The 4 Companies You Hate the Most

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There aren't many companies that consumers generally love, but whether it's controversial operating practices, notorious executives or unpopular business models, there are plenty of companies that aren't doing right by consumer perceptions.

Every year, Consumerist offers up 32 candidates to see determine the business that is the most despised. Companies are paired up in tournament fashion, and readers vote. Let's take a look at the final four contenders in Consumerist's 2014 Worst Company in America tourney.

4. Walmart (WMT)

The world's largest retailer may be a haven of cheap prices, but it's also a popular target for the low wages it pays out and its skimpy benefits. Activists are calling for Walmart to provide living wages to all of its hires, asking it to boost its starting wage to $15 an hour.

Walmart counters that it's already doing its part. It employees 2.2 million associates globally, with 1.3 million of those in the United States. Every Walmart Supercenter creates 300 jobs. Yes, the front-line pay stinks, but 75 percent of its store managers -- earning between $50,000 and $170,000 a year -- started out as hourly associates.

Consumers don't see it in the same positive light, however: Walmart has posted five consecutive quarters of declining comparable store sales.

3. SeaWorld (SEAS)

The marine life theme park operator came under fire after last year's "Blackfish" documentary called out SeaWorld's problems with having killer whales in captivity. SeaWorld countered by arguing that "Blackfish" was more propaganda than documentary, pointing out fallacies that were presented as facts in the film.

The public isn't buying it. SeaWorld's attendance declined 4 percent last year when the rest of the theme park industry posted gains in turnstile clicks. Attendance fell even harder during the first three months of this year, but the timing of the Easter holiday and iffy weather helped keep patrons away.

2. Monsanto (MON)

For better or worse, Monsanto has become the poster child for genetically modified organisms.

The agricultural chemicals giant stands by its GMO products, which include fortified seed traits that result in more bountiful harvests for farmers. It leans on decisions by the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the British Royal Society among the organizations that have concluded that genetically modified crops are as safe to eat as food from crops modified by conventional plant improvement techniques like plant breeding.

Many consumers don't see it that way, fearing that corporate greed under the guise of feeding the world is what's driving profits at Monsanto.

And the No. 1 most hated corporation in the country:

1. Comcast (CMCSA)

Comcast, which won (lost?) Consumerist's survey four years ago, reclaimed its crown this year.

Activists have staged protests at Walmart shareholder meetings and SeaWorld theme parks. Protestors have organized in various cities to object to GMO in their food supplies. Comcast is the only one of the four to not generate this kind of activist movement, but as the country's largest cable TV and Internet provider, it faces the wrath of customers frustrated with cable and Internet outages. It also doesn't help that customers have to make two calls during outages to have their accounts credited.

Folks are also unhappy with the ever-rising rates for cable TV and the inability to pay only for the channels they watch. That may be more the fault of the cable networks than Comcast, but it doesn't help that the country's top dog isn't taking a stand.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz and the Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned.



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68 Comments

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cromwell1650

Ben and Jerry's- Buy an ice cream and fund and abortion.

June 26 2014 at 6:50 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cromwell1650's comment
Lillian

You must still be living in the 1650's.

June 26 2014 at 9:00 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
floralchic33

I've been working at my job, at a grocery store AND a union job, since 1999 and make $16.00 per hour. NO WAY should min wage be that high!!!!!!
Prices go up for everything!! If you want to make high min wage be prepared to pay high prices at the checkout. You know they will use that as an excuss to raise prices.

June 26 2014 at 5:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kent

I don't like Comcast, but AT&T is no better. Most of my town has had U-Verse for several years, but AT&T won't wire my part of town, and they won't tell me when they will. Because AT&T operates under a state telecommunications law, rather than a municipal franchise, it won't tell the town when it will start service to the entire town. It just renews the building permits, when they are about to expire.

I've even contacted my state legislators, and they can't get answers out of AT&T.

June 26 2014 at 1:15 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Lillian

Walmart is #1 in customer satisfaction as far as I'm concerned.

June 25 2014 at 8:04 PM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply
jeantopete

okay - took me 15 years to get to $19.00 an hour job beginning 1995 ending 2008, working as a skilled legal word processor for law firm. wages in my city lower than big city. demanding $15 an hour seems way over the wage scale especially since the overall economy still is striving to get past the blunt of the 2008 recession.

June 25 2014 at 7:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

Now on to other news:

My great.. granduncle was one of the first military veterans of the United States of America.
Captain Thomas Wickham the Patriot brother of Major Parker Wickham the supposed loyalist was sent by General George Washington to take his brother's cattle off Robin's Island. Captain Thomas Wickham's sloop the Hampton Packet took too prizes during the Revolutionary the Peggy and another unknown ship. The father of theses brothers is my Great... grand father born in 1701 and died in 1749. I am a direct descendant.

June 25 2014 at 5:37 PM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

Companies are judged by the way they treat people. End of story.

June 25 2014 at 5:17 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Iselin007's comment
merstockgto

A lot of companies treat their employees like crap.

June 25 2014 at 11:36 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
tlcanimal

Love that Seaworld is on this list! Walmart..the only reason liberals don't like Walmart is because they are a huge employer and they aren't unionized. They are one of the biggest employers of the mentally/physically challanged and US veterans.

June 25 2014 at 4:16 PM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to tlcanimal's comment
labourboss

I don't like walmart because they drove all of the mom and pop stores out of my little town and my tax dollars go to subsidies their employees because they don't make enough money topt food on the table.

June 26 2014 at 12:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to labourboss's comment
Kent

I don't like Wal-Mart because they hire the workers that unionized stores won't hire. I still get a cashier who visually verifies that I have items that match the coupons, even though the scanner will sound, if there is no product that matches the coupon.

When my son was a toddler, he said "Hi" to everyone. The cashiers at my regular grocery store all knew him by name. But, despite his saying, "Hi," cashiers at Wal-Mart ignored him, which led him to say, "Hi," over and over in a louder voice.

Sam Walton would have had a fit, if he saw an employee not responding to a child saying, "Hi."

Then, there are the customers who leave carts in the middle of the aisle, so you can't pass them

June 26 2014 at 1:13 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down
randallalbin

try to set your sights higher. find professional work that pays what college grads should be paid. this is a really tough economy. why are those at the top while many are on the bottom? explain please?

June 25 2014 at 3:30 PM Report abuse -7 rate up rate down Reply
hrymusclebull

AT&T should be on the list.

June 25 2014 at 3:01 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to hrymusclebull's comment
merstockgto

It is

June 25 2014 at 11:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply