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    Automobiles 
  • The AMC Pacer was intended to be the compact car that would keep American Motors going through The '70s, the company anticipating that small cars would be a growing market. Instead, its problem-plagued development had a major hand in killing the company.
    • Development started on the Pacer in 1971. The seeds for its problems came in AMC's smaller size and budget compared to the "Big Three" Detroit automakers (General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler), forcing it to rely on outside suppliers for many parts rather than its own internal supply chains. Regardless, many of its design features were quite innovative — it was extremely wide for a small car (comparable to a full-size Cadillac Eldorado) so as to create more interior room, it was designed with aerodynamics in mind for fuel economy purposes (presaging the Ford Taurus by fifteen years), the passenger-side door was longer than the driver-side so as to make it easier and safer to load the backseats in the two-door car, it was only the second compact car (after the Ford Pinto) to have rack-and-pinion steering, and it featured early versions of many safety innovations that, later in the decade, would become mandatory in American cars.note 
    • The problem came with the engine. AMC had originally designed the car to run on a Wankel rotary engine, initially sourced from Curtiss-Wright and later from General Motors, in order to reduce weight and increase performance. However, in 1974, just before the car was to enter production, GM canceled its rotary engine project due to reliability issues, fuel consumption, tooling costs, forthcoming emissions regulations, and concern that its performance dynamics (rotaries tend to need high revs to reach their full power) would scare off Americans accustomed to low-revving, high-torque engines. By that point, AMC had poured $60 million into the project, too much money to cancel it, and so they hastily redesigned the Pacer to accommodate their existing straight-six engine. With much more weight under the hood, the Pacer only got 18 mpg in city driving, compared to the mid-20s for its competitors with smaller, four-cylinder engines.
    • The Pacer arrived in showrooms in 1975, and initially sold like hotcakes as one of the few credible American compact cars that hadn't been tarnished by poor reliability (like the Chevrolet Vega) or safety issues (like the Ford Pinto). While American Motors initially expected to sell 80,000 Pacers that year, high demand saw production boosted such that, ultimately, 145,528 were sold, nearly double expectations. However, this massive ramping up of production led to problems with build quality and fit and finish. Furthermore, the car's massive windows led to an unforeseen problem: plastic parts and leather seating slowly fell apart through constant exposure to direct sunlight. As competition stiffened, the Pacer's flaws and its controversial styling slowly killed it and gave it an unflattering reputation as a "nerd car". The Pacer's long-term failure, after the princely sum that American Motors had spent on it, helped throw the company into a death spiral in the late '70s, culminating in it getting bought out by Renault and later Chrysler in The '80s. The car has become something of a classic since then, but a Cult Classic more than anything, remembered as a symbol of '70s kitsch that was just a bit too far ahead of its time.
  • The Bugatti Veyron supercar, as this article by Raphael Orlove on Jalopnik lays out. Ferdinand Piëch, the CEO of Bugatti's corporate parent Volkswagen, had issued an executive mandate to Bugatti to make the Veyron the fastest production car in the world, capable of topping the record of 252 miles per hour, more as a Bragging Rights Reward than anything. It was a very difficult task — even discounting all other problems, the Veyron pushed the upper limit of what was physically possible with the technology of the time. And then you get into those problems.
    • Set to be launched in 2003, Bugatti's plans went horribly wrong after the Veyron's debut drive for journalists at Laguna Seca ended with the pre-production test model spinning out and almost crashing due to its handling problems. Since Bugatti operated outside Volkswagen's engineering structure, critical design flaws were never caught until they had already built a prototype for testing.
    • The car's release was delayed for two years after its inauspicious debut. During this time, its suspension, brakes, and aerodynamics were all adjusted, while its Y-layout, 18-cylinder engine, which they couldn't get to make more than 555 horsepower, was replaced with a W16. All of this occurred without the original designer's input, since he had retired from the company.
    • The new project manager, Bernd Pischetsrieder, took a hopefully-final version of the car for a test drive... and he hated it. Sending the car back for further refinement, an all-new steering rack had to be designed.
  • Piëch had another one of those with Volkswagen Phaeton. Intended to thrust VW above Mercedes-Benz and BMW in terms of luxury (despite VW already owning two major luxury marques, Audi and Bentley), it was built with Piëch's demands in mind. Most famously, it was supposed to be capable of being driven all day at 300 kilometres per hour (186 mph) with an exterior temperature of 50 °C (122 °F) whilst maintaining the interior temperature at 22 °C (72 °F) (even though its top speed was limited to 250 kph and this kind of driving would require frequent refueling stops). This led to delays and development costs going out of control. Ultimately, customers were largely unwilling to look beyond the VW badge and styling too reminescent of the mass-market Passat, which led to sales lower than expected (which was bad news, considering even with sales expected by Volkswagen the Phaeton project would fail to break even). In later years, it became somewhat of a Cult Classic for being as luxurious and more rare than its counterparts while being very inconspicous and relatively cheap (since new Phaetons depreciated very steeply).
  • Porsche experienced a minor and unfortunate case of this in March 2019 when a freighter carrying, among other vehicles, four 911 GT2 RSes to customers in Brazil caught fire and sank off the coast of France, taking all its cargo with it. Porsche had to put that model (whose production run had ended in February) back into production in order to meet their orders.
  • The Cadillac Allanté was the brand's attempt in 1987 to create a flagship luxury sedan that would rival top-level Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar models. Although a fondly remembered car filled with excellent technology for the era, it never quite took off as the car was just as expensive as its rivals while offering lesser performance, two factors which can be blamed on the car's odd production quirks.
