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The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week: Aug. 17

Stocks in this article: MANU GRPN MS PCLN STP

2. Priceline's Poor Decision

When Priceline (PCLN) killed off William Shatner's "Negotiator" from its commercials earlier this year, we couldn't call it a dumb move because we didn't know what the travel site was doing.

As it turns out, neither did Priceline. That's why they brought Shatner back this week.

Priceline stupidly killed off the popular character seven months ago by plunging him off a bridge after saving a group of tourists. The company resurrected him on Thursday in a 30-second commercial showing Shatner standing on a beach, acting like a former spy that was leaving the espionage business for good.

"Surfing is my life now," says Shatner before running with board in hand to catch a wave -- in a business suit mind you.

Sorry guys, but we all know that pitching has been Shatner's life since T.J. Hooker was cancelled over a quarter century ago. And while Bill washed up on a beach in his latest spot, he is clearly not washed up as a spokesman. In fact, he's so good at it that nobody can tell where the salesman stops and Shatner begins. That's what made Priceline's decision to drop Shatner after 14 years of service so shockingly dumb. Call us Klingon, but why on earth would they literally throw all that goodwill under the bus?

Now we're not saying Shatner's extended hiatus was entirely the cause of the company's recent troubles. Last week's 17% meltdown in Priceline's stock was clearly a result of European malaise affecting the company's third quarter earnings rather than Shatner's departure. That said, killing off Captain Kirk couldn't have helped.

"I knew it was a mistake, absolutely," said Shatner.

Of course you did Bill. Is there anything you don't know?

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