: Funny but expensive business/workplace screwups.



Hoosier Daddy
07-19-13, 01:29 AM
What are the most hilarious screw-ups you ever saw at work. It should involve financial damages. The Detroit bankruptcy made me remember the funniest thing a friend of mine ever saw (I'll include it later).

A long time ago in a Galaxy far far away. I had purchased an IBM 3081D mainframe for the company. 3081s were water cooled but required either a water to water or water to air heat exchanger. The company's previous mainframes had been strictly air cooled. The 3081 had a water to air exchanger in the same room. As you would imagine the room ACs that had to cool a mainframe had the capacity to cool an empty room to near freezing. The larger of the three AC units apparently had a defective thermostat and caused the unit to run continuously. Nobody ever noticed before because by itself it couldn't handle the heat from a mainframe and should have run continuously. It wasn't long after the old mainframe was powered down that the room started to freeze over. The installers, turned the AC with a bad thermostat off but forgot to turn it back on when they were done. The new mainframe was powered up and all diagnostics were good so the Operations staff took over and started production work. That was in the wee hours. The Operations manager arrived the next morning to find a myriad of alarms sounding and the entire operations staff stripped down to their underwear and sweating profusely. They had been continuously resetting the mainframe overheating alarms and it was pretty well fried. When asked why they didn't shut the mainframe down and call AC maintenance, they said they would have except they had been told the new mainframe was water cooled so they didn't think 125+ degree air temperature would hurt it and they would just tough it out until management arrived the next day.

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This is the story that was the inspiration for the thread.

A friend of mine was working in Detroit at the time of some riots. The National Guard declared a curfew and were enforcing it with M16s, so a bunch of people were going to be stuck at work for the whole night after their shift ended. Right before the curfew, my friend and some coworkers hit a restaurant to get some food for later. I guess they weren't the only ones with that plan because the the restaurant was pretty much cleaned out. But they were able to buy a lot of frozen strawberry pies and cases of whipped cream, enough for 35+ people.

They realized the pies and whipped cream would not thaw out in time on their own so they stuck them inside mainframe computers. Unfortunately they misjudged how fast they would thaw and were too soon startled by the explosion of whipped cream cans. The mainframe cabinets were sheet metal with air circulating louvers. The shrapnel did serious damage to the computer as did the whipped cream which was now gushing out of the louvers like soap suds from Lucy's washing machine.

dou1t2
07-19-13, 02:56 AM
I run crews that reset stores. You ever go into the grocery store and coffee was on aisle 5 and now it's on aisle 3,7,11 or whatever? I travel where ever I'm needed, 12 states this year alone from LA,Ca to Anchorage,AK tto Fargo.ND. well anyway I was sent to Utah, and I was NOT in charge on this job. One of the things we check when moving mdse. is whether it's expired, as in most perishable food items have a sell by date on them. Stores are supposed to rotate their stock so that they are selling the oldest first, this seldom happens. So back to the reason for this relating to the OP's original posting. I'm working with another person and they see a bunch of Pennzoil bottles with an old date. This gal who was in charge conferred with another gal and said it's out of date, take it out back and toss it in the dumpster. I'm like calling BS on this, as I beleive motor oil doesn't go bad. The stuff they want me to toss I leave in the backroom for the night. I research it on the internet, and find that motor oil has a production date on it. I also find a couple of sites that say it isn't the oil that gets old, but the additives in breakdown over time, so it's best to buy fresh oil. I take this info into to these gals. I had printed a few pages explaining it. They were to busy to read it, and said just get rid of it. I and another employee tossed easily 20+ cases of oil in the dumpster! A few days later a new order of oil came in and it was out of date proving my theory. The younger gal who was in charge told me to toss it too! I went to the okder gal who was her boss and re=explained my point. She finally got it! and asked me to not say another word! I didn't! I just wrote it!..................

Hoosier Daddy
07-19-13, 03:02 AM
I just remembered another. And if you enjoy "why are some things done a particular way?" you will get a kick.

The company was building a new 12 story building and parking garage. They were to be the only structures on a whole city block. Thru the planning and construction, I kept asking why all the plans had North at the bottom of the drawings instead of the top. At one point the Architect got pretty upset in a meeting and said he didn't like amateurs questioning his company's work.

