"All I Heard Was, 'Thomas, Noooo'": Workers Are Sharing The Biggest Mistake They've Seen A Coworker Make, And I'm At A Loss For Some Of These

·12 min read

Since the majority of us have to work, it's pretty common to work with a few coworkers who make mistakes at their job.

NBC / Via giphy.com

And while there is absolutely nothing wrong with making mistakes (because it's important to grow and learn!), some coworkers tend to take the crown when it comes to the kind of mistakes they make at work.

NBC / Via giphy.com

So when I saw that Reddit user u/xk543x asked the Reddit Community: "What's the dumbest mistake you've seen an incompetent coworker make?" I knew the answers would be entertaining. So I rounded up some of the best responses below:

1."My wife worked at a gas station and found out her coworker, who had been there for years, had been refilling the napkin dispenser by cramming them one at a time through the front slot. She walked up, unfastened the back, and apparently his jaw hit the floor. He had never considered that there might be a better way to do this."

A stack of napkins on top of a table
Witthaya Prasongsin / Via Getty Images

2."Working in pharmacy, a pharmacist gave a customer a flu shot and threw the used syringe in the container with the new syringes instead of the container to dispose them. Another pharmacist went to grab a new syringe later on and ended up getting stabbed with the used syringe. Caused a total shit storm."


3."Putting all the patients false teeth in a bowl together to soak on a dementia ward. It took us weeks to try and match patient to teeth — and no, they weren't marked up with the patients names. I doubt the right teeth ended up with the right patients. It was guess work."

Fake teeth on a night stand
Gannet77 / Via Getty Images/iStockphoto

4."At a Petco, all the Guinea pigs were in a big plexiglass enclosure with a center divider. Boys on one side and girls on the other. An employee decided that all the long-haired Guinea pigs should be on one side and short-haired ones on the other. It took forever to sort them out and all the females were pregnant."


5."I worked as a radiation protection tech at a power plant that was refueling. My job was to sit outside of a contaminated area and if anyone wanted to take something out of the area (tools, etc.) I had to make sure it didn't have any radioactive particles on it. To do this, you wipe the tool with something like a tissue and then hold the tissue up to a machine called a frisker. If the needle on the frisker goes above a threshold, then the tool has to be cleaned or left in the area. One day, I come back to relieve a guy who had been sitting outside the area for two hours. He tells me there have been no issues and everything has cleared. I look at the frisker, lean over and turn the machine on."


6."Removing the plastic wrapping from a pallet of five gallon cans of (highly flammable) acetone. He didn’t have a box cutter so he proceeded to melt it with a lighter. This was in the middle of a commercial paint warehouse. If it caught fire you would see it from space."

A lighter on top of a pile of matches
Nikolay Chekalin / Via Getty Images/iStockphoto

7."There was a guy who drove a forklift through a wall in the warehouse. We work in IT. It wasn't Michael Scott or Dwight. The guy was tasked with going to the storage area in the warehouse to get some laptops. When asked why he used the forklift (which he had never driven before or was even authorized to touch), he said, 'I thought it would help.'"


8."My coworker at the bowling alley had to walk down a lane where a group of very young children (maybe 4-8 years old) were bowling to retrieve a ball that had stopped in the gutter about halfway down to the pins. When he had picked up the ball, my other coworker told him to go walk it back down to the children. However, this guy had it in his mind that it would be best to bowl it back down at the group of small children instead. Luckily, one of the adults with the children was a big muscular guy who was able to stop the ball and pick it up without anybody getting hurt."


9."Emptying hot fryer oil into a plastic container. Guess how that went?"


10."He was making pizza and broke the pizza board (the thing with the handle you make the pizza on and then slide the pizza into the oven). I found the other one and he lost that. So I told him to make pizzas on one of the plastic cutting boards. He put the pizza into the oven on the board and just left it. The board melted. No more pizza that day."

A pizza being pulled from the pizza oven
Gabe Ginsberg / Via Getty Images

11."He tried to retrieve his lighter from a deep fat fryer with his hands. Boy, was that fun to clean up."


12."The office we worked in was shut down due to COVID and the company went 100% remote. A new senior engineer was hired to work directly with our product team and also manage a team of developers. During our company wide weekly zoom meeting, after he was done presenting for the company, he turned his camera off but forgot to put himself on mute. 100+ people heard this man playing Fortnite and talking down about the company to someone else in the background among other things. He only lasted a month."


13."I used to work as a pharmacy tech. Most antibiotics for kids come as powder in a bottle. We add distilled water to make it liquid upon receiving prescriptions, as the solution only remains stable for 10 to 14 days, depending. One day, a father dropped an amoxicillin prescription for a child. The product was prepared and given to the father. He left. Two hours later, he came back and said the medication smelled funny. I think 'Duh. Medication often do.' But I still wafted the scent with my hand to my nose and he was right. Something was off. I gave the bottle to the pharmacist. He agreed and made another bottle right away. The original antibiotic bottle smelled like straight-up alcohol."

a pharmacy with a flu shot sign

"In a lab, we keep multiple solvents, for many uses: Water, simple syrup, mineral oil, and ethanol. One of the techs added ethanol to the antibiotic instead of water. And we were all flabbergasted as to how the mistake could have occurred because all the solvents are (1) of different sizes, (2) of different label colors, and (3) identified in huge letters. We identified the tech guilty of that mistake, and they couldn't even say how that error occurred."


