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This is a question Expensive Mistakes

coopsweb asks "What's the most expensive mistake you've ever made? Should I mention a certain employee who caused 4 hours worth of delays in Central London and got his company fined 500k?"

No points for stories about the time you had a few and thought it'd be a good idea to wrap your car around a bollard. Or replies consisting of "my wife".

(, Thu 25 Oct 2007, 11:26)
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This question is now closed.

Hired Hand
Charming guy - always liked him, even when he slept 24 hours straight on the garage floor, with only my irritable, biting bunny inflicting puncture wounds as a companion.

About the time I hired him, he decided to switch from cocaine to methamphetamine. He would talk to the voices and complain about bullying from schoolchildren that no one else seemed to notice.

He built a fountain in the yard, then worried passersby couldn't see his handiwork. So, he trimmed the yard's hedges from the bottom up, so now I have freaky-looking bare-bottomed hedges that no longer function for privacy's protection.

He chopped down a fruit tree. Just a misunderstanding....

Trying to keep water out of the basement, he drilled holes in the front porch that just accelerated the flow of water into the basement. Can't have water pooling on the porch, can we? Just trying to help!

He found a leaking can of toxic waste and left it in the garage. Last weekend, I smeared some of it in my car by mistake, and broke out with chloroacne on my arms, likely as a result.

Yet he was fun to have around. Things would happen to him that never happened to anyone else. He once ate some fumigant-laced almonds that fell out of a transport truck and spent the night in a hospital getting his stomach pumped. Who eats random nuts off the pavement? Who else?

Expensive mistake, but I'd hire him again, just for the story value....
(, Fri 26 Oct 2007, 20:40, Reply)
Office fuckwittery.
I managed to get one lousy letter wrong inputting something at work the other day, accidentally saddling us with 20 grand of useless stock.

Fuck the cost to the company. It's my appraisal next week, & there went my payrise. Fucksocks...
(, Fri 26 Oct 2007, 20:16, Reply)
i decided to move from t-mobile to orange for some strange reason this summer and so far my phone bills have cost an amount of nearly 4k. This would be understandable had i used my phone that much but orange have decided, on 3 occaisions, to take out the payment more than once from my account. Im still waiting for the money to get back into my account and would rather have the cash back instead of being 4k in credit with a phone company who take 5 hours before you can get through to speak to a human on customer services - a rarity to get one that speaks the same language as you
(, Fri 26 Oct 2007, 19:30, 4 replies)
look im really sorry, but "legless" is making an expensive mistake right now. The mistake being annoyingly making up stories and spouting a load of flange into our eyesockets when we read him.

I just know that he is making up another story as i type.
It sickens me
fuck off
(, Fri 26 Oct 2007, 19:24, 19 replies)
My Parents Expensive Mistake
In short, was me.

shirly bindun?

*edit* oh yes, about 8 or 9 answers below this one.
(, Fri 26 Oct 2007, 19:11, Reply)
I'm a programmer
and just for fun I coded an autobot which would set every week's QOTW to one I could answer with 'I once bought a car in the East End'...
(, Fri 26 Oct 2007, 18:16, Reply)
a few years back, when I worked for an internaational ISP, I had just taken delivery of a rather large Cisco 6509 chassis, worth approx 7000, and also the processor module which was about 25,000.
Both were boxed seperately, and as I was quite excited about this delivery which I was waiting for, so i could start on my new project, i pushed the processor board into the chassis, except I didnt quite line it up on the guide rails very well, and i pushed it all the way in, and it just wouldnt go that last bit, so i used a bit of brute force. Nope, it still wouldnt go in. So i pulled it out and had a look. I totally fucked up the edged connection pins on the processor module board, and i looked into the chassis through the processor slot, and I had toally fucked up the backplane where all the pins had been mashing agounst the wrong place on the circuit board.
Thankfully they were covered by Cisco Smartnet, so i had replacements sent within 4 hours.
(, Fri 26 Oct 2007, 17:38, Reply)
An entire print run pulped
I was working for a rather esteemed newspaper company and was the guy who had to design the hideous front pages of the newspaper similar to 'loot' - free ads etc.
The idea was you did your layout and digitally overwrote the previous weeks cover. Then call the 'guys downstairs' who would update the file in Quark (page layout program for those uninitiated) and send it off to the presses. Print run was maybe 100,000.

