Top 10 Ridiculous Examples of Corporate Greed
We can’t begrudge a business for making money — that’s the basis of capitalism, baby. But we can get annoyed when businesses decide to make or save money in ways that are clearly not in the best interest of us, the customer. Or when businesses show us their really unattractive, penny-pinching side, because no one wants to see that.
1. The Amazing List of Sony Proprietary Failures
Sony is a great company that has made some pretty great devices, but ye Gods are they greedy. For example, if you went to the store and bought yourself a shiny new PlayStation Vita, you’d be stuck paying about $100 for a 64GB memory card. If you wanted to pay less for a different card, then tough tits, because you literally had no other options. The Vita only works with proprietary, Sony-made memory cards. These cards just so happen to cost a crapload more than what a regular memory card costs, for no real reason other than “screw you, customer.”
This isn’t a new thing with Sony either — when they released the first PSP, you could only use Sony-created memory cards that cost way more than regular ones. When they released the PSP Go, they straight-up added $50 to the sale price for no other reason than to give stores a bigger profit margin. The PSP itself only worked with UMD disks, a format made only by Sony that no one wanted to support.
2. Paying Producers 29 Pence When They Asked for 30
Milk is one of those things virtually everyone needs to buy at least once a week, so you’d expect that the people producing it have a pretty sweet deal, since they pretty much have guaranteed sales every week. Right?
Well not in England, where dairy farmers found themselves being squeezed by some of the biggest supermarkets. The farmers were asking for 30 pence a liter, a figure they stated was the absolute minimum they could live on. Some stores, despite the fact they were making tons of profit anyway, only raised the amount they’d give farmers to 29 pence. You may notice this is exactly one penny less than the farmers asked for, a penny they could easily take from their own profits. But screw that — it’s easier to just pay the farmers a tiny bit less than what they need, and watch them struggle. Struggle makes milk taste sweeter, you know.
3. Selling a Product as Free-Range, Even Though It Isn’t, Simply to Charge More
Free-range eggs are supposed to give the chicken laying your toast toppers the best possible life, mainly so you don’t have to feel guilty about eating their unborn young. They cost a little more, but it’s worth it for the well-being of the chickens, or it would be if people didn’t use the label to milk people for as much money as they could without caring about the chickens at all.
In Australia, due to incredibly lax laws regarding what actually constitutes “free range,” the EcoEgg company was able to label their eggs as free-range while keeping their chickens in deplorable conditions that were the exact opposite of what people paying their mark-up would expect. This allowed them to sell the eggs for as much as double the price of eggs from caged hens, while treating them almost as badly. You have to admit, that’s an impressive level of douchebaggery right there.
4. Shrinking Packaging But Pretending It’s Bigger (and Overcharging You Accordingly)
In a tough economy, you kind of expect companies to make cutbacks. One way to do so is by making portions smaller. However, you’d hope they’d at least be honest about it, or at the very least not lie about it.
Well, you’re reading the wrong list if you expect that. In the business world, there’s something known as the grocery shrink ray, which is basically a way of shrinking products without you realizing they’ve been shrunk. Dozens of companies have tried this in some way, shape, or form over the last few years. Tactics involve making boxes that are slightly taller yet slightly thinner, scooping out the bottom of a jar so you can put less product in it, and a host of other tactics specifically designed to make sure you don’t notice that you’re being sold less and less food for the exact same amount of money.
Seriously, go look in your cupboard right now. We can guarantee there’s something in there that’s smaller, thinner, or taller than a similar product you bought last year. And you paid a whole bunch more for the privilege.
5. Verizon Bans Tethering, So People will Pay More for Data Plans
Without getting too technical, tethering is the act of using your phone as a portable modem, thus allowing you to access the Internet without using a broadband connection. Pay attention to that last part in particular, because when you tether your phone there’s one thing you’re not doing: paying for a broadband connection.
Verizon, using its corporate clout, spearheaded a campaign to stop tethering apps, arguing that you using your UNLIMITED DATA PLAN that you were paying your dollars for, to use data in an unlimited fashion, wasn’t fair on them. Because Verizon doesn’t make enough money, evidently.
