6 Famous Companies That Went Totally Insane When Criticized

In both business and our own stupid personal lives, major screw-ups are immediately followed by the inevitable major screw-up cover-up, which usually just makes the whole initial screw-up all the more cocked up. So for anyone who's ever forgotten a girlfriend's birthday, then doubled down and made up for it by making out with her best friend, the companies below are your kind of people.


Ashley Madison Is Now Offering Crappy Masks

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When your whole niche as a dating site is to facilitate discreet extramarital affairs, basically the worst thing that could happen would be for your user data to get hacked and for the names and details of your 39 million clients to hit the Internet. That's what happened to cheaters' haven Ashley Madison last year. So how, after such a terrible betrayal, can they regain the trust of the ball-and-chained horndogs (and thousands of lady robots) who populate the site?

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They went with masks.

And not even cool ones, like Batman or Zorro. These look more like what you'd wear for 10 minutes at a Mardi Gras party before you realized you looked like a douche. And be careful that you're not wearing an eyeball-print shirt, because they use facial recognition software to place the masks. We're sure nothing could ever go wrong with that.

Ashley Madison

"The perfect way to keep all the sex you're not having on the DL!"

If masks aren't your thing, you could go with a black bar across your eyes, to better reflect the color of your soul, or four different degrees of blurring. Because if there is one thing people are looking for in their potential dates, it is how sexy they look when they are moving back and forth really quickly.

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After Blackfish, SeaWorld Recruits Spies To Infiltrate Protest Groups

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After Blackfish -- a documentary about how SeaWorld is just the worst thing ever -- came out, attendance at the parks plummeted. So SeaWorld decided if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Literally.

In recent years, one of PETA's most vocal activists against SeaWorld was actually an undercover park employee. While most animal rights activists are fine with just protesting or making people sit down and watch sad documentaries because it is important, dammit, Thomas Jones was more of the pitchforks-and-torches variety. Like, he actually said people should get pitchforks and torches and "take down SeaWorld." He also told his followers on Twitter to "get a little aggressive" and to drain the tanks at a new park they were building.

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"... as soon as I go on break."

Since PETA didn't want to be connected with a guy who was telling people to commit arson (hey, even PETA has standards), they looked into his social media background and figured out he was really Paul McComb, a SeaWorld employee since 2010. And they had leads that other aggressive "activists" may have been plants as well.

SeaWorld strenuously denied that they were using this guy for some sort of corporate espionage in order to make the people protesting them look bad and make themselves look better by comparison. However, it is weird that McComb was mysteriously the only SeaWorld protester who wasn't arrested during the 2014 Rose Bowl, almost like he had some connections.

moodboard/moodboard/Getty Images

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The first time in history "Do you know who I am?" actually worked.

But don't worry; SeaWorld has hired lawyers to look into the issue, because if they did ask McComb to infiltrate PETA it wasn't consistent with "the values of the SeaWorld organiz-" wait, what's that? SeaWorld totally owned up to their hidden army of saboteurs in February? Whale, shit.

Whole Foods Considers Adding Tattoo Parlors To Attract The Youths

Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images

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Look, if you shop at Whole Foods, you probably know what you're getting into, because what you're getting into is a three-digit grocery bill for a single person's week of food.

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But some stores took advantage of the fact that people were willing to shell out their "Whole Paycheck" for an organic "seeduction" bread loaf, and other pre-weighed food. It turned out that if you bought something Whole Foods claimed weighed, say, a pound, it might have weighed significantly less, and you could have been charged as much as $15 more than you should have been for your artisanal pre-poop.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

"We actually swipe your card at each department now; it's just faster."

After the scandal broke, sales plummeted. Sure, hipsters might be willing to pay $6 for asparagus water -- sorry, broth -- but don't you dare take them for fools or they will abandon you in droves. The CEO knew he needed to come up with a way to bring the cool kids back to his stores, so he promised to add something everyone needs when they are just popping out to grab a gallon of milk: tattoo parlors.

David McNew/Getty Images News/Getty Images

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"Make sure you have your stencil sketch too."

