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Dumbest Moments in Business

Business 2.0, January 2005

And the winner is ....KRYPTONITE!

1. Defrauding investors is sooooooo 2002. These days it's all about hosing your customers.

When you're a bike-lock maker whose slogan is "Tough World, Tough Locks," it doesn't get much tougher than finding out that most of the locks you've been making for the last 30 years can be picked with a Bic pen.

That, sadly, is what happens to Ingersoll-Rand subsidiary Kryptonite in September, after bloggers begin posting videos showing just how easy it is to pop open the company's ubiquitous U-shaped locks.

Still in denial four days after the hullabaloo begins, spokeswoman Donna Tocci says that the locks nonetheless provide "an effective deterrent against theft" and that Kryptonite will speed up deliveries of new, Bic-proof locks to stores.

Unsatisfied, bloggers continue to rail at the company until it finally agrees to exchange the old locks for new ones, at an estimated cost of $10 million. Um ... make that at least $10 million: In December the company explains that the process of manufacturing and shipping the 100,000 replacement locks is taking longer than expected.

In the meantime, many dealers receive no shipments of new locks, costing Kryptonite as much as $6 million in sales.

More on Kryptonite


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