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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)
Pages: Latest, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, ... 1

This question is now closed.

A Company... and it's poorly thought through pamphlets.
Well, I work for a (non-english) company that makes food-packaging machines. Every now and then we have a new project that results in a spangly new 20-ton machine that churns out 20,000 packages per hour ... or similar.

A year or so we had the end of a 5 year project that was essentially an environmentally friendly (and cheap to produce) bottle... At one of the world's most advanced and largest food-tech shows, My company wheels out thousands of posters, pamphlets and flyers that proudly declared.....


Nice one. Many MANY people were stood taking photos of the posters... not one Swede could work out why. Ironicly, having presented a machine that ran continuously and faultlessly for the 4 days the sh ow was open, the project was then canceled. We designers were not bitter... Honest.

The latest Logo, designed to get people to work together in harmony is..

"JUST DO IT - Together"

That's Right... Not content with Pilfering Nike's catch-phrase, They manage to turn it into something with sexual connotations that Everyone (Swedish advertising gurus excluded it seems) can see from a mile off.

Excpensive?... not really... but when people actively stand back and laugh at you, it can't be THAT good...
(, Wed 31 Oct 2007, 9:11, Reply)
Everyone loves a story about poo.
I was taken by a new girlfriend to meet her parents at a drinks party they were having.

Picture a pristine 3 bed semi in Bishops Stortford. The parents were also pristine, father with immaculately groomed hair and an Aaran sweater, mother with painted nails and orange skin.

My girlfriend left me with a piece of advice, "Do not, under any circumstances, untidy or mess up the house".
I chatted to the parents, then to some other guests who turned out to be family members, before deciding I needed to answer a call of nature.

I was shown to the upstairs bathroom, (I can only assume they didnt pass solids into the downstairs one), and settled down to release a few overdue chocolate hostages.

My first mistake was not checking to see if there was enough toilet paper.

My second mistake was deciding that the handtowel would suffice to remove the detritus from my barking spider instead.

My third mistake was panicking as to what to do with a handtowel liberally smeared in offensively smelling excretia.

I was faced with the choice of flushing it... well that would've blocked the loo and drawn more attention to my plight, or...

I elected to throw it out of the open window.
Peering out I could see some bushes by the garage and I estimated I could propel it with enough force for it to drop in behind there unnoticed.

I recoiled my arm and launched it out of the window.

Picture the scene, dear reader - you are standing in the garden, enjoying a story being regaled to you by the elegantly turned out hostess, when a handtowel covered in what turns out to be, on closer examination, moist shit, hits her in the side of the head, leaving foul smelling skidmarks on her cheek and expensive dress.

I ran from the house fearing the worst; oddly I never heard from that girlfriend again, even though it was her mother - and not the house- that I had inevitably messed up.
(, Wed 31 Oct 2007, 9:03, 13 replies)
try this for size...
if you don't like the heat, don't play with matches...


can't seem to add pics so boohoo to me.
(, Wed 31 Oct 2007, 8:24, Reply)
my parents told me that wives only had bollards wrapped around them
if they were out of icecream.
(, Wed 31 Oct 2007, 8:09, Reply)
He will never hear the end of it......."every feckin christmas".....
OH! I've got a funny one.....It'll melt Your face.....
When I was just a kid I had an awful habit of leaving bikes, buckets and random items lying around the drive of My House. This of course annoyed the bejeasus out of Me Dad, He had a lot of near misses in His banged out Citreon.....but no real harm done.......until one fine summer's Day: We were returning home from a family outing to see something "educational" involving a large stone and Vikings.....When My Dad Swirved the Car in reverse up the drive and BANG!CRASH! CRUNCH! My Dad turned His scarlet face twords Mine and Roared: "WELL POINTLESSPEASANT I HOPE YOUR HAPPY! I'VE WARNED YOU ENOUGH TIMES ABOUT LEAVING YOUR BIKE THERE!....."
To which I replyed: " Eh....Dad....that aint My Bike....."

