A lot of people like scary movies. A lot of people don’t. But nobody likes the terrifying feeling they get when they make a horrible mistake, find themselves in an awkward situation, or fall victim to stressful situations beyond their control. These embarrassing moments happen to everyone on the planet, and we generally like to forget about them as soon as possible.
But we can’t. Even though the stories you’re about to read happened years ago, they’re still fresh in our minds. And there’s no better time than Halloween to share these gruesome moments, as well as the lessons we’ve learned in their wake. Let’s face it: You’re probably in the mood for something spooky after binge-watching Season 2 of “Stranger Things” all weekend.
So it’s time to pull up a creaky chair, turn on your nightlight, and read about the blood-curdling memories that will haunt our dreams forevermore. Email terrors! Autocorrect atrocities! Live gators in the backseats of our cars! But there’s a happy ending to all of these grim tales: There are simple things you can do to ensure they don’t happen to you.
Story # 1
I used to do PR for a local craft-beer enthusiasts group. We used to taste local brews and post reviews on a Facebook group to start discussions. Well, we tried a red lager, but it tasted very bizarre -- almost like a sour beer. We said this in our review, and we tagged the post with the name of the brewery. Mere minutes after we posted the review, the brewery asked about the expiration date on the cans. It was several months expired. We all got stomachaches while we had to take down the review and issue an apology. -- Pal Hollywood
Lesson learned: Check whether you received a faulty unit before posting a bad review… and always…always check the expiration date.
Story # 2
We were filming at 3 a.m. for a major morning show from the CES show floor with a new drone. When we were preparing to shoot, our drone operator nodded enthusiastically and answered “yes” to all the questions and directions from the producer. However, when the cameras began to roll and we started giving instructions, it was clear he did not understand a word of English. -- Angela Leon
Lesson learned: Always do a dress rehearsal, especially if you’re going to be on live TV.
Story # 3
After covering a Microsoft event, I sent an email on my phone in a cab to request comments from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. I sent the email to my contact on the Microsoft PR team, didn't get a response, and then checked my outbox. Autocorrect had changed his name in the email. Turns out I’d requested comments from Microsoft CEO “Nadia Saletta.” -- Tim Moynihan
Lesson learned: Never trust autocorrect. Slow down and review your emails before hitting “Send.”
Story # 4
I once sent a pitch team to Minneapolis and accidentally booked their hotel rooms for the wrong day! Their rooms weren’t available until the day after they arrived. Luckily for me, they ended up in a better hotel than I initially reserved. -- Harmony Cook
Lesson learned: Always triple-check the dates.
Story # 5
I used to do entertainment PR. To promote the circus, I had to take performers to media interviews. I showed up at the venue at 4:30 a.m. to find Tahar -- the master of all beasts and a world-renowned alligator wrestler -- waiting for me in a windowless van. He then informed me that he wanted to put an alligator in the backseat of my car so I could drive them both to the interviews. That happened. -- Amy Bryson
Lesson learned: Always keep a bag of alligator chow in the trunk of your car, just in case.