Epic Screw Ups At Work

June 23, 2023 | Nia Williams

Epic Screw Ups At Work

When mistakes happen at work, one may forget that to err is human. For these Redditors, their life probably flashed before their eyes as they imagined the worst-case scenario of having their blunders discovered. From damaging seven floors of a building due to an overflowing toilet to accidentally taking a million-dollar diamond ring home, these fumbles are so cringeworthy, you’ll be thankful they didn’t happen to you.

1. The Wrong Turn

When I was a brand new airline pilot, we landed at an airport that required a long taxi back to the terminal. During the taxi, the captain made a wrong turn onto a narrow taxiway that led to a small private hangar. As soon as he made the turn, we knew it was the wrong taxiway, but it was very narrow with trees on both sides so there was no way to turn around. My stomach dropped. We had a plane full of people, and I had no idea how we were going to deal with this.

He thought for a minute, then asked me, "McGonigle, can you see the tower from here"?

I looked and replied, "Nope".

"Good. Then they can't see us".

With that, he reversed both engines and slowly backed onto the main taxiway. I guess the passengers thought it was normal because no one asked any questions and we never heard anything about it.

Pilots inside a cabin ESB Professional, Shutterstock

2. A Common Occurrence

I used to work for a big box pet store. Part of my duties involved taking care of the animals that lived in the store. We used a rotation schedule every day for changing and cleaning each animal’s accessories such as their water bottles, food bowls, plastic huts, etc. Each day, the ‘opener’, or person on the morning shift, cleaned that day's habitats and the person who closed, did the "dishes" in the sink and set them to dry for the next rotation.

At times, it was challenging to complete these tasks while also dealing with customers. Company policy required that the dishes had to soak in a cleaning solution for a certain amount of time. The sink we used for cleaning the dishes was very deep so it took a while for it to fill up so that we could soak everything in it. It was common practice to turn the water on, then go see if anyone needed help in the store while we waited for the sink to fill.

Not long after I started working there, I was performing this task and got pulled into a long conversation with a customer. Normally, I'd duck in the back and turn off the faucet if I thought the conversation would take a while, but this night I just completely forgot the sink was on. About 20 minutes later, I walked to the back and couldn't believe what I found. I stumbled into ankle-deep water. The sink had overflowed and was filling the back. The door had a rubber stopper at the bottom to keep it from getting into the store

I took a squeegee and started herding the water into a drain on the floor. I was so frantic and still had to pay attention to customers out on the floor. Luckily, no one else ever went into the back unless you worked in that department and that night, I was working alone. I managed to get most of the water into the drain and the rest dried overnight before the opener came in. No one ever knew I flooded the back space.

A few months later, I realized that flooding was a common occurrence at the store. My manager floods it at least once a year.

Side view of smiling woman holding poodle near Arabian seller in pet shopLightField Studios, Shutterstock

3. Doom Button

I accidentally auto-archived 2500 records from my company’s database by pushing one button. This removed the customers from active status, canceling any associated reservations and services they may have had with us. The potential losses were in the hundreds of thousands.

I had to click each record individually to have them reinstated. The entire task took over six hours. I admitted my folly at the next team meeting to ensure that no one else had to go through the sheer derriere-puckering terror I did when those records disappeared. We call it the doom button now. Why there is a doom button I have no idea.

Gloomy dirty red buttonHekunechi, Shutterstock

4. Beyond Jinxed

When I was 18, I worked for Menards (like Home Depot). Customers would have to drive to the parking lot out back where we would load up their order with a forklift.

One day, a lady came to pick up a bunch of special-order bricks. I loaded two pallets of bricks into the back of her very nice, new truck. She signed the paperwork to complete the transaction. Everything seemed fine—then disaster struck. I watched as she backed into a forklift tine, which she managed to punch all the way through her tailgate! I saw it like it was in slow motion, but I didn't have time to react.

I was 100% in the wrong. Anyone who has ever driven a forklift knows that unless you are actively using the lift, you should always keep the tines on the ground if you're parked, and a couple inches above while driving.

I had seen a guy get fired once for driving over a piece of cardboard instead of stopping to pick it up. So I was beyond ruined—but she just put her car in drive and took off. She didn't even look back at me. I expected that she was going to pull up to the front of the store to report it, but she just left. As far as I know, she never reported it, and no one ever knew it happened. That was 21 years ago. I think about that incident pretty often.

Male worker driving a forkliftAAAstudios, Shutterstock

5. Scared Silly

As a kid, I was hired by a neighbor to dig up her garden so that she could prepare it for spring planting. I had the whole week to do it while she was on vacation. Unfortunately, I only realized at 10 pm, the night before she was coming home, that I had forgotten to do it. I ran over to her yard, dug everything up in the middle of the night, and thought I'd gotten away with it.

The next morning, my mom got a call from the woman who lived next door to the neighbor whose garden I had dug up. While I was digging, this 80-year-old woman was cowering in her closet, thinking someone was breaking into her house. I had to go over and apologize!

