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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.

Several grand.
Was working on a weighbridge at a waste disposal site. Due to their really badly maintained database that had multiple entries for waste with the same EWC code, and me being less than apathetic about the job i had a habit of not reading what i was doing. Which meant some people got charged for deep fills that weren't deep filled.

Serves people right for turning up when i was trying to eat my lunch imo.
(, Thu 25 Oct 2007, 13:25, Reply)
Not very shard carp
Holding a Q,7 off suit in online Texas Hold 'em and clicking the 'all-in' tab instead of 'fold' was a costly mistake. 200-odd quid down the pan in one click (someone called it with K,K).
Not very expensive compared to some others on here but that's my most expensive mistake. On a plus side I did invent some new swear words.
(, Thu 25 Oct 2007, 13:12, Reply)
A couple
Managed to make a couple of good ones where I'm currently working.

Every year, we have to go through and throw out any old stock (usually 2 years or older). This year, that totalled around 6 million seperate books. I love this time - it's hard work, but there is a lot of overtime involved, and over the course of two weeks I can almost triple my monthly pay. Unfortunatly, it can be a little too busy and stressful, and you're not always careful what you're throwing in to the bins. Add in to the mix a couple of extra temps who don't really have a clue what they're doing, and you have a recipie ofr long term disaster.

We're still working out the aftermath. So far, I've worked out that we've accidentally thrown away £120,000 worth of stock, which we've had to get quickly reprinted. Most of the stock we get in from outside sources, but where we can, we've been sneakily (and illegally) reprinting the journals ourselves - saves about 70% on buying them in again. I think my personal best was throwing away ~£8,000 of DVD's that had been specially commissioned - £250 each, and I definatly remember loading them on to the truck.
(, Thu 25 Oct 2007, 13:08, Reply)
I was just in Paris, and got charged 8 euro for a small glass of Coca Cola. Expensive lesson learned; always check the price of EVERYTHING you order in a Paris Cafe.

(, Thu 25 Oct 2007, 13:07, 1 reply)
i used to work at the printing factory of the biggest french newspaper. not really qualified for any of the jobs i filled but i lived next door and they found convenient to call me anytime to replace someone that was sick or on vacation.
one night while working at the offset flashing dept. i flashed a page into the wrong edition, there were up to 8 printing machines each inserting different local news pages towards different editions....it took about an hour before the mistake was found and we had to flash and print the whole thing again.

= two hours extra night wages (doubled) for like 200 guys (including me)
said edition being late on delivery, company had to offer a month free on the subscriptions because people didn't get their paper delivered at home in time.

they tried to kick me out but they found out i had worked two shifts that day which is totally illegal...and worker's union stood behind me=)

i apologised saying i felt trully bad for wasting so much paper that was made from trees.
(, Thu 25 Oct 2007, 13:02, Reply)
Buying a house with my ex-fiancee last year
10 months on £4,000 spent on solictor fees and a possible £6-12k out of court settlement. If it does go to court, one of us is going to get proper fucked.
Hey ho, that'll teach me for being cheated on - erm, how's that work?!
(, Thu 25 Oct 2007, 13:01, Reply)
A cinema
I busted the local Odeon once, I was working in the restaurant next door and a mate and me came up with a game consisting of throwing Avocado stones on the roof of the cinema.
A few weeks later the manager comes storming in with a bucket load of the stones, tipping them onto the floor and demanding to know "who broke our air conditioning unit on the roof" shutting down the whole cinema, at least temporarily. It wasn't that big a cinema, only about 12 screens.
(, Thu 25 Oct 2007, 12:38, Reply)
I worked for...
...a cowboy 'learning provider', which is basically a company which makes tons of money from school dropouts by putting them through Government-funded qualifications.

I'm a supply teacher so as looking for a job for the summer and my friend was working for said cowboys. Though he is good at his job, he has no higher qualifications than GCSEs so I had little trouble getting a job with them and negotiating a slightly higher than average initial salary. Especially as the interviews consisted on one brief chat with my mate's manager while he cleaned out a store cupboard, throwing condoms and the like at me and the other which consisted on the area manager never quite metting my eye (he hired on boobie size apparently).

I should've heard alarm bells at this point.

To be fair it was a cushy job. My own centre to run (easy), only a few learners anyway, some of which were actually headed to A'Levels, not a bricklaying course and the fact I just had to show them how to run through Excel and other simple stuff and that was it. I spent a summer on MSN, eating bacon sarnies.

However, the paperwork was a nightmare. It had to be exact (stupidly long codes that change overnight, etc) or it would be rejected. I was told I would get shown how to complete these. Now this was more for the company's sake than mine. Weeks go by, the kids' work is mounting and I'm fobbed off with 'get so-and-so to show you'. So I did. But they didn't know either.

Anyway, the company overstretches itself and lays off staff (suits me as I'm a temp but it was very bad for others).

