A lot has happened in 2020 (just in case you need to be reminded again of how crazy things have gotten). An interesting development in the home office age is that many have started digging into the stock market and investing in order to make a little extra money. While many have made fortunes, others have seen them lose all of their belongings. But that’s nothing compared to the MILLIONS lost to bad and short-sighted business decisions and investments. You can’t imagine how awful these people felt when they woke up one day and realized they had the chance to become a millionaire or a billionaire,
1. Trains That Were Too Wide For Your Platforms
When you build subway lines in your city, you actually want the wagons to fit through the platforms, right?
Well, the French company SNCF made a measurement error and the 2,000 train cars they bought were too wide to fit through the platforms! This error cost an estimated 50 million euros and an additional two years to upgrade all 1,300 platforms. Damn.
Have you ever heard of a building melting a car? We don’t, until this crazy story. This interestingly shaped building in London caused a stir when its owners received a complaint that it had melted parts of a man’s jaguar.
The car was parked across the street and when Martin Lindsay returned to find parts of the body and mirror that had melted from the reflection of the building. The owners of the building not only had to pay for the damage, but also for special sun protection around the building.
Here’s a crazy story – after filming the hit movie Justice League, Warner Brothers decided they had to re-shoot a few scenes. Re-shoots are pretty common, but in this case there were other parties involved. Lead actor Henry Cavill had already started filming Mission Impossible – Fallout, which had to grow his facial hair, but Superman had to be clean shaven.
Warner Brothers begged Paramount to let Henry do the re-shoots without his mustache, but Paramount refused. This resulted in a $ 25 million re-shoot that also paid a visual effects crew to remove all of his hair.
4. Let’s stick with one system of measurements, please
When it comes to systems of measurement, it is important that everyone uses the same, otherwise nasty miscalculations can result.
In 1999, NASA and Lockheed Martin built a satellite, albeit with a small flaw – NASA used the metric system, while Lockheed Martin used the imperial system. That little mistake caused the Mars orbiter to explode, costing NASA $ 125 million!
Most people know the popular Harry Potter book series by famous author JK Rowling very well. Although her books ultimately had huge commercial success (with book sales grossing $ 7.7 billion alone), she has received many rejections along the way.
Rowling shared some of her rejections on Twitter, with a publisher sending her something that, in hindsight, is rather ridiculous: “I regret that we reluctantly concluded that we cannot publish [Harry Potter] with commercial success.”
6. The blockade in the Suez Canal costs billions of dollars a day
The Suez Canal is one of the most important trade routes in the world and connects large parts of East Africa and the Gulf States with the Mediterranean. Unfortunately, this canal had a little traffic jam on March 23, 2021, which made traffic in Los Angeles look small.
The Ever Given – a container ship so massive it is longer than the Eiffel Tower is tall – was thrown off course and stuck on this precious trade route, making trade effective for the 369 ships behind it came to a standstill. The stoppage of world trade caused by this unexpected congestion is estimated to cost an estimated $ 9 billion a day or $ 400 million an hour.
Imagine losing billions of dollars in the city garbage dump! In 2009, James Howell bought around 7,500 bitcoins, which were worth very little at the time. He saved all the information on a hard drive, but threw it away when moving house without thinking about it.
But, as we all know, Bitcoin went through the roof and James started looking for his hard drive in the municipal garbage dump – until he was banned from looking for environmental concerns. By the way, that small investment would be worth $ 427 million today!
When building a new submarine, the plan is for it to dive underwater, but also to reappear. In 2013, the Spanish government spent a whopping $ 2.2 billion on a submarine called Isaac Peral, only there was a problem with the design.
Due to a comma error, the submarine was so heavy that it was feared that it would no longer be able to emerge from the underwater world. Fortunately, the problem was resolved.
We all need to pay more attention to details and this case is a pretty good example of that. A stockbroker for Japanese company Mizuho Securities Co. made a small data mistake that ended up costing a whopping $ 225 million.
He wanted to offer a share for 610,000 yen on the New York Stock Exchange, but instead offered 610,000 shares for 1 yen. Obviously the investors wanted to take advantage of the situation – better be careful next time!
