You say something stupid at a party and have to avoid a coworker for a few days. You're not alone. These people said something stupid and paid - big. Try not to follow in their footsteps. - T.S.
"People say, 'How can you sell this for such a low price?' I say,
'Because it's total ****.' "
Gerald Ratner, CEO of huge U.K. chain Ratner's Jewellry. People stopped buying, he got forced out, and the company changed its name to Signet.
"What a couple of flat tiresthey turned out to be."
U.S. Representative Jo Byrns, after meeting King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of England. He wasn't reelected.
"As opposed to … wasting time in a pickup truck? When you have to drive 20 miles to buy a gingham dress or a Sears Roebuck suit? This rural America thing - I'm telling you, it's a joke."
Former New York City mayor Ed Koch's response to a question about the long waits New Yorkers face when subways are late. Funnily enough, he lost his bid for governor the next year.
“Follow me around. I don’t care. I’m serious. If anybody wants to put a tail on me, go ahead. They’d be very bored.”
Former Colorado senator Gary Hart, to the New York Times, on allegations of infidelity in his marriage. Unfortunately, the Miami Herald had already been tailing Hart and had pictures of him with a woman other than his wife. The Miami Herald story broke the same day as the Times article. A week later, Hart pulled out of the Democratic presidential race.
For more lessons on what not to say, pick up a copy of A Slip of the Tongue: Offhand Remarks that Derailed High-Powered Careers by Joel Fram and Sandra Salmans ($9, Running Press).