Teen boy in dark jacket holding a shovelRimDream, Shutterstock

6. Never Assume

As a new recruit working in building operations, I was assigned a toilet that wouldn't stop flushing. Step one is always to isolate the water supply. I was familiar with one type of toilet, which has the shut-off valve under a nut. I removed the nut expecting to find the shut-off. I was in for the shock of my life. The whole 2" supply opened and water exploded like a fire hose. That happened on the top (seventh) floor and it ruined the entire floor.

Every floor down to the first had some damage, with a little less closer to ground level. I pretty much 'wrecked' about 30-40% of the building's total square footage.

Turns out there are two main types of shut-offs: one is under a nut, the other is just a little screw under a plastic cap. So I had removed the whole shut-off without exposing the shut-off screw.

My boss, who actually didn't train me properly, did, however, cover for me. We went with, “The whole flushometer basically just disintegrated as it was old and crappy”. The property manager was none the wiser. He was actually happy that several tenants claimed the flood on their own insurance policy and not the building's.

After that, I learned to never assume anything and to learn every piece of equipment before touching it.

Professional plumber fixing toiletNew Africa, Shutterstock

7. Nobody Knows

A few years ago, I asked my boss if I could take the Wednesday before Thanksgiving off. But since I waited too long to request it, too many other people had already asked for that day off. So he declined.

It’s a long drive to where my family lives but I had already told them that I was coming. Seeing that my boss was one of the people gone that day too, I grabbed my laptop, forwarded my work phone to my cell, and hit the road. No one else knew I wasn't supposed to be out and fortunately, he never found out about it.

Man at steering wheel driving on road at winter Suat iNAN, Pexels

8. What A Blunder

I spilled coffee all over my laptop. I told my supervisor that it had stopped working and she assumed it was just old. I got a replacement which was a much better laptop out of it!

I worked for a small business with no in-house IT so I truly skirted by on that blunder. They were never called.

Male employee spills coffee over his laptop Master1305, Shutterstock

9. That Hurts

During my probationary period at work, I dropped a slab of steel weighing a couple hundred pounds on my toes. Luckily, I was wearing my steel-toed boots. No one else was around. I got away with only a slightly bruised foot after I wiggled out.

I still got let go but that was because I was a slow welder.

Warehouse man worker lying down on floor after accident BigPixel Photo, Shutterstock

10. Shifty Work

I was helping our doctorate student on an ecology project when I accidentally managed to spill the soil samples. I contemplated just putting them back into the containers and playing dumb, but that would have been wrong. I had another idea, but it was crazy.

I took our work truck and the soil coring device and in the middle of the night, I went to each area again and retook the samples. The bad thing is that some of the sites were in people's front yards. So here I was, coring yards at 2 am on a Wednesday, in someone’s front garden like some really shifty dirt burglar.

One old lady heard me and asked what I was doing in her yard. Thankfully, instead of firing at me, or letting my boss know what the heck I was doing, she simply told me that "Everyone makes mistakes in science. Take those scientists trying to tell us the earth is getting too warm. Good luck with your dirt study"!

I did not get fired. No one knew what I did except that nice old lady.

Agronomy Specialist taking soil sample Hryshchyshen Serhii, Shutterstock

11. Narrow Escape

I was a stage manager at a 3,000-seat hall in downstate NY. I was doing a performance by Julio Iglesias. Due to a snowstorm earlier that day, I predicted a cancellation. So five other stagehands and I hit the hotel lobby bar for about three hours prior to doors opening. The radio DJs who were supposed to introduce him did not arrive on time. To everyone’s surprise, even with the snow, the house was sold-out and packed.

I walked out on stage and stumbled over a cable, and almost fell from the deck. I managed to recover and walk up to the mic—with the spotlights on me all the way, and proceeded to blank out his name. I eventually remembered and spewed out "JEWEL-E-O EN-GRACIAS” and ambled off the stage. I narrowly escaped unemployment.

Man giving speech on red background with smoke, mic and spotlightGolden Dayz, Shutterstock

12. Shopping Nightmare

I used to work at a garden center. One Christmas, I got called in to help with the trees. Now, I'm not the biggest guy. The tallest trees were only 8 feet so I had no problems with them. That is, until a customer asked me if we had any 12-foot trees. It turns out we did, but they were just kept outside.

So there I was standing there, trying to hold this massive dang tree upright while some idiot guy decided whether or not he liked it. The base started slipping along the ground, and believe me, once one of these behemoths starts to go, there is nothing you can do to stop it without help. But the guy I was serving was clearly an idiot tool of the highest caliber. He just stood and stared as I struggled to keep the tree from falling—because the result would have been horrifying.

Right where the tree was falling...was his kid's stroller. Fortunately, his wife had a bit more sense and managed to move the stroller away before I let it fall completely. She proceeded to yell at her husband for doing absolutely nothing to help "the poor boy".

Happy Tree lot owner carrying Christmas tree for customersHero Images Inc, Shutterstock

13. Combustive Lesson

My first day as an electrical engineer intern, I blew up a power amplifier by hooking up a power supply incorrectly. I was pulling a lot of current (2 A for a small power amplifier) making sparks and smoke everywhere.

