Top 10 Cynical and Underhanded Moves by Corporations

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Everyone knows corporations are evil, not to be trusted, and are completely willing to kill on a whim, but we don’t expect them to be so brazen about it. We want their decisions, especially the ones where they show they don’t care about their customers or the law, to be made behind closed doors, not in public view so we can make a list about them.

Well OK, maybe you don’t want them to, but we do. That way, we can write about how …

10. Listerine Straight-Up Invented a Problem to Sell a Product Nobody Needs

Listerine-products

Listerine was once used to clean floors. We’re not taking a pot shot at its nasty, foul taste that burns the roof of your mouth and makes orange juice taste like out-of-date acid someone spat in. It literally used to clean people’s floors.

When its inventor realized nobody wanted to buy it, he realized he needed to give them a reason to do so, and that reason was smelly breath. This guy literally invented halitosis, a problem no one suffered from (because it didn’t exist) that his product could cure. To make it even better, Listerine doesn’t do jack. Sure, it cleans your mouth, but as for stopping bad breath, the reason it was supposedly invented, it can actually make bad breath worse.

9. Converse Adds an Unnecessary Layer of Fuzz to Skip Taxes

converse-slippers

If you happen to be a fan of Converse shoes, congratulations on paying $50 for ugly slippers. That’s not a slang term. As discussed here, the clever people at Converse add a fine layer of fuzz to the bottom of their shoes. This technically makes the shoe a house slipper, lowering the crap out of the import tariff Converse pays on shipping them into the country. So technically, Converse shoes are never supposed to be worn outside. Or ever really, if you ask us.

You may think this sounds like a clever exploit of a loophole — which it is — but it’s also one on behalf of a huge company that is effectively robbing the US of millions in taxes. Not to mention the environmental cost of putting all that fuzz onto the soles of the shoes (they must shave a lot of animals to get it all.)

Wait a second, maybe this is why pandas are going extinct. Don’t wear Converse kids, unless you want to live in a horrifying panda-less future.

8. Rinse-and-Repeat Doesn’t Work, Even Though It’s Still on the Shampoo Bottle

rinse-repeat

Unless you’re going for the well-dressed hobo look, chances are you washed your hair within the last few days. You no doubt have seen the now-famous phrase “rinse, lather, repeat” written somewhere on your bottle of shampoo, unless you bought an industrial-sized bottle, in which case it will just be covered in tears.

As noted here, with the progress shampoo technology has made in the last few years (tons,) repeating the process of lathering your scalp in soap is almost entirely pointless. Shampoo today is just that good. This hasn’t stopped companies from leaving that instruction on the bottle though, since it makes you use more shampoo and that’s all they care about.

The weird part is that all shampooing does is replenish the natural oils in your hair, which your hair will do on its own if you don’t wash it for 6 weeks.  If you’re willing to look flustered for 6 weeks, you’ll likely never need to wash your hair again. Lets see you find that on a shampoo bottle.

7. Huge Supermarkets are Buying Out Pubs to Gut Them Without Permission

tesco-express

Under English law, you can convert a pub into another business without applying for any of that nasty planning permission. We don’t know specifically why that’s in the law, but we presume it wasn’t put there to let big businesses get a stranglehold on local shops. So naturally, that’s exactly what is happening.

Over in England, the two biggest supermarkets, Tescos and Sainsbury’s, have been buying up pubs and then turning them into chains. As pubs are usually right in the middle of streets and communities (you try walking two miles for a pint,) this gives the supermarkets a huge advantage over local suppliers. Also, since they don’t have to apply for planning permission, the local community is powerless to stop big business from rolling in, destroying their quaint local drinking place, and undercutting everyone with their low-cost inferior products.

Since they legally can’t be stopped, pub owners have had to petition the government directly. You know a problem is serious when the people with infinite alcohol at their disposal don’t even think they can drink it away. Jeez, is every business in England evil?

6. Every Business in England is Evil

tax-cheating

As Ned Flanders answered when asked what taxes pay for, “Oh, why, everything! Policemen, trees, sunshine! And let’s not forget the folks who just don’t feel like working, God bless ’em!” You may not like taxes, but you can’t say they aren’t necessary. Even if they aren’t, they’re at least fair. If you have to pay them, so should everyone else, right?

Well, over in England, due to their closeness with Europe, many businesses are able to take advantage of the many tax loopholes and safe havens found around the part of Eastern Europe that always smells like Toblerone. Dozens of businesses have taken advantage of such rules to diddle the government out of millions.

Now, American businesses do that too, and can be just as bad as the pansies in the UK. But over in England, their taxes pay for hospitals too. Now we aren’t saying any of these businesses are taking money away from people with lots of cancer, but we aren’t going to delete the previous sentence either.