At some point, the city was brought in to assess traffic impacts. but I wasn't involved with that. They determined that the road the parking garage entrance and exit was on would need to be widened by one lane. Do I even have to finish the story? Yep, they widened the wrong street at the cost of over a million dollars to the taxpayers because they assumed North was at the top of all the drawings. Even if only a few people involved with the building knew a street was to be widened, I never understood how not a one of them ever raised a flag. Did they assume the street work was an unrelated project? I was never privy to any inquitision. It was never mentioned in any news article or report. There was never a budget overrun because they never did widen the street that was supposed to be.

Aron9000
07-19-13, 03:43 AM
Working valet I've seen some pretty good screw ups. Cars not being park is a good one, had one guy(valet) who got his leg crushed between two bumpers because some old codger forgot to put his van in park and it rolled forward.

Another good one was the valet driving a box van into the garage, hit the sprinkler pipe, causing the garage to flood. It was really cold so the whole bottom level became an ice skating rink. The best part was when you depressurize a sprinkler system, it thinks there is a fire, so the fire alarm for the whole hotel went off at 11:00pm, people evacuated the building, fire department showed up.

Similar story, had a bacholorette party staying in a room. The dingbats decide to hang the pinata from the sprinkler. Similar scenereo, baseball bat to sprinkler head, fire alarm went off, hotel evacuated, water everywhere. The cool thing was this was an open atrium hotel, so the water was spilling off the 10th floor balcony like a waterfall into the breakfast area below.

Also had Shaun White staying at my hotel when he was arrested. ******* pulled the fire alarm at 2:30am, entire building evacuated. Best part is he tried picking a fight with another guest, some big huge dude. Got his ass whooped, if you look at his mug shot he has a huge shiner.

Tool was staying with us one year for Bonaroo. Not really a screwup, but every night security had to tell Manyard and his girlfriend to shut up, apparently their noisy, angry sex was keeping up the whole floor.

Hoosier Daddy
07-19-13, 09:35 AM
Working valet I've seen some pretty good screw ups.
LoL at all but the crushed leg.

vincentm
07-19-13, 10:42 AM
Failure to backup Active directory on the domain controller before upgrading Windows Server 2003, not caused by me

Hoosier Daddy
07-19-13, 10:52 AM
Failure to backup Active directory on the domain controller before upgrading Windows Server 2003, not caused by me
Why didn't they just ask the NSA for a copy?

Never mind. They probably didn't know they could back then.

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I don't know if its true; I had my doubts. But when I was in the Air Force in the '60s a Colonel swore he requisitioned some office supplies years before but entered some item number wrong and received a B17 wing instead.

Ranger
07-19-13, 11:47 AM
I plead the 5th. :canttalk:

Hoosier Daddy
07-19-13, 12:29 PM
I plead the 5th. :canttalk:
Heh heh. When does the statute of limitations run out?

And if by chance this is being opened up to willful acts of sabotage...

When I was starting out, there was an Administrator who was universally hated by every employee in his division. He constantly lied, cheated and stealed.

Due to growth, his whole division was to move to a floor that had enough contiguous space. Not having any useful skills or purpose, he decided to lay out the floor plans himself. This was before PCs and he used a huge paper grid. He had paper cutouts made of every piece of furniture and equipment. He would move them around on the paper grid and then draw in where he wanted the walls to go. Unfortunately for him, I had taken those cutouts and downsized them by snipping the edges. I blame it on too many Bugs Bunny cartoons in my youth. Moving day came and the actual equipment and furniture wouldn't fit in many of the rooms. It was for naught because they still didn't fire him. I did manage to finally get him canned years later when I ran my own division. Nothing underhanded that time, I just fed him enough rope for him to hang himself.

dkozloski
07-19-13, 12:37 PM
Back In the dark ages when I was an Ops Controller at a satellite tracking station, we came to work to find that the weekend shift had failed to record the data from one stationary spacecraft that we monitored 24/7 through misconfigured tape recorders. For data loss due to operator error the contractor paid a $4000/min penalty. A couple of us conspired to reconstruct the missing data by dubbing the data from a couple of days before, onto new tapes. This involved resetting the time on the time standard and a whole host of other gimmicks to pull off but we did it and got away with it. We figured we saved the company about $12,000,000.