Someone clearly has bad taste in music if they turn down the Beatles! The Liverpool band, called “Silver Beatles” applied to Decca Records in 1962 and was turned down because manager Dick Howe believed guitar music was a dying trend.
The band signed to EMI a few months later and became one of the best-selling bands of all time, with record sales of $ 50 million. Decca Records Missed the Big Lot!
When you sell the stocks you own in a company, there is always the risk that the company will do even better in a few years.
In this classic example, Yahoo owned 30 percent of the Chinese tech company Alibaba in 2005, but sold half of its stake for $ 7.6 billion. That’s a huge sum, but today Alibaba is valued at around $ 84 billion!
If you’ve always wanted to know why the Oxford comma (the last comma in a list) is so important in English, here’s a good reason. When signing contracts, the Oxford comma separates the penultimate items from the last items on a list – and the lawyers representing the company’s truck drivers argued that the absence of the comma in the contract means they are entitled to overtime .
We know it sounds a little complicated – and it is – so let’s get to the point for a moment. Basically, a judge agreed with the legal team representing the drivers and ordered the company to pay them $ 5 million for overtime. Basically, a company lost $ 5 million just because of a stupid comma – spelling matters!
If you are not supposed to use the priceless item you borrowed for a movie scene, you must inform all actors on board. We’ll explain it to you – in Quentin Tarantino’s film, The Hateful Eight, the production team borrowed a priceless guitar from the Martin Guitar Museum.
In one scene, actor Kurt Russel grabs actress Jennifer Jason Leigh’s guitar and smashes it, only Kurt wasn’t informed that the real guitar should be exchanged for a replica for the smash part. Let’s put it this way, Jennifer’s reaction in this scene is pretty real.
A controlled burn is a fire that is lit specifically in certain forest areas in order to avoid huge, uncontrolled fires. One exception was Cerro Grande, New Mexico, where the fire got completely out of hand.
In 2000, the controlled fire became uncontrollable and the flames spread everywhere for about a month, causing $ 1 billion in property damage. At least no one died in the tragedy.
16. What to do if King Tutankhamun loses his beard
If a piece of an art object comes off, it’s probably a better idea to ask an expert first before turning it into a DIY project. What would you do if you saw the beard peeling off one of King Tutankhamen’s death masks?
An inexperienced restorer thought he should tape it back on without anyone noticing. Fortunately, epoxy glue lasts quite a long time and wasn’t the worst choice.
17. A fresco is ruined, but has something good with it
So if you thought the last piece of art was botched, check out this. An amateur restorer from Borja, Spain thought she could restore the Ecce Homo (See the Man) fresco, but the result was not so beautiful to say the least.
The botched fresco was mocked and some people even named the painting Ecce Mono (See the Monkey). Surprisingly, however, it has since become a major tourist attraction.
We all know that George Lucas is quite rich and famous from the acclaimed Star Wars films, but he could have been a lot richer actually.
Back in the 1970s, the film studio was reluctant to spend so much money that Lucas gave up his merchandising rights as part of a deal. Imagine getting paid for every lightsaber and droid toy sold around the world!
This residential complex in Shanghai collapsed due to terrible construction defects. Earth had been poured on one side of the building and the building collapsed when construction workers dug the earth to make a parking lot.
The destruction cost one worker’s life and $ 800,000 to repair. At least this incident brought the persistent problem of building supervision in China to the public.
How safe would you feel if you walked over a swaying footbridge? In 2000, a £ 18.2 million bridge was built connecting both sides of the Thames in England. However, after three days, the bridge was closed due to instability.
Apparently the bridge was not strong enough to hold the 160,000 people who crossed it at once. Much more money was spent and the bridge finally opened two years later.
Why would anyone give up Alaska? Some of you may not know, but Alaska wasn’t always part of the United States – it was owned by Russia until 1867.
Alexander II didn’t think too much of the cold state and sold it to the US for $ 7.2 million without knowing how rich it was in oil and gold. Today Alaska’s oil and gas reserves alone are worth $ 200 billion. Wrong step, Russia!