    • The car was sold as a mix of American and European engineering, which was possibly a bit too true. Pininfarina, the famous automobile design firm that handled the car's styling, also built the Allanté's body shells in Italy which were then flown to Detroit in a specifically-converted Boeing 747 for final assembly. This convoluted production process is blamed for why the car was so expensive in the showroom.
    • For performance, it was front-wheel-drive and equipped with a V8 engine that only made 170 horsepower (upgraded to 200 horsepower in 1989), which was a blatant downgrade over the car's European competitors. In 1993, it finally got a suitable engine with the 290 horsepower Northstar V8, right in time for the car to be discontinued.

    Construction 
  • The entirety of the Millennium Dome project seemed like this, from its constantly-delayed boondoggle of a construction, to the lack of planning about what exactly it was meant for, to underwhelming attendance figures, to confusion as to what exactly to do with the thing after the millennium celebration had concluded. It's quite difficult to improve on Andrew Rawnsley's description of the Dome as "a magnificent shell enclosing a vacuum of banality" and "a vacuous temple to political vanity" that embodied the worst features of its age: "the vapid glorification of marketing over content, fashion over creation, ephemera over achievement".
  • The Central Artery/Tunnel Project (CA/T), more commonly known as "The Big Dig", is the most famous construction project in Boston's history for all the wrong reasons. It was simple enough on paper: Reroute Interstate 93 under the central part of the city into an underground tunnel and tear down the Central Arterynote , a notoriously ugly elevated roadway that cut the historic North End off from the rest of the city, and then use the newly opened space to create a park and new entertainment venues and attractions. Started in 1982 and initially planned to be completed in 1998, it wasn't until 2007 that it was formally finished and only after a series of events that included escalating costs, scheduling overruns, leaks, design flaws, charges of poor execution and use of substandard materials, criminal arrests, and one fatality (caused by a faulty ceiling panel collapsing on a car and killing a passenger) and an estimated cost of $14.6 billion, an overrun of 190% of the initial calculation of $6.0 billionnote . And even today the tunnels are plagued with problems that require nearly constant repair, such as an estimated 25,000 light fixtures that will eventually have to be replaced to the tune of $54 million. The entire clusterfuck has made Bostonians wary of any big projects since then, and may have had a hand in dooming the Boston 2024 Olympic bid (see the sports page for more details) and the Grand Prix of Boston. While everyone agrees the end result did accomplish its intended purpose, the process of getting there was a disaster.
  • Along with the Big Dig there was the Deer Island Tunnel, one of the longest and deepest tunnels in the world, which was designed as part of a court-ordered cleanup of Boston Harbor (made famous by The Standells' song "Dirty Water") and the final piece of the Deer Island Waste Water Treatment Plant. It took over a decade to be completed while a federal judge breathed down their neck to get it done, and after a back-and-forth series of arguments with OSHA over worker safety a series of safety plugs were put in place at the farthest end of the tunnel to protect the tunnel workers in the unlikely event of an accidental influx of ocean water. The problem was then getting the plugs out once the tunnel was done, so the construction firm decided to hire commercial divers to remove the plugs, but the catch was this could only be done after all the life support equipment for the workers had been removed due to said wrangling with OSHA, necessitating the divers to bring their own oxygen. During the removal the gas mixer the team used (which the horrified manufacturers, who were unaware of what it was being used for it, said was intended for use in food packaging instead of human life support) malfunctioned and caused two divers to die of asphyxiation nearly 10 miles underground and leaving the three survivors with severe PTSD. See here for the whole saga.
  • Another for Boston was the site of the former flagship store for Filene's in Downtown Crossing. After Filene's was bought by and converted to Macy's, the latter chain opted to sell the Filene's store (as they had been present in the former Jordan Marsh store downtown since the 90s). The store was torn down and the property was bought by Vornado Realty Trust of New York with a plan to build a 39 story tower consisting of a hotel, restaurants, stores and residences. But then the project ran out of money in the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis, leaving the original Filene's facade halfway standing as a shell of its former self and a gaping hole right in the middle of one of the busiest sections of the city. After an ugly tug-of-war between the developers, Mayor Thomas Menino and city officials that went on for years the city finally revoked their permit in 2012 and another firm took over and began construction in 2013 of a 60 story building that was eventually finished in 2016, renaming it the Millennium Tower.
  • The California High Speed Rail has gradually shaped into this over the many years it's been in development. Initially voted in with promises of a trip to from Los Angeles to San Francisco and back within a day, the project's budget ballooned from $9.89 billion to $67 billion and had slowed to a halt due to repeated litigation and other assorted forms of resistance from NIMBYs, as well as difficulties in acquiring the land needed to build tracks, tunnels, and stations. In addition, over the years it's been in existence, people voted into governmental office in some districts have been making serious attempts to dismantle the entire project altogether to allocate the money into building and repairing conventional roads, who have been increasingly gaining power as the rail has continued to be caught in Development Hell and little is getting done. As Barack Obama gave the project $2 billion to get it going, it wound up in the crossfire from people who dislike Obama. By April 2017, the CEO of the project, Jeff Morales, had stepped down. In short, the California High Speed Rail has gotten caught in a statewide altercation between rail advocates and car advocates.
