It happened in 2010, when someone got the bright idea to do some construction work along a stretch of the busy Beijing-Zhangjiakou highway, ostensibly for the purpose of making the constant traffic problems suck less. Instead, they managed to accomplish the exact opposite. Apparently, no one foresaw that when you take an already seriously overtaxed highway and close half the lanes, everything stops. Traffic slowed to the infuriating, grandpa-like speed of 1 kilometer (a bit over half a mile) per day. The 75 miles of highway essentially turned into a big parking lot. Oh, and it was summer.
Poor saps who unsuspectingly got sucked into this automobile black hole spent as many as five days in traffic and had to keep themselves entertained playing cards, trying to find an unpooped spot on the side of the road, and occasionally getting attacked by packs of robbers (we're assuming they were dressed like Mad Max characters). Others just slept to pass the time, which of course made the traffic go even slower.
"Wow, I had the most ridiculous nightma- s**t."
Meanwhile, kind locals helped out the poor drivers by giving them water and food ... at 10 times the regular price, naturally. And since few had packed provisions for a week-long trip, they could either suck it up and pay or starve.
"Here's a week-old dead possum I found. That'll be $18,000."