Cecilie_arcurs / Via Getty Images

14."They took the wrong coffin to a funeral. Someone else had to drive to the cemetery with the correct deceased on board, and thankfully, they made it before the viewing."


15."A teacher nearly leaving a child behind on a field trip. We took a large group of five-year-olds to visit a farm/petting zoo/pumpkin patch. We had three vehicles. I was in charge of my own group, but I noticed one of the other teachers was being very lax in her supervision for most of the trip. When it was time to leave, I loaded my children on the bus (with some other adults) and did a head-count/attendance check. Before getting on my bus, I noticed that the other teacher had climbed onto her bus and sat down BEFORE the children boarded. She walked on first and had the kids follow her. I almost let it go, but my gut instinct told me she wasn't counting her students. Once they were all boarded, I walked back and climbed on her bus. She seemed irritated when she realized I was checking on her... I was not a supervisor or anything, I was just a fellow teacher, so she didn't answer to me in any way."

"She said something like, 'We're all good, let's go!' I knew how many were in each group, so without answering her, I did a quick count.

Sure enough, we were missing one. I ended up leaving the bus and going to find the kid myself. He was still on the playground with children from another school. When we got back to the bus, the other teacher blamed the kid! She said he 'wandered off.' Really, she is the one who gathered the group and left the play area, meaning she is the one who 'wandered off.' She was pissed when I went to the administration about the incident."


16."He parked in the CEO's reserved parking space — a clearly defined area — and was surprised at the end of the workday to see that his car had been towed."


17."I worked for a non-profit that hired a guy in fundraising purely 'for his Rolodex,' and they couldn’t care less about any of his job functions as long as he kept bringing more rich people to fundraiser parties. Well, when the pandemic hit and we were forced to go remote, it became clear how incompetent he was with technology, and how he’d been coasting for years in the office by sticking to phone calls instead of email, etc. We had our first major online fundraiser coming up, and I warned my boss that this dude had no idea how Zoom worked: he never muted himself and the camera was always up his nose — he treated it like watching a YouTube video. But again, he was the guy inviting all the rich people to the event, so they didn’t want to 'lecture him about a computer program' and 'hurt his ego.'"

a close up of a toilet handle

"Then in our massive 200+ person zoom event, he set his laptop on the bathroom counter and proceeded to take a shirtless, nasty old man dump complete with grunting, splashing, and squelching. It was so loud it drowned out the speaker. They had to end the event early because they had no way to mute him and it kept going for a full two minutes with no sign of stopping. I nearly threw my laptop out a window that night."


Kinga Krzeminska / Via Getty Images

18."They tried to cool down hot oil (in a chute, all ready to be emptied) with a nice big bucket of water. I heard 'THOMAS NO' only to turn around and see a GEYSER of hot oil shooting towards the ceiling before it hit and splashed down around him. Nobody was hurt some fucking how."


19."I worked in a veterinary hospital for a good number of years. One day, unknown to me, some little girl had found a dead/dying seagull with her family and brought it in to see if we could help it, but it had passed by the time they arrived. Our veterinary technician took said bird for disposal but was too busy to deal with it then (like...put it in the freezer. It takes one minute tops with labeling!). So instead, he just packed to box with the dead bird into our storage area with dozens of similar boxes and just left it there. Days go by (while he is still working, I should add), and I come back on shift and something is seriously rank in the office. Customers are complaining! I eventually find the box buried beneath other supplies. I walk up to my head receptionist and say, 'So... seagull?' and watch the absolute fury grow in her eyes. The tech did not last long after that."


20."Not a coworker but a fellow culinary student. I am in college one day a week training in advanced patisserie. Two weeks ago, we were making sugar sculptures from isomalt. We had to bring in blow torches to 'weld' parts of our sculpture together. Our instructor was explaining step-by-step what to do with the isomalt. He explained that when we had our pieces molded and cooled, he would show us how to use the blow torch. So a lot of us were busy molding and cooling our pieces before assembling our sculptures. One of the students who shared a station with me sort of jumped the gun and thought he could just assemble his sculpture without the instructor. He turns on his blow torch, sets his sculpture on a surface COVERED IN CLING FILM, and proceeds to just set fire to everything around him."

a chef with a frying pan playing with fire in the kitchen

"At this point, I am roaring at him to stop but he just brushed me off and screamed back that he knew what he was doing. Before we knew it, the cling film was on fire and fire blankets were grabbed quickly.

The instructor managed to get the fire put out, but dear Jesus, did it frighten the lot of us. The instructor chewed the student out for being so reckless. I actually can’t believe what this student did and how he saw no danger. I really hope he chooses another career other than cheffing."


Vladimir Vladimirov / Via Getty Images

21."I worked at Starbucks about six years ago. I had a newish coworker come up to me and ask why the water was going straight through the coffee and not changing color? He was trying to brew coffee without grinding the coffee beans. I still have a good laugh about this every once in a while."


22."I grabbed the arm of an intern once, right as he was about to grab a 00 gage (the big wires that feed electricity to the whole building) bare-handed to move it out of the way to show us a problem behind it. It was hot. He claimed it was fine because he was only gonna touch one wire at a time. The lead electrician 'respectfully' requested said intern be removed from his sight before turning himself into carbon and paperwork. I agreed with this sentiment and had the intern watching OSHA videos for almost three days straight as punishment."


Have you ever seen a coworker make a horrible mistake at work? If so, tell us what happened in the comments below.