  • Tijuana's SITT ("Sistema Integral de Transporte de Tijuana", translated as Integral Transport System of Tijuana), it went from a promising project that would fix many of Tijuana's ailments with the city's public transportation, which even today, it is notorious for being the worst and the most expensive public transportation system in all of Mexico (with terrible service given in poorly-maintained vehicles which have been modified to forego safety features to cram more people inside, rude drivers, redundant routes that oversaturate many areas and leave others without service, poorly defined routes that end up causing confusion to its users, and said drivers have even ran over pedestrians with their reckless driving just to squeeze more people into the vehicles) into a political quagmire that almost laid it low for a decade before being done, albeit in a drastically watered down service. It all started in the year 1998 with an initiative by then-mayor Francisco Vega de Lamadrid, who envisioned a light tram running from La Presa (which at that time was the east end of the city), run around one of the main arteries of the city, and lastly unto the San Ysidro border crossing and then to the downtown of the city. Then, his successor, José de Jesús González Reyes sought to build it albeit now as a bus rapid transit line, and when he started construction of the first station, the transportation companies of Tijuana banded together to block avenues so that their interests were not threatened (which weren't, as the route did not overlap with them). And then, his successor, Jorge Hank Rhon, decided to just play nice with the transportation companies and sent this project to languish in obscurity. The project was revived, again as a local BRT system, under mayor Carlos Bustamante Anchondo in 2013 as a single main route and made compromises with the transportation companies. However, once the construction started in 2015 under the tenure of Jorge Astiazarán Orcí, the transportation companies banded together again to attack the construction workers, vandalize the stations, and launch failed grassroots protests against the construction of the BRT system. However, the municipal government decided to continue with this, and threatened to destroy the cab and bus companies that continued to engage in this behaviour. The project was finished in early 2016, but due to the pressure by the aforementioned companies against this project, the official launch was delayed until the start of the tenure of the new mayor, Juan Manuel Gastélum. However, he made again more compromises with the cab and bus companies to get the line running, until the buses were attacked by one of the transportation companies; while Gastélum contemplated to shut down said companies, he decided to just slap a fine on them and call it a day. And as of 2018, while the BRT is working, it is doing so at a diminished capacity, the buses get stuck in traffic constantly due to ignorant drivers and cabs willingly violating the rapid transit lines, the innovation of using prepaid cards to pay for the service were never implemented, and the stations get constantly vandalized by goons from the cab and bus companies, causing many inefficiencies and waste of resources on trying to keep the stops safe and illuminated, due to many of them lacking interior illumination at night.
  • In 2018, Florida International University in University Park, Florida erected the FIU-Sweetwater UniversityCity Bridge over Tamiami Trail in order to connect the campus to the town of Sweetwater, where many students lived, after a student was run over and killed trying to cross the busy road. Just five days after it was put up, the bridge collapsed and killed six motorists. Subsequent investigation revealed that the bridge had been subjected to multiple delays and cost overruns that were just asking for a disaster to strike.
    • A key component of the bridge was that it was built in a revolutionary new construction style called accelerated bridge construction (ABC). Instead of being built conventionally, which would have caused traffic delays on the Tamiami Trail, the central span of the bridge was to be built next to the road and then lifted into place, away from traffic. While perfectly safe if done correctly, this technique does require that all of the piers and abutments be in perfect alignment and that the completed span fit to them exactly, unlike in conventional construction where there's some wiggle room if things aren't perfectly placed. In addition to the bridge's practical benefits for the campus, FIU hoped that the project would establish them as a leader in bridge architecture and construction, with FIU President Mark Rosenberg praising the bridge as capable of standing for a hundred years and withstanding a Category 5 hurricane. (Any similarities to proclamations that the Titanic was "unsinkable" are purely coincidental.)
    • Problems began in late 2016, when the Florida Department of Transportation requested that they move the bridge's northern pylon in order to allow for future widening of Tamiami Trail. The pylon was moved 11 feet to the north, a change that raised the cost of the project by over $600,000 and, more importantly, required revisions to the plans. Even seemingly minor changes can invite errors if every last detail is not accounted for when making these changes, and a number of engineers who looked at the collapse said that a change of this sort was ill-advised, with Robert Bea, an emeritus engineering professor at UC-Berkeley, saying that moving the pylon further out, forcing it to support more weight than it was designed to carry, may have caused it to flex. Video of the collapse showed that it started on the north end of the bridge, the side whose pylon had been moved.
    • Federal budget cuts, meanwhile, forced the US Army Corps of Engineers to delay the approval of permits for the bridge as they pushed through a backlog of such.
    • The two firms involved in the bridge's construction, Munilla Construction Management (MCM) and the FIGG Bridge Group, both had recent safety complaints related to bridges they had built. MCM in particular had been sued just ten days prior to the collapse, after a TSA worker at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport said that a temporary bridge they had built there had collapsed under his weight, while FIGG had been fined $28,000 in 2012 after four workers were injured when a portion of a bridge that they were working on fell apart.
    • Two days before the collapse, an engineer flagged cracks in the bridge.
    • It was fortunate that FIU was on spring break when the bridge collapsed. The incident happened at 1:47 PM on a Thursday, a time when students likely would've been traveling around the campus and to their homes on the other side of the bridge, meaning that, if school had been in session, the tragedy likely would've been far greater.
  • The World Trade Center Transportation Hub, built to replace various rapid transit stations around the World Trade Center that were destroyed on 9/11, has been dubbed one of the world's most expensive train stations, or the world's single most expensive station, for its massive reconstruction cost of approximately $4 billion. It came in 10 years later than originally projected and overbudget:
    • The station was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, known for building many train stations, bridges and other buildings around the world. His plans for the rebuilt PATH station was something called the Oculus, which would be larger than Grand Central’s main concourse, with a roof of two movable wings that could open to the sky. Calatrava likened it to a bird taking flight.
