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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.

Practical Jokery
Whilst at 6th form college, a few of my colleagues and I decided it would be hilarious to run up behind a hapless colleague pull down his shell suit trousers, and attract the attentions of person or persons unknown ahead of him before diving off into cover to watch the situation unfold.

We crept up behind him in the street outside the college, pulled his trousers down and shouted "Oi, look at this" before diving headlong into the neighbouring bushes.

Only there were a couple of complications.

1. He wasnt wearing any underpants (well how were we to know?)
2. He was sporting a raging boner which,
3. The ladies standing at the bus stop all now had pointing at them, gently bouncing up and down in time with his pulse.

They mistook him for a flasher (I suppose in part he was, albeit an unwitting or unwilling one), and the police were summoned.

That put an end to his chosen career as an infant school teacher.
(, Mon 29 Oct 2007, 11:40, 2 replies)
The backup server
I was working for a Car Rental firm in Australia that rhymes with "Nifty".

The computer systems were a mess and I'd come in as a consultant. The backup server stopped working and was duly dismantled so disks etc all removed, it was Friday, we reached quitting time and announced "We'll finish the job on Monday".

Over the weekend there was a major power cut and when it came back up several servers (that had been long negected) threw the toys out of the pram and hard disks were lost.

Of course with the backup server dead too lots of databases and programs were lost permanently. Including the one that matched all the speeding ticket/parking fines back to the customers.

SO we were facing about a months worth of speeding and parking fines for the whole countries worth of rental cars with no way to charge the right customers. Bugger.

Never "leave it till Monday".
(, Mon 29 Oct 2007, 11:02, 1 reply)
Picking the cheapest is expensive
About three years ago, the wife wanted a new bathroom fitted. So I did the sensible thing and got three quotes.

One of the quotes came in at half the next lowest quote.

I get the bloke who gave the cheapest quote in to do the bathroom, without stopping to wonder why his quote was so cheap.

It's now going to cost me about double the highest quote to sort out the damage that the bodging ginger twat did.
(, Mon 29 Oct 2007, 10:56, 1 reply)
Ticket To Ride...
When I was young sprog I heard about one pisshead in Newcastle who made a pretty expensive mistake.

He got drunk, didn't have enough cash for a taxi home so pinched a double-decker bus. Obviously he got caught and nicked and the sentence he got was a bit savage. 2 years.

"2 years for pinching a bus" I can hear you all think. "That's a bit harsh."

Well it wasn't the fact that he nicked the bus that pissed off the authorities. It was the fact that the cheeky bastard was stopping at bus stops and picking up passengers - and charging them....

(, Mon 29 Oct 2007, 10:19, 2 replies)
decided to drive in ice when warned not to
wrote of my skyline :(
(, Mon 29 Oct 2007, 10:10, 2 replies)
I bought a Peugeot.
(, Mon 29 Oct 2007, 10:10, 5 replies)
World of Warcraft
Time is money, they say; this cost me both.

And it's shit.
(, Mon 29 Oct 2007, 10:00, 1 reply)
I was in Cambridge one day...
... and I had an urgent pressure in my abdomen. I thought I needed to break wind.

But I was wrong and, on relaxing my sphincter and applying some coersive pressure to the payload, got more than I bargained for and filled my undercrackers with warm caramel angel delight.

It was an expensive mistake, compounded by the fact that I was in a job interview at the time.

Needless to say I didnt get the role. Well, you wouldn't offer a job to a pale, sweaty man, who smelt violently like a 2 year old's nappy either would you?
(, Mon 29 Oct 2007, 8:52, 1 reply)
A very nice woman called
And asked if she could borrow half a million pounds.

This is not as uncommon as it sounds. So, I lent her half a million pounds (secured on a property worth 2.2 million, first charge, clean title, due diligence up the yin-yang).

6 months later, there I am in the high court, with the owner of the property, the woman (formerly his solicitor and a dab hand at his signature) and a *formerly* close associate... all of us quite keen to get his money back.

