When Gerald Ratner addressed the U.K.'s Institute of Directors Annual Convention in 1991, he spoke of a retail recession that his jewelry company seemed to be avoiding, with profits of £120 million ($150 million). He told the audience to go ahead and use his tips for success, as long as they didn't try to compete with him.
But he then went on to describe a sherry decanter with glasses and a tray, on sale for £4.95 at his Ratners jewelry shop.
"People say to me, 'how can you sell this for such a low price? I say, 'because it's total crap,'" he went on to state. His comments wiped an estimated £500 million off the value of the business, and Ratner left the following year. The video of his speech is here and the comment comes at three minutes 30.