I mistyped the filename, so it didn't overwrite. The 'guys downstairs' didn't notice the cover was the same as the previous weeks cover (date and all) and let it go to press.
100,000 copies of newspaper ended up in a skip for recycling.
The amazing thing was i never got into much bother over it as It was deemed the fault of 'the guys downstairs' for not noticing. I felt so guilty..for a day or so.
(, Fri 26 Oct 2007, 17:14, Reply)
stupid keyboard
is there anyone else who can't cope with the fact that calculators, phones and keyboards all have the numbers in different orders? apparently something to do with the japanese having invented the calculator... please tell me i am not alone in this!

anyway. as a baby trainee property lawyer with the most horridest boss in london, i was running the purchase of a 50M building under his supervision. completion was moved forward a day and i was running around like the original blue arsed fly, stressed, unhappy, tearful, overworked, underpaid, disillusioned, unsupported. but also enjoying the challenge and feeling good at my job.

you may know that 3pm is the cut-off for bank transfers. our client's mortgagee fucked up the transfer and i only got the funds at 2.30, had to turn them round and back out to the vendor before 3pm. no problem, my instructions went out, done.

at 2.53pm i was idly flicking through the file. and my heart literally stopped and my blood went quite cold as i saw i had transposed two digits on the transferee sort code. it felt exactly as if i had swallowed an ice cube.

now i knew the funds weren't going anywhere. but if they didn't get to where they were going before 3pm, we couldn't complete.

"erm, simon," i said hesitantly. "what would happen if we - er - didn't complete today for any reason?"

simon put down his mont blanc and eyed me beadily. "well, rswipe," he said slowly. "technically nothing as the due date isn't until tomorrow, so there's no loss."

wahey! yahoo! phew!

"but," he went on heavily, "and i am not aiming this at you, because i know it wouldn't be your fault. but take it from me: i would find out whose fault it was, and i would ensure that their life became a. living. hell. the clients have a completion party booked tonight and if i have to ring them and tell them they haven't completed..."

the rest of it was lost on me. i was in the bathroom, heaving. my vision went black and i could see stars.

a couple of minutes later i was downstairs in accounts promising them blood, money, my car, my body, deep throat, champagne, champagne deep throat - anything if they would sort it out. they said they could try but not to hold my breath, it was too late. tears in my eyes for real now, i went back up to face the music.

simon was standing in the door, his arms folded.

"the other side have just called," he said grimly. my knees buckled. and he went on...

"funds have just arrived and i'd like you to make the completion call. well done, you've worked well today."

thank fuck for that. i swear i've never ever been even a millionth that stressed before or since (touch wood). although making the completion phone call wasn't much fun either. ever had to say the sentence "i now release the 50M you are holding to my firm's order"??? believe me, you try every little thing not to make that final decision... can we just check that page again... confirm your undertaking to release the deeds in the DX tonight for the third time... what's the weather like at your end... what colour pants are you wearing, cos mine are brown by now...
(, Fri 26 Oct 2007, 17:02, 14 replies)
Some Insurance Corp That Likes Green In The Logo
23:00 migrating from OS A -- B and doing firmware upgrades on the damn IBM servers i needed to switch it off and on....

Ooops pressed the wrong server power button... there were like 80 or so... and in my headrush from being on the floor with a KB to standing up i pressed the wrong off button...

How the hell was I to know it was the live quoting system...

Too my credit, i only pushed in and didnt let go... so 20 mins later we had created a story about an fizzing PSU lead and need for an emergency shutdown.
Called the OPS people... sure do it... we will manage it through...

Got a bonus for that one... arf..

I even got a free breakfast from the IT director for my actions....

Never insured with em tho.. mostly a bunch of tossers...

(, Fri 26 Oct 2007, 17:01, Reply)
We all make mistakes
I had just qualified as a driving instructor and had my first ever brand new car all gleaming shiny and new.
Two weeks had gone by of teaching lessons and everything was going swimmingly until i had THE pupil from hell. Never taken any lessons before and expected to pass a test after ten hours driving.....impossible these days even if you're good at it!!
She was hopeless and i was having to take my time over the simplest of things like moving the car in the first bloody place.