That's right: Tattoo artists will be wiping blood off people a few feet from the produce section. But it's not just bad life decisions you can pick up with your free-range eggs. They plan on having other kinds of vendors, from beauty products to record shops, turning Whole Foods into a kind of general store for painfully quirky millennials.

See, you've already forgotten about the whole overcharging thing!

Hotel Threatens Guests With $500 Fine For Bad Reviews

Lauren Craig

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With the rise of online review sites like Yelp, any disappointed customer can fulfill their dream of being a restaurant critic or travel connoisseur. And one hotel in upstate New York was so afraid of how this could affect their business that they promised to charge an extra $500 for "every negative review of [Union Street Guest House] placed on any Internet site by anyone in your party and/or attending your wedding or event."

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So basically, a bride and groom could plan their special day on a tight budget, but get it in just under the wire, and then a couple of their guests could, totally unbeknownst to them, leave bad reviews somewhere online, and they could find themselves out thousands of dollars.

But, according to the hotel, that would be their fault. You see, no bad reviews could be down to negative service or anything like that. No, sometimes guests "may not understand what we offer," and it is the paying party's responsibility to "explain it to them." If that isn't code for, "Make sure everyone knows why you are throwing your wedding in a flophouse," we don't know what is.

Union Street Guest House

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"We, uh, spent a lot on the cake. Times are tough."

After news of the policy hit social media, the owners tried to claim it was a joke that should have been taken down years ago and was never enforced. But at least one Yelp reviewer said that the hotel had threatened him more than once about a negative review.

Look, we know the customer isn't always right. But that is the lie we've all agreed to live with, not some Mafia-style shakedown if someone didn't think their bed was firm enough.

Union Street Guest House

"We 'trust' you enjoyed your stay ..."
"Why did you just make air quotes?"

VW Screws Consumers And The Environment, Offers A Gift Card

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Back in September we learned that Volkswagen had taken another step in bringing on the robot apocalypse and taught its cars to cheat at emissions tests. That meant that they would pass all the U.S. tests and seem environmentally friendly, but as soon as the test was over they went back to killing baby polar bears.

When VW got caught, they immediately fixed the cars and issued a profuse apology. Ha, no. Half a million Americans are still stuck with cars that won't pass their next emissions test. And a lot of those people spent an extra $5,000 on the diesel engine specifically because they wanted to help the environment.

It sure ain't for the street cred.

So Volkswagen decided to put as much thought into fixing the problem as an emotionally distant rich grandfather would for your birthday present: They sent each car owner a $500 gift card. If that isn't enough, they are also offering free roadside assistance for three years, so maybe the affected parties could arrange to break down all at the same time as payback.

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Thai Airways Pretends A Crashed Plane Doesn't Exist (With Paint)

Scott Barbour/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Back in September of 2013, a Thai Airways plane experienced a landing gear malfunction, sending it skidding off the runway and inflicting 13 people with minor injuries. In the aftermath of the crash, a crew came along and painted over the logos on the plane. Thai Airways claimed that by obscuring their logo, they were saving the face of the airline. Their logic was that if people couldn't tell what carrier had crashed, they wouldn't be afraid of flying with them in the future. This is like a baby dropping your cellphone and then assuming they won't get in trouble if they cover their eyes. And also the cellphone is the size of a plane and is bright purple and gold.


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And why did they use black Sharpie?

This whole process is ridiculous for two reasons. First of all, there was the fact that they were saying these things officially, so everyone knew which company it was anyway, even if they got David Blaine in to somehow make the plane invisible. Second, when people started pointing out on Twitter how stupid painting over the logo was, Thai Airways said they had no choice since it was a policy of their airline alliance, who turned around and basically said Thai Airways pulled this policy out of their butts. Hey, at least they didn't resort to a plane-sized camo-print quilt.

Psst ... want to give us feedback on the super-secret beta launch of the upcoming Cracked spin-off site, Braindrop? Well, simply follow us behind this curtain. Or, you know, click here: Braindrop.

For more companies that are just really bad at this stuff, check out 4 Tiny Mistakes That Turned Into Corporate PR Disasters and The 5 Most Disastrous Marketing Failures Of All Time.

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