Oh, and the nice woman's son and daughter, who's law firm's legal indemnity fund (and professional reputation) she'd just scalped for half a bar.

My mistake? it never occurred to me that anyone could be quite so stupid as to think that no-one would notice them walking away with half a million quid in cash. Lost me a 75 grand fee, too...

500,000 pounds is a lot of money when you're looking at it sat in the witness stand.
(, Mon 29 Oct 2007, 8:26, Reply)
Cheyenne Software
Okay so, technically, this might not be 100% on topic, but its closer than some:

I was managing money for several clients and put them ALL into a company called Cheyenne Software. The rumor 'on the street' was that they were about to be bought by Computer Associates. Okay. So I sold a TON of the stock. And NOONE else in the firm was buying.

And then, one day, one of the traders in my office comes out of the trading offince and says "Citadel. You were fu@*ing RIGHT!" The stock tripled in about 2 hours.

I made a TON of cash on commissions for the sale of the existing stock I had for most of my clients. The 'mistake'? I was so concerned about selling it to clients I NEVER bought any for myself.

Still, I made a packet: $38k in one day?

Would have been over $50k if Id bought the stock myself....D'oh!
(, Mon 29 Oct 2007, 3:27, Reply)
TV and Music Industry, London
Realised too late that everyone who works in these industries is a complete cnut and you can't help but add to the stream of bile that constantly pervades our lives.

That's 5 years, 15k of debt, a damaged septum and an STD.

(, Mon 29 Oct 2007, 3:03, 1 reply)
Deal or no Deal mistake worth £13k
Trying to be big bollocks I gambled on an £18,000 Box on turkey chin Edmonds' rather boring game show 'Deal or no Deal' to receive a sofa in return.
(, Mon 29 Oct 2007, 1:46, Reply)
After 36 months of riding shitty motorcycles... (2 years on a CG125, and a year on a knackered GS500) I thought I'd splash a bit of cash and treat myself to something nice...

Spent ages reading reviews on the internet, talking to dealerships, sitting on a few mates bikes, when I decided on the model I wanted then took 4 weeks to trawl through adverts for the model I wanted in the best condition, and found a mint one in Maidstone for 3 grand...

I phone the guy, and he seemed genuine, HPI came up clear, so I decided I'd make the merry trip from Liverpool to pick the bike up (300 miles)
Got up at 5am to get the bus to London, and then Maidstone, picking the bike up went without a hitch, the bloke was really nice and rode the bike back 300 miles the same day...

Next week, decided to tighten the chain, forgot to wipe sand off boot, foot slipped off centrestand as I was pushing it upright, which basically meant I threw a 260KG bike against a wall.

£900 to return to it's previous condition, and I wasted god knows how many hours of my time, and refused about 3 other bikes because I was 'looking for something mint'

The most embarassing part of all was, as it fell and scraped down the wall, I couldnt get on the saddle side of it to pick it up, so I managed to put my back out straining to pick it up, and took 45 minutes with the bike lying on its side in order to summon up the courage to ask the builders next door to give me a hand :(

Not for the sqeamish:

(, Mon 29 Oct 2007, 0:34, 2 replies)
Fast Food
It's expensive, unhealthy, promotes corporate mass-production of food and detrimental to the environment. Yet somehow so many of us are drawn to its readily available aura. The mind boggles, it really does.
(, Sun 28 Oct 2007, 23:55, 5 replies)
Not me but...
...my brother from the same mother played Wii bowling last weekend at a friends house after a good night out...without the wrist strap on.