    • Calatrava designed the rest of the hub, too — the underground mezzanine, train platforms and connecting concourses. What concessions he could not gain with his considerable charm were often won by obstinacy.
    • The Port Authority’s board authorized a $2 billion project in 2004 — $1.7 billion from the Federal Transit Administration and $300 million from the authority.
    • The Bloomberg administration upended the project in 2005, when the NYPD did a security assessment that compelled significant revisions. To improve blast resistance, the Oculus had to have twice the number of steel ribs. The birdlike structure began to resemble a stegosaurus.
    • In 2005, the Port Authority finally authorized a construction contract with a joint venture called Phoenix Constructors. But the two sides could not agree on a guaranteed maximum price for the overall project, so Phoenix was allowed to sign subcontracts that cumulatively drove up the price. The Federal Transit Administration would cite this as a crucial failure. And in 2008, the Port Authority rejected money-saving suggestions worth over $500 million.
    • When plans were dropped in 2005 for a building at Fulton and Greenwich Streets that would have allowed daylight to reach the hub mezzanine, Calatrava proposed an expanse of skylights set into the pavement. At night, they would glow from below.
    • The Bloomberg administration strongly opposed the plan. It wanted a landscaped corner for the National September 11 Memorial instead. The administration prevailed, so the mezzanine roof had to be re-engineered to support the greater weight of trees, topsoil and irrigation.
    • As the costs of labor, materials and fuel climbed rapidly — in part because so much construction was underway simultaneously in New York — the authority was told in 2007 the final budget for the hub might reach $3.4 billion.
    • Consistent direction was rendered almost impossible by constantly changing leadership: four New York governors who appointed five executive directors of the Port Authority, and five New Jersey governors who appointed four chairmen.
    • Complicating matters even more, different projects were undertaken within inches of one another at Ground Zero. For a time, a plastic tarp was all that separated the Hub from the National September 11 Memorial Museum.
    • Contributing to the bloat in the budget was the authority’s practice of using it as a catchall for any related work performed on abutting sites, on common passageways and on shared mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems — over $400 million in all. The authority did move to trim costs in 2008 by reducing the size of the Oculus and eliminating the movable roof, but these weren't enough.
    • The Port Authority rebuffed suggestions from independent engineers and architects that the Oculus be even smaller, that parts of the temporary station be reused and that columns, rather than a bridgelike structure, carry the IRT Broadway Seventh Avenue Line across the hub’s interior. Calatrava and his partners insisted that the impact and utility of the Oculus would be diminished if it were shrunken further, that the temporary station did not meet requirements for circulation of air and pedestrians, and that columns would interrupt visitors’ movement and provide a potential target for bombers.
    • At this point, Mayor Bloomberg assailed the hub as “too complicated to build” and demanded that the memorial be completed by September 11, 2011, the tenth anniversary of the attacks. Bloomberg's prodding hastened the project but made it more complicated. With the deck for the 9/11 Memorial in place, cranes could not lower materials and equipment to the hub mezzanine below, so the authority had to use flatcars hauled in via PATH tracks instead.
    • In 2010, under orders from the Port Authority and its steel contractor, a Spanish steel manufacturer called Urssa began operating its factory around the clock to speed up delivery of parts needed at the hub. In all, Urssa racked up about $24 million in extra costs for accelerating the work, according to a lawsuit it filed against a contractor and the authority over payment disputes. When it had not been fully paid by early 2011, Urssa ordered that a shipment of steel to New York be halted at Southampton, England, and returned to Spain. Urssa later moved to dismiss the lawsuit.
    • Several hundred million dollars more were added to the costs by damages from Hurricane Sandy.
  • The Lotte World Tower in Seoul, South Korea was derided as a vanity project and caused more than a little anger as Lotte Group was thought to have used undue influence on the government (among other things, Lotte got the Republic of Korea Air Force to change how planes land at a nearby airbase rather than adjust the building's design) to force approval of its construction without proper surveys and inspections.
    • This was borne out as workers were killed by crumbling sections of the structure and exploding pipes.
    • Cracks became conspicuously visible on the floor of the tower's shopping section. Lotte dismissed these as being "decorative".
    • Major water leaks became serious safety hazards as water seeped into the important electric junctions. What's more, the tower's aquarium's water tank to spring leaks after it was open to the public. This led to the public sections of the tower being closed for months as repair work was done.
    • Sinkholes formed in the surrounding neighborhood and a nearby lake's waterlevel began decreasing, leading to speculation that the tower was being built on land that was too soft to support its weight.
    • Despite all this, construction was forced through to the very end both because Lotte Group staked so much into the building and because an abandoned construction project of this scale would have been a propaganda coup for North Korea.
    • The tower's troubled construction resulted in people staying away out of fear that something might collapse. It took months before people started trickling in in larger numbers.
    • In the end, the project proved to be a success, with the tower becoming a major landmark visited by droves of people everyday.
  • Berlin Brandenburger Airport was likely the most famous troubled construction project in Europe during the 2010's. The idea was to replace Berlin's three ageing airports (Tegel, Schönefeld and Tempelhof) with a single new one, combining some of Schönefeld's existing infrastructure with a brand new airport, creating what would be the third busiest airport in Germany. The idea originates from German unification in 1990, and construction finally began in 2006, with Tempelhof being closed in 2008 in anticipation that Brandenburger would open in the next few years. It wasn't, thanks to a massive list of technical issues and construction flaws; most famously, the building's unique fire suppression system was designed to counterintuitively funnel smoke under the building for aesthetic reasons. A regional rail and S-Bahn station that serves the airport was complete in 2011, but saw empty trains periodically run through the tunnels for the next nine years to prevent it from getting too humid. In 2018, 750 display screens had to be replaced since they had reached their end of service life despite the airport never having opened. The airport finally opened on the 31st October 2020.
