Round 1 of The Consumerist’s Worst Company In America 2013 contest has come to a close, and for the most part I can’t say I’m surprised by any of it. Again, here’s the link to the brackets for this satirical parody of March Madness.
Here’s a recap of what’s gone down so far as the Sweet 16 round gets ready to start. 🙂
Round 1 Retrospective (My Picks Will Be Italicized) :
EA Vs. ABInBev
I had to look up who ABInBev was. Turns out its Anheuser Busch’s new funky name. Who would’ve thought that beer in America would become a duopoly? Has antitrust law become irrelevant in this country with all the oligopolies running wild with everyone’s favorite consumer products? My pick was EA over Beer Inc. because EA of course just had the SimDRM fiasco and currently represents everything that gamers hate in gaming these days. EA is my favorite to win the whole thing and become the first company to win WCIA twice and back-to-back. Go EA. 😛
Google Vs. Facebook
Both companies tick me off a lot these days. Google doesn’t seem to know what privacy is anymore with their incessant insistence on people using real names on sites like Google+ and YouTube, not to mention their sad attempts to boost Google+ by making their other sites, like YouTube, look just like it (YouTube One Baby! :-P), but Facebook was one of my premier disappointments over the past year, both with the IPO fiasco when the company went public, and the social media site being the main enabler in everyone vanishing on me in 2012 after I was laid off. I talk about the whole “Everybody’s Gone” feeling from a lot of my friends turning out to be fair weather friends and even a good chunk of my family not speaking to me since losing my last good job in January 2012. Much of that is because of Facebook, and Facebook didn’t make things any better when Timeline became mandatory.
I predict Facebook will eventually go the way of MySpace in favor of social media either in the form of a resurgence of blogging/mini-blogging, or social media that involves content creation like YouTube, but this whole shrine to one’s self stuff that MySpace started back in the day is very much becoming long in the tooth.
AT&T Vs. Verizon
As usual, I’m on Team AT&T. The Big Blue Death Star is an insult to both technology and business with how they conduct themselves. Their U-Verse pathetic attempt at fiber service was awful compared to Verizon FiOS (yeehaw lawn refrigerators), at least when both systems were still being expanded, and AT&T leads the pack of phone companies in trying to gain the legal precedents in more Republican parts of the country to abandon wired phone service and stick everyone with lousy wireless service that costs more. Both companies do their share of shenanigans that make phone companies among the most hated companies out there these days, but considering the ugly fact that AT&T jumping on the capwagon with bandwidth caps on DSL and U-Verse tipped American Fraudband over to the majority of connections being capped, AT&T will always take the cake and be a perennial favorite of mine to go very far in these competitions. Problem is, they’re a marathon runner in this type of stuff, and every year a sprinter like EA comes along and steals their trophy. 😛
Apple Vs. Microsoft
Sadly, I was hoping Microsoft would beat out Apple in this round with what they’ve done over the lifespan of the XBox 360, rumors about the Next Xbox and the mess of an OS known as Windows 8, but Apple won the most votes, and now that I think of it I can somewhat understand why. Apple leads the pack in the “Post PC” corporate pipe dream of trying to turn back the clock back to the bad old days when computing devices were expensive and like buying major appliances with having to go to the vendor for all your support.
After decades of failed Macintosh rebellion against falling PC costs due to industry standardization and replaceable parts that created the homebrew PC scene as we know it Apple has found new ways to suck money out of people via all their proprietary iDevices. iPods tested the waters with non-user-replaceable batteries in early iPods. Now the iPhone and iPad have taken the lead, and the Macs that are left are being made even more proprietary via solder-on components and crap like that where components that connect via sockets in other computers for easy service and maintenance are hard-soldered in Macs, jacking up repair costs unnecessarily while helping Apple rake in the profits off of people who don’t know any better.
On second thought, maybe I should’ve picked Apple over Microsoft. At least Microsoft’s most recent flubs were software-only with Windows 8. 😛
Ticketmaster Vs. Equifax
No surprise with these two. I don’t really follow the sagas of these companies very much, but Ticketmaster is a recurring contender in these WCIA thingies, so they were my pick solely based on reputation. Whaddya know? I was right! 🙂
PayPal Vs. Sallie Mae
I don’t really get this one. PayPal is my favorite because of their constant security and customer service issues that have made PayPal into the kind of flip of a coin service where if it works it’s awesome but when it doesn’t it’s a complete nightmare. Maybe I just haven’t been following enough news on Sallie Mae lately. 😛
Spirit Vs. American Airlines
Airlines in general are a mess, so I had no pick here. The only one I really remember is JetBlue with their stranded flights imprisoning people on tarmacs for hours on end. I don’t know if the other airlines are that bad, or maybe they’re just all blending together these days because airlines in general are quite a mess. 😛
United Vs. Carnival
Carnival Cruise Lines is the only one I really care about in this whole section. I think the ships are going to beat out all the planes here with how Carnival has constant problems with “poop cruises” and stranded ships these days. At least other companies merely drag themselves through the mud. Carnival has been dragging the very idea of going on a cruise through the mud. 😛 They’re a favorite of mine to go to the Final Four.