Cost? One £1700 plasma screen (or £100 on the insurance excess? Hmmm).
(, Sun 28 Oct 2007, 23:54, Reply)
not my mistake, random ebay persons mistake
yesterday i aided my sister in selling a concert ticket on ebay by driving up the price of the auction to 3 times what she paid for the ticket
(, Sun 28 Oct 2007, 23:46, 2 replies)
Told my partner i was a transsexual
(, Sun 28 Oct 2007, 23:32, Reply)
Nice house
There was a nice house on the market in Hertford; suited my needs, affordable on my salary.
So I phoned the agents (known to many as Bastards and Thieves)and asked to view. They kept changing viewing dates and otherwise putting me off. I lost interest.
The house was sold for about £45k (it was very small). Two months later it was back on the market for £60k.
Call me suspicious, but I wouldn't be surprised if an employee of Bastards and Thieves (whose office is just a stone's throw from said property) undervalued the house, got a mate to buy it....
Two months; £15k profit? That could have been mine if I wasn't so lazy.
(, Sun 28 Oct 2007, 22:47, 1 reply)



Edit: Just remembered. A runner-up, almost expensive mistake:

Picture me, several years younger and dumber, on the phone with a smooth-talking sales rep for somethingorother. I can't remember most of the conversation, but I desperately wanted to get back to the tv, and was hoping that playing along would get the whole business settled a lot faster.

To make a long story short, I signed up for something, got off the phone and figured that was the end of it. A few days later, I get a bill in the mail for what would have eventually amounted to about 2,000$ for a single magazine subscription, had I not immediately phoned them back in a cold sweat and demanded that the service be cancelled. Still ended up having to pay some fee, but it could have been a lot worse.
(, Sun 28 Oct 2007, 21:17, Reply)
Packet of condoms? No thanks ill take a Risk......
Need I say more :P
(, Sun 28 Oct 2007, 20:53, Reply)
expensive to me at the time
my ex and i had been split up for 2 years, but had remained close friends. so close, in fact, that he still came on family holidays with me and the folks.
last year, he wanted to go with us, but couldn't afford it. as i had a bit of spare cash and he(finally) had a steady job, i agreed to lend him £260.
you can see where this is going, can't you?
the holiday went well, getting my money back proved more difficult.
he moved house without telling me, changed his phone number, transferred to a different branch, the lot. i managed to get some money back due to running into him at my local shopping centre and threatening to kill him if he didn't pay up. he was with his new girlfriend, too, so i took great pleasure in telling her he was an untrustworthy twunt. i also informed her that he'd picked up genital warts after we'd broken up. seems she caught them from him, but he'd blamed her for it.
he still owes me £120, but at least i had the pleasure of seeing his new love punch him right in the gut in the middle of Tesco's before dumping him on the spot :)
(, Sun 28 Oct 2007, 19:29, Reply)
Bought new computer processor fan
Switched on computer for a few seconds without clamping new fan and heat-sink down properly.

Instant toasted AMD Athlon. Dead, with a nice scorch mark on the warranty label underneath as a bonus.

A hundred quid, GONE. Just like that.

Okay, not as bad as the eleventy billion pound losses some have described, but THIS WAS MY OWN MONEY. :-(
(, Sun 28 Oct 2007, 19:07, 4 replies)
Not the most expensive mistake, but ...
€4.50 for a coffee in Venice. 90 cents at home.


(, Sun 28 Oct 2007, 18:59, Reply)
My most expensive mistake was the bandwith spent on viewing the incredibly short amount of answers for this weeks question

