it out
"I don't I'm f*cking miserable."- Savathunh
"I don't :("- __MashedPotatoes__·
Get my body movin'
"It makes me feel better about myself and I have something to do alone."- DerpBread69Gym Working Out GIF by Chance The RapperGiphy
Who says I need to?
"I love solitude."- Befuddled_GenXer
"I become one with loneliness."- thenewyorkofficesolitude GIFGiphy
Hit the snooze button
"Sleep 12+ hours a day."- RockandRoll682
Instant tension and relief
"Lots of arguing online about sh*t I don't care about at all, just to have some form of social interaction, and get off at least 3 times a day."-
There are very few worse feelings than that of being alone.
But it's also quite remarkable how much doing something that makes you happy, be it ever so simple, can elevate your feelings.
In this day and age of advancement, it's crazy how so many things leave our heads scratching.
Like how in 2022 is such and such still around?
Everyone in New York wondered that for the past decade until they took the final payphone.
I always wonder about companies that still make you send a fax.
Y'all have heard of email right?
RedditorPineapple_WarpDrivewanted to compare notes on why we think certain things and parts of life are not yet obsolete this late in the game of time. They asked:
"It’s 2022, what shouldn’t exist now?"
I feel like the list will be longer than we expect. We are still behind in certain ways.
lazy...Bubble Gum Cartoon GIFGiphy
"People sticking gum on random surfaces instead of at least throwing it towards the trash can a few feet away."
How is this allowed?
"'Convenience' fees to pay bills online."
"Yeah or any 'additional fee' that’s required to buy the product or service. Advertise $100 but then at check out they add in service fee $25, convenience fee $10."
"Always at the last second too, usually right before you enter your credit card info. Wtf? How is this allowed? Just advertise $135 if that’s the price the customer is paying. Should not be allowed to bait a low price and switch with a higher one once the customer is already invested."
Can you hear me now?
"Not being able to get cell service is spots in my own home."
"A friend worked in Africa building homes for the people. He said there were bush men with spears and loin cloths with a cell phone clipped on the side. Middle of nowhere yet reception everywhere."
"Most of Africa skipped land lines altogether and went straight to mobile. In the west, cell phones and mobile internet are a luxury, in less developed regions it's often the only way to communicate."
"Companies that create problems and sell solutions instead of solving existing problems."
"This was the inevitable outcome of an economic system in which only those doing labor are allowed to have food and shelter, yet technology is constantly reducing the amount of labor that is actually necessary."
"We only get money for food if we are seen to be working on problems. Now we're having a shortage of actual problems so we must make artificial ones to keep surviving. If only we had UBI, all of these pointless industries would disappear overnight as no one wants to keep working these jobs they know are pointless."
Hang UpCall Me Hello GIF by IDKGiphy
"I literally had spammers somehow dupe the phone number of my local council, it's scary just how close they can get."
I HATE these SPAM calls. All hours of the day and night. I hate you!
Speed UpInternet Mouse GIF by kotutohumGiphy
"We figured it out. Just that the companies are greedy and keep the money for themselves instead of upgrading infrastructure."
"I know! Whatever happened with the Paperwork Reduction Act?"
"in the U.S. you can reduce your junk mail a lot by going to.DMAChoice.org and OptOutPrescreen.com and filling out the forms for your address. I have reduced my junk mail by about 90% : FTC source"
"Having to spend 3 hours in traffic everyday."
"Because North American cities have over restrictive zoning laws that segregate cities based on type of usage and they build to a very low density and with car-centric development that makes it so everyone has to use a car to get anywhere."
"It's not so easy to just 'find a job closer to home' for example I'll search on Indeed and the closest job in my line of work is like 2hrs away."
"So everything but earth Is round right? (according to flat Earthers) So as some members say it's like a frisbee in space. What if, bear with me... the reason the world will end is because a giant dog will catch us and kill everyone on earth by shaking the frisbee too much and cause floods and crap. Because if so, that's how I wanna die, letting a pupper have some fun with a fisbee."
Grossunderstand john boehner GIFGiphy
"Child beauty pageants."
"If I see a mother make her child do one of those, I WILL judge her."
Can we work on eradicating these things? It's all well past expired.
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