  • Block 37 has become something of a Running Gag in Chicago, becoming the construction equivalent of Vapor Ware. It started with a contentious court case to tear down a landmark building dating back to 1872 and snowballed from there. After all the fuss to get the site cleared, in was vacant from 1989 to 2005, except for the Art Deco concrete transformer building that feeds a large section of downtown. After construction finally began, the company financing the project found itself investigated by the Federal Trade Commission for sketchy business practices, with contractors reluctant to take on the project for fear of not getting paid. The property was foreclosed on by bank lenders in 2009 at the height of the real estate bubble-burst, a process that dragged on for another two years. As construction continued to lag, announced retail tenants walked away, and ambitious plans for a subway station only complicated the work required. Other proposed features of the project like a food court and cinema were cancelled, then added back, with three-quarters of the finished space unoccupied. Only in 2016 was the project considered fully completed.
  • Despite being one of the world's most recognizable buildings, construction of the Sydney Opera House was a nightmare from start to finish:
    • The Labor Government of New South Wales put heavy pressure for construction to start early and quickly because they feared potential political backlash from delays and cost overruns, meaning the process started before architect Jørn Utzon could finish the actual designs. This led to things such as walls being built only to be torn down again to allow for construction of other parts of the building. As a result, construction quickly became 47 weeks behind.
    • Despite Utzon's design being the winner of a prestigious design competition for the Opera, it was also the least detailed entry. In the words of art critic Robert Hughes, it was "nothing more than a magnificent doodle". This meant that literal years were dedicated to figuring out the exact shape of the Opera House's iconic "shells": the then cutting edge technology of computer simulation had to be used to study the structural mechanics of countless parabolic and ellipsoid designs, all of which proved to be impractical since the lack of repeating elements would cause construction to be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming. Finally, either Utzon or his engineers (accounts differ) came up with the idea of having the shells be spherical sections, which would be far easier and cheaper to build. Unfortunately, the now substantially altered design caused a backlash in the press.
    • While all this was going on, the New South Wales government was replaced with the Liberal Party, heavily vocal critics of the project, and put it under the tutelage of the Public Works Minister Davis Hughes, who vowed to fire Utzon the very day he was appointed. Hughes proceeded to make Utzon's life miserable at every turn, from preventing him from using preferred suppliers to withdrawing funding to such a degree that Utzon could no longer pay his own staff. When Utzon finally threatened to resign, Hughes merely replied "I accept your resignation. Thank you very much. Goodbye." Utzon returned to his home country of Denmark and never returned to Australia, thus never seeing his finished creation in person.
    • Utzon was replaced by Australian architect Peter Hall. Further problems arose when Utzon's original interior designs had to be scrapped since the main hall could only seat 2000 (despite the competition clearly asking for designs that could accommodate 3000). The changes updating the seating capacity proved to be disastrous for acoustics, which the Opera House still struggles with to this day. Further problems with the original brief not being clear with the actual purpose of the Opera House has caused the rather ironic situation of actual opera being held in the Opera House's smallest theater, which also has its own share of acoustic problems (the orchestra pit's cramped nature and location actively damages musician's hearing).
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    Conventions 
Fan conventions tend to attract these as they're often run by amateurs without experience in event planning or logistics.
  • Dashcon, a fan-run Tumblr convention held in Schaumburg, Illinois, became an infamous epic failure overnight. Among the many reasons:
    • The initial name of the event was TumblCon, which they were forced to change when Tumblr itself forbade them from using the name of the company. The fact that no one apparently considered this ahead of time was a sign of things to come.
    • From the beginning, the event was plagued by poor organization. Anyone and everyone was invited to form a committee for a fandom, no questions asked or experience needed. This, combined with little communications from the moderators and event managers, led to several committees being dissolved and heavy competition between the others for representation, with SuperWhoLock, the heavily overlapping fandoms of Supernatural, Doctor Who, and Sherlock, having a strong bias with the admins. Committees were asked to submit the names of people they wanted as guests, and most of those submitted were far too ambitious for a first-year con to even attempt.
    • Extremely poor organization during the convention itself: cartoonist GingerHaze was forced to moderate their own panel when their intended moderator didn't show up, and hotel mints were offered as rewards for events being held. Security was also poor, with a member of 4chan's /pol/ board being able to walk in without identification and film the event with impunity.
    • Projections for the number of people attending turned out to be extremely off the mark: the managers expected over 5000 people to be attending, with the actual amount being estimated between 500 and 1500 at best. A majority of those attending also turned out to be teenagers between the age of 13 and 16.
    • Steam Powered Giraffe was touted as a musical guest until the first day of the con, with them continuing to sell tickets for it even though the group itself had announced that they had cancelled on their website months ago.
    • Welcome to Night Vale took time out of their tour only to find out that they were not going to be paid or have their travel expenses reimbursed as agreed upon, and responded by saying Screw This, I'm Outta Here!. Attendees were forced to wait in a conference hall for over an hour before being told, with their compensation being one extra hour in a (pathetically small) ball pit. Those who purchased tickets for the cancelled event were also told they would not be refunded as the rules were changed during the con to prevent this. Within hours, the image of the lone ball pit in an empty hall became infamous for symbolizing the complete catastrophe that was the entire convention as much as the shot of the cheese sandwich in a styrofoam box symbolized the equally infamous Fyre Festival, and ball pits by themselves have since become a punchline that even other cons have referenced.