I went to tell the engineer I was working for, fully expecting to be reprimanded or fired, but he didn't seem to care too much, which surprised me.

Engineering team workingGumpanat, Shutterstock

14. Flying Objects

When I was about 17, I interned at a small bank through a school program. Unlike the bigger banks, the layout here included just four desks lined up next to each other. Each was divided with a short cubicle. My desk was at the far end next to the wall.

One day, I was sitting at my desk, bored with nothing to do. So I grabbed a paperclip and started flicking it at the wall separating my desk and the one next to it. Every time it bounced back, I would flick it again. Well one time, I flicked it a little too hard and the paperclip flew right over the small wall and hit a customer, who was waiting to be attended, right in the head.

My heart sank and so did my head. I slid down the desk as I tried to go unnoticed in the hopes that the person wouldn't know who did it. Looking back, it was probably obvious that the culprit was the 16-year-old boy who was the one flicking paper clips and not the 40+-year-old ladies next to him.

Luckily, I don't think the customer knew what hit her and I was never blamed for it.

Hands using Black Paper clipMidnight Studio TH, Shutterstock

15. Expensive Lies

I used to work as a warehouse manager for a company that sold expensive measuring instruments. One time, I managed to accidentally drop a box containing glass lenses worth $1,100 each. Almost everything in the box broke. I was totally screwed, so I took a chance.

The box had just arrived so I took a huge risk by lying to my boss. I said that they had come in that way and must have gotten damaged during transport. Luckily, they believed me.

Warehouse manager in bubble jacket holding tablet in warehouseTiger Lily, Pexels

16. Off The Hook

A truck turned up 15 minutes before the end of my work day. In my rush and frustration to get it unloaded so I could get home, I accidentally drove through the roller shutter doors as they were still opening and "caught" them with the top of the mast.

I managed to get the truck unloaded and on its way. I thought I’ll explain everything to my boss the following day. But it was so much worse than I thought. As I tried to lock up, I realized that I had bent the door so now it wouldn't lock. Since it wouldn't lock, I couldn't set the alarms. I was essentially trapped at work and now an hour late from leaving.

In a moment of pure desperation, I lifted the doors again and drove into them from the other side, bending them enough so I could lock them up. I set the alarms and went home.

Turns out, I hit the doors a little too hard so they were now bent inwards. The next day, the bosses assumed someone had reversed into them during the night. The estate we were on was a notorious cruising spot for the local boy racers and there were always tire marks or bits of car scattered around the place, so they got the blame.

Truck driver empties his truck sylv1rob1, Shutterstock

17. Mortifying Moment

A long time ago, while working at my first job in advertising in London, my old college roommate sent a vile picture of a woman doing something nasty to a horse. It was pretty disgusting. I forwarded it to his girlfriend and encouraged her to not have him send this garbage to me again. However, in attempting to send her the email, I ended up sending it to everyone on my office email list instead! It included clients—some of them pretty high up and very conservative. I panicked like crazy.

Luckily, my art director was dating the CEO’s personal assistant and she was really cool. She managed to get the IT guy to delete it from all internal emails. She then sent an email to all the clients telling them there was a virus attached to the email I had sent and to immediately delete it. No one ever saw that horrendous attachment. No one in my agency ever knew except my art director and his girlfriend. If it weren’t for her quick thinking, I for sure would have been toast.

Portrait of a young handsome businessman in suit sitting shocked at office at the desk Cookie Studio, Shutterstock

18. Training Disaster

I missed a flight for a training session my boss and I were presenting in LA (we're in NC). The flight left at about 6 am with my boss on it and an empty seat next to him. I woke up at about 7:30 to about five missed calls on my phone. It was absolutely awful and one of the worst gut feelings in my life.

Wake up shocked Anastasiya 99, Shutterstock

19. Burned By The Boss

As I got up to use the washroom, I accidentally knocked a soldering iron off of its stand. When I returned, I saw that the iron had burned a hole right in the center of the plastic table my boss had just bought.

I thought that I would have to pay for a new table but just then, my boss came in. He set a box down hard on the table, knocking the iron over and burning another hole near the one I had already made.

A man with glasses looks at a smoking soldering ironTatyana_Cheremukhina, Shutterstock

20. Ignorance Is Bliss

I used to run charges on credit cards as part of my job at a bike parts vendor. One day, I mistakenly charged a bike shop over $1,000. I felt so awful. It made the owner of the shop go over their credit limit and get charged for a bunch of fees. I was fired soon after. The only job I was ever fired from.

I later moved to the town where that very same bike shop resides. I spoke with the owner and mentioned that I had worked for the vendor long in the past. She told me in detail about the time that her card was charged by accident. I feigned ignorance.

Blonde woman in headphonesCucuMberStudio, Shutterstock

21. Close Call

When I strolled into work one day, I saw some officers at the reception desk. It was common for them to show up at my place of work for a wide range of reasons. I walked by them on the way to my office. Since they were being attended to, I didn't need to get involved.

Twenty minutes later, I walked by the reception area and noticed that the officers were gone. I popped into the facility manager's office beside the reception desk. We were chatting about various stuff when I mentioned this great hashish I had just got my hands on and that maybe I could even get him some.