I saw my mate a while after. Turns out the paperwork was wrong, despite the qualifications being correct. They've paid the kids £50 a week to do them but had no return so are down about ten grand for my centre alone, not to mention the other larger ones. Oops!
(, Thu 25 Oct 2007, 12:37, Reply)
I made a few unauthorised investment mistakes
which ended up causing the collapse of the company I worked for, to the tune of £827 million!


Nick Leeson
(, Thu 25 Oct 2007, 12:37, 2 replies)
Most expensive mistake....
Hmm now that is a tricky one, not sure if it's the most expensive one I've made, but certainly an expensive one....

I was working on site up in Coventry, what a shite hole that was. I was with 4 other members of staff and we were staying in the Coventry Hill Hotel, which basically looks like a massive council block, only not as nice inside.

So anyway, I was seeing a girl at the time and abusing my mobile something stupid, so one night I asked the hotel receptionist what the price would be like to call a mobile, she said that it would be charged at standard rate (whatever the fuck that is), but I didn't enquire futher (for some stupid reason). Instead I rushed off to my room and had a 30 minute ""phone call"" with my girlfriend.

£120 later (30~ minutes), that was the most expensive wank I've ever had!

Edit: It was charged to the company and I had to pay it back :-( Not fair, what happened to perks of the job??
(, Thu 25 Oct 2007, 12:35, Reply)
My dad the pilot...
...once retracted the landing gear of an airplane in mid-taxi instead of checking the flaps as intended. **kahhTHUNK** Cost? $20,000 damage to the plane (in the 1960s mind you, not adjusted for inflation), serious mental damage to the passengers, and main airport runway access blocked for several hours.

Length? 50ft, twin engine.

(and first ever post, yay me! :-)
(, Thu 25 Oct 2007, 12:35, 2 replies)
Possibly less than funny, but it cost me a shit load of money and taught me a valuable lesson...
I had been living in my first owned property for just over a year when I met mr b3th and decided to relocate south from God's own country to Englandshire.

Having just thrown a bunch of money into the flat, I didn't want to lose it, and decided to rent it out while I was down south. No problem, thinks I, some other bugger pays my mortgage and I get a cosy life of free sex in a nice house in a seaside town.

Since I was a long way away from the said property, I left it in the capable hands of an agent - The mayfair Partnership. Avoid like the proverbial if you have any chance - bunch of useless thieving tossers.

Anyway, to cut a long story slightly less long, I decided against the added expense of landlord's insurance, thinking that the agent would ensure only suitably nice people moved in.

The bastards let my tenant skip rent for about four months, during which time she moved in her skanky lowlife boyfriend and turned my flat into a crack house. As it was on the ground floor, they had the added advantage of being able to sell drugs out of one of the bedroom windows.

When I found out, I went home to see the damage and nearly cried - did any of you see Mr Trebus' house on tv? It looked pretty much like that.

The agency washed their hands of the whole affair, refused to put right what the tenant had fucked up, and I was a lot of thousands of pounds to the bad.

I had to throw out every stick of furniture (except the washing machine, which was perfect) and all the carpets etc.

Needless to say, new agency, new tenant ( a polisman with a big scary polis dog) and lots of landlord's insurance.

Expensive lesson learned.
(, Thu 25 Oct 2007, 12:34, 2 replies)
This one time I had a few
and I wrapped my wife around a bollard.
(, Thu 25 Oct 2007, 12:28, Reply)
lost goods
I work in the bleeding edge, hardcore rock and roll industry that is Stationery, and used to have to key in orders for various goods.

I once managed to deliver £2,000 worth of shrink / bubble wrap to a depot that had closed the year before!

When chasing said missing order the supplier produced a valid P.O.D. (Proof of delivery for you that have a life) which means that some cheeky swine on the industrial estate had wandered over to the delivery guy, signed for, and then stolen the goods.

(, Thu 25 Oct 2007, 12:18, Reply)
I've got two kids.
Nuff said.
(, Thu 25 Oct 2007, 12:11, 1 reply)
Bacarrat haha...
I was dealing a baccarat game in New Zealand to some high roller Singapore bookmakers.
I gave them the wrong set of cards, they thought they'd won. They hadn't.

Cheers turned to tears and not wanting to antagonise them, it was decided that the hand should be voided - costing the casino $200,000NZ (about 80,000 sterling).
(, Thu 25 Oct 2007, 12:10, Reply)
The power of a letterhead (wasn't me Guv)
Few years back in sunny Manchester, a nice man decided to order the new really really big & shiny car (make excluded for reasons but the Lord didn't order her one).

Specced up to the nines - folding walnut tables for the rear seat passengers were a good example. Cost of many many thousands of your Earth pounds. OK, about £68k I think.

Now at the time the wait was anything up to 18 months for one of these puppies, as was made clear at the time when he ordered the shiny wang-extender.

Except, he turned up with an 'official' letter from the area manager for the manufacturer (NOT the dealer) stating that for every day delivery was delayed beyond day X (about 3 months), the price would go down by £250. Do the maths, boys and girls. Coincidentally, the person who signed the letter disappeared. But as an employee of sufficient authority, his signature was worth many shiny pennies.