The gormless slaphead had just crushed his brand new lawn-mower and wrecked the rear wheel of his Shite-mobile........Oh how We laughed...

Length!......Why its like a one eyed mouse crying
(, Wed 31 Oct 2007, 6:17, 3 replies)
A mate of mine managed an advertising agency in London that created a print media campaign for Total Gas in the 1990's based on a project they had undertaken with the Fire Brigade.

Now apparently, Total Gas's field workers wore large protective head gear and visors somewhat similar to those of the Fire Brigade. Using this as the basis for the ad, my mate (without thinking) conceived of, authorised, and spent several hundred thousand quid of client money putting out full page colour ads showing a fireman's head gear underneath a gas worker's head gear, with the immortal tag line:


Suffice to say, the client was not over the moon.
(, Wed 31 Oct 2007, 3:17, 1 reply)
My most expensive mistake to date.
Well I say mistake I mean blessing, It was a surprize but a brill one.

I'll set the scene , I am in love with a wonderful girl (oh er) , and I wanted to marry her(oh er), so I asked her father before asking her, I have a old fashioned way of thinking. He said "yes but if you hurt her your a dead man", With this still rining in my ears I set off to my sisters house to tell her (big mistake here) , my sister works the beeb and has a rather large mouth (no sick jokes please , shes a loud girl , tells people secrets), she told my mother who in then tuened told half of centeral london , who in then put it as a group on facebook... (you can see where this is going)

So I decided to take my girlfriend on a trip to cambridge, we met there as undergraduates, I took her punting , and we had a lovely meal and by the river where I first kissed her I asked her to marry me. She said yes but she already knew and I had to look on my facebook. It infact turned out that she was going to ask me to marry her, and she was taking me to New york to do it, So I was up a new wife to be and a trip to ny. Wayhey you might think. 2 weeks later she told me she has missed a peroid, she was infact pregnant by 2 weeks, um yes I had go her pregnant on holiday. cost of holiday= nothing

new wife and baby = priceless
mistake of telling my sister = well a amazing blessing.

Not all mistakes are bad thing you know!
(, Wed 31 Oct 2007, 2:36, 1 reply)
About those domain names...
don't forget the Cook Islands car rental company, budget.co.ck...
(, Wed 31 Oct 2007, 0:35, 1 reply)
My own mistake
My own mistake was simple enough. Enough years ago that the memory blurs, I was working in Munich, doing systems administration and some programming for a German aerospace/defence contractor. Deep-cover stuff. The start of the job wasn't the first time I'd signed the UK Official Secrets Act — I've had a rather interesting working life so far — but it was the first time I'd seen the German, French (lots of subsidiaries in France), and Australian (major buyer) equivalents of the same.

Anyway. Five months in. Simple job, reconfigure a unix workstation. Requires a bit of dicking around on the machine and a remote login to the NIS+ (shudder) server to change something on that end. That's the big computer that tells all the other computers where to find each other. Each little computer has a very limited copy of the big computer's tables, and when moving a machine you have to delete the little computer's copy of the tables.

Guess which cocking spackwit didn't check which computer he was working on?

We'd be fine. We had backups. The backup robot, newly installed, didn't know where the server was, because it relied on the server to know what was where. No workstations could log on. People couldn't do work — they couldn't unlock their machines, as the server told their workstations where the login server was. Fucking NIS+.

My boss, a funky Bavarian bloke with mullet and 'tash, gives me two choices. I can either go home and leave him to fix it, in which case I'm not to venture within half a mile of the site ever again, or I'm to do *exactly* as he says to fix things. That was at eleven a.m. Twelve hours later, we'd got 20 machines back up and running because we needed to get the flight simulators up and running for a demo first thing. I followed my boss' instructions and phoned for a pizza.

