1. Time to Make Fun of the Doughnuts!An ongoing Securities and Exchange Commission investigation. Falling same-store sales. An unexpected loss. Face it: As each week progresses at Krispy Kreme ( KKD), there's less dough and more hole. Things got so bad this week that the doughnut retailer -- which Monday reported third-quarter results that were
2. Reality TV Show BitesKrispy Kreme isn't the only outfit looking a little burnt this week. Take a look at another old favorite, Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts ( DJTCQ). As everybody knows, the gaming company headed by Donald Trump filed for Chapter 11 protection Monday. That's the second bankruptcy for The Donald's gambling arm. But did the company acknowledge it was welshing on its gambling debts? Of course not. Did it mention it's wiping out shareholders again? No, indeed. Instead, the company avoided the ugly truth by saying it had started "recapitalization proceedings." "It has been a great honor and privilege to deal with and get to know the bondholders and their representatives," Trump said in a statement. "The process has been a very constructive one and should reap great benefits for everyone in the years to come."
Turning over a new Chapter 11
Or, as Trump told The Associated Press, "I don't think it's a failure; it's a success. ... It was just something that worked better than other alternatives. It's really just a technical thing."
We should all be so successful.
Somehow, this is reminding us of that wonderfully awful Harrison Ford movie "Regarding Henry" -- the one in which a mean, nasty lawyer turns into a sweet, good man after he has the good luck to be shot in the head.
Say, this nonbankruptcy bankruptcy sounds great! Everybody should do it!
3. You Can't Fool All of the PeopleSoft All of the TimeSpeaking of a bankruptcy that isn't a bankruptcy and a conference call Q&A that isn't a conference call Q&A, how about that majority vote that isn't a majority vote?
|PeopleSoft's Electoral College |
The shareholders have spoken
4. Cutting-Edge Reasoning at Sharper ImageEveryone knows you go to Sharper Image ( SHRP) to find that unique item you can't find anywhere else. You know, stuff like the Ionic Breeze Air Purifier. The $90 aluminum briefcase filled with poker chips. And this season's new, hot item: the creative excuse trotted out during earnings season. Yes, we're used to the usual rationalizations -- some of them occasionally valid -- that retailers dispense for why they're reporting disappointing sales in a given quarter. The weather was too hot. The weather was too cold. Easter arrived at the wrong time. But as jaded as we are, we weren't ready for Sharper Image's recent explanation of why some sales were weaker than expected in the quarter ended Oct. 31. The blame, says the company, belongs to the presidential election. "We believe the election activities distracted customers from direct response sales during parts of August, September and October, which we believe was a temporary effect on our business," CEO Richard Thalheimer explained in a statement. What tripe! Everybody knows the real culprit was the Laci Peterson trial. Just to be sure we're not missing a trend here, we checked to see whether other retailers were blaming the presidential election. All we could find was an Oct. 12 statement from Borders ( BGP) warning that sales in the quarter ending Oct. 24 were hurt by several factors, including multiple hurricanes, overall light store traffic and the presidential election campaign. A Sharper Image spokeswoman says that all that political advertising on TV bumped many of the company's Ionic Breeze infomercials off TV, and made it more expensive for the company to run the infomercials that did air. Plus, she says, election season was a "distraction factor." Maybe so. And if indeed it was democracy in action that stifled sales of the PowerTie Motorized Tie Rack -- well, that's a cause for bipartisan celebration.
|The Holy Grill |
Chees-eBay auction baffles
5. Grill of My Dreams, I Love YouFinally, a tip of the hat to a Wall Street darling whose Incredible new success confirms that it's a cradle of creativity.
No, not Pixar ( PIXR). We're talking eBay ( EBAY).
Yes, eBay, which this week enabled the auction of a partially eaten grilled cheese sandwich, said to be 10 years old, containing an image of the Virgin Mary in toasted bread. For $28,000.
The first example of creativity at work: Asserting to the world that
Further examples of creativity at work: All of the related auctions in eBay's