Just then, the CEO stuck his head in the door and said, “Sympleton, can I see you out here”? I stepped out—and my blood ran cold. Standing beside him were the same two officers I had seen earlier.

“Oh dang, I thought”.

The CEO then said, “Sympleton, these officers are here to drop off a donation check for our refugee fund! I was just showing them around the building. Can you take some pictures of us for the website”?

Shocked man with hand over mouth in officefizkes, Shutterstock

22. Hang Up

When I was working as an intern, there was this hideous guy who called the office and started making insane accusations and demands. I thought I had put him on hold when I called one of my supervisors on another line and said, "There's some crazy idiot on the other line demanding to talk to someone in charge".

Somehow, I didn’t actually put him on hold—he was listening the whole time. I heard a voice say, "WHAT"? and thought, oh, dang. I’m doomed.

So I picked up the phone and just hung it up. By some miracle, the guy never called back. I told my supervisor that he hung up and that was the end of it.

 Bearded man in headphoneAnnaStills, Shutterstock

23. Soaking In Sweat

Right out of tech school, I got a job as a mechanic in a small chain shop. Oftentimes, experienced techs would diagnose a problem and then pass it along to me to do the hard labor. I think that is pretty typical.

So, I got this car that needed an air conditioning evaporator replaced. This part is often found way up inside the dashboard and can be a considerable amount of work to extract. This particular one was a beast and fought me every step of the way—hidden screws, unseen clips, tight spaces, etc.

I managed to get it all back together and recharged the AC system. The car leaves the shop working perfectly.

As it turned out, the driver was taking a trip across the country. Somehow, I missed a crucial part of any evaporator install—I failed to check the drip valve. All of the accumulated water that would normally drip outside onto the ground was instead pouring inside her car.

When she returned from her trip, the car was soaked. There was over an inch of water under the carpet and seats. We had to strip it down to the metal and air-dry everything for two days.

Portrait of a mechanic repairing a lifted carMinerva Studio, Shutterstock

24. Never Caught

I work a desk job at a small office. My boss had left for a meeting and wasn't going to be back for the rest of the day. Since I didn’t have much to do, I decided to buy a couple tall cans across the street and watch some Netflix.

An hour later, during a quiet part in the movie, I heard my boss talking on his phone. Apparently, the meeting got canceled and he had been back for about 30 minutes.

My desk is right outside my boss's office, and somehow he didn't notice anything. He's extremely strict about work and always complains about time-wasting, but never said anything to me. I have no idea how I wasn't caught.

Shocked man in office looking at his computerMelnikov Dmitriy, Shutterstock

25. Lesson Learned

While working for a high-end tour company, I managed to back a bus hitch into a guest’s BMW. I ended up breaking one of their tail lamps. I picked up all the plastic remnants from the ground and taped a note to their window. I told the owner to find me when they returned from their tour to discuss the damage. But I didn't realize how lucky I was.

Before I had a chance to tell my boss what happened, the guest had already returned from their tour. He found me and started laughing. Apparently, someone had hit his car a few weeks prior and it was already being processed through the insurance of the other person who had hit him. He told me not to worry about it. He hadn’t realized that I had done additional damage since it was the same tail light and nothing else was damaged. I picked up all the broken pieces from the ground, so it didn’t look that bad compared to what damage had already existed.

I never had to fess up to my boss about the incident and learned to never attempt to park the bus near the fancy cars again.

Man driving a bus Lê Minh, Pexels

26. Never-Ending Story

We were sitting in our end-of-the-week sales meeting when the director of sales (my boss's boss) started talking about some email he sent out that week. He starts by saying, "I have one word to say about that email" and then jumps into a five-minute story, which at no point mentions that "one word". When it sounded like he was nearing the end of the story, I said, "Sounded a lot more like a story than a word, bro". The whole room goes quiet as the director glares at me.

Group of people having a meeting in officefauxels, Pexels

27. Bad Snippet

The first surgery I performed in medical school, I accidentally punctured the patient's liver with a tool called a trocar.

In laparoscopic surgery, typically three small incisions are made and surgical tools and a camera (laparoscope) are inserted in order to perform the surgery. After making the initial incision, a trocar is placed into the incision to widen the incision and to facilitate the passage of tools.

Basically, I misjudged how much force I would need to push the trocar through and very slightly nicked the patient's liver. I immediately began to panic. Sweat poured down my face and fog filled my eye protection as I thought I'd fatally injured the patient. Luckily, the injury was very minor and I didn't hit any major blood vessels. The surgeon cauterized the area that I hit to stop some minor bleeding but it was fine.

After we saw the patient a few weeks after taking out her gallbladder, she was perfectly fine and recovering well.

Doctors doing surgery Vidal Balielo Jr., Pexels

28. Botched Job

When transferring data from an old drive to a new drive I messed up royally and deleted a man's journal.

That man was suffering from Alzheimer's and worked his bottom off to get it done while he was still able. When his son brought the computer in he said something to the effect of, "Whatever you do, don't lose my dad' journal".