It was two weeks before all 300 machines worked. The main two military aircraft we were working on were delivered two years late. Which costs a bit more than wrapping a flash car around your bollocks.
(, Tue 30 Oct 2007, 22:31, Reply)
Two things...
'A person who makes no mistakes makes nothing'

'You can't put shit back in a donkey'

When it all goes pear shaped remeber these and you won't find yourself acting like a cunt.

that's all.
(, Tue 30 Oct 2007, 21:41, 4 replies)
Ello, ello, ello.
Back in my youth (straight from high school in fact) I joined the NSW Police Force (as it was known back then) as a Police Cadet. I served a probationary period at Police Headquarters in Sydney where part of my work involved typing up all the details of stolen cars and wanted persons that were regularly broadcast over the police radio; an integral (dare I say critical) part of police operations at the time. This was long before emails, fax machines and the like were ever invented I might add.

Long story short, one really cold winters morning I “re-arranged” the double adapters on the power points behind the front desk where I was working, to include a bar radiator, mistakenly turning off the police radio as I did. Some seven hours later, a senior constable remarked that it must have been too cold that day for the criminals, as he hadn’t heard a radio report all day. Oops. Maybe not an expensive mistake, but it certainly let quite a large number of Sydney criminals off the hook that day. Perhaps it was a good thing for all concerned, that my career path took a decidedly different direction later that year.
(, Tue 30 Oct 2007, 20:20, Reply)
Cheap Condoms
A friend of mine was telling me how she managed to get lucky one night and the lucky chap that got to take her home for a ride did not buy durex brand rubber johnnies, but the other type made by one of the many compaines of Richard Branson. Anyway the condom split and she was left to bring up a child on her own.
(, Tue 30 Oct 2007, 19:59, 2 replies)
Bike parking skills...
Posting this on behalf of a friend who can't post yet, he beith Timy430....

This is the story of how my brand new bike had its life cut short by the evil white transit van:

I had owned this bike for about 15 minutes and was realy pushing it. Speeding down a hill i turned a sharp corner and, in the blink of an eye, found my self parked up the side of a van.

Damage Report:
back wheel buckled
gears stopped working
break pads completley gone

Van was unharmed and i had a lovely round bruise on a majority of my face for about a week. Amazingly i didn't break anything.

Although not very expensive as far as money is concerned, it cost me both my pride and hours of potential enjoyment on my new, now-knackered bike.
(, Tue 30 Oct 2007, 18:58, Reply)
of, off & f'off...
not quite an expensive mistake; tho it would of been if i was as daft as the staffer that served me in a certain west london (mind your..) p n q's whorehouse today.

on wondering round looking at stuff to make some shelfing units (raw wood beams) for a garage; we happened to notice some nice metal units apparently reduced as damaged stock from £35 to £10.. Turned out in classic lazyarse fashion that the price labels where for a different item.. charming.

okay, so they were still damaged stock & a random member of staff was asked to find out what the price would be.. so off he goes and come back saying 10% ..so thats £3.50 ? .."yes". a little suspecting of the rather good bargain we inquire again - 'so all we'll pay is £3.50 ?' ..."yes". ..hmm, so we load up the trolley with another three units and proceed to the tills.

whereupon we end up in a huge (but somewhat polite) argument with the manager, who insisted he'd advised the staffa to -reduce- the item by 10% off ..and not to 10% -of- the price. ..the prick whod told us so, even sided with the managers idea of events. showed the guy up something good infront of the manager & a slew of onlookers... so it was worth the greif in the end.. pricks !

hmm, the last rosey memory i had of visiting one of their stores; involved geting so pissed off with some incompetent bitches inability to tell the difference between hammer & smooth finish paint; that she would of ended up with a new suppository.. if i was anymore of a nut-job..

in the words of jack dee.. 'they need a bloody good decking..'
(, Tue 30 Oct 2007, 18:56, 1 reply)
One night i'd had a bit to drink and...
I accidentally wrapped my bollard around a wife

not a great idea i can tell you
(, Tue 30 Oct 2007, 18:46, 3 replies)
Expensive, but not for me
I was due to go up to the far North of Scotland to see in the New Year, but my car was knackered. I had a bit of dosh, so decided to hire a 4x4 (a rarity way back then). The car hire company didn't have one, so they bought a BRAND NEW Mercedes G-Wagen to rent to me. Luckily I took out all possible insurance add-ons.

