They’re Supposed To Protect The Taxpayer’s Money
“I worked for the state Department of Forestry for a while as a firefighter. I was sent as a supervisor to a very large federal (Forest Service) fire that was all but out on my end and miles from the active fire front. We got bored standing around for days on end, so I started leading a couple 20-person hand crews in each day, rehabbing some of the nature trails in my area. One day, we decided to go off-trail and head down to a nice cool creek for an afternoon swim. As soon as we got to the creek, I noticed a massive netted sling-load (carried under a helicopter via a cable) that had been dropped on a rocky area just up from the waterline. It was all brand new hoses, nozzles, fire shelters, gear bags, etc. Never been used and every piece marked as Forest Service property. Our state is pretty broke so naturally, my first thought was that someone’s going to miss this stuff. I mean, that’s a ton of money sitting there in firefighting gear.
So after both of the crews swam and relaxed, we all (45 of us or so) grabbed as much as we could and packed it back out to our rigs and then drove it back to fire camp that evening. I went to the fire cache (it’s the place that checks equipment in and out for the fire) and told the manager what I had found, and that it was all outside in our vehicles. This dude lost his nuts. He told me that I had to hide that stuff now and the first thing the next day, it had better be gone, back out piled where I found it. I asked why, since it was in an area deemed inactive and would probably never get picked back up. He looked me straight in the eye and said, ‘That’s the whole point. That stuff has been written off, get it? The more we spend out here, the more we get in the budget next year…And that means money for strep increases too.’ A step increase is a raise in pay. Over the years, I found this to be a common trend on federal fires. Soooo much equipment wasted in the name of unethical spending.
I was so disgusted with that man’s statement that I just had everyone dump it in the parking lot behind the fire cache. It was gone by morning and I heard rumors that a few contract (private) crews had a bit of an early Christmas.”
The Waste At Weddings Is Truly Awful
“I work as a freelance musician and often stand in for wedding bands; I have worked at lots of weddings where clearly the families have crazy money.
One thing I always see at the fancier events, without fail, is a TON of amazing, fully prepared food and expensive drink being tipped/thrown away at the end of the night.
When I asked about it once, I was told by one of the staff that a lot of catering companies are trained to prepare enough of every menu option so that if everyone orders the same thing, they have enough. What happens, in reality, is they throw away enough food to feed the wedding party (often of 200+ people) another two times over.
Particularly annoying when the band is served cold chips as their ‘evening meal’ because ‘we couldn’t stretch the budget, sorry!’
On a more positive note, one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen was a drummer successfully sneak out of a catering tent, having liberated a whole wheel of cheese that night.”
Wouldn’t It Have Been Cheaper To…Never Mind…
“Around 2001, my wife worked for a national company and her team was split between east and west coast.
There was no working from home or laptops, desktops were standard for them.
If someone needed to work from home, they had a single laptop they could use. For the whole team. So, if that laptop was in North Carolina and someone in California needed to work from home, they had to box it up, ship it (with full insurance, rush shipping, and a few days notice) to the other coast.”
They Really Didn’t Think That One Through
“My company recently switched to a new operating system and rather than have a few people come train our office, they planned to send everyone (around 200 people) from the east coast to the west coast for a week for training.
They did about half before realizing that wasn’t cost effective. And since they’re such a great company, their solution after that was to stop training everyone and just give them books to read.”
They’d Rather Let Produce Rot Than Give It Away
“I was an assistant manager at a grocery store and you wouldn’t believe how much produce I threw out because it wasn’t pretty enough. The district manager set a high standard of how the produce should look. If I didn’t call it correctly, he would write me up. He came in 1-3 times a week, so I couldn’t get away with not doing what he asked. When I looked at weekly reports of the shrink, the loss of produce amounted to about $100-200. I asked him if I could donate the produce we threw out and his response was, ‘That’s theft’.
I was so glad when this place went out of business.”
They Valued The VIPs Over The Every Day Worker
“It’s pretty weird what some companies will do. The company I last worked for before changing jobs would often (every week) fly in professionals from other cities/countries. Every one of them got their own private, Executive SUV (Denali/Escalade/etc) paid for by the company. I’m talking people who were all arriving on the same flight and going to the same hotel. So instead of paying $200 for one SUV to take four people, they’d pay $800 for four SUVs to each drive one person.
The company prioritized treating the travelers so highly, they’d do stupid stuff like that… but giving employees a raise was always a huge hassle. It’s like, give Cheryl who busts her butt working late an extra couple grand for christ sake! But no, every traveler getting their own SUV is way more important.”
He Would Never Forget This Mistake
“I’m doing a course at university that covers specific contracts relating mostly to banking, insurance, credit agreements and other financial contracts and agreements.