Man working on a computer in office LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Pexels

29. Excruciating Wait

I was running a summer camp and was halfway through the day when I noticed that the bus attendance didn’t match the group attendance. Apparently, there was a little girl who was marked as being on the bus but not in her group. I went to check on the group but there was no sign of her. I checked all the other groups—still no girl. No one had seen this six-year-old girl and we were out in the middle of nowhere. I lost a child. I started losing it.

I had visions of getting fired. We would have to call the authorities and have them search the woods. My life flashed before my eyes.

After fifteen minutes of ‘oh my god my life is over’, my co-worker pulled up with the news that she spoke to the girl's mom and the girl did not come to camp that day at all. The bus attendance was an error. I was five minutes away from calling my boss. Instead, I just collapsed in the dirt with relief and tried not to cry.

Group of excited school children boys and girls with young female teacher Evgeny Atamanenko, Shutterstock

30. Wrestling Match

I work at a gymnastics gym, and have a key to the building. One afternoon, when the gym was closed, one of my female co-workers and I went there for a wrestling match. When we started to get hot from all the wrestling, we decided to take a break and get some fresh air. Well, I forgot that we locked the door behind us just in case someone tried to stop by. When we stepped outside, the door shut and we were locked outside. We had no shoes, wallets, phones, or keys.

Fortunately a director of one of our programs lived nearby. So we walked a few miles in the rain to ask him to let us back in. He was confused and amused, but drove us back. Once inside, he left us, and we finished the wrestling match.

It was the talk of the gym for a few days. Amazingly, neither she nor I were reprimanded at all.

Man in gray tank in gymnastics gym Ivan Samkov, Pexels

31. Dressing The Part

I was doing an internship in the Special Events department at a small museum. It was common practice to bring in a change of clothes for certain events. That way, we could do all the physical labor during the day and then look presentable during the event itself in the evening.

The boss and I shared a small office, a little bigger than the average walk-in closet. She had brought in a dress and hung it from the top drawer in our filing cabinet. It was an expensive, designer dress. I think it was made of silk.

I was in the office by myself and went to rummage through the filing cabinet for something. When I started to close the drawer, it caught the dress and pulled it into the sliding mechanism. I slowly pulled it out, but it made a row of tiny holes and some splotches of whatever grease was used in the sliders. I just walked away and never mentioned it.

She wore the dress that night. Fortunately, the stain was on the side under her left arm. I don't think she noticed it and apparently no one said anything to her. I hope she didn't blame some poor dry cleaner a week later, but I never heard anything about it. I was terrified that entire night. She had been a shrew to me for most of the internship. If I failed the internship I wouldn't have gotten my degree.

Happy woman standing in front of a mirror holding a dressRoman Samborskyi, Shutterstock

32. Time To Move

I work at a high-volume luxury jewelry boutique. We handle well into the multi-millions of dollars worth of jewels and timepieces every day. When I was moving out of my apartment, I thought I could save some money by taking the used boxes from our shipping and receiving department.

I got home from work, dragged the boxes upstairs, and started to pack. Forty-five minutes into packing my kitchen, I heard a clunk on the tile. I didn’t think anything of it except that I’d pick up whatever just fell later.

Well, I forgot about it entirely and went to bed.

The next morning, around 6 am, it was too early for me to want to turn too many lights on. I walk into the kitchen to get some coffee going and stepped on something small and hard. I looked down, and my jaw DROPPED. It was a 9-carat GIA flawless diamond ring. I accidentally pinched and then stepped on a 1.3 MILLION DOLLAR RING!

I figured if I could take it without anyone noticing, then I could put it back the same way. So I tucked it into my lunch bag, and snuck it into our inventory without anybody noticing a darn thing.

Female employee of jewelry boutique consulting clients sitting at the table Pressmaster, Shutterstock

33. Wrong Assumption

Back when I worked at Walmart, my manager made me stay after to help zone groceries. I was still pretty new, and when he said to "take care of" a bunch of carts full of go-backs, I asked, "take care—how"? He never responded. So I did what we did at the front end with carts of unsorted merchandise—we took them back to customer service to be sorted.

It didn't occur to me until later, that he meant to put them back on the shelves. But nobody ever mentioned it, so I assume they didn't know it was me.

Walmart customersQualityHD, Shutterstock

34. Joke’s On You

I worked at a supermarket when I was 19 years old. It was a small, independently run shop, so we didn't really have designated departments or jobs. We all just did a bit of everything. The place ran pretty smoothly because all of the staff knew how to do all of the jobs.

One day, I was entering new products into our system which verifies details against a corporate database and can autofill most of the information needed. Halfway through the tedium of my assigned task, I arrived upon a box of desiccated coconut. The database autofilled all of the information for me.

I carried on working but couldn't help noticing that the item description was (BRANDNAME) SHREDDED C/NUT. I had a seedy look around and thought it would be funny to change the item description to (BRANDNAME) SHREDDED C/UNT for a bit of a laugh. I told myself that I'd have a giggle at the ticket when it printed out and then change it back immediately.