    • Panelists GingerHaze and The Baker Street Babes were forced to pay for their hotel bills, which Dashcon was supposed to cover. The latter were ignored by the management staff when they tried to contact them initially. While they were both reimbursed eventually, it took several days to sort out, and GingerHaze was unable to pay for more than one night and wound up having to sleep on the Ikea couch of one of the Night Vale writers who took pity on them. The only panelist who didn't report any problems was Doug Jones, who apparently received payment without issue and went on record as having greatly enjoyed his event, thereby making him the luckiest man alive.
    • Mark Oshiro, of Mark Does Stuff fame, also was in the event as both panelist and moderator. After the clusterfuck finished, he wrote a post in his blog (link for reference here) where, while he claimed that he didn't realize how bad Dashcon was while it was running, it was because he was constantly running panels (so he didn't see the drama and the clusterfuck evolve). Furthermore, he was the only invitee accustomed to paying for his own expenses, this con not being the exception, so he didn't get involved in the payment drama pointed above. However, Tumblr users accused him of being a straight white man "appropriating the gay" for profit, even though he's a gay Hispanic man... and that when he started receiving death threats from Tumblr users.
    • The con had to raise $17,000 in two hours to keep their reservation at the hotel (which the hotel has since denied ever happened), and while they managed to raise it, it took days for them to offer an explanation for where exactly it went (the official explanation is it was to cover parts of the bill that they claimed had not been immediately obvious to them, which just raises further questions). In the meantime, the internet rumor mill speculated on everything from the money being pocketed by unscrupulous staff members to wondering if they'd simply lost it. And while they did eventually offer to refund the donated money to those who asked, they gave only a small time window to submit claims, and many who donated wouldn't be able to prove they had even done it since much of the money was collected on the floor in the form of cash with hardly any receipts or documentation. In a video of the "donation drive", one mother can be heard yelling "This is extortion!", and it's hard not to agree with her.
    • To top it off, the fact that the con played movies and TV episodes without express consent from the copyright holders, as well as the fact that the con turned out to be a registered LLP only in Ohio, not Illinois where it was actually held, means that large parts of the con were illegal and could have easily resulted in legal action against them.
    • Proving they learned nothing, the organizers then attempted a prime example of trying to Polish the Turd by rebranding it Emoti-Con — and somehow racked up another $120,000 in debt and ultimately cancelled that con before it could even get off the ground. See here for the whole sordid saga.
  • Austin-based anime convention IKKiCON and its subsidiaries have had to deal with some of these, being a small, indie convention organization and all.
    • The 2009 iteration had voice actor (and regular guest) Greg Ayres suffer a mild heart attack, causing everyone to panic. Thankfully, Greg immediately got proper treatment and walked out of the convention feeling better.
    • Anime Overload, a subsidiary summer convention owned by IKKiCON, became more of a behind-the-scenes mess each year, with disorganized staff members and volunteers, and the main panelist leader/organizer being so bad at his job, he was fired and never brought back. All of these problems led to IKKiCON pulling funding from the event, causing the con to resurrect itself as AnimeCTX in 2017 with a different staff. Thankfully, CTX didn't suffer the same problems under the new staff, and was seen as a success.
  • Before there was Dashcon, there was Tentmoot. It was supposed to be part of a year long series of events sponsored by a popular Tolkien fan group called Bit of Earth (BOE) that would perform community service projects and culminate in, supposedly, the largest Tolkien con ever held to take place in Portland, Oregon. Like Dashcon, it fell apart due to poor management. Unlike Dashcon, it inspired a tell all book and an honest criminal investigation. This article goes into a lot more details, but highlights include:
    • The fan community was really led by a man named Jordan Wood and his girlfriend Abby Stone. Wood was known for telling wild stories (like how he was being chased by the IRA) and most commented on his feminine appearance. He claimed he had a disease that prevented testosterone from being absorbed into his body properly. (Keep this in mind, it will be important much later.)
    • The enthusiasm of the community started out strong. BOE held a community service project that saw fans planting a children's reading garden in front of a literacy center. The event even managed to attract Sean (Samwise) Astin, who was very enthusiastic about seeing fans perform community service. BOE also claimed to raise money for a literacy program through screenings of the then brand new The Lord of the Rings films. After these successes, Wood stated there would be more events, including a summer music festival and the aforementioned Tentmoot.
    • Friends from the community, including Jeanine Renne, were impressed by the garden project. They moved in with Wood and Stone to help plan the events. Soon after, their home was foreclosed on.
    • The summer music festival also collapsed. No bands were reportedly booked and Elijah Wood, the supposed celebrity guest, didn't show up. Also, the organizers donated money to help the festival go on (one donated $800 from their college fund) but the check to the park still bounced.
    • Somehow, the other two events still went ahead. Wood dispatched someone to Los Angeles to film greetings from LOTR for the film festival. Jordan Wood assured everyone that he had arranged meetings with LOTR actors, but no one had heard of any such arrangement.
    • Also, Wood and the planners moved to L.A. in the fall (even though the convention was still scheduled for December in Portland). Wood claimed that he was from the area, but had trouble finding living arrangements or even navigating the city.
    • Tentmoot lined up several actors from LOTR, including Jed Brophy. (This was at a time when the films were still being released, so some of the actors were understandably not available.) Supposedly, BOE had an arrangement with Air New Zealand to fly everyone over. At the last minute, Wood contacted Renne and claimed the arrangements had fallen through. Renne paid for the tickets, but after realizing there was no documentation of the arrangement, she cancelled them. It was too late for Brophy, who had already checked in to his flight in New Zealand. There was also no hotel arrangements for the actors, so Brophy ended up sleeping on Wood's apartment floor.