So I picked up some mates in Inverness (in a blizzard) and proceeded in an orderly fashion along the single-track roads up to the flat bit at the top, stopping off at a number of god-forsaken little bars and hotels on the way.

I took it easy on the whisky until we got past Lairg (the nearest Police Station to our eventual destination an hour further north), and then went for it. By the time we reached - well, you don't need to know - I was smashed.

Then we had lots more whisky, a few 'smokes', nothing to eat, and then a lot more whisky. At two in the morning of Jan 1st, we decided to go first-footing, something that required a short car-journey.

Cut a long story short: the insurance claim was astronomical.

Repairs to 2 dry stone walls
Compensation for 1 felled tree
Replacement for 1 wooden fence
Repair damage to lawn / garden
1 written off Mercedes G-Wagen

The cops turned up some time on Jan 2nd, and several locals swore blind that all this happened several hours before it actually did.

Car hire company really not happy. I still feel a strange mixture of shame and pride. (The scene is still known as PunchMyFace's Corner).

Length joke: the G-Wagen was a good bit shorter than when I picked it up.
(, Tue 30 Oct 2007, 17:41, 2 replies)
off topic, but
It was a really quiet afternoon in our office until just now, when our head of accounts was heard to bellow


Now it's even quieter... should I be worried?
(, Tue 30 Oct 2007, 16:10, 16 replies)
Back in my youth...
...I used to work for a Ford dealership, my role wasn’t anything special I was simply an admin monkey at everyone’s disposal. Not fun, but I got to drive new cars which I liked, because I didn’t have one.

So, one day I’m asked to walk down to the valeting department to go and fetch a new Focus ST170 for the showroom. Now this was on the same day that we were having new signage applied to the dealership. You might be able to see where this is going….

…I walked from the admin area, down the stairs, across the showroom, though the open showroom door and the to the valeting bay. I hopped in the car, drove it up the ramp and looked for anyone to give me instruction as to where to put it. No one about, I thought “I’ll put in the showroom then”

Urm…not clever.

I reversed, then hit something. The something was the freshly cleaned, awaiting new signage window which had been closed between me getting the car and driving back up. It cracked, slowly, like they do in the movies. Then it simply gave way, showering the car in glass. The back window exploded, the glass showered in, the parcel shelf gave way, the leather of the rear seat was cut to ribbons, the backs of the front seats were just as bad, the roof was scratched to hell, the rear lights and back bumper all destroyed.

The best bit? Well, even though the car was subjected to some £4500 worth of damage I got away with it, scott free. Whoop. They decided the glazers were at fault for not sticking something to the glass, so as to show it was there.

I even got lent a courtesy car over the weekend as a sort of ‘sorry’ as the whole thing ‘must have been quite traumatic’.


Length, Girth...i should say 15ft by 15ft. The Focus wasn't so lucky though.
(, Tue 30 Oct 2007, 15:59, Reply)
Pleasure, but where's the pain?
A good few years back, on the cusp of when Jeccy was ventering to night clubs, a few of us were going out for a few drinks to celebrate a friends engagement. His flat mate (whom I shall call "AL", to protect the innocent) was there too, and we along with a few friends decided to move on into town. Now AL was well known for being a fanny magnet. He was literally amazing at pulling the birds, all of whom would flock to be his woman on day 1, and migrate to the south by day 3 as he tended to quite seriously treat them with no respect whatsoever. This guy looking back at it was very similar to Quagmire from Family Guy. Christ, that's uncanny.

