Tell us about your craziest costly work mistake

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Forum topic by GMman posted 11-13-2011 03:26 PM 1557 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3902 posts in 3753 days

11-13-2011 03:26 PM

Topic tags/keywords: humor

Is this the most costly work error ever?......Think about your biggest work goof. Did it cost the company any money to repair? Was the outcome reversible? If you’ve erred in a significant way, this story will surely help you feel less guilty, as your mistake’s associated costs likely won’t hold a candle to the mess one German maid has gotten herself into.

An overzealous – but presumably well-intentioned – cleaner decided to rid a piece of art of a nasty stain. The only problem is that the stain in question was actually a part of the installation, and the maid ended up ruining more than $1 million dollars worth of artwork. Breaking a printer doesn’t seem as bad now, does it? Child’s play!

The late Martin Kippenberger created “When It Starts Dripping From The Ceilings,” which featured wood planks and a discoloured plastic bowl. The intention was that viewers would assume that the bowl was discoloured from water running over the pieces of wood. Only they will have to work very hard to come to that realization now, since the bowl is no longer very discoloured.

It’s unclear whether the maid will be in legal trouble over her error, but it seems as though she either wasn’t following orders or was not trained properly. Like viewers, the cleaner was required to stay 20 centimeters away from the work of art. Perhaps she did not know that, or perhaps she just wanted to go a step beyond and impress people by cleaning the bowl she thought was dirty. Or maybe she just really hates a stain.
On loan from a private collector, the piece is unable to be restored to its original state. Insurance adjusters are currently assessing the damage, but Kippenberger’s work is rather valuable. In 2005, one of his paintings sold for more than $1 million and it is assumed this piece is worth at least as much.

What do you think about the maid’s big mistake? Have you ever messed up at work and cost the company money?

10 replies so far

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3948 days

#1 posted 11-13-2011 05:10 PM

granite cut to short, granite counter busted, screws through counters

kitchen with wrong colour paint, wrong colour stain, wrong door style, finish peeling off the doors, doors wont work, stiles and rails the wrong sequence, appliances wont fit, cabinets wont fit…………and on and on and on

Good judgement is often a result of lots of bad judgement : )

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View chrisstef's profile


17489 posts in 3061 days

#2 posted 11-13-2011 07:06 PM

Being in the demolition field nothing surprises me any more. Ive seen or participated in:

Someone try to salvage a 4” piece of copper .. after the shut off … that ruined the VP’s office to the tune of about 3k.
Ive personally whipped a large 6 ton forklift around and wiped out a bearing wall droping the mezzanine above 4 inches.
Ive also backed up a 60’ boom lift into the general contractors truck knocking the bed gate clean off. (but why was he parked behind a boom lift hidden by the dumpster?)
Countless numbers of walls and millwork that were supposed to remain.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 3753 days

#3 posted 11-13-2011 09:09 PM

As a young Linesman the Forman got me driving a large Hydro truck and said I was using my brakes too much he said I should down shift to save on the brakes so I dropped from 5th to one and blew the transmission.

My older brother was going to be smart to fix one end of an extension cord he cut both wires at once end and forgot to unplug from the wall he got a surprise and I got a ruin pair of pliers.

On a Friday afternoon the Forman was going home with the Superintendent and told us to stop at a small brook and wash the truck we did and after we played around in the brook having fun and I threw my hard hat towards the truck and it landed in the windshield and it broke right where the Forman sat, Monday morning he got in and never said one word until 5:00 then he said who did that so I said “a small” I did he just said take it to the repair shop.
I paid for it for the next 3 weeks he gave me all the dirty jobs.

View IrreverentJack's profile


727 posts in 2898 days

#4 posted 11-13-2011 09:26 PM

This is When It Starts Dripping From The Ceilings . I think the former stain is visible in the top picture.

The maid probably thought she was cleaning up someones critique of the piece. -Jack

View William's profile


9950 posts in 2897 days

#5 posted 11-14-2011 04:40 AM

I know a particular maid myself (I called and she declined to be identified) who worked for a maid service that goes around in four person crews and cleans houses. They are supposed clean and not ask questions. Well when she first started they put her on dusting. They told her to dust all exposed surface and to take this bottle of glass cleaner and clean all mirrors and glass you see.
In one room, on asmall mirroe on a coffee table, was a pile of white powdery substance. She did as she was told. She dumped the substance in the trash and cleaned the mirror. She went on about her job, proud of herself for her first day on the job.
When she got back to the office that day, the manager scolded her for dumping the substance. When the manager couldn’t hold back his laughter a second longer, he told her with a laugh that he didn’t know what was funnier, the fact that a woman her age didn’t know what cocaine was or that the owner honestly threatened to file a police report over his (now in the trash) cocaine.


View Cozmo35's profile


2200 posts in 3091 days

#6 posted 11-15-2011 11:41 PM

My brother was working on a job with us and we had a bundle of 2X4’s delivered. They were supposed to be 8 ft. 2X4’s but the supplier delivered 10ft 2X4’s by mistake. Not wanting to have his driver tied up with another delivery, he asked that we accept the 10ft boards at the same price as the 8ft. We accepted. My brother was told to cut them to 96 inches. He cut over 100 2X4’s to 69 inches before we caught him!

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View 489tad's profile


3379 posts in 3067 days

#7 posted 11-16-2011 12:10 AM

A few years back we were haveing a house built. In the framing stage before second floor ceiling joists went in my wife noticed the walls were only 8’ instead of 9’ as planned. They just added a foot wall on top. Would of hated to tell them after the roof went on.

I’m walking the line right now with a project made of bubinga. Way too much invested to wreck it now. Keep them crossed for me.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3170 days

#8 posted 11-16-2011 12:19 AM

auch … hope you cuold use the 2×4 in another place :-)

William …. I sure hope he made a police report …. LOL

I knew one that didn´t have too much between the ears and all the others in the crew
knew it …. a shovel he was expert to use and thats it … one day the boss came and ask
if he cuold use the backhoe …. the light went on and he yelled yes sir…. well can´t you load
the trucks today with the mull … he jumped into the backhoe and wait for the first truck to arive
30 seconds after the truck arived he had destroyed a brandnew alu platform on the truck
50000 $ out of the window ….. he still only use a shovel today

when I was on an electronic school we had to find fails build in on some televisons as a test
and I totely forgot all about having one hand in the pocket when dealing with electric
and the televisones had metalframes as the ground so working on two of those at a time
I placed the hands on both frames at the same time …............not told and not thinking at all
over there was over 100V difference between the two frames
just standing there shaking like a bartender … only one thing todo walk backwards until
the wire was pulled out of the plugs …. result …. two televisons crashed on the floor
did I learned something …. gess not I still do crazy things with electric power :-)

take care

View DS's profile


2931 posts in 2475 days

#9 posted 11-16-2011 12:29 AM

About a dozen years ago, I kept a white board in my office with all the current jobs in the shop to keep track of scheduling, purchasing and what not.

After sending out 11 shop copies of paperwork to the various departments for a new job, I received a call from the homeowner changing their minds on the color. I meticulously collected all the copies of the paperwork showing the now incorrect, darker color from the shop.

Despite 11 new shop copies with the correct, much lighter color, the finish room finished the entire house of cabinets in the old color!

Unbeknownst to me, the painter was going into my office to look up the color on my whiteboard rather than having to dig through his paperwork. Guess which place I forgot to change the information!

There was no salvaging the job. We rebuilt the entire set of cabinets – about $25k worth.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View TheDane's profile


5461 posts in 3718 days

#10 posted 11-16-2011 01:15 AM

I can’t talk about it … the statute of limitations isn’t up yet.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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