My lecturer has practical experience as a senior compliance officer at some big banks and told us about one of his client’s spending (the equivalent of, in today’s terms) $68 million buying, adjusting and rolling out software and hardware for their national banking system. The problem was that the software wasn’t developed locally and, as a result, included functionality that served absolutely no purpose locally and – further to that – omitted functionality that was a baseline requirement in terms of what the bank needed locally. My lecturer attributed this to the fact that it happened around 2001/2002, which is why nobody was absolutely certain about what was going on.
I didn’t experience it first hand with my own eyes, but I could totally feel the pain of the higher-ups who had to admit to making that mistake. Last he spoke of it, he said they ended up abandoning the upgrade, losing out on the sum total of $68 million plus the $753,000 fine that was levied every six months for their lack of compliance with standard banking practices. He stepped down as their compliance officer when one of the execs told him that the fines would cost less than restructuring for a new upgrade.”
The Las Vegas Way Could Land You In The Poor House
“I work in a nightclub in Las Vegas. Table/bottle service on an average night starts at around $2,000. You get your own table in the club. Bottles of drinks and mixers. Security. Your own waitress. It’s already rather silly to spend $2,000 to drink at a club for a couple hours, however on big holiday weekends, those prices rise. I’ve seen people pay $100,000 for a night out. One person in particular, who works in finance in Dubai, went to the extreme. He and his wife, along with their six security guards (who weren’t drinking by the way), ordered 40 bottles of the most exotic drink we have, at $800 a piece. They got Magnums, at $2,000 each, and several large format bottles of bubbly at over $5,000 each. I think they only finished 10-15 of the normal-sized bottles. They only took a few sips out of the bigger ones, they mostly just poured glasses and handed them to other people.
Yeah, you wanna see people throw money away? Go to a Las Vegas nightclub on Memorial Day weekend. It’s kinda gross.”
He Ended Up Being A Bad Fit
“I used to have something to do with warehouse logistics and whatnot. A new manager came in and his first project was an order of about half a million dollars worth of pallets. These weren’t wooden pallets, but plastic molded ones specifically made to fit the forklifts that we were using. The order had to be made overseas and brought in by freight. They had to be exact measurements, of course, to fit the forklifts.
He started bragging that my sales department made all the money ‘for him to spend.’
A few months later, the pallets arrived and none of them fit the forklifts in our warehouse…
Except for one.
Turns out, he measured only one of the forklifts for these pallets. That one forklift was part of a unique, non-standard system used for minor moves.
Faced with a warehouse of half a million bucks worth of plastic pallets that wouldn’t work with our standard forklifts, the guy was swiftly asked to resign. But yeah, now we use wood pallets.”
Their Picture Perfect Family Vacation Ended Up Costing Them
“I’m a VIP tour guide at Walt Disney World. Each guide costs $600/hour and charging starts when you ask us to meet you, whether you’re there or not.
It includes things like an unlimited Fastpass+ system (expedited queue access), access to reservations otherwise difficult, VIP viewing for shows/nighttime spectaculars, someone to help entertain and provide knowledge to your family/group, ease of not worrying about directions, personal transportation from park to park, pick up from airports (private or Orlando), etc.
A family booked two of us multiple days in a row and wouldn’t show up until typically 2-3 hours into being charged. $7k+ overall paid for tour time they didn’t use. And they didn’t care at all.”
A Very Delicious Waste Of Product
“I once worked for a warehouse that primarily focused on food storage services. A client company was storing some pre-cooked bacon for use in some product they were planning to release. They decided not to release said product and ordered all of the bacon we were storing for them to be destroyed. We loaded multiple trucks with close to 150,000 lbs of perfectly edible bacon to get tossed in a landfill. Saddest day of my life while working there.
Before anyone asks, there was an auditor from the client there making sure all of the pallets of bacon were loaded onto the trucks and none ‘fell off.'”
By “Saving Money,” They Wound Up Costing The Company Even More
“One of our sister companies decommissioned a printing press that was identical to one we were using. It was given to us to store in a warehouse so we could scavenge it for parts as needed. Parts for older presses can range from $500 for little things to several hundred thousand for larger assemblies so this was a great gift for us.
Our maintenance supervisor (he’d been with the company for about a year) decided to show management how good he was at cost saving; so, in an effort to save warehousing costs on ‘useless parts,’ he told the warehouse to scrap the whole thing.
Even if it cost $15k a year to warehouse it, we’ve needed about 20 times that amount in ordered parts now that could have come off that old machine.”
Alternative Business Practices
“I worked at a high-end footwear factory, making pairs of leather shoes that retail at $500 a pair. The owner was a self-styled anarcho-capitalist and had some entertaining ideas about how to run a business. He had some notion that his staff would work harder if we were afraid of bankruptcy, so he stopped buying leather. I don’t know how these things were connected. Naturally, we could not make more shoes.