Hoosier Daddy
07-19-13, 12:42 PM
Back In the dark ages when I was an Ops Controller at a satellite tracking station, we came to work to find that the weekend shift had failed to record the data from one stationary spacecraft that we monitored 24/7 through misconfigured tape recorders. For data loss due to operator error the contractor paid a $4000/min penalty. A couple of us conspired to reconstruct the missing data by dubbing the data from a couple of days before, onto new tapes. This involved resetting the time on the time standard and a whole host of other gimmicks to pull off but we did it and got away with it. We figured we saved the company about $12,000,000.
How long did it take you to spend the standard 10% appreciation bonus?

The-Dullahan
07-19-13, 01:38 PM
Had this 36 year old kid trip some breakers intentionally back when I was working at the super market managing stock orders or receiving/unloading it.

He cost his department ten-thousand dollars. Anyone else would have been canned and had their stock seized. He received no discipline. As the assistant store manager explained every tinea he messed up.

"He...has a 'card' that he can play."

Lifestyle choices should not issue a six year employee the right to intentionally cost his coworkers their bonus pay (about 500 each) because he does not like them.

dkozloski
07-19-13, 04:17 PM
How long did it take you to spend the standard 10% appreciation bonus?I didn't get anything for this episode but for another I got the biggest beni sug bonus ever awarded by the company.

orconn
07-19-13, 04:38 PM
Between my senior year in high school and my freshman year in college I worked the Summer in the production control office of the Minuteman Missile Project. Today they would call me a Summer intern, but in those It was just a Summer job given to the children of employees (I spent two Summers working for different divisions of RCA).

One of the function of the production control office was to order parts for the assembly lines putting together the equipment that would guide and communicate with the Minuteman missiles during and after launch. I started out as runner carrying blueprints to the reproduction section for shipping out along with orders for various parts. by the end of the Summer I was actually writing up orders. Now I don't know whether it was one of my orders, but an order was put for a component transformer to go in one of the assemblies that guided the missile. This thing would have been very small and light weight.

When I was home on Spring break, my Dad (who was the Chief Engineer on RCA's portion of the Minuteman Project) was telling me that some fool in the production control office had misplace a number on an order for transformer and that the part had just been delivered .... in a special transformer train car and was sitting on the railway siding down at the plant. I don't know if it was my mistake or not, but I never told my dad that I might have had something to do with it!

The Minuteman Project was a CPFF (cost plus fixed fee) federal contract and was so abused that the company only benefitted by the mistake, but of course the tax payer took it in the shorts, which is why today very few CPFF contracts are let by the Feds.

rodnok01
07-19-13, 04:52 PM
The unit I was working with threw all the hard drives for 1/2 the division into back of Hummer and when bouncing down the road for a couple hours. I guess cardboard boxes aren't good insulators because only 1 out of 10 worked after that, OT for 3 of us was 5k plus 200k for the drives easy.
Same fellas moved the computers in the rain uncovered another 200k in monitors and servers destroyed.
Mine was leaving the wrong cabinet unlocked and an idiot I worked with used my backup drives for something(all 6 of them) and the system died next day, I had to stay for 2 days(my time) using tapes to restore. My mistake for not booby trapping the damn things. Never did hear the end of that one, many people were mad.

Kingoftypos
07-19-13, 05:23 PM
I don't know if its true; I had my doubts. But when I was in the Air Force in the '60s a Colonel swore he requisitioned some office supplies years before but entered some item number wrong and received a B17 wing instead.

I don't know if this was true either. But it happened on an Army base out on Long Island. From what I understand the military uses the same numbers through out parts of something. Such as a VIN, but add a letter for a specific part or what not. Anyways, when this high ranking official got canned for whatever reason. He was able to order 5 brand new tanks just before he left. So months later here they come rolling down the driveway.

KOT

orconn
07-19-13, 07:54 PM
This didn't happen to me, but it happened to my dad. After retiring from RCA in the early 1960's my dad went back to his real love research and development. Dad was a very highly respected electrical engineer whose specialty was high powered communications transmitters. In the late fifties and early sixties he had been a "Presidential Advisor" for submarine communications and project manager of several highly classified government communications projects. So now retired he went to work for a small electronics firm to develop the first high power transmitter utilizing only transistors and with no tubes.

