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Companies We Love to Hate

OAKLAND, CA – MARCH 18: Fast food workers and activists protest outside of a McDonald’s restaurant on March 18, 2014 in Oakland, California. Dozens of fast food workers and union activists staged a demonstration at a McDonald’s restaurant as part of a nationwide series of protests against McDonald’s labor practices. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

We hate Rush Limbaugh — but we still listen. We know fast food makes us fat — but we eat it any way. We hate GMO’s, oil spills, gas leaks, coal fired plants, hydraulic fracturing and Wall Street. Yet, whether we like it or not, we use all the products and services of the very companies we claim to despise so much in our daily discourse.

Here are some of those most hated companies in America.

McDonald’s

The Golden Arches have been all over the news in recent weeks. The company is a prime target for the “raise the minimum wage” crowd. Worker’s walked out across the country a few weeks ago demanding a starting wage of $15 and hour.

Just to show the company is not completely without compassion for it’s entry level burger flippers it set up a hot line to assist employees with managing their meager finances. Some notable suggestions — sell possessions or go on food stamps. Big Mac doesn’t mean big heart.

Abercrombie & Fitch

Here’s a business question for you. How does a company go from a profit of $84 million to a net loss of $15.5 million? Give up? Let the CEO, Michael Jeffries, shoot his mouth off about not wanting fat, ugly customers and advising teens not to shop in A&F stores if you’re not one of the “cool kids.”

A&F stock is down 30% in the past year and has underperformed in the last five in the S&P 500. So with such stealer stock performance and negative publicity you’d think the board of directors might want to show Jeffries and his yearly $26.3 million dollar salary the door. Instead they gave him a new contract.

Sears Holdings

Sears used to be “where America shops.” But those days are long gone. This once mighty giant is only a shadow of it’s former self. Under the leadership of Eddie Lampert, and a string of poor decisions it’s become one of the worst companies to work for according to 24/7 Wall Street. In spite of being one of the largest employers of low wage workers in the US, 17% of the company’s workers are still approving Lampert’s performance as they rearrange the deck chairs.

One bright spot — Only Walmart scored a lower customer service score than Sears.

Walmart

What’s not to like about Walmart? They are the low priced leader with lots of “imported” products. Walmart scored at the bottom of customer service surveys in 2012.

But, like McDonald’s, they are also the targets of “minimum wage” activist groups. While Walmart claims their workers make an average wage of $12.81/per hour they fail to include part time workers. If you include part timers the wage drops to $9/hr. on average.

To Walmart’s credit they did react positively to the negative press by promoting 35,000 part-timers to full time status. But their stock has still been underperforming during the past year.

Some Final Thoughts

Why is it that the bigger a company becomes the more people hate it? The reason it got big in the first place was that it gave customers what they wanted. But somewhere along the line on the road to bigness the company started to make money. Its business model worked but to many peoples eyes the amount of money being made was just too much. And who decides how much is too much. Would the model still work with higher pay and more benefits creating higher prices on the shelf or the drive-thru? Sounds like forced inflation to me.

I agree that some CEO contracts seem to be off the wall when they lose company money and still get raises and stock options. Most of us would be shown the door for our poor performance rather than receiving a “golden parachute.”

Is there a company out there you hate? Let us know in the comments below.

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