I'd like to point out at this time that during my training i'd never been taught when to use the dual control brake as my instructor didn't have one and he'd only ever told me to shout stop if necessary.

So, day three of daily lessons and trying to get her to move off from behind a parked car (not too near it but unfortunately not far enough away) she pulls off the clutch too soon....the car goes shooting forward...i shout stop...she hits gas...we go even faster and i recall thinking where's my f____ing brake just as we smash against the car in front. Not happy enough with having hit one car she decides she might make a day off it and now we're heading straight for the cars parked on the other side of the road! With my life flashing in front of my eyes i finally find the brake and stop us from any more needless carnage.

Brand new shiny car i was so proud of off to the garage with thousands of pounds worth of damage to mine and other car.

Needless to say i never forgot where my brake was again or when to use it, i'd have no car left by now otherwise!
(, Fri 26 Oct 2007, 16:41, 1 reply)
i know
legless said something last week, but i was thinking about this the first time some idiot decided to have a pop at him.

now i like reading legless' stories, some of them are a bit shit, some of them a fecking hilarious. and even if they ARE partially made up, who cares, it's still a nice story.

and at the end of the day, people who have a go are just jealous that their life just plain hasnt been as interesting as his.

and the expensive mistake?
well i might lose the respect of complainy bastards!
oh teh noes!
(, Fri 26 Oct 2007, 16:18, 2 replies)
Bad Apple
I lived in this lovely place once. There was just me and my bloke, all of the wonders of nature and it was so private, I just loved to swan about au naturel and there was this big spirit thing looking after us, treating us right and keeping us well fed.

So there I was one day, walking through the fields, and I get to this lovely apple tree, and this voice in my head goes 'go on, take one'. So I do, grab a bite, and give a bit to the old fella too.

And then, what do you know, someone whacks a leaf over my lady bits, kicks me and the old man out of this 'paradise' of some sort and then I get blamed for all the sins of man!

And nothing so much as a warning neither!

Anyway, I got off lightly, better than being flooded, turned into a pillar of salt or being rained on by fire and brimstone. And as for that Lilith lass, well our Adam was better off without her.



*Edited for pedants.
(, Fri 26 Oct 2007, 15:42, 3 replies)
Aparently it costs about 100,000 to raise a child to the age of 18....

HAHAHA stoopid parents

Its my 1st time be gentle with my length
(, Fri 26 Oct 2007, 15:23, Reply)
Another kind of cost....
A friend of mine used to work in the IT portacabin in a large hospital. He was familiarising himself with Norton Ghost, a software package that you can use, among other things, for 'cloning' the contents of one computer's hard disk onto any number of others over a network. Anyway, due to a 'hole' in the software and a touch of inexperience he managed to multicast 10gb of data onto the entire hospital network instead of the PC in the next room. Anyway, this data package replicated itself from computer to computer trying to find a home until one by one the main servers started to overload and collapse, plunging the entire county's healthcare system into complete IT blackout for an entire day. PCs, VT terminals, you name it. Followed shortly afterwards by the internal phone system as the IT helpdesk shot itself under the load of thousands of angry doctors. Beautiful.
(, Fri 26 Oct 2007, 15:08, 1 reply)
Dead dad!
My step-dad has rented a Ferrari for the weekend.

Bang goes the deposit and bang goes dad!

Ah well! he was a nice dad while he lasted.
(, Fri 26 Oct 2007, 14:51, 6 replies)
Not me, but my great-grandfather...
... he used to meet up with his friend for breakfast in vienna.

one morning, the oj was off and he said to his mate: 'someone should do something about the juice, adolf!'

we are still paying for that one.

(, Fri 26 Oct 2007, 14:47, 1 reply)
Probably not actually my fault...
But one of the joys of working on a PC helpline (wouldn't like to say which one....) is being held responsible for other peoples problems (usually caused by not thinking combined with not keeping backup).

My record was being accused of costing the customer his job, costing his former employer around 2 million pounds in fines for missing a deadline and grinding the M25 to a half for the best part of a week.

... all because he lost a word document and hadn't kept a backup.

Not sure if it is actually true, but quite an impressive cockup if it is.