However, Verizon eventually relented, and agreed that stopping people from downloading tethering apps wasn’t fair. So it agreed to let people with unlimited data plans tether and use the data all they wanted, so long as they paid extra for “mobile broadband service.” You know, even though their plan already included UNLIMITED DATA. This basically means that Verizon could charge customers twice if it detects they using the their phone’s data plan to access the Internet in a way they don’t approve of.
6. Wal-Mart Bought Every American Flag It Could Just After 9/11
We think it’s safe to say that the events of 9/11 brought out the patriotic side of a lot of people, and when a person feels a little patriotic, it’s understandable that they’d want to do so with an American flag. If that’s your thing, go right ahead and wave that sucker proudly.
With that in mind it would take a really shady company to take advantage of such a tragic event. Oh, hey there’s Wal-Mart right on cue. Just after 9/11, Wal-Mart noticed that there was a huge spike in sales of American flags and things emblazoned with American Flags — t-shirts, mugs, dogs, etc. Seeing a gap in the market, and absolutely embracing the spirit of good ‘ol American capitalism, Wal-Mart bought every singleAmerican flag in the country, effectively cornering the entire market before anyone else could react.
7. Orbitz Charges Apple Users More, Just Because They Can
If you happen to be reading this article from a Mac computer, then congratulations on your purchasing power. We’re not being sarcastic — people who own Macs supposedly have more money than those who don’t. Or at least according to Orbitz they do.
The vacation-hawking site was recently found to be employing software that would detect whether or not a person was browsing their site from a Mac. If they were, the site would show the user more expensive places and listings first.
The site defended the move by saying their Mac customers often spent more money, so by showing these customers more expensive listings first, Orbitz was merely cutting out the middleman, and potentially making a ton of extra money to boot.
8. Ikea Makes Their Store Harder to Navigate to Make You Buy More Stuff
Ikea being like Narnia is a joke so tired we could barely bring ourselves to dress like a lion and hide in their wardrobes last Halloween. We still did of course, but our heart wasn’t in it.
Now, you’re probably thinking it’s just those crazy Swedish folks and their inferior, non-American floor layouts that are the problem. Alas no — they’re actually designed that way on purpose. You see, the average Ikea store is specifically designed to make moving around the store as confusing as possible, the idea being that the longer you spend in the store, the more likely you are to go, “Oh my god, have you seen how cheap these lamps are? We must buy 30 of them and turn our living room into a disco!”
Yes, Ikea is happy to inconvenience millions of customers, and make countless more think they’re lost and never going to see sunlight again, just to make them spend as much money as possible on crap they’ll never be able to put together anyway.
9. The Airline That Removed a Single Olive to Save $40,000, and the One That Removed Toilets to Make Space
The story goes that American Airlines removed a single olive from every salad served in first class to save money. That alone isn’t a big deal, because who’s going to miss one measly olive? But the annoying part is that there are hundreds of alternate ways an airline could save money. Simply washing the planes saves hundreds of dollars on fuel because it makes the plane weigh less. But no, it’s easier to just take away that olive. It’s not like those people are paying thousands of dollars for the privilege of flying first class, is it?
But whereas American Airlines wants to annoy their richest passengers, Ryan Air has no qualms about annoying everybody. This is the only explanation we can think of for why they decided to remove all but one of their toilets, thus allowing them to cram more people onto a place where one bad stomach is going to result in everyone soiling themselves at 30,000 feet. Wow; those guys have “not caring about your customers” down to an art form. It’s kind of beautiful, in a we-want-to-punch-them-in-the-face kind of way.
10. McDonald’s Saves Money by Using Less Cheese
The McDouble is one of McDonald’s staple menu items. We’d comment on it being quite telling that one of their most popular items today is their most popular item from a decade ago, if we weren’t super annoyed at the next sentence.
Pretty much the whole reason the McDouble exists is because the company wanted to take the ever-popular Double Cheeseburger off of the Dollar Menu, presumably because it was no longer cost-effective. After removing it and putting it on the regular menu with an inflated price, the McDouble took its place. The McDouble was essentially the exact same burger, minus a slice of cheese.
Now, we can fully understand why McDonald’s did this, but we have an issue. Why not just take off that single slice of pickle everyone throws away, and save money that way? Seriously McDonald’s, how could you miss that?