Ever seriously screwed up at work? You’re not the only one

When I was 17, I worked on the tills in a garden centre. A week after I started, they needed someone to cover a bank holiday, so I volunteered to do it and get the extra money.

Cut to me standing terrified and completely alone at a till, while the queue snaked round the entire store, with absolutely no idea what I was doing and no one around to help me. When someone presented me with a paper voucher – something I’d never encountered before – somehow ended up giving the customer £3,000,000,000 of store credit.

The sick, sweaty moment of panic when I saw that number on the screen still comes back to haunt me. Therefore, I really, really enjoyed it when on Twitter was asking for stories of people’s work fuck-ups because, as we all know, misery loves company. My voucher mistake doesn’t seem so bad when compared to the guy who forwarded an email virus to his entire company while trying to warn them about cyber security, or the truly amazing story of the man who mixed up his days and ended up off his tits on ketamine

Thankfully, The Pool team are a sharing lot and, when I came clean about my mistakes, they were only too happy to come forward with theirs – or to volunteer ones that their friends had made. Whether, when pressed for details of these friends, staff members produced photos of people who looked remarkably like them in a fake moustache and a hat is not something I am in a position to confirm or deny.

JADE HUTCHINSON, HEAD OF AV

When one of my friends was working on a well-known radio station overnight, he fell asleep and didn’t wake up until there had been substantial amount of dead air. They got a few complaints about that one.

ZOË BEATY, DEPUTY NEWS AND CONTENT EDITOR

Once, I made up an article from the European Convention on Human Rights while arguing for my right to stay in court, directly addressing a judge in front of four barristers. The judge made me stand at the front of the court to speak. I was shaking and speaking in an impassioned way about the right of the public to see that justice is done. I cited “Article 48” of the European Convention on Human Rights. There are only 18.

ELLE TURNER, FASHION AND BEAUTY ASSISTANT

 I locked myself in a toilet on a job interview and had to be let out by the interviewer.

LAUREN BRAVO, CONTRIBUTOR

I was once accidentally very rude to Jay Rayner on the phone because I thought he was my colleague. We went through three rounds of me going, “SHE’S BUSY – SHE’S IN THE EDIT WITH JEN,” and him saying, “I’m sorry, I don’t understand,” before he went, “This is Jay Rayner.” I thought he was Matt from upstairs; they had similar voices.

LUCY DUNN, DEPUTY EDITOR

I once got so drunk at an awards bash that I couldn’t function the next day at work and had to lie down on the sofa outside the office for several hours. Which is, of course, when I met my new boss’s husband for the first time… I had to shake his hand while lying prone on the sofa with one hand over my eyes.

ROWAN ELLIS, SOCIAL-MEDIA MANAGER

I used to host/produce a family-friendly radio show where we would do elaborate links into songs. One day, we were talking about a new play Anthony Rapp was in, and lead into the next song with “Anthony Rapp was in the musical RENT, RENT is about money, what’s a “Rapp” about money? Here’s Kanye West’s ‘Gold Digger’!” – and took off our headphones to talk about the next segment without having to hear the music, only putting them back on at the very end of the song. And that’s how, live on air on a “no-swearing” radio show, we accidentally played the explicit version of Gold Digger in its entirety.

HANNAH BANKS-WALKER, DEPUTY FASHION AND BEAUTY EDITOR

I used to work in a local clothes shop – where the manager was sort of best family friends with my boyfriend’s family. On my first day, I got locked in the loo. I had to bang on the door and all of the employees had to come and help me.

EMILY BAKER, NEWS AND BRANDED CONTENT ASSISTANT

I once served an old man coffee, rather than tea, because I didn’t know what “char” was. He didn’t even say anything; his son came back like five mins later.

ELAINE ROBB, CHIEF SUB-EDITOR

Not me personally. I worked for a chief sub who left a dummy headline on a cover, “HORRIBLE CLOCKS LINE HERE”, which went to print. The brand paying for the sponsorship wasn’t impressed…

FRANKIE GRADDON, HEAD OF FASHION AND BEAUTY

A friend of mine once wrote an email slagging off the head of the company, AND THEN SENT IT TO THEM. She had to go and hide in the toilets.

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