(, Sun 28 Oct 2007, 18:40, Reply)
TV company high jinks.
Back in the heady days of 1999, a certain media company (whose name is synonymous with British, and broadcasting), were having problems with their access control systems, so that a lot of people could not get into a certain office block in Shepherds Bush (which may be called White City, I could not possibly comment.) Anyhow, track it down to faulty Master and Slave control PCs for the access system, so arrange for 2 brand new top of the range Compaqs to be delivered. Spent the best part of a week transferring databases, software, and users, and checking all the access points work- after all, you don't want to piss off Anne Robinson, do you? Finally finished late hours friday night/ saturday morning, and after a few beers, wend my merry way home ( south coast), and got lift off off colleague.
Cue sunday morning, major panic- all the doors are unlocked, plus side gates, and anyone can get in the car park, Boss screaming "what the hell have you been doing with the system, we will be in so much shit" etc, etc. So I hotfoot it back up there, via Taxi (car is in London already, and this is a rush), and on arrival, call Tech Support head honcho, who is not best happy, he gets on a plane from Manchester to London, and is picked up via Taxi as well.
Check everything, and the head honcho looks at the history of whats been going on, and declares theres a virus on the system. Impossible, its not on the network, theres no modem, they are just peer-to-peer. Nope, theres signs here of it, he declares. So we check in the security guards room, where the slave is, and there we find it in history: Cunt.jpg, Fuck.jpg, etc etc. They had been viewing porn on cds, and had managed to transfer a virus into the system. It cost a couple of grand in our labour (we strung it out!), and about 4 of the guards their jobs.
Sorry about length, and I wish I had Legless' gift for storytelling!
(, Sun 28 Oct 2007, 18:19, 2 replies)
Grounded a Helicopter
When I was a young Aircraft technician Class 2 (b class in civvy street me thinks). I was out doing a ground run with a Class 1 supervisor and a greenie scum bag. Anyhoo I'm taking some air out the fuel control unit (FCU) for the hechamalopter whilst the Class 1 does some other bits and bobs. Anyhoo he decides that he doesn't want to use his own screw driver and would much rather have mine. So comes over, takes the screwdriver out of my hand and starts screwing the FCU, then walks off to where ever he's off to.
Cue me looking at the FCU pissing aircraft fuel fucking everywhere next to a Jet engine that is running. "ooh" thinks I "this might be a good time to get the pilot to shut down"
Anyway turns out the Class 1 had tried to screw the FCU all the way open instead of closed, he not only nearly burned us to death in a horrible fire explosion but also sheared the control screw for the FCU and it required an entire new FCU to be fitted. I over heard him trying to blame it on me to an Artificer (head honchos) to which I quite rightfully told him to "stop talking out of your arse you fuck up". Anyway that aircraft was grounded and he decided that He didn't need my help to replace the FCU and went about it on his own rather red faced.
Anyway that cost a bit of tax payers money in man hours and replacement parts just because my screwdriver was shiny.
(, Sun 28 Oct 2007, 18:02, Reply)
Not looking where I was going...
Pulled out in front of a thoroughly nice asian chap who didn't have a hope in hell of avoiding me. Had to fix both cars but, since I'm a friend of a local geezer, I got it done for about £500.

While the car was in for repair I had to buy a replacement to get to work. £2500.

Got the repaired car back but could never quite trust it after that. Bought Mrs. Dickus a replacement. £5000.

So all in all my debts are about £8k higher than they should be (and that's before I bought the personalised number plate!) because I didn't look where I was going. Bugger.
(, Sun 28 Oct 2007, 17:57, Reply)
Apprentices eh!
Many many moons ago I worked for a large British company that wil be nameless (but it rhymes with polls-poyce).
I was on rotation during my apprenticeship to a little backwater where we made the free power end of the gas turbine power generation thingies (still awake?)
Well! One day we had a delivery of stator blades, quite big and heavy, precisely machined HUGELY expensive bits of high-tech alloy that we'd been waiting for.
We loaded them by hand (to prevent damage)from the lorry on a wooden (also to prevent damage)hand-drawn truck type thing to be hauled into the workshop area. It came to pass that there was a slight slope from the loading area to the workshop so the bold Captain decided to ride the wooden truck type thing instead of pulling or pushing it. The cornering of the wooden truck type thing was proved to be "not good". Not good at all as ALL of the blades fell off in a heap!
Each blade? £2,400.00 (in 1977!!)
Rework of each blade to serviceable condition? Approx £1,800.00
Penalty clauses from the customer for contract overrun due to aforementioned rework? £20,000.00/day.
All in all the bill was close to £850,000.00!
My punishment? Jack shit as they shouldn't have had apprentices even HANDLING these blades unsupervised.
It was gratifying to hear the bollocking my supervisor got, and even more gratifying to recieve the written apology he (a 56 yr old PhD) had to give to me (a 17 year old arrogant snot).
Happy days.
(, Sun 28 Oct 2007, 15:46, 3 replies)
I have made so many mistakes.
All of them expensive.
(, Sun 28 Oct 2007, 11:36, 6 replies)

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