Well, I ended up getting sidetracked with another job for the rest of the day and didn't get back to changing it. Every time an old lady bought a bag of coconut, SHREDDED C/UNT would pop up on the screen, and print out on their receipt.

I was in the shop when visiting my home town just a few weeks ago and it’s still there.

Supermarket employee working Olena Yakobchuk, Shutterstock

35. Fingers Crossed

I had to print about two hundred shirts for a big client of ours. I finished the job and as I was folding them, I noticed a word missing from the artwork. I guess when the artwork was separated, this word wasn't actually the same shade of black as the others, so it dropped out.

I took the chance at not saying a darn thing about it since the back was basically just a wall of text with different fonts. I just acted like I never noticed. I boxed them up and sent them out. It's now been five years and no one ever mentioned it. Woo hoo!

Young man working in printing factoryguruXOX, Shutterstock

36. Team Work

I was in a management training group for a large bank. During the program, we’d pretty much all cheat on the tests by sharing answers among the group. Afterward, we had a lot of training stuff to do. When we were assigned a project a year later, I emailed the group and said, “Looks like we have a big project, boys. Time for a good ole fashion cheat sesh. Let’s find a day this week to stay late and share answers and work”.

Thirty seconds after sending the email, I received a terrifying text. Apparently, I copied the wrong name and sent the email to the regional credit manager, who was in charge of the training. He laughed it off and told me that they wanted us to ‘cheat’, share answers, and work collectively. This builds comradery. They just didn’t tell us to do it because no one would work hard if it was assigned as a group project.

Shocked employee in office on the computer Antonio Guillem, Shutterstock

37. Super Lucky

I had a week of conferences in different hotels. On the last day, I did a presentation, which went well. Everyone went out for a free meal and drinks afterward. I felt pretty good about how the week went and got smashed.

The next day, I woke up super late for work and hungover. I rushed to get ready but couldn't find my work bag which contained my laptop and confidential files. I ended up not going to work and instead, spent the day hunting around all the bars I thought I may have gone to the night before. By mid-afternoon, I found my bag in a casino.

On Monday, I went to work but surprisingly, nobody said a thing. I asked one guy and he said he thought that I had taken the day off as a holiday.

Shocked man in suit over red background ViDI Studio, Shutterstock

38. TattleTail

I worked at Dairy Queen. One of the more popular things we made were chocolate-dipped cones. For the most part, these things were easy enough to make. You simply put the ice cream on the cone, dip it in the chocolate for a few seconds, let it harden, and then give it to the customer.

At work I try to always have a good mood, I really do. But this particular day, it was busy and I really just wasn't having it. A woman came in who I politely greeted. She pretty much "demanded" a dipped cone. I got slightly irritated but still made the cone. I dipped it and handed it to her.

Now occasionally, the chocolate in the bin will run low and a manager will fill it back up. I was new at the time and the manager wasn't there. On top of it all, it was busy. Well, considering the chocolate was low there was about a half inch of ice cream exposed at the bottom which shouldn't have been that big of a deal, however, when I handed it to her, I immediately got, "Uhm, hellooo? Can you dip it all the way"? She even rolled her eyes.

Again, I was not in the best mood, so I went back to the bin and smashed the heck into the chocolate so it was fully dipped and handed it to her. That was a huge mistake.

Turns out she was a secret shopper and told my manager what I had done.

Dairy Queen customers Retail Photographer, Shutterstock

39. Just Another Work Day

I worked in a different office while covering for someone who was on vacation. The night before, I partied a little too hard at the hotel bar. Since I was the only one at the office that day, at lunch, I locked the door and put my head on the desk to catch some Zs. I woke up at 7 pm that night. I did have the radio on and the phone had a quiet ring so I wasn’t surprised when nothing woke me up.

I kept thinking I was going to get in trouble but no one ever mentioned anything.

Man in suit sleeping in officeElnur, Shutterstock

40. Miracles Do Happen

I work at a pet store. I accidentally threw a snake away. I was cleaning the habitat and didn’t see him buried in his bedding. I dumped it in the trash. Two days later, my department manager brought it back to me after finding it in the garbage. Somehow, I didn't get in trouble and the snake was fine.

Ball Python in a Ball on one handGrace Machado, Shutterstock

41. Music To My Ears

Where I worked as a receptionist, we could listen to music through the phone which was hooked up to a little old CD player. One day, the office was empty so I decided to listen to my Nine Inch Nails CD. I popped it in the player and was listening to it through the phone speaker all day.

A few days later, the old little CD player came up in conversation when talking about replacing the system. That’s when I discovered that it also provided the music for everyone on hold. That's when it hit me. I realized the last song I played was Trent Reznor’s “Closer”. If you know the lyrics, then you know...

No one complained about it, though.

Receptionist working at the deskHelena Lopes, Pexels

42. Left With No Choice

My boss had a hard drive that crashed. He told me that he had very important things on it that must be recovered.

I was able to power it on with one of those USB hard drive adapters. After much trial and error, I was finally able to read it and began to back up the contents onto another drive. I was ecstatic because since I was in-house IT, I had to avoid outsourcing my job as much as possible. I just saved us a ton of money by recovering the data myself. But it was all about to go wrong.