However, if you want a reason to be proud, American companies squirrel so much tax away from the UK, they don’t even bother counting it in their official figures. HA! Take that, English people with serious illnesses!


5. British Stores are Forcing People to do a Job for No Pay

work-for-free

We’re not quite done with England yet, because when we heard about this one our heads nearly exploded. Basically, if you’re out of work in England there is a scheme in place where, in order to claim your benefits, you have to work at something of benefit to your community.

You may think this sounds like a good thing, which it is, in theory. So, of course, giant corporations decided to ruin it. Dozens of companies got in on the scheme and effectively had free labor provided for them at the taxpayers’ expense. These companies, we should point out, could have easily paid these people with all their screw-paying-taxes money!

Just read that again. Private companies managed to convince the government to effectively supply them with free workers that they were under no obligation to hire once their contract was up. Wow, no wonder people in those stores always look so depressed. But if you want to see how to really get slave free labor, you have to go to China, baby.

4. The “Interns” That are Building PS4s

foxconn-playstation-4

The Sony Playstation 4 is an amazing piece of kit, but did you know it is being built by people who aren’t being paid? You’re probably thinking, “well duh, of course not. It’s being built in China, and no one there gets paid a damn thing.”

Which isn’t true, at least not in this case. The company in question, Foxconn, pay reasonably well by China’s standards. However, a story erupted in 2013 about “interns” from the Xi’an Institute of Technology being asked to assemble PS4s for several weeks straight. The beauty of the plan was that the interns have to build the systems in mind-numbingly long shifts, for free, or they’ll lose course credits and not graduate. Now that is how you motivate a work force.

3. Samsung Put a Feature in their Phone to Make it Seem Like it Worked Faster

Samsung-Galaxy-Note-3

Despite the fact that most people use them for nothing but checking e-mail, Facebook, and ignoring calls from their ex (it’s over Carol!) phone companies keep bragging about making them more powerful. Regardless of whether or not it’s necessary, we can understand the allure of owning a device more powerful than the first space shuttle and forcing it to sit next to your wang. Samsung, however, decided that rather than actually give their customers the powerful phone they were paying top-dollar for, they’d just lie and hope everybody would be stupid enough to fall for it.

In this article by ARS Technica, when they benchmarked a Galaxy Note 3, something odd happened. Without getting too technical, the phone had a feature in place that would artificially inflate its score when it was tested with benchmarking software, which essentially tests the limits of a phone without the reviewer physically needing to test everything. The Galaxy Note 3, upon detecting that such software was being used, would put all of its processing power into the test, effectively making it seem 20% more powerful that it was during day-to-day use.

Yes, Samsung actually went to the effort of making their phone seem faster instead of actually improving it, because why would they want to give you a quality product when they could just lie about it and use inflated review scores to make you buy it? The sad part was, without this feature, the phone was still faster than its competition. Samsung, if you don’t even have faith in your products’ ability to best the competition, how the hell are your customers supposed to?

2. Ticketmaster Have Such a Stranglehold on Ticket Sales, Not Even Pearl Jam Could Beat Them

pearl-jam

Pearl Jam’s a pretty big deal, but apparently not as big as Ticketmaster. During their 1994 tour, the band realized Ticketmaster was gouging the hell out of their fans by adding absurd charges to their tickets. The band retaliated by refusing to play any show at a Ticketmaster venue. This tour was later cancelled, as they couldn’t play anywhere. Seriously, the band couldn’t find a single major venue to play at that Ticketmaster did not have huge sway over, and had to resort to building giant stages in fields. When the cost got too great, the tour had to be cancelled.

That’s how little Ticketmaster care about their customers. They’d rather nobody see their favorite band than not rip them off. The best part was when the CEO of Ticketmaster openly claimed his company didn’t control the market. Dude, when Pearl Jam can’t tour without your help, you don’t just control the market. You freaking own it.

1. Paper Companies Poisoned the Environment to Make a Quick Buck

Black-Liquor

As the Hulk would tell you seconds before punching you into the Sun, being green ain’t easy. It’s for this reason the government offers people huge incentives for cutting emissions and using greener fuel. One such scheme was one which promised to pay companies for using diesel. Paper companies, of all groups, realized that they simply had to add diesel to a product they already produced, and they could make billions.

To explain, the paper-making process creates something known as Black Liquor, a byproduct of paper production that is then burnt. The resulting energy lets paper companies produce a lot of their own electricity. When the scheme was introduced, paper companies quickly realized diesel allowed them to qualify for the tax break.

Along with being hugely unethical, the move actually served the exact opposite purpose of the scheme’s intention. Since the process didn’t need diesel to be added, paper companies were just creating more emissions, and doing more damage to the environment as a result.

That’s the image we want to leave you with: a company openly pumping millions or gallons of toxins into the air, to make money from a scheme set up to help the environment. Captain Planet weeps every day.


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