A Bank Almost Lost Millions Because Someone Fell Asleep On Their Keyboard
"I fell asleep on the job" is how a lot of stories start when you ask someone why they're missing the right half of their body. Industrial accident reports are filled to the brim with people nodding off for a second and paying the price. But when one banker in a cushy office decided to get a quick 30 winks behind his comfortable desk, he could've never conceived the incredible damage he was about to inflict.
In 2013, a German bank had a bit of panic when they discovered that one of their employees had been a bit too generous with a transfer, ready to send exactly 222,222,222.22 euros to an aging pensioner. Realizing that not even the German welfare state is that good, the top brass soon discovered that the clerk in charge of the transfer "fell asleep for an instant" with his finger pressed down on the 2 key. Odd way to get comfortable, but that's number crunchers for you.
Kemter/iStockNot many sweeter dreams than this, though.
Fortunately for everyone except the pensioner, the mistake was caught in time and they were able to correct it before anyone noticed. However, in its anger, the bank decided to make an example of the lazy and incompetent clerk by firing his supervisor. This, and not the aborted transfer, would turn out to be the bank's biggest mistake. The former supervisor sued the bank for wrongful termination, airing the bank's dirty laundry in the process. A judge agreed with the supervisor after she told the court that the bank was so understaffed that she had no more than two seconds to check each document, and not the 222,222,222.22 seconds which had been entered in her report.
The Most Famous Painting In The White House Misspells "United States"
On August 24, 1814, the White House was burning to the ground. Walking through the cinders in the opposite direction of those fleeing the fire, First Lady Dolley Madison was going back to save a single painting, one that stood as a shining symbol of truth, justice, and the American way. But if that was really the case, why did she save a painting that couldn't even get the name of her country right?
Many of us had a good chuckle when Trump's "State of the Union" tickets instead said "Uniom" -- which is also what Trump mumbles during his wedding vows to keep the back door open. However, what few people realized is that this mistake meant that he finally had something in common with a great president. In the East Room of the White House hangs the oldest and most famous painting of George Washington, the Lansdowne portrait. Legend has it that during the War of 1812 (all the good name-givers had died during the Whiskey Rebellion), when British forces had set fire to the not-yet-actually-White House, First Lady Madison only fled after she recovered this one iconic painting.
Slightly diffusing her patriotism, however, is the fact that this particular painting carries with it a traitorous error. On the spine of a book near Washington's feet, instead of the title "The Constitution And Laws Of The United States," it says "United Sates" -- which sounds like a pickup line Uncle Sam would practice in front of the mirror. But how on Earth do you paint a typo, and such an easy one at that? The answer is: intentionally.
Gilbert Stuart/National Portrait GalleryThe plaque reading "Portrait of Gorg Washingtub" might have been a clue.
What Mrs. Madison didn't know at the time was that she had risked her life (and naturally, that of her slave) to save a fake. The original Lansdowne portrait, painted by Gilbert Stuart, was never in any danger, and is currently hanging safely in the National Portrait Gallery. What the First Lady had saved from both the fire and dirty British hands was a mere copy -- the framed college poster of presidential portraits. But this was no forgery. Stuart himself had been commissioned to make several copies of the famous portrait throughout his career, and in order to distinguish the original from the copies, he intentionally removed the "t" in "United States," making it the first time in the history of art that a letter of the alphabet became a collectors' item.
In a way, all of Cedric Voets' works are about typos and losing respectability. For more of his pubic relations, please follow him on Twitter.
You know what might help cut down on typos? A nice ergonomic keyboard. Why doesn't everyone have one?
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For more, check out The 7 Most Disastrous Typos Of All Time and 4 Incredibly Dumb Typos That Resulted In Disaster.
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