He and his team were highly successful in accomplishing this project and within a year and a half they had an operational prototype ready to show the navy's Bureau of Ships (I think that was correct body, but correct me if I am wrong). These tests were to take place in New Jersey and my dad contracted with a company on the East Coast to build a small building to hose the transmitter that was to be demonstrated. All was ready and the responsible brass who would be OKaying the further development and purchase of these transmitters were there. My dad's crew started powering up this new transmitter when the building started to smoke and then burst into flames. The building burned to the ground taking the prototype transmitter with it. Although the plans and contract for the building had specifically said that construction of the building was to be done using wood pegs only and that no metal nails could used in its' construction, this had been ignored by the contractors people and they had used steel nails to put the hut together.

Fortunately, the R & D team had built a couple of prototypes and a successful test was conducted at a later point in time. These transmitter turned out to be highly successful and were used for communications on the Navy's vessels for next few decades.

When I was a young intelligence analyst stationed around the world I and my colleagues used equipment developed by teams led by my dad to communicate worldwide with American military and civilian entities. It was interesting to come to realize what all the secrecy and security clearances and badges were about when I was growing up in the fifties and early sixties. In Vietnam I used the transmitters and encrypting my dad's work had built to transmit and receive encrypted messages to military units so they could engage and destroy the enemy. My dad died in 1964 at the age 57, I was 21 at the time, so it was nice to experience first hand as a "Cold Warrior" what was the my father's, and the men who worked with him, legacy to the security of our nation!

dkozloski
07-19-13, 10:11 PM
Onboard the USS Goldsborough I ordered a case of spray cans of a product called 3-36 used for removing and preventing corrosion on SAM missiles and electrical equipment. The unit of issue was changed somewhere along the line and we had a dozen 55gal.drums of the stuff delivered. We kept one and sent the rest back. Sometime later, we had an ammunition handling room flooded with salt water in a storm. We rinsed out some electric motors with fresh water and cut the top out of the drum of 3-36. We dunked the motors in the 3-36 far a 1/2 hour or so and then let them hang and drip for the rest of the day. We checked insulation resistance with a megger and it was good. We put the motors back on line and they worked fine. Alls well that ends well.

CTSV_Rob
07-19-13, 10:45 PM
One of the guys in Charge had a quartz boat full of 200mm Silicon wafers, 25 montiors and 100 product wafers (semiconductor fab). He had the quartz boat in a pass through within the system and then told it to go up. Back in the day the interlocks sucked so you needed to have some intellegence for the FSE position but some people mange to slip through. It hit the top of the opening and the Quartz boat collapsed and destroyed all of the wafers. Took probably four hours to clean that mess up but each monitor wafer was probably worth 500 but the product wafers at that point were probably worth >50K each so he was looking at a 5 million dollar screw up.

One of the equipment engineers at that facility started calling him Bob DNU. Since that wasn't his name I asked so what does the DNU stand for? He said Dead from the Neck Up. It was fitting and the name stuck until he finally got laid off.

ben.gators
07-19-13, 11:51 PM
This didn't happen to me, but it happened to my dad. After retiring from RCA in the early 1960's my dad went back to his real love research and development. Dad was a very highly respected electrical engineer whose specialty was high powered communications transmitters. In the late fifties and early sixties he had been a "Presidential Advisor" for submarine communications and project manager of several highly classified government communications projects. So now retired he went to work for a small electronics firm to develop the first high power transmitter utilizing only transistors and with no tubes.

He and his team were highly successful in accomplishing this project and within a year and a half they had an operational prototype ready to show the navy's Bureau of Ships (I think that was correct body, but correct me if I am wrong). These tests were to take place in New Jersey and my dad contracted with a company on the East Coast to build a small building to hose the transmitter that was to be demonstrated. All was ready and the responsible brass who would be OKaying the further development and purchase of these transmitters were there. My dad's crew started powering up this new transmitter when the building started to smoke and then burst into flames. The building burned to the ground taking the prototype transmitter with it. Although the plans and contract for the building had specifically said that construction of the building was to be done using wood pegs only and that no metal nails could used in its' construction, this had been ignored by the contractors people and they had used steel nails to put the hut together.

Fortunately, the R & D team had built a couple of prototypes and a successful test was conducted at a later point in time. These transmitter turned out to be highly successful and were used for communications on the Navy's vessels for next few decades.