    • The convention center was also screwed. Wood had talked down their prices and didn't even pay a deposit. He did so partially by promising that 1,500 people would show up. With days to go before the convention, only 21 passes had been sold.
    • A few days before Tentmoot was scheduled to start, Wood attempted suicide. This, combined with the low pass sales, ended the convention before it started.
    • But... it doesn't end there. While trying to get the airline tickets worked out, Renne contacted the Oregon Department of Justice to investigate. The ODOJ found out that most of BoE's charity activities were fraudulent. There was no record of any large donations to the literacy program they were supposedly supporting. They weren't even incorporated, and the money that had been raised at other events had vanished.
    • And it STILL doesn't end there, as one final twist complicated things even further. As the planning of the convention was happening, a man named Michael Player showed up at the police headquarters in Salem, Oregon. Michael had received a suicide note from his daughter Amy Player, who claimed that the love of her life, Abby Stone, had run off with a man named Jordan Wood. The police found a picture of Michael's daughter Amy. When they showed it around to others, they all identified the person in the photo as Jordan Wood. In the end, Jordan Wood and Amy Player were, in fact, the same person. The whole thing with BoE and Tentmoot was all a sham so Jordan could try to build a new identity while leaving his old life behind ("Amy Player" was his deadname).
    • When all was said and done, Oregon police told Jordan that he was prohibited from ever soliciting money for any charity in the state of Oregon for the rest of his life (including BoE), and that he'd be arrested if he ever showed his face in Portland again. He eventually was caught while waiting in line to see Return of the King in Portland, but the DA declined to press charges. After a number of unrelated shenanigans, Jordan eventually underwent gender confirmation surgery, legally changing his name to Andrew "Andy" Blake. Andy then moved to the Harry Potter fandom, where he became a Fandom VIP after his fic Dumbledore's Army and the Year of Darkness became popular. He was later involved in a triple homicide that claimed the life of one of his friends. He survived, but used the incident as an excuse to solicit donations to travel to New Zealand.
  • Brony Conventions get this a lot.
    • Las Pegasus, held in Las Vegas in February 2013, was beset by difficulty. Announced in Q3 2012, it was met by cries of oversaturation of Brony conventions in the US. It also announced three special guests, highly ambitious for a first con. Soon it was apparent the con was plagued by financial difficulty after overshooting their costs, resulting in the #LasPegAssist fund after the con.
      • Other problems included long lines, no direction given to artists or vendors on where to set up, absenteeism from staff members, sponsors getting "junior suites" instead of executive suites, the introduction of "Unicon Bits" (fake money being given in exchange for real money, which upset con merchants), misspellings of names on official placards, promises to ticket holders of a free buffet that never eventuated and Tara Strong being served eggplant at a VIP dinner (which she is allergic to).
      • On top of this, the turnout was far lower than expected; only 400-1000 people showed up as opposed to the expected 4000. Tara Strong has since openly regretted appearing at Las Pegasus- she missed her son's karate tournament.
    • Around six months after Las Pegasus, a convention in Australia, called Bronycon Sydney, was announced with Andrew Francis as a special guest. Many Bronies felt that one convention (the long-established Ponycon AU) was enough and a second convention would oversaturate the market. Their website, which had just gone live, also featured a Flickr stream showing pictures of Ponified underwear.
      • After a few weeks, the convention changed its name to Sydneigh after discussion of checking trademarks arose on several forums. During this time the executive team announced a Pozible campaign to get Michelle Creber and her band to play at a nighttime concert, however the target was not reached and the event was cancelled. Though the executive team were open about their low ticket sales and financial hardship, they announced Ashleigh Ball some months later.
      • A month before the convention, PR confirmed the convention was still going to take place, despite doubts from many con-goers as they announced the cancellation of Andrew Francis to keep the convention financially solvent - after this, many people from interstate and neighbouring New Zealand booked flights, accommodation and paid $65 for a weekend pass to the convention. However, three weeks after the announcement, their PR manager stepped down due to Creative Differences and the convention was cancelled due to "unexpected costs", and ruled out full refunds (which is illegal under Australian Consumer Law), instead promising only 70% of refunds with the rest going into liquidation costs.
      • The venue, Australian Technology Park, was also revealed to be not fully booked or paid by the company for the weekend of September 27th and 28th 2014, the weekend the convention was due to be held. Morale got so bad that a group of Bronies independent from the Sydneigh team planned an emergency convention to house ticketholders, panelists, Ashleigh Ball (who had been fully booked and paid for flights and an appearance at the convention for autographs and photos), and vendors (who had paid upwards of $200 for a table).
  • Spooky Empire, a major horror convention in Orlando, Florida, suffered a minor case of this in 2016 when Hurricane Matthew forced them to cancel their October event, with media guests unable to reach the convention due to all flights in and out of Orlando being canceled. Fortunately, they eventually managed to reschedule to December.
  • The Polish "New Face" Demoscene party, which took place in Poznań in July 1994, became infamous for barely taking off the ground. It's not clear what exactly happened (as various articles and reports disagree with each other), but apparently the organizers had royally screwed up the arrangements, causing the party to extend until after the closing hours of the hosting venue. In any case, the party ended on the first day with all participants being forcibly escorted out by police... and finding themselves stranded at night in an unfamiliar city while toting around heavy, valuable computer equipment.
  • The 1st Annual Pokémon GO Fest — held in Chicago's Grant Park on July 2017, organized by developer Niantic Labs, and meant to celebrate the game's one-year anniversary — infamously went awry.