Everyone has heard of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, but does the name Ronald Wayne sound familiar? If you aren’t very familiar with Apple’s history, you probably didn’t know that there was a third founder of the successful tech company.
Wayne drew the famous Apple logo, but due to personal conflict, Wayne sold his 10 percent stake in 1976 for only $ 800. Knowing that Apple is valued at over $ 1 trillion today, Wayne may have sold his shares a little early.
24. If Only Blockbuster Had Teamed Up With Netflix
Believe it or not, Netflix and Blockbuster could have teamed up. Back in 2000, the co-founder of Netflix met with the CEO of Blockbuster to propose a partnership – Blockbuster would run the Netflix stores while Netflix would work online on the Blockbuster brand.
In hindsight, that might have been a great idea, but we all know what happened. Blockbuster laughed, left the meeting, and eventually went bankrupt while Netflix’s market value skyrocketed, currently valued at $ 15.8 billion. It’s not that fun now, blockbusters.
Here’s another example of a company getting out of a business that could have turned them into billionaires. Those of you who witnessed the dawn of the internet will likely remember the Excite search engine.
In 1999, Google (then, funnily called Backrub) entered the market and Excite considered buying it but decided not to because Google wanted Excite to only use its technology. Google is currently valued at around $ 167 billion, so Excite may have made the wrong decision here.
We’ve all accidentally spelled the wrong year in our essays, tests, or even government forms. In this case, mixing up the year cost more than a little embarrassment.
The person who forgot to proofread an application cost the state of New Jersey a large federal grant for educational reform. By writing the years 2010-2011 instead of 2008-2009, New Jersey lost $ 400 million. Damn!
This is the story of the second largest trade loss in history. 2007 was definitely not the best year to trade bonds due to the financial crisis.
Howie Hubler (a bond dealer at Morgan Stanley) bought risky loan default swaps for $ 2 billion while selling collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) for $ 16 billion. The CDOs weren’t safe, and when the market crashed, Howie Morgan Stanley cost billions of dollars.
In the most expensive crash in history, a $ 1.4 billion military jet was planning a training flight from the Pacific island of Guam in 2008 and crashed during take-off.
Fortunately, the pilots managed to get off the jet before the crash and the sensors reported airspeed, altitude and flight path errors. It was later discovered that too much moisture had penetrated the machine due to heavy rain. Crazy!
This story is probably the most famous of the list. Who hasn’t heard of the Titanic? The large passenger liner that set sail in 1912 has been labeled “unsinkable,” which is quite ironic considering what happened to it.
The Titanic hit an iceberg on its first voyage, which sank the ship and carried 1,500 people with it. In addition, the loss of the ship cost about 7.5 million dollars (which corresponds to about 150 million euros in today’s currency).
Honestly, if you look at this photo, it runs down our spines. That was the NOAA-19 weather satellite, which was launched in 2009. But in 2003, much earlier, the satellite fell to the ground at a 13-degree tilt while it was being rotated.
And as you’d expect, the repairs were extremely expensive – the project cost $ 135 million to work on!
35. Driving too close to a school bus has consequences
We shouldn’t really have to remind anyone, but you shouldn’t drive too close to a school bus. Why? Because otherwise you will end up in the same situation as the little silver car in this photo.
This small car drove way too close to the school bus and the bus obviously didn’t know that anyone was behind it because as it reversed it crushed the small car. And the shape of the silver car only made things worse.
As it looks in this photo, this expensive car may not be salvageable.
We’re not sure which genius thought it would be a good idea to leave this Mercedes this close to the water, but lo and behold, the tide came and the car half sank in the sand. Next time you better park in the parking lot when you go swimming!
If you’ve always wondered what a server looks like when it tips over and falls on the floor, here is your chance.
Since these towers are extremely heavy, we’re not really sure how that happened, but either way, it’s going to be a massive cleanup project and cost a ton of money. Maybe next time people should be more careful.
After seeing this disturbing picture, the only question left is whether the person who did this is still sane? A wad of 5,000 Canadian dollars appears to have been put in the microwave and it is no surprise that the bills came out shriveled and unusable.
The guy who did this wanted to sanitize his money, but microwaves sure aren’t the way to go. What a huge waste of money!