Bank Of America Vs. Capital One
“What’s in my wallet?” A reminder of how much BoA gets on my nerves these days. I could do a whole rant on the disaster to American Banking that is Bank of America. Bank Of America ticks me off on a very regular basis. No thanks to them I can’t deposit one of my LOLpaychecks in one of their remaining post-downsizing branches without the teller nagging me to either use the vintage Windows XP ATM outside on the street where someone could beat me up and steal my wallet (gotta love companies that tell their workers to encourage people to help eliminate their jobs :-\ ) or they nag me to sign up for their latest fancy schmancy credit card, as if I can really spend a bunch of money when I can barely hold down a LOLjob and keep the LOLpaychecks coming in. Needless to say, Bank of America is a Final Four pick for me. 😛
Chase Vs. Wells Fargo
Not much to say here. Consumers are furious at many big banks these days, but I’ve seen more crap from Chase than Wells Fargo, so this is kind of a personal preference for me. 😛
Sears Holdings Vs. JC Penney
Sears Holdings has really dragged the Sears name through the mud for me lately. The parent company of Sears and K-Mart these days is run by snotty brass that treat the company more like a hedge fund than a retail store chain and constantly divert money away from upkeep and maintenance of their buildings, as evidenced by my own lovely Sears store out here near Sticksville that had a nice pretty facade on the front but the minute you walked through the doors all you saw was the ratty interior that looked totally dated compared to other big retailers around here.
JC Penney may be on its last legs with management that can’t decide whether to have sales or not, but I’ve seen more nonsense locally from Sears. Just this past year, said-Sears store near Sticksville was converted over to a K-Mart, and the management fired the entire store and forced their people to compete with outsiders to reapply for their own jobs. Just the kind of thing to be doing when the job market is an utter disaster in this country. What kind of company does this crap?!! What kind of sick sadistic HR people get off so much on making people jump through a bazillion hoops just for part-time minimum wage LOLRetail. Seriously. Little wonder some people hate Capitalism so much when the system gets abused this much.
…yeah. Sears Holdings is now a perennial pick of mine, until they finally go out of business one of these years. 😛
Walmart Vs. Best Buy
I’m surprised Best Crap couldn’t beat out Walmart in this round. Then again, both companies probably deserve to advance making this into a real hair splitter. I may have had more insulting experiences with Best Buy than Walmart over the years, but both companies do the same kind of stuff wrong, so who am I to complain? 😛
Comcast Vs. T-Mobile
Really? This was even a contest? On one hand, a LOLPhone Company that along with Sprint is pretty tame on the shenanigans front compared to AT&T and Verizon, plus had their girl-next-door spokeswoman ditch the whole skirt deal and become this “badass biker babe” zipping around on her “you-know-what-rocket” all around the country…
…on the other, the 800-pound cable industry gorilla that’s the poster corporation for everything that’s wrong with broadband in this country which by the way, won’t even pay for the backup batteries in EMTA telephony-enabled cable modems anymore (thanks Stop The Cap!).
Seriously, there’s no contest here. Comcast all the way baby. 😛 They were my pick, and whaddya know, they won too. 😀
Dish Network Versus DirecTV
No preference here. I’m more concerned about cable service providers than satellite since satellite TV is an entire industry that only exists because of cable’s failures over the years, and continues to exist for those same reasons. It’s really Twiddle Dee versus Twiddle Dum. DirecTV won by the way. Yawn. NEXT!!! 😛
Time Warner Cable Vs. Cablevision
Ha. Again, this was a contest? A cable company versus a huge cable company that’s Comcast’s Mini-Me and has a commander-in-chief who has admitted before to raising broadband prices during the Great Recession because…well…they could? TWC is the choice for me, and won that round too. No big surprise. 😀
UPS Vs. FedEx
Looks like the company I’ve referred to as “the United Package Smashers” gets a pass this go-round, as “FedUp” beat them out for some odd reason. No worries though. There are enough high profile companies that neither package courier would’ve had much of a chance in subsequent rounds. Definitely a throwaway choice for me. 😛
…and that’s Round 1. Now to write up a little something for my picks for Sweet 16 and beyond and quit being late to this WCIA party. 🙂