What I didn't notice was that the USB adapter cable was caught in my chair. My chair had wheels and I would usually push myself away from the desk before I got up. So when I pushed my chair away from my desk, it pulled down the hard drive and hit the ground hard. I had gotten up kind of quick too due to being excited, so that thing just slammed onto the floor.

I ended up outsourcing it. I told my boss that I had no idea what he did to his hard drive but we had no choice but to send it in.

Man working in office shocked covering mouthKrakenimages.com, Shutterstock

43. Oops Moment

In our office, it was everyone’s job to make coffee. Simply, whoever is there first, makes the coffee.

One day, I started the machine and then went back to my desk for a few minutes. When I returned to the kitchen, coffee was everywhere. There was a pool of coffee on the floor, dripping and seeping everywhere. Various people had gathered to glare at it. Apparently, I forgot to put the container under the drip. But I knew exactly what to do: Since nobody had seen me earlier, I just walked into the kitchen looking as shocked and surprised as everyone else.

Young man pouring coffeePixel-Shot, Shutterstock

44. Crushing Discovery

I was working as a computer tech at the biggest, most respected (non-big-box) computer store in town. I often traveled to our customers to do work at their homes/businesses and figured a nice laptop would benefit my workflow and productivity. My boss talked to the owner and managed to get me a fancy new laptop, carrying case—the works. I estimated it must’ve cost over $1,000, which was a big deal since I was making $8/hr at the time.

That very same day I got my new laptop, I was leaving work when I saw another employee needing help with carrying some things inside. I sat the laptop bag against the front wheel of my car and held the door open for him. I then hopped in my car and completely forgot about the new laptop. I started to back up, turned my wheels to exit the parking stall. That's when I heard a confusing crunching sound. And, right at that moment, I remembered the laptop bag.

As I recall, it was thoroughly crushed on one corner, not just a cracked screen. I guess turning the wheel must’ve knocked it over in just the right way to catch one corner under the tire as I backed up.

It was the worst feeling walking back to my boss's office, carrying the 6-hour-old, destroyed laptop. I'm sure my face said it all. Thankfully, he was a former tech who was recently promoted to manager and apparently felt bad for me. We hid it under his desk, never told the owner, and I worked for that company for another six years!

Pointing at broken laptop FeelGoodLuck, Shutterstock

45. Scared Breadless

I'm a baker at Panera Bread—the second busiest store in the country. My day started off smoothly. I made bread and cookies to order. Then this one customer came back with an aux cord in her flipping bread. To this day, I’ll never know how that happened. I thought for sure, I was going to be fired.

I took the bread and asked, ”Would you like a refund or would you like a different one”? They looked at me and said, ”How about a free meal”? I took the manager’s keys without asking and gave them free food. I threw that bread away and thanked god it was too busy for anyone to care why I was scared for thirty minutes.

Baker in bakery with fresh made bread on shovel Kzenon, Shutterstock

46. What A Fiasco

I used to work at a car rental place. My job was to clean the cars, inspect them and get them ready for the customers before they picked them up.

One day, I was in the lot parking a truck that had just been cleaned. I got out and headed back into the office. Just then, a couple of older sort of grimy-looking guys walked up to me. It’s not uncommon for customers to show me their rental papers and ask for the keys to their car. So when the one guy said, "Hey, we're all done inside and the lady said that truck is ours", pointing to the one I just parked.  I'm not even going to make excuses for why I did it but without even asking a question I said, "Okay, great. Here ya go"! and handed him the keys.

As I was walking back to the office, I thought it was weird at the time because when I handed the keys over, his friend said, "Dang"! under his breath and looked angry. Anyways, I nonchalantly walked back into the office when I saw my boss. She immediately asked if I saw those two guys out in the lot. I said, "The guys who rented the truck? Then, yep".

She looked at me with her jaw on the floor. Then she cried, "Nooooooooooo"! She turned around immediately and called the authorities to tell them we just had a truck taken from our lot.

Weeks go by and eventually, the truck turns up out in the middle of nowhere. The authorities found needles and bottles all over the inside. The truck was returned to us. I had to go to the station to pick the guy I gave the keys to out of a photo lineup.

Young employee of car rental place in brown shirtRoman Chazov, Shutterstock

47. What A Goof

A buddy of mine was once goofing around on the internet in the closet of an empty meeting room. Suddenly, a meeting started and he got trapped in there for more than an hour. I can't believe he made it out of that one unscathed.

Office employees having a meeting in meeting room Rebrand Cities, Pexels

48. One Scary Ride

I work in a theme park. On this particular day, I was manning the control booth. I was sitting on one of those rolling office chairs, when I decided I wanted to stand. I hopped down and somehow managed to propel the chair into the wall with my backside. The chair slammed directly into a fire alarm. The lever got depressed AND pulled down—by a chair. I stared at it in horror for a moment, but nothing happened—until suddenly— "BEEEEW. BEEEEW. BEEEEW".