Anyhows, after a short taxi ride we're all piling into a night club and we surely get hammered. I kinda lose track of all the lads (including AL) and bump into a nice young lady, who introduces me to her flat mate. After various bits of frollocking (if there is such a word) I end up back at their place and engage in a very pissed 3-some, like cha-ching :D

The next morning I stumble out with a giant grin on me face. I cop a lift off one to town and bus it over to ALs, smiling like a retarded Cheshire Cat. He's there, but looking very sheepish.
"What's up AL? How'd last night go?" I grin.
"Errrr....you know that nightclub we got hammered in?"
"Oh yes! We is going there again, fucking right we are!" says I, grinning like a mong with an ice-cream.
"No we're not. We are definately not."
"Why, what happened?"
"I.....errrr.....fucked the barman."
"Gerrin there.......what?"

He'd made the expensive mistake of getting uber-pist and blindly testing his sexuality, which he just so slightly regretted the next morning.

Turns out, me the nerd gets the pleasure, and AL got the pain. Right up his arse.

ps this post aint anti-gay, just some decisions like that should be left for the sober to make lol
(, Tue 30 Oct 2007, 14:55, 12 replies)
Expensive domain names mistakes....
not me but ...

1. A site called ‘Who Represents‘ where you can find the name of the agent that represents a celebrity. Their domain name… wait for it… is

2. Experts Exchange, a knowledge base where programmers can exchange advice and views at

3. Looking for a pen? Look no further than Pen Island at

4. Need a therapist? Try Therapist Finder at

5. Then of course, there’s the Italian Power Generator company…

6. And now, we have the Mole Station Native Nursery, based in New South Wales:

7. If you’re looking for computer software, there’s always

8. Welcome to the First Cumming Methodist Church. Their website is

9. Then, of course, there’s these brainless art designers, and their whacky website:

10. Want to holiday in Lake Tahoe? Try their brochure website at
(, Tue 30 Oct 2007, 14:52, 4 replies)
Design work can be fun
I ran a team of designers in the in-house marketing section of a finance house back in the day. In real words, that means we did leaflets and stuff.

As part of a huge rebranding exercise, we redesigned the 'look' for the packages on offer and put together a range of sales support material - window stickers, pens, rulers, all manner of rubbish.

One of my team was a lad who always reckoned he knew better. Young, smelled a bit, and wanted to go far. He took ownership of one section of the materials.

The fnck-ups were many, but came to a head with a batch of stickers to go in showroom windows. They came in to us with a space missing from the company's name.

Umpty thousand had been spent on these stickers, and the artwork had been proofread and double-checked before it went out. The signed proofs did not match the finished product.

To cut a very long story short, this lad had been 'improving' artwork *after* it had been signed off, and before it got to the printers.

Shitloads of products were either unusable or less-than-perfect. Thousands of pounds down the drain and a flagship project becoming a bit of a disappointment all round.

He went on to work for a local authority up North, where I suspect he carried on improving his 'skills'.

Edit to add: Google informs me that he's gone on to do artwork for tapes of speeches by religious nutjobs. We're doomed.
(, Tue 30 Oct 2007, 14:37, Reply)
I'm just learning.
Most of the fuckwits in my office spend their working lives bodging paperwork and records any way possible to reach their desired outcome. (As a junior accountant) this pisses me off to the extreme since I have to do all the paper-chasing. I'm not completely infallible though.....

My desk is usually several inches deep in paperwork of every description. I tried the classic filing trays thing, but my 'pending' file would usually fill a builders skip, never mind a pissy little tray. So it came to pass that a memo requesting payroll to pay a couple of days worth of overtime to someone was 'misplaced'.

Cue payday 3 weeks later, a rather distraught journalist going absolutely ape-shit as he was "really counting on that money". Apparently it was "totally fucking vital" to get him his cash asap.

So there's my expensive mistake. I didn't wipe billions off the market value of the company. I didn't bring down a vital server rendering thousands of employees idle. I didn't even crash a fucking car! I just late-delivered one shitty memo, resulting in a panicky journalist being rendered homeless (apparently it was "fucking vital" because it was to cover his rent) by his inability to raise a couple of hudred quid until next months pay.

It beats me though, how any wanker on a damn good salary (£50k +) can be rendered insolvent over less than £300. Fuck me, I'm on monkey-money and even my credit could easily manage that!

