5Does This Banana Taste Like SARS To You?
Bananas give you SARS!
In China, the banana market utterly collapsed after a bizarre rumor made the rounds that the fruit was giving people SARS somehow. Banana prices plummeted 90%, bankrupting growers.
How It Got Started:
China, like the rest of the world, has gotten addicted to affordable text-messaging. One side effect is it's allowing rumors to spread like wildfire.
Keep in mind, getting reliable information in a totalitarian state like China can be tough. When a pandemic hits, the government can keep a lid on things until they finally get out of control (like SARS, for instance). Texting has allowed a black market for news that circumvents government control but, as we have found out, rumor mills like to fill information voids with bullshit.
So, some random dude punches in "BANANAS GIVE YOU SARS PLZ FORWARD" with his thumbs and, a few million forwarded messages later, some very unhappy farmers are sitting on a shitload of rotting bananas.
4Procter & Gamble & Lucifer
When you buy Procter & Gamble products, you're supporting Satan worship!
If you were feeling superior to the primitive Chinese up there, here's one right from the enlightened west. For years calls for a Procter & Gamble boycott circulated in the US, claiming the company had ties to the Church of Satan.
The exact loss of revenue to the company is unclear, but in March 2007, Procter & Gamble was awarded $19 million in damages, finally winning a lawsuit against people who were spreading the rumors.
How It Got Started:
This rumor has lived on for several decades, in the form of chain mail and then chain e-mails saying:
"The President of Procter & Gamble appeared on the Phil Donahue Show on March 1, 1994. He announced that due to the openness of our society, he was coming out of the closet about his association with the church of Satan... When asked by Donahue if stating this on t.v. would hurt his business, he replied, 'THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH CHRISTIANS IN THE UNITED STATES TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.'"
It goes on to claim that "a large portion" of Procter & Gamble's profits were going to support the Church of Satan (which must have raised some questions with shareholders) though it also spread the crazy around to other companies:
"LIZ CLAIRBORNE ALSO PROFESSES TO WORSHIP SATAN AND RECENTLY OPENLY ADMITTED ON THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW THAT HALF OF HER PROFITS GO TOWARDS THE CHURCH OF SATAN."
Obviously, those supposed admissions on national television never happened. Though, since Procter & Gamble does $84 billion a year in revenue, if they were sending most of their profit Satan's way it's safe to say the dark lord would be able to pay to keep us quiet about it.