When I was a young intelligence analyst stationed around the world I and my colleagues used equipment developed by teams led by my dad to communicate worldwide with American military and civilian entities. It was interesting to come to realize what all the secrecy and security clearances and badges were about when I was growing up in the fifties and early sixties. In Vietnam I used the transmitters and encrypting my dad's work had built to transmit and receive encrypted messages to military units so they could engage and destroy the enemy. My dad died in 1964 at the age 57, I was 21 at the time, so it was nice to experience first hand as a "Cold Warrior" what was the my father's, and the men who worked with him, legacy to the security of our nation!

This is a great story, Orconn!

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Onboard the USS Goldsborough I ordered a case of spray cans of a product called 3-36 used for removing and preventing corrosion on SAM missiles and electrical equipment. The unit of issue was changed somewhere along the line and we had a dozen 55gal.drums of the stuff delivered. We kept one and sent the rest back. Sometime later, we had an ammunition handling room flooded with salt water in a storm. We rinsed out some electric motors with fresh water and cut the top out of the drum of 3-36. We dunked the motors in the 3-36 far a 1/2 hour or so and then let them hang and drip for the rest of the day. We checked insulation resistance with a megger and it was good. We put the motors back on line and they worked fine. Alls well that ends well.

:Offtopic:

This story is not acceptable! The stories were supposed to be disastrous! But yours ends well and everyone was happy at the end! Unacceptable! :p

Hoosier Daddy
07-20-13, 08:20 AM
Onboard the USS Goldsborough I ordered a case of spray cans of a product called 3-36 used for removing and preventing corrosion on SAM missiles and electrical equipment. The unit of issue was changed somewhere along the line and we had a dozen 55gal.drums of the stuff delivered. We kept one and sent the rest back. Sometime later, we had an ammunition handling room flooded with salt water in a storm. We rinsed out some electric motors with fresh water and cut the top out of the drum of 3-36. We dunked the motors in the 3-36 far a 1/2 hour or so and then let them hang and drip for the rest of the day. We checked insulation resistance with a megger and it was good. We put the motors back on line and they worked fine. Alls well that ends well.


This story is not acceptable! The stories were supposed to be disastrous! But yours ends well and everyone was happy at the end! Unacceptable! :p
That was my first reaction. Then I realized he might be one of those rare people who's disasters were better than a normal person's good days?

It was a good read, regardless.

If it helps, try imagining that the motors all caught fire the next day and the ship sank. Do NOT imagine the ship's mascot was saved by scrambling onto the capsized empty drum.

orconn
07-20-13, 11:54 AM
Actually all those things happened, but the crew was saved when they scrambled on the back of a large white bear that carried them to the safety of an ice flow where the bear started a fire before returning to the water to look for fish or a seal for their dinner.

Just ask Koz, he'll tell you! But if you live in Alaska you have to be luckier than most otherwise the place will literally eat you alive!

Hoosier Daddy
07-21-13, 12:37 AM
At the USAF PRL in the late 60s, a problem exceeded a programmer's ability to get the job done with the amount of available memory and random access storage. These were the days when mainframe computers had VERY small hard drives (smaller than the first PC hard drive) that were just used as scratch pads. The programmer saw there was a relatively small system file on the hard drive that he did not know the purpose of. But he saw that nothing had been read from it in weeks. So he copied the contents to a tape, reassigned the file name to a card punch and renamed that area of the hard drive to a file for his program. We dealt with massive amounts of data for the time and his job was estimated to run for almost 60 hours. The operator started the job Friday night. Monday morning rolled around and the programmer checked in to find a years supply of punch cards in boxes stacked to the ceiling as far as the eye could see and his job not even 5% done. The small, seldom if ever read file he reassigned to the card punch was the system checkpoint file. In those days, programs ran for a long time and computers were not so reliable. Therefore mainframes would stop productive work every x minutes and copy the state of the processor and memory to a file. That way if there was any glitch, a program could be restarted as of that point in time and only x minutes (at most) would be lost. So basically, the computer was copying the entire contents of the system to punched cards after every x minutes of real work! A process that itself took far longer than x minutes. I always wondered if that programmer had pissed off the operators as a group because it seemed logical that at least one would have raised a flag along the way. The programmer disappeared in very short order.