Disciplinary outcome? Nada! I told him to fuck off and wait 'til next month. Nobody besides me ever gives a shit anyway. Perhaps if they paid ME a bit more to run around after these innumerate cnuts, I might be a bit more conscientious.
(, Tue 30 Oct 2007, 13:58, 4 replies)
"...and coming up next, we'll have more obscenities for your listening pleasure"
As a student engineer at a radio station, I inadvertently played (on the air) a recording of myself spewing a torrent of obscenities after fouling up a recorded announcement. This might have resulted in a large fine for the radio station -- had anyone noticed. It probably helped that this happened on a weeknight, during the wee hours.

Length? Only 15 seconds for the announcement, but what seemed like an eternity waiting for the angry phone call(s) that never came.
(, Tue 30 Oct 2007, 13:53, 1 reply)
Labmeth Council
This should probably have gone in the Council Cnuts thread a few weeks back but it's quite recent and hadn't happened then.

To keep it short: I parked my own car (taxed, insured, parking permitted, MOT'd, 100% legal) outside my own house. I didn't notice the small, unclear sign stating that 2 parking bays had been suspended, despite the fact that the bays aren't even defined. I leave my house the next day less than half an hour after the suspension came into force and the car has been towed. Bstards charged me £260 to get it back, with no right of appeal prior to handing over the money, one day before my g/f's birthday (meaning I couldn't afford to take her out) AND I had to take the day off to go and collect the car, admittedly something I only did once I had gone down the parking offices and doorstepped the swines, though without success. Feck, and indeed, -ers.
(, Tue 30 Oct 2007, 13:48, Reply)
Forgot to plug in.............
the alarm! Worked on a fish farm and as you can imagine water is an integral part of keeping fish alive. I has just been promoted and twas the first time I had been left in charge. We moved about 50,000 (c. £15,000) fish from one pond to another and made sure water was coming in and all was looking good.

Came out the next morning, looked, looked again and again ...I am sure there was water in there yesterday. I will never forget the feeling of seeing no fish at first, then one and then........oh f**k!@! A bucket had come down the stream, blocked the pipe, no water coming in, slight leak at outlet and I had forgotten to set the level alarm = fish + no water = DEAD!!

Boss was very good and said "one mistake is an accident, two is negligent. Don't do it again", can't say fairer than that.

Apologies for.......killing the fish
(, Tue 30 Oct 2007, 12:27, 1 reply)
House sale
Pretty boring these ones...

1) Got my first loan for my first car (a Lancia HPE) - £1000 if I remember rightly, but in 1982 that was enough to buy Kent. Took it out that weekend and stoved it into the front of a wanker parked on the other side of a hump-backed bridge. 3rd party insurance, paying for loan for two years with no car to show for it.

2) Got into debt with my flat down in Brighton and decided to sell. Had some buyers, all going well then had to take a week away for work. Came back to find my solicitor had refused a request by the buyers for me to spend £20 fixing a loose guttering bracket and they'd dropped out of the sale. Couldn't find another buyer, defaulted on mortgage. Went looking for solicitor with baseball bat...

(, Tue 30 Oct 2007, 11:57, Reply)
Another "Not Me but a colleague"
Because I never make any mistakes.

I was working in a Toyota dealership, performing a full service on a Supra Turbo. Car up on ramp as I replace the brakes.

Cue the Parts dept. deputy who thinks he's a mechanic. He takes a mighty prod at a rust patch on the front wing, and puts his finger through the hole.

Cue new wing, paint job all on the company expense form.

Story 2

Our valeter decided to have a week off. The owner decided to hire two temps to fill in for him. At the same time, the Jag XJ12 that had been sitting on the forecourt is bought. The valeters clean it, polish it and make it all lovely.

Then one of them reverses it, at speed, into the gatepost. Bye bye bumper, bye bye rear panel, bye bye boot. Hello expensive repairs. IIRC the bumper (chromed) alone was about 700 quid
(, Tue 30 Oct 2007, 11:53, Reply)

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