We told customers that the wait would be longer than ever for their shoes. Sales stopped, orders stopped, I swept the floor 10 times a day. He refused to buy leather for three months while keeping all of us ‘working;’ he was paying our wages with his own credit because he was mad at someone who told him that his strategy was idiotic. The company was bought out by another old-boys-club ‘entrepreneur’ idiot after the owner ran out of money.”
Teaching’s Not What It’s Chalked Up To
“The high school head of the math department bought about ten pallets of chalk and retired the next year. The new head of the math department decided to switch out all the chalkboards for dry erase boards. They weren’t allowed to throw out the chalk and weren’t allowed to share with other departments who still used chalkboards. They had a room full of chalk for at least seven or eight years that no one was allowed to use. It was still there 15 years ago when I quit my job at that school. They are now tearing down the school and building a new one in the same location. I would assume that they are going to put the chalk in storage somewhere until the new building is ready for it.”
He Couldn’t Spend One Day Without His Phone
“I worked at a phone store and this guy just lost his iPhone X in a river. The guy had insurance on the phone and had a $250 option to use it and get a phone the next day. He said he needed a phone now and ended up paying the $850 he still owed on his phone plus signing a new agreement to get another iPhone X. We make commission off the phones, but I was looking out for his best interest by telling him that going through the insurance would make the most sense but he scoffed and said it’s only $800.
He was the epitome of ‘I live off Daddy’s money’ and him acting like $800 is nothing is the most pretentious thing I’ve ever seen.”
A Truly Useless Purchase
“I know a guy who purchased a second car. His first car was a Mustang, his second is an Audi. He is a single father. His payment arrangement is $400 per month. He didn’t try to talk it down. The car is 10 years old. His Mustang isn’t paid off.
He works on my team in the same position as I have. My wife and I together can barely afford our $250 per month single car payment.
And the best part? He can’t drive a stick. His new car is a stick. He hasn’t learned to drive a stick. It’s been three years. He’s been doing all of this and struggling for 3 years for a lawn ornament.”
Was The Car Really Worth All That?
“I worked with a guy years ago as his manager, we’ll call him Kevin. Kevin had a gray, 1987 Chevy Celebrity that he had bought for $300, which he customized with 18” rims that he had bought for $800 used (and likely stolen) and $500 worth of audio equipment (also likely stolen).
He decided one day that he should put under-car lights on his $300, 1987 Chevy Celebrity. He spent $400 on a fancy set of lights and another $200 to have them installed. Under-car lights happened to be illegal in our state but you could usually get away with them if you weren’t stupid. Kevin was stupid.
He decided to show off his $300, 1987 Chevy Celebrity with it’s $800 rims, $500 audio system and $400 under-car lights, which weren’t particularly legal in our state. He concluded that the best place to do so was the local carnival, sponsored by and held outside of the local police station.
Kevin pulled up to the carnival in his $300, 1987 Chevy Celebrity, slowed down on his $800, 18″ rims and turned on his $400 under-car lights and $500 audio system. Not 100 feet into showing off for the ladies, one of the police officers, of which there were many, decided to show off the lights on his 2002 Chevy Impala.
He was given a ticket for $180 but told that if he had the lights removed and showed up to his court date then the ticket would likely be dropped. Returning to the shop at which he’d purchased the lights for $400, Kevin paid another $100 to have them professionally removed, which he then earned back by selling the $400 set of lights to the very shop for that $100 that he’d just handed them, having only gotten to use them the one time.
After removing and ridding himself of the lights that had caused so much drama to Kevin and his $300, 1987 Chevy Celebrity, he decided to celebrate by trying to drag race a Mustang on the way home. He wrecked and totaled the car but walked away unscathed.
Thus was the end of the $300, 1987 Chevy Celebrity with its $800 rims, $500 audio system and $400 under-car lights. Since the car had been totaled, Kevin never got the chance to prove to the magistrate that the lights had been removed and still had to pay the $180 fine.”
She Was The Perfect Mark
“The top business manager for the East Baton Rouge Parish school system fell for an unsophisticated con and wound up wiring $46,500 to someone who claimed via a Hotmail email address to be Superintendent Warren Drake, even though the man himself was working in an office next door. She also made no attempt to call or talk in person with Drake, whose office was adjacent to hers at the School Board Office on South Foster Drive.
The fake Warren Drake said at different points that he’s busy or in a meeting, which appeared to have dissuaded her from trying to talk to him directly. The fake Warren Drake requested the first wire transfer of $22,500 go to the account of ‘Rosa A. Oboadey’ in the Bronx, and that the second of $24,000 go to ‘Johnson Chepkwony’ of Brooklyn. The third wire request, which was halted, was for $25,000 for ‘Sylvester Namutedi,’ also from Brooklyn. I’m so glad I was at the school board office doing HR paperwork that day.”