Category:
Business

A stereo for 299 bananas

I posted a month ago about a case from 1965 in which a car dealer advertised, and then had to sell, a new Pontiac sedan for "1,395 bananas."

Turns out this isn't the only time a merchant has run into trouble using the word 'bananas' as slang for 'dollars.'

In 1986, the discount electronics chain Silo ran a TV ad offering a new stereo system for only "299 bananas." Thirty-five people showed up with the appropriate number of bananas, expecting to get a stereo. The store gave 33 of them stereos, and credited the other two for the cost of the bananas.

Lafayette Journal and Courier - May 1, 1986



For more info, check out this article on the Priceonomics blog. It notes that Silo ended up stuck with around 11,000 bananas that they had to get rid of:

Silo’s Seattle manager donated his cut of the bananas (10,000) to Woodland Park Zoo, but found that the demand there was limited: the zoo only needed 1,000 of them per week for its elephants, monkeys, gorillas, and hippos, and was unable to feed them uncontrolled amounts of any particular food. The vast majority of the fruits were, in turn, passed along to local food banks.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Sep 17, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Business, 1980s, Bananas

Follies of the Madmen #515

Either an eensy-teensy chopping block and cleaver, or a very large can of tuna.



Source.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Sep 12, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Business, Advertising, Enlargements, Miniatures, and Other Matters of Scale, Food, Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, 1960s

Grant’s Negative Incentives

As Grants department store lurched towards bankruptcy in the mid 1970s, its senior management instituted a program to motivate store managers to meet sales goals — with a particular emphasis on trying to get more customers to sign up for credit accounts. This program involved using "negative incentives," which was a euphemism for publicly humiliating managers whose employees didn't meet sales goals. Details from Leadership Theories and Case Studies by Garry Wade McGiboney:

The employee motivation plan was labeled the "Steak and Beans" incentive program. It focused on motivating store managers to meet their sales and credit quotas each month. However, it was based on negative incentives instead of positive motivation. Managers that did not meet their sales and credit quotas received a visit from a regional manager who would gather all of the store employees together and in front of them slam a pie in the face of the store manager for his failure to meet quotas. Other negative incentives included cutting the underperforming store manager's tie in half, requiring managers to push peanuts with their nose across a table, and making managers run backward around the store...

Stories of the company's focus on outrageously negative motivation seemed exaggerated, but court documents from bankruptcy hearings confirmed the stories. At the time, W.T. Grant's bankruptcy was the second largest in business history...

The negative motivation led to store managers threatening and intimidating their store employees to the point that they were giving credit to almost every customer without any effort to discern if the customer had the means to pay the credit card bill. This negative-based practice spiraled out of control and eventually put the company in debt of over $200 million in unsecured credit.



According to newspaper reports from the time, one store manager was forced to walk around a hotel lobby dressed only in a diaper. Another was thrown into a blow-up swimming pool full of ice.

And sometimes these humiliations were forced upon store managers even if their employees met sales goals, because the company executives "believed it would somehow motivate employees if they saw the boss suffer some indignities." So really, whatever the managers did, they were going to be humiliated.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Sep 11, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Business, 1970s

Follies of the Madmen #514

A face to inspire confidence?

The source.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Aug 30, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Business, Advertising, Intelligence, Motor Vehicles, 1900s

Follies of the Madmen #513



What size of empty container was used to make that ice cylinder for the Pepsi bottle, and what size freezer could accommodate it? Only commercial units. How many hours would you have to prolong your sipping, to justify the creation of that ridiculous amount of ice for cooling one bottle of Pepsi? And was this gal the only one at the bonfire to receive such a treat? So many questions...

Posted By: Paul - Sun Aug 15, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Business, Advertising, Excess, Overkill, Hyperbole and Too Much Is Not Enough, Soda, Pop, Soft Drinks and other Non-Alcoholic Beverages, 1960s

Unauthorized Dwellings 18



Posted By: Paul - Tue Jul 20, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Business, Family, Unauthorized Dwellings

Maxims of Management, A to Z

Excerpted from Management? It’s NOT What You THINK! by Henry Mintzberg, Bruce Ahlstrand, and Joseph Lampel. Read the full list at tlnt.com.

Acheson’s Rule of the Bureaucracy: A memorandum is written not to inform the reader but to protect the writer.

Berra’s Law: You can observe a lot just by watching.

Dave’s Law of Advice: Those with the best advice offer no advice.

Dow’s Law: In a hierarchical organization, the higher the level, the greater the confusion.

Epstein’s Law: If you think the problem is bad now, just wait until we’ve solved it.

Grossman’s Misquote: Complex problems have simple, easy to understand wrong answers.

Hendrickson’s Law: If a problem causes many meetings, the meetings eventually become more important than the problem.

Hofstadter’s Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.

Kettering’s Laws: If you want to kill any idea in the world today, get a committee working on it.

Maugham’s Thought: Only a mediocre person is always at his best.

McGovern’s Law: The longer the title, the less important the job.

Parkinson’s First Law: Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.

Peter Principle: In every hierarchy, whether it be government or business, each employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence; every post tends to be filled by an employee incompetent to execute its duties.

Wolf ’s Law (An Optimistic View of a Pessimistic World): It isn’t that things will necessarily go wrong (Murphy’s Law), but rather that they will take so much more time and effort than you think if they are not to go wrong.

Zimmerman’s Law of Complaints: Nobody notices when things go right.

Zusmann’s Rule: A successful symposium depends on the ratio of meeting to eating.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jul 16, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Business

Follies of the Madmen #511

Entice customers by showing something disgusting.



Source.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Jul 03, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Business, Advertising, Food, Twentieth Century, Nausea, Revulsion and Disgust

Dirty Toilets Prompt Relocation

This is like the old joke about selling your car when the ashtrays get full.




Posted By: Paul - Sun Jun 27, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Architecture, Business, Advertising, Hygiene, Twentieth Century

Follies of the Madmen #510

What's the point of using even a drawing of a pretty woman in your ad if you hide her face?



Source.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Jun 25, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Business, Advertising, Sex Symbols, 1950s

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Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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