How to ruin your business (as tested by CEO’s)

So, as I’m sure you’ve heard, last week an interview with the CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch from 2006 reared its ugly head, (as most displays of public embarrassment usually do) and caused a bit of a stir.

If you can’t be bothered reading the full car crash of an interview itself, (I don’t blame you, it’s very much like that episode of Extras where he accidentally insults the boy with down-syndrome; you can’t bear to watch but you can’t seem to look away) or read this summary, the basic premise is Mike Jeffries informing us that anyone over a (US) size 10 isn’t ‘cool’ enough to shop in his stores.

So in honour of dear Mr. Jeffries who, bless his heart, is looking out for ‘cool and popular kids’ everywhere by insuring that they don’t have to witness anyone larger or less ‘cool’ than themselves wearing a similar t-shirt, I’ve taken a quick look at three more ways you can ruin your business – as tried and tested by CEO’s across the globe…


Be sure to let people know how good your product is:

Gerald Ratner, owner and CEO of Ratner’s Jewellers famously wiped £500 million from the value of his company in 1991 by saying “people say, ‘How can you sell this for such a low price?’ I say, because it’s total crap.”

He then went on to tell reporters that Ratner’s earrings were “cheaper than an M&S prawn sandwich but probably wouldn’t last as long”.

Insure your customers feel like they’re getting their money’s worth:

Not only did the former Newcastle United directors, Freddie Shepherd and Douglas Hall charm their female fans by referring to them as “dogs” they also let slip that club shirts that were being sold for £50 cost less than £5 to make.

Compliment your customers:

In 2001 David Shepard, the brand director for Topman, clarified the target market of the chain’s clothing as; “Hooligans or whatever.” He continued to dig his own grave by saying; “very few of our customers have to wear suits for work. They’ll be for his first interview or first court case.”

So, moral of the story; just because you own a company doesn’t mean you should be allowed to hold a conversation without supervision.

Until next time… x

22 comments… read them below or add one

Kianwi May 21, 2013 at 11:08 am

Wow. I had not heard of all of these. You wonder what would possess them to say those crazy things! Even if they thought them, why say it out loud to customers?!


Scarlett May 21, 2013 at 3:10 pm

I know, you’d think they’d have a little common sense with regards ot their own businesses! x


Katie May 21, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Haha this post made me giggle so much!

Katie <3


Scarlett May 21, 2013 at 3:10 pm

It’s ridiculous isn’t it! x


Teffy May 21, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Ahh bloody geniuses aren’t they? Morons.

Teffy || Teffys Perks Blog



Scarlett May 22, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Lol I know! x


Gorilla Bananas May 21, 2013 at 10:21 pm

I had to look up what became of Ratner. Apparently he’s still running an on-line jewellery business and an Indian export company. These CEOs are incredibly resilient, aren’t they? They can make mistakes that cost £500 million and people still want to hire them. Must be talent…or something.


Scarlett May 22, 2013 at 2:55 pm

You’re joking? Absolutely ridiculous xx


ShimonZ May 22, 2013 at 6:46 am

Usually in such cases, the CEO in question is torn between two conflicting desires. On the one hand, he hates his work, and would like to be a professional fisherman, preferably on a far away tropical island… but he also hates his wife, and if he were to sell the business or commit suicide, she would get half or all depending on his final choice. This way, by quickly turning the business into fertilizer for vegetable gardens (what we call the ‘green way’), he is able to be free and deny his wife any benefits. Lovely post, Scarlet.


Scarlett May 22, 2013 at 3:15 pm

LOL Shimon this made me laugh x


snowbird May 22, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Oh my….this is BRILLIANT…..xxxx


Scarlett May 22, 2013 at 3:16 pm

It’s quite unbelievable isn’t it xx


abeerfortheshower May 23, 2013 at 2:13 pm

The CEO of the company I used to work for once let it slip that his machine got certified even though it had many flaws that somehow passed testing. The entire project had to be scrapped and we all had to start over again from scratch, but by then the damage had been done. The company went under in 2010. No shock there, right?


Scarlett May 24, 2013 at 10:31 am

Haha you’re messing! I pretty sure the reason so many new businesses go under is because the owners can’t keep their mouths shut x


Keith G May 23, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Haha great post Scarlet. How about you show us what you’re made of and post your best business ideas…oh no he’s laid down the gauntlett!


Scarlett May 24, 2013 at 10:32 am

LOL I don’t have many, except opening a speakeasy and brewing rum for a living x


Christine May 25, 2013 at 1:34 am

Hey! This post is too funny and agree with the person who said you think people would have common sense when it comes to their own businesses. Just want to say that I love your site and will be following it from now on. I found it after launching my bucket list blog a few days ago if you want to check it out : )


Scarlett May 29, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Thanks for your kind words Christine – I’ll definitely be checking out your site x


Jess @UsedYorkCity May 25, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Ugh, and the crazy thing is: in NYC, there is STILL a line wrapped around the block to get into that store! Seriously?! x


Scarlett May 29, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Urgh really? All those cool kids I suppose! xx


Kris June 5, 2013 at 4:16 pm

These are the kinds of situations that keep PR people up at night hating their lives. I’m always amazed how you can run/develop an enormous company only to be a complete moron the second you need to talk to someone.

Unless these are all secretly The Producers-esque schemes where they’re trying to tank their company for secret personal gain. But I have my doubts.


Scarlett June 5, 2013 at 4:20 pm

Yeahh loads of people think it’s all a big marketing scam, but if so it’s a pretty dangerous little game to play. Personally I think they’re just morons, or people who’s started to see themselves as invincible x


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: