Sunday, February 01, 2004

world of business, 2003: selected episodes

CNN has published its list of the 101 dumbest moments in business from 2003. Below are four stories that I apparently missed when they were first reported.
Dairy Queen franchisee W.A. Enterprises is docked $700,000 by a jury in Richmond, Va., after DQ employee Ayman Ahmed Hasaballa allegedly slides into a booth next to a female customer, pulls down her sweater, bites her breast, and says, "I am like Dracula." The jury holds the company responsible because it didn't fire Hasaballa six months earlier after he allegedly attacked a female co-worker.

A British man claiming to have caught the flu from former Beatle Paul McCartney attempts to sell the germs on eBay. The listing is later pulled, but not before seller Ian Mears kindly offers the high bidder the option of "a resealable bag that I will cough into, or if preferred, they can have a plastic container full of mucus."

Over the course of six months, the sheriff's department in Lubbock County, Texas, catches five suspects attempting to fool urinalysis using the Whizzinator, an artificial penis that dispenses fake pee. Says a straight-faced Dennis Catalano, the owner of the company that makes the device and also sells dried urine, "How people choose to use it is beyond our control."

In October, a Pakistani woman doing cut-rate clerical work for the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center threatens to post patients' confidential files on the Internet unless she's paid money she says she's owed for her transcription work. Lubna Baloch claims she hasn't been paid the 3 cents a line promised by Tom Spires, a Texas man who got the assignment from Sonya Newburn, a Florida woman who got the job from Transcription Stat, a firm in Sausalito, Calif., that contracted to transcribe UCSF's records for 18 cents a line.

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