You Won’t Believe How Expensive These Silly Mistakes Were




Everyone makes mistakes- we’re all human. Almost every day, we make small mistakes or mess up little things that don’t really have much of an effect on our lives. In contrast, however, some things simply cannot be messed up. What would you do if you realised you made a really big mistake that could change everything in History? While most of us can’t imagine that level of responsibility, this has been the reality for many people down through the years.

From important business people to high profile engineers, some people are not expected to mess up, and when they do, disastrous things can happen. Oftentimes, the smallest mistake can change the entire course of History and cost the person who made the error millions. From misprints in the stock market to faulty engineering that has cost lives, here are the most devastating and expensive mistakes that the world has ever seen. You’ll be horrified that these were ever able to happen…




The Sale of Alaska

It might surprise you to learn that Alaska was sold to the USA from Russia in the 1800s for a mere $7.2 million. The rulers of Russia regarded Alaska as a useless, ice-covered terrain that was worth nothing. Little did they know, Alaska was rich in natural resources and is now worth a massive $50.7 billion. Ouch. 






Bye Bye Bitcoins

While we know how valuable bitcoins are now, in 2009 when they had just surfaced, people didn’t really understand them. One man named James Howell had bought 7,500 of the coins but had thrown out the hard drive that they were stored on, thinking that they wouldn’t amount to anything. Brace yourself- the total value of the coins today would be worth $65 million. He could have been a millionaire!






Fat French Trains

Can you imagine purchasing 2000 new trains without getting accurate measurements of them? This exact situation happened to French rail company SNCF, who ordered the new trains without realising that their platforms were too narrow to accommodate them. The embarrassing slip-up cost $55 million to fix, on top of the $16 million that they had just splurged on the new trains! 






London’s Millenium Bridge 

London’s Millenium Bridge was supposed to be a sample of the amazing feats of engineering that could be achieved with the turn of the 21st century and was opened up in June 2000. The bridge spanned the length of the River Thames and was hyped up for months before its grand opening. After the first few people stood on the bridge, however, it started wobbling and swaying back and forth, unable to deal with the weight on it. People were terrified and the bridge had to be closed immediately. It cost a whopping $8.9 million to fix! 




The Typo That Cost Millions

If there’s one place where mistakes shouldn’t be made, it’s the stock market. One unlucky Japanese company, Mizuho Securities, wanted to sell their stocks for ¥610,000 (about $5,000) each. When someone was inputting this data they made a typo and accidentally put the stocks on sale for only ¥1 each, which is cheaper than one cent per stock. Horrifically, the typo cost the company $225 million. We’re assuming someone got fired that day… 






A Lost Lotto Ticket

Is there any situation scarier than the thought of throwing away a winning lotto ticket, never to be seen again? This was a reality for one woman in 2010 when she realised that her husband had thrown away her winning lotto ticket worth $141 million! We wonder did the marriage last much longer after that?





A Dangerous Skyscraper

London’s “Walkie Talkie” skyscraper was renowned for its innovative design and shape until people noticed one massive problem with it. Because this building was made totally of glass and had a concave curve, it became a giant mirror which reflected the hot sun onto the ground. This reflection was so intense that it even began melting cars! In an attempt to prevent this from happening, the building had to be covered in sun protection panels. Between the melted cars and panelling of the building, can you imagine the cost!? 




The Sunken Submarine

One of the most important features in a submarine is the ability to resurface when it’s finished its voyage, to, y’know, ensure that the passengers can actually leave the vessel! Imagine the horror when one Spanish company built a submarine that was too heavy to resurface! Fortunately, this error was caught before there were any tragedies. Hilariously, the reason that this happened was because one of the engineers working on the project put a decimal point in the wrong place, completely messing up the measurements. Easily done! 



Refusing Harry Potter

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you’ll probably know the story about the series being rejected already! For anyone who doesn’t know, J.K Rowling’s amazing books were refused by many publishers, one of whom justified the decision by saying that Harry Potter could not be published because it would not be commercially successful. Currently, the Harry Potter franchise is huge all over the world and is now worth an insane $25 billion. Who’s commercially successful now? 




Putting a New Meaning on Budget Airline

It’s actually scary how many big mistakes can happen due to a simple typo! This time, the mistake happened at a Canadian airline company when someone typed in the flights from Toronto to Cyprus as $39 each rather than $3900. Over 2000 passengers raced to buy the cheap tickets before the mistake was rectified. Fortunately, the airline honoured the cheap tickets but it cost them almost $7 million. 

How would you cope if you made a mistake that changed everything, and cost millions? Sometimes “sorry” just doesn’t cut it! 



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