Applebee’s And IHOP Closing Locations; Dannon Vs. Chobani; 3M’s Massive Settlement

by 1 year ago

The Water Coolest

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Looks like Erin Brockovich has a new gig at the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office. The land of lakes and the home of the artist formerly known as Prince won an $850M landmark settlement vs. 3M.

Lori Swanson, Minnesota’s Attorney General, who undoubtedly shares a similar disdain for the government as Pawnee’s own Ron Swanson, claims that 3M who is HQ’ed in MN was illegally dumping millions of pounds of chemically tainted water for almost 50 years. These perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) are known to affect growth and reproduction and cause liver issues in humans and animals.

A representative of 3M and longtime Minnesota residence rebuked “What PFCs?” while scratching his 3rd ear. The $850M will be delivered in the form of a grant to improve water quality, build fishing piers, preserve open space and generally be earmarked for other projects that make 3M look like Boy Scouts.

With the settlement, 3M claims the dubious top-spot from DuPont who agreed to a $670M payout in 2017. And things are just getting started for 3M who has at least 11 class action lawsuits in the pipeline.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “Let me get this straight, I’m over here using 3M products to hang up pictures of my family and the chemical used may leave me barren thus halting my lineage in its tracks? But at least it won’t leave a mark on my wall!”



Grab your Greek, part-skim breakfast parfait and sit back.

Dannon is suing a former employee who jumped ship to Chobani for stealing trade secrets: customer lists, future products, and employee information. Federico Muyshondt was the VP of East Coast Sales at Dannon when he started sending private information to his personal email in August 2017. He left Dannon in January for Chobani.

Per the lawsuit, Chobani is not actually named as a defendant. No word on if their culture (see what I did there?) would promote this deceptive conduct. Although it’s hard to imagine there are lessons to be learned about a food with its humble beginnings in the Neolithic Age.

On the heels of the Uber-Waymo fiasco, and IBM’s spat with Microsoft, it looks like we could be gearing up for another CNBC rendition of Celebrity Death Match. Or of course, Muyshondt might just get fired.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “Let’s be honest, Greek yogurt sucks. It’s really not good. You may be thinking “Hey, I like Greek yogurt. It’s healthy and keeps me regular.” But stop lying to yourself, no one actually likes Greek yogurt. You’re just trying your best to fit in with the CrossFit cult at your office.”



Millennials are the reason we can’t have nice things. They’ve been f*cking sh*t up since approximately 1983. First, it was starter homes, then it was napkins, and now it’s Applebee’s.

Applebee’s and IHOP are planning to close up to 120 restaurants this year. This comes after the respective social hubs of Smalltown USA’s shuttered nearly 180 restaurants in 2016 and 2017. Both Applebee’s and IHOP are owned by Dine Brands, who recently changed their name to Dine Equity as part of a transformation strategy … that may or may not include hoping people forget about the terrible restaurants in their portfolio.

Applebee’s, in particular, is on the ropes. In an effort to gain more popularity amongst the millennial demographic they’ve lost their way and drifted away from their Middle America roots. They’re not alone though, as BW3s, TGIFs, and Ruby Tuesdays are all on the struggle bus to Bankruptcy-ville.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “I don’t know why they’re struggling. My friends and I always hit up the ‘bees on Saturday night for half-priced apps and a bucket of beers. But my friends never show up. So it’s just me … alone … in a booth … by myself … I’M FINE.”




  • Vox Media is laying off about 50 people, including the social and video teams for their Racked, Curbed, and SBNation publications. The company is citing “industry changes” as the reason for the cuts. Wonder if any of those industry changes include “paying our writers a livable wage.”
  • A Bulgarian playlist creator may have scammed Spotify’s payout system for upwards of $1M. The scammer allegedly setup 1,200 Spotify accounts to play their 30-second tracks on loop, causing Spotify to pay out up to $415,000 per month to the fake musicians. Maybe some actual musicians should look into this if they ever plan to make money on Spotify. 
  • Uber officially rolled out its Uber Express POOL option. Uber Express POOL is the cheapest way to Uber but would require users to walk to a frequently used, central pickup location. If I wanted to walk half a mile and wait around, I’d just take the bus with all the cab drivers Uber has ousted.
  • JPMorgan is planning to build a brand new, towering midtown-Manhattan HQ. The bank tells us that it won’t actually be made out of Ivory.
  • US indices were down yesterday:
    • DOW: -0.67%
    • S&P 500: -0.55%
    • NASDAQ: -0.22%



Professional motivation, tips, tricks, hacks & resources carefully-curated by yours truly. Something you’d like to see featured? Shoot me an email at



Today in “things that don’t actually matter”: these pro tips on creating a superior email signature. Using photoshop (read: outsourcing to a programmer on Fiverr) to develop a top-notch email sig, as advocated by The Muse, is the modern-day equivalent of this.

With that said, here is what you actually need to know about making your contact info readily available:

  • Don’t pull the “Sent from my [CELLULAR DEVICE], please excuse grammatical errors” move. Rookie mistake. Your grasp of the English language shouldn’t escape you when writing on your Blackberry.
  • Using a photo is for CVs, a distinctly European phenomenon. So unless you’re applying to the European Central Bank go with the Twitter egg.
  • Don’t link your PERSONAL social accounts to your email signature. I repeat, do not link your personal social media accounts to your email signature.
  • Don’t use a signature. Remember: you can’t reach someone whose contact information you don’t have. It’s the oldest trick in the book.


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