Have you ever been embarrassed by a clumsy typo or grammar mistake? Me neither, because we don’t make mistakes, ever! But just in case your chubby sausage fingers caused you some trouble or the key on your keyboard keeps getting stuck, at least you can be at ease knowing that you didn’t cost yourself or your company millions of dollars. But, here are ten simple typos that did just that.
Two-million dollar comma – Believe it or not, one misplaced comma cost the US government two million dollars in 1872 (that’s forty million dollars today). The typo was corrected eventually, but only after two years of lost revenue. The US tariff act of 1872 had a line that was supposed to exempt imported “fruit plants” from being taxed. However, someone made a mistake and added a comma between “fruit” and “plants,” resulting in huge costs for the US government.
Yellow pages sued for clumsily made mistake – When a California agency discovered that Yellow Pages accidentally made a tiny error by misspelling one keyword they sued them for gross negligence and won 19 million dollars. “Exotic Travel” incorrectly became “Erotic Travel” thanks to the clumsy oversight by the yellow pages.
Chilean currency mistake – It’s rather embarrassing when you misspell something important, for example someone’s name. So, you can imagine the stir that was caused when Chilean people spotted that the name of their country was spelled incorrectly on the 50-peso coins.
Department of Education’s extra letter – Rather ironically, the New York Department of Education ended up losing more than one million dollars just because they mistakenly added an extra letter to one word.
His own typo made him rich – Virginia’s grocery store clerk Michael T. Donnelly benefited from his own mistake when he was typing up a lottery ticket for his customer. The clerk accidentally made a typo with one of the numbers, which resulted in him buying that same, and as it turns out, seven million dollar winning ticket.
Comma (again) – Mizuho Securities Co., a division of the second biggest bank in Japan, attempted to sell its shares of a recruiting company on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in December of 2005. Unfortunately for the company, the shares that were meant to be offered at 610,000 yen per share were inadvertently offered at 610,000 shares for one yen. The company lost $340 million in 24 hours.
NASA and the most expensive hyphen in history – Mariner 1 was launched into space in July 22, 1962 as a first inter-planetary mission attempt by the United States. However the hyphen that was supposed to be in Fortran-based code was missing from it. Because of this, Mariner 1’s destination changed resulting the issuing of the destruct command.
Buying and selling rampage – Stockbroker Juan Pablo Davila lost 206 million dollars on the stock market when he unintentionally entered the shares that he wanted to sell into buy column. After realizing what he’s done, Davila made 5,000 transactions with 23 brokers on a buying and selling spree, in order to try and recover some of his losses.
Scratch-off tickets typo – Every ticket was the winning ticket in the unfortunate turn of events in July of 2007, when a car dealership thought it would be a good idea to send scratch-off lottery tickets to some of the locals. There were supposed to be 50,000 tickets with just one winner of 1,000 dollars.
Typosquatting – As it turns out, there’s a lot of money to be made of other people’s typing errors. Typosquatting does just that! If, for example, an average Internet user incorrectly enters the website address by accident, there is a good chance that they will be redirected to a site that is covered in advertisements. Google is losing millions because certain people own commonly misspelled variations of the company’s name, and use ads to make money from the traffic they receive.