Anyway, not wanting to give this obnoxious git a free car, a mad rush developed and he got the car a few months later. For about £40k.

You'd then think he'd be off into the sunset with a big cheesy shit-eating grin on his face, but no - he turned into the customer from hell - always bringing it back for imaginary faults, or when he wanted a free carwash, or a few free coffees etc etc. Or his kids would ring up demanding replacement instruction manuals/keys/key fobs while pretending to be him. Tossers.

I did however have the distinct pleasure of telling his fat knacker offspring how much I would give 'him' for it as part exchange a year later...

"hhhhhow much??? - my father paid £70k for the car, this is how you treat your best customers, you try to rip them off...."

"I know exactly how much Daddy paid for this car as I SOLD IT TO HIM (you cretin)and I'm not in the business of making you a profit" (YOU SCAMMING LITTLE DADDY IMPERSONATING SCROTE).

Moral of the story? Letterheaded paper is good to have. Letterhead plus a signature? Good as legal tender any day. And always take some with you when you leave a job. You know it makes sense.
(, Thu 25 Oct 2007, 12:03, 4 replies)
Another mainframe one...
Mainframes are used by hundreds of people simultaneously so you get billed per microsecond of processor time that your program uses.

My colleague forget to include the "read next record" statement in his program so it got stuck in a loop using processor time as fast as is physically possible, but never finishing.

There are checks in place to ensure this doesn't happen but he was in a hurry and skipped them, set the program running and went home.

And then did the same thing the next day.

The cost was more than two years' worth of his salary.
(, Thu 25 Oct 2007, 11:56, Reply)
Oil Trading floor crash
Not me, but a "senior" collegue back in the days of 4Mbps Token ring, buggered up the network with a faulty printer and badly configured netmon tool. Took the entire trading floor down for a day.

Far from costing the company money, they were actually up £24m by the time we fixed it.
(, Thu 25 Oct 2007, 11:54, 1 reply)
I'll have a P please, Bob.
I once renamed 20,000 people on our work database "Robert".

If you ever get random mail addressed to Robert *Yourname*, it was me. Sorry.
(, Thu 25 Oct 2007, 11:49, 2 replies)
Not me but a mate who worked for a Junk mail company
Once accidentally cocked up a mailing list and sent 30,000 letters to the same man at the same address. But apparently it was OK because the bloke was German.

Possibly the only time I have ever felt sorry for a posty
(, Thu 25 Oct 2007, 11:48, 3 replies)
Every computer programmer has done this...haven't they?
I'd only been in the job a few months. Working as a mainframe programmer for a large finance company.

Not trying to get too techie, but I wrote a program that called another program. The second program fell over, but the first program continued to call it repeatedly until some kind of spool file filled up and the entire mainframe crashed and the company lost a whole afternoon's business.

Fortunately I wasn't bollocked for it! But IBM were called in, and took my programs away to study as there is no way it should have happened. Christ knows how much the company lost though.
(, Thu 25 Oct 2007, 11:45, 2 replies)
I bought an example Uni essay
For what I thought was 5 cents. It was 5 cents *a page* [edit] (Sorry. 5 dollars.) [/edit] :S
It cost me over 280 quid at the time, and the best of it was, it was absolutely useless.

Also, thinking "I'll take my good camera to the second NiN gig. It was fine at the first one, it'll not get damaged".....
Cue a 300 quid camera getting covered in cider by a twat behind me, the lcd blinking off, and it never working again.
(, Thu 25 Oct 2007, 11:42, 3 replies)
Fitted a couple of dodgy 'O' rings
(, Thu 25 Oct 2007, 11:36, Reply)
Hey everyone, i'm just back from my holiday in California! It was quite a good trip, lots of sun
and great places to visit and stuff, only real downside is now I can't find my lighter...I swear I had it when I went for a walk in the woods. Oh well, maybe I just dropped it somewhere, no worries I can always buy a new one.
(, Thu 25 Oct 2007, 11:34, 3 replies)
This one WAS me
New to the whole "driving" lark. No license, but the garage I worked for (big second hand car chain, rhymes with M-Press), said "no problem". Right says I, hops into a car, reverses it out of a bay just as another mechanic pulls out of one behind me.


Two damaged cars with one swell foop
(, Thu 25 Oct 2007, 11:34, Reply)
Not me, but a Civil Servant
Working for the DTi, I didn't actually make the mistake but caught it.

Purchase order was being paid and got hung up in the system. Instead of being for 80 quid, it was for 80,000,000,000 quid.

Yep, 80 Trillion Quid nearly went out of the Governments bank account to pay a purchase order.

Can't quite imagine the company paying THAT back can you?
(, Thu 25 Oct 2007, 11:31, 8 replies)
I accidentally blew up a BBC OB unit van. Luckily the place I was working's insurance covered me....
(, Thu 25 Oct 2007, 11:30, Reply)

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