Length? About 30 minutes, but your call is very important to us so please continue to wait...
(, Fri 26 Oct 2007, 14:44, Reply)
Signing up with BT, who, to cut a very long story short:

A) Somehow signed me up with TWO accounts which lead to
B) Very bizzare techinical difficulties and confusing conversations with pretty much all of their tech and billing departments, the latter of which sent me
C) the wrong bill so leaving me with 150 to pay by tomorrow (saturday) or i lose my connection while insisting
D) I should have paid in august, even though at that time the account i am being charged for was not being used due to A. even though i explained that
E) They have removed my service in the last 6 months TWICE becasue i hadn't paid for the mysterios second account which wasn't used, wasn't spotted by any of thier staff (who were damn nice about it but were confused by why they could see i had paid up to date for the account number i was giving them and yet could see that the automated service had ordered me to be cut off) and cost me, at the last recogning 1000 for lost business which

actually i must say i had the shortest and sweetest conversation with a efficiant gentleman who has given me time to pay. Bravo to intelligent credit control type folk!
(, Fri 26 Oct 2007, 14:42, Reply)
Aw bless 'em
My job used to often involve finding code and user errors in financial systems. Millions could easily disappear just because of a simple account code mistake.

But best was looking through a file of reconciliation errors at on of the charities I've worked for, which used a lot of often elderly volunteers in their shops. Each error had to have an explanation put in by the manager of the shop. Some of the entries were terse and clearly the result of someone reaching the end of a tether:

"till short because geriatric volunteer can't tell difference between a 5 note and a 20 note."

"volunteer thinks she forgot how much she was given, so to play safe gave change of 20."

"elderly volunteer can't count."

"alzheimers, I'm sure of it."
(, Fri 26 Oct 2007, 14:24, Reply)
100,000 worthless CD's
I had developed some key skills e-learning for schools when working for Edexcel (back in the days when it was all CD rom), a company some of you might remember who have done A-levels and GCSEs for regularly fucking up exams. i had forgotten to include the cover graphics to the printers after it had gone through all the checks. so I quickly added them, and zipped up the package again and re-sent it. Unfortunately, I forgot to zip the upper level directory which had one UCD file (authorware) that it required to run. Result, 100,000 dud CD's for landfill. Luckily, the board of directors were in open warfare against one another at the time and nobody really investigated my fuck up. It was taken over by Pearson a few months later and most people were laid off anyway.
(, Fri 26 Oct 2007, 14:14, Reply)
I conned
some British purile humour website out of a good, funny story in their QOTW section
by posting this here
a week too late
(, Fri 26 Oct 2007, 14:10, Reply)
in another lifetime, I used to be a geologist in a gold mine
One day I accidently told the digger who takes instructions from me(it was an open pit mine) to start sending the high grade ore to the waste pile, and left him to do it for the next two shifts. The excavation contractors dont care, they get paid the same no matter what it is, and as I also did the reconcilliation (sort of like the gold accountancy) I was able to to fudge the figures to cover it. conservatively, I reckon we lost around 3 million dollars (about 1.2m) of ore plus the contracting costs, but its a drop in the ocean as working gold mines are pretty damn profitable. Thing is, I could easily lose the company around a million dollars a day by sketching a slighlty different shape with my pencil, and as the amount of gold in the mine is what I predict as a geo, nobody would be any the wiser.
(, Fri 26 Oct 2007, 14:00, Reply)
Address Horror
Lost other people some money, actually.

I used to work in IT at a marketing company. My proudest moment - managing to delete an important database link resulting in 8.5million customer records with no contact info.

Thank fcuk for backups!

However, the data capture temps hated me after that: not only did they lose the thousands of records they'd typed between the last backup and the restore...they all got sent home early unpaid as it took a whole afternoon to get the data back.

Dunno how much the company lost in revenue, I think I was hiding under my desk after that.

Sorry, bit geeky, and not all that funny.
(, Fri 26 Oct 2007, 13:27, Reply)
Not that huge a sum, in the grand scheme of things, but when the profit margin on the job is 21,000, it kind of gets you fired.

It was a set of concrete piles being 300mm away from where they should have been, by the way.
(, Fri 26 Oct 2007, 13:15, Reply)
Until now I've been free from the responsibilities of an adult life, no kids and no mortgage.

Half an hour ago just signed the mortgage docs and I'm now thinking, bugger!

Please no kids, not now!
(, Fri 26 Oct 2007, 13:06, 15 replies)

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