Bless this mess. We all love to see other people mess up, screw up, and f*ck up. And the internet allows us to share the stories far, wide, and instantly. The hashtags #fail, #epicfail, and #employeefail are three of the most popular on social media. You can log on, conduct a quick search, and immediately feel better about yourself (no matter how bad your day is going, those people are having it much, much worse).
We love, love, love to see others fail. Hell, there’s even a word for it: schadenfreude, from the German schaden (harm) and freude (joy). The research suggests that we all take pleasure in someone else’s mistakes at least sometimes, so there’s no reason to feel bad. We all do it. We’re all equally reprehensible. Morally corrupt. Um...ethically disabled? Yay us!
Deriving pleasure from it makes us feel better about ourselves and our situation, and we all need that from time to time. And let’s be completely honest here...it’s usually pretty damn funny.
An epic fail can brighten your mood, provided it wasn’t you doing the failing. These are just a few of the thousands committed every day. So fail on, you incompetent fools! The world needs you.
No humans were harmed during the making of this list...other than possibly getting fired.
See Also: Top 10 Worst Employees Ever
1. A Bad First Day
Poor A.J. Clemente. This guy could be the poster boy for epic employee fails for the rest of time. He falls into a special category.
A.J. had finally achieved his dream of becoming an on-air anchor for a local news broadcaster. He had a new suit. Probably got himself a haircut that day to look his best. Showed up early to rehearse and introduce himself to everyone. Then, he took his place at the anchor desk beside his more experienced co-host, Van. He was nervous, yes, but also excited. All his hard work and sacrifices had finally paid off.
Then it all went downhill. And fast. His very first day for the NBC-affiliate KYFR in Bismarck, North Dakota did not go well. Not understanding exactly how microphones work, A.J. managed to say “gay” (in the derogatory sense) and “f*cking sh*t” on live television at the start of the broadcast. His co-host was visibly unnerved.
To be fair, he might have been fired regardless, as he struggled to get out a single sentence without tripping over his own words. When asked to introduce himself, he had this to say:
“I’m very excited, I graduated from West Virginia U originally, and I’m used to the, ah um, you know, from being, from in, ah, east coast.”
Not exactly Walter Cronkite or Tom Brokaw.
You had one job, A.J.!
2. Martin the Waiter
Waiting on tables isn’t an easy job at the best of times. People can be demanding, rude, and impatient. Waiters have to juggle a lot of things all at once - both literally and figuratively.
When called upon to serve someone famous, the old nerves can kick in and make things even more difficult. Such was the misfortune of waiter Martin D. He was tasked with serving beer to a table of dignitaries that included German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2012. The media was there, too, taking video and photographs. As he handed a glass to Merkel, his tray tipped over and spilled 5-6 glasses of delicious German pilsner all over the Chancellor. Oops. Martin says he was bumped from behind. Merkel winced, but apparently handled it with poise and grace afterwards (because, you know, free beer).
That’s a bad day at work.
You had one job, Martin!
3. Thank You, (INSERT NAME)
Big companies have to deal with a lot of complaints. Hundreds, if not thousands, and on a daily basis. Most of them have templates that they use to respond and deal with them. They fill in a few details and send it on its merry way. At least in theory.
One user on Reddit posted a response they received from United Airlines regarding a complaint. Apparently, they couldn’t even be bothered to take the time to do that completely. The letter included sentences like:
- Your comments regarding (SPECIFIC EVENT) will be used for coaching and training our employees.
- ...and as a tangible means of acknowledging your disappointment, enclosed is (SPECIFIC ITEM).
- (CUSTOMER NAME), I ask that you allow us another opportunity to serve you, as we consider it our privilege to have you aboard.
United Airlines: We Just Don’t Care, And It Shows! (apologies to Delta Airlines for using their slogan).
You had one job, customer complaint department!
4. Because Nothing is Funnier Than Domestic Violence
Most companies use social media to connect and engage with their fans and customers. Many have a full-time social media manager or brand ambassador on staff to look after their many profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Snapchat, and Google+.
In September of 2014, TMZ released video showing professional football player Ray Rice punching his girlfriend in the face and knocking her out. He was consequently let go by the Baltimore Ravens, and in the days following, the hashtag #WhyIStayed was trending on Twitter. It allowed women to share their stories of domestic violence and survival. It was moving, and inspirational.
And rife with hilarious possibilities. At least according to DiGiorno Pizza. They tweeted on their official profile using the hashtag and the answer “You had pizza.” Get it? Why did I stay and put up with your abuse and physical violence? You had delicious DiGiorno pizza. Hahahaha….
Needless to say, the public was less than impressed. The tweet was pulled, and the company issued a lame apology that claimed they didn’t understand what the hashtag was referencing.
You had one job, DiGiorno social media manager!
5. Shove It Up Your A**
Another epic fail by another American airline (not to be confused with American Airlines).
In April of 2014, US Airlines was responding to a customer complaint on Twitter. It had something to do with delays and late flights (shocking, I know), and during the first exchange between the complainer and the company, things went as you’d expect.
But then it took an unfortunate turn. A very graphic turn. The company’s tweet read:
“We welcome feedback, Elle. If your travel is complete, you can detail it here for review and follow-up.”
That seems appropriate. It recognizes the complaint, uses the customer’s name, and provides next steps. Full marks to US Airlines. But underneath the message was a pornographic image of a naked woman with a toy plane inserted someplace that nature did not intend for that purpose.
You had one job, Twitter account manager!
6. Are You Serious?
Quick, what’s the job description for a crossing guard? Something along the lines of stopping traffic and allowing children to safely cross a busy street, right? We all know that.
But guess who doesn’t buy into all that nonsense? A crossing guard interviewed by the Channel 6 Action News in Philadelphia. The channel was investigating a complaint that claimed she never walked children across a busy intersection or made any attempt to stop or slow traffic on their behalf. Ever.
She had this to say (on camera!) about her job:
“I’m not standing out there in the street and stopping traffic, are you serious?!”
Um, yeah. Yeah, we’re serious. That’s the only thing you’re supposed to do. You’re a crossing guard.
You had one job, lady!