Yup, I set off a fire alarm—with my bum. So when the fire alarm goes off during a ride, you have to cycle all of the guests clear of the attraction, kick all of the guests out of the queue, and then evacuate all of the employees while you wait for the fire department to come and give you the ok to resume normal operations.

Once we had gotten the venue fully evacuated, I was freaking out. I figured I was in huge trouble for inconveniencing several hundred guests and wasting the fire department's time and all.

I came clean to my supervisor immediately. After all, I was the only person in the control booth. It was obvious that I had done something, so I let her know of my clumsiness before she thought I'd had a more sinister agenda. To my great surprise, she started laughing hysterically and told me not to worry about it.

The ride ended up being closed for almost an hour and a half. During that time, I had at least seven or eight managers and supervisors from around the park come and make fun of me.

I think the best part of the whole situation, though, was that after the incident, my supervisor and I decided that there should be a cover over that fire alarm. So we called the safety department, however, we never did get a cover for it. Apparently, a room full of engineers and the man in charge of safety for all the resorts had spent hours trying to fling a chair at that goshdarn fire alarm, and not ONE of them could recreate what I somehow managed to do in one try—with my rump.

I still get laughed at for that one, and it happened nearly two years ago!

Ticket booth, Dream World Theme ParkOussuchol, Shutterstock

49. Trip Of A Lifetime

I used to work at Chuck E. Cheese and was taking a pizza from the kitchen to the customer. At the time, it was extremely busy and there were little twats running everywhere. This order was at the far end so I had to zigzag through all the games to get to her.

After successfully maneuvering through a bunch of arcades and small children with two pizzas in my hands, I came within 10 feet of her table and thought I was home-free. I couldn't have been more wrong. It turns out there was a 2-year-old kid crawling right in front of me. I tripped on the kid, the pizzas went flying which hit another kid.

Both kids ended up crying because I stepped on one and nailed the other with the pizzas. And before you think that this can't get any worse, I then had to deal with the parents—that part alone still makes me shudder to this day. After about 45 minutes of yelling at me, they tried to pressure my manager to fire me. My manager was a cool guy so he said no, but he pulled me aside and told me he would have to pretend to go batty on me to make the parents happy.

He did and it was the finest acting I have ever seen a non-actor pull off. It even scared me for a minute. I continued working in that dump of misery for another year before I left for college.

 Male chef with beard making a PizzaOlena Yakobchuk, Shutterstock

50. Beyond Urgent

I worked in a mailroom right out of college for a fairly large company.

We oftentimes had Overnight and Next Day packages that HAD to be delivered or apparently the world would end. I was responsible for getting these to the drop boxes before pick up time, which meant I had to take them with me when I left work to drop them off.

Well one Friday, I had one of these urgent letters. I left work and completely forgot about it. It sat in my car all weekend. When I got to work the following Monday, the CFO and several upper management were literally freaking out because the letter didn't arrive. I was yelled at and berated. When I found out what was inside, my jaw dropped. Apparently, it was a half-a-million dollar check that this company was waiting for or they were going to take some kind of lawful action or something.

It turned out fine, but I wanted to croak at the time.

Happy employee in mailroom working Golden Pixels LLC, Shutterstock

Sources: ,

More from Factinate

Featured Article

My mom never told me how her best friend died. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery.

Dark Family Secrets

Dark Family Secrets Exposed

Nothing stays hidden forever—and these dark family secrets are proof that when the truth comes out, it can range from devastating to utterly chilling.
April 8, 2020 Samantha Henman

Featured Article

Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.

Madame de Pompadour Facts

Entrancing Facts About Madame de Pompadour, France's Most Powerful Mistress

Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.
December 7, 2018 Kyle Climans

More from Factinate

Featured Article

I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life.

These People Got Genius Revenges

When someone really pushes our buttons, we'd like to think that we'd hold our head high and turn the other cheek, but revenge is so, so sweet.
April 22, 2020 Scott Mazza

Featured Article

Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.

Catherine of Aragon Facts

Tragic Facts About Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s First Wife

Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but very few people know her even darker history.
June 7, 2018 Christine Tran

Dear reader,

Want to tell us to write facts on a topic? We’re always looking for your input! Please reach out to us to let us know what you’re interested in reading. Your suggestions can be as general or specific as you like, from “Life” to “Compact Cars and Trucks” to “A Subspecies of Capybara Called Hydrochoerus Isthmius.” We’ll get our writers on it because we want to create articles on the topics you’re interested in. Please submit feedback to contribute@factinate.com. Thanks for your time!

Do you question the accuracy of a fact you just read? At Factinate, we’re dedicated to getting things right. Our credibility is the turbo-charged engine of our success. We want our readers to trust us. Our editors are instructed to fact check thoroughly, including finding at least three references for each fact. However, despite our best efforts, we sometimes miss the mark. When we do, we depend on our loyal, helpful readers to point out how we can do better. Please let us know if a fact we’ve published is inaccurate (or even if you just suspect it’s inaccurate) by reaching out to us at contribute@factinate.com. Thanks for your help!

Warmest regards,

The Factinate team

Want to learn something new every day?

Join thousands of others and start your morning with our Fact Of The Day newsletter.

Thank you!

Error, please try again.