    • Over 20,000 players crowded the park, with others standing in mile-long lines outside for as much as four hours. Organization with giving out scannable wristbands was poor — an issue which previous concerts at Grant Park never had, despite large attendances.
    • However, congested cellular networks, crash bugs, and authentication issues prevented the game from functioning (and players from capturing rare Legendary Pokémon). Waiting in the sweltering ninety-degree heat for Niantic to address this, angry fans chanted "Fix the servers!" and "We can't play!" The crowd could be heard during the event's live stream, though the hosts initially seemed to downplay or be oblivious to it.
    • Niantic CEO John Hanke took the stage, attempting to quell the masses, but he was met with boos and further chants. Someone also lobbed a water bottle at the hostess (which missed).
    • Eventually, to appease everyone for their patience, Niantic began offering a full $20 ticket refund, $100 worth of Pokécoins, and a free collectable Pokémon. The event continued nonetheless, with its radius extended two miles outside Grant Park out of apology. Despite this, many furious people had already shelled out plenty for airfare, rental cars, and hotels, resulting in many of them suing Niantic over paying so much for what was ultimately a rather lackluster experience. Most of them agree, though, that at least Pokémon GO Fest was nowhere near as disastrous as the Fyre Festival from months prior.
    • Future GO Fests since have pointedly made strides to avoid the problems that made the first one a disaster, such as making sure the servers and phone providers can handle thousands of players being on at once in one place and having the events take place in bigger, wider, and well-shaded areas, to reasonable success. That being said, the third GO Fest was temporarily halted when a sudden severe thunderstorm outbreak blew into Chicago and forced players to have to be evacuated out of the park. Niantic, in response, added an extra day to the duration of the in-game events to be held the following weekend for GO Fest attendees in GO.
    • It's worth noting that before Pokémon GO, Niantic was hosting Ingress in-person "Anomaly" events without any major problems, so GO Fest was in large part due to Demand Overload, as Pokémon is a far more popular property than Ingress.
    • Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, all in-person events were cancelled. Fortunately, Niantic decided that their fourth annual GO Fest would be held virtually.
  • GamerCon Dublin, a gaming convention held in Ireland, in March 2017, was intended to be Ireland's first major gaming convention, but it was plagued with problems from the get go. The event was scheduled to take place in the National Convention Center for two weekends, and promised exclusive Playstation VR gameplay, gaming contests, cosplaying, and the like. The problem? Around 25,000 tickets were sold, yet the NCC was only capable of holding a maximum of 9,000 people, which left many people struggling to find access in an over-crowded hall, and the raining weather Ireland is infamous for only making matters worse. The problems even went beyond the tickets - The management (which consisted of only five volunteers) forgot to make sure gaming consoles had downloaded or updated the games or content being shown off, which left people waiting long periods to play their games due to the Wi-Fi access being slowed down by mass usage. The event was cancelled the next day, and GamerCon Europe was left out of cash refunding angered customers their money.
  • Fandomfest, an annual comic convention in Louisville, Kentucky, was hit with this in 2017. Only two weeks before the festival started, the venue was abruptly changed from the Kentucky Convention Center to an abandoned Macy's at Jefferson Mall, presumably due to the organizers failing to secure a contract. In addition, a vast number of celebrity guests pulled out at the last minute, including headliner "Weird Al" Yankovic. According to reports, the former Macy's was not suitable for a convention, as most of the store fixtures were still left behind and the elevators were not functional. Making matters worse was the fact that people who had paid to meet specific celebrity guests were denied refunds. Also, the fire marshal declared that the former department store space was unsuitable for more than 1,700 people at a time, despite the con's projected attendance of 30,000.
  • RainFurrest was a Seattle-based furry convention that quickly emerged as one of the most popular on the west coast. However, after a string of successful years, its infamous 2015 iteration at the Hilton SeaTac hotel wound up being its last. Internet Historian made a comedic video regarding it, and one of RainFurrest's founders discussed the matter at length.
    • The planning stages had many ill omens from the get-go. In a heavily misguided bid for inclusiveness, many rules of conduct were waived or heavily loosened, and the decision to not forbid anyone who wanted to attend from doing so (even if they had been banned from other cons) was a huge red flag; the decision to not update the harassment policy for fear of alienating socially awkward individuals who unintentionally made some gaffes was decried by a member of the planning board, who pointed out that anyone who would be offended by such a rule was more likely than not the kind of person who they wouldn't want to show up, but their protests fell on deaf ears.
    • It was immediately apparent that the con had a huge drug problem; two attendees were hospitalized due to drug overdose, and a RainFurrest security staff member was seen using marijuana. Following the event, over 2,000 discarded nitrous oxide cartridges (having been used as an illegal inhalant) were found.
    • Then there was the vandalism. An attendee broke an elevator's inner door cable after trying to force it open. The hot tub shut down after the drain and pump were plugged with towels. Half-eaten food was found in the Hilton gardens and stairwell. A toilet bolt was loosened, causing the next person who flushed it to flood the entire bathroom with two and a half inches of water...directly above the hotel's basement server rooms. Posters advertising the con were stolen or vandalized. Used adult diapers were scattered throughout the parking lot. The worst was somebody tampering with a guest room smoke detector so they could hotbox the room, which almost caused the entire con to be booted halfway through.
    • RainFurrest's organizers never did any background checks on its volunteer staff members, and the head of convention operations refused to revoke a single badge whatsoever. Two members wound up committing assault (one normal, and one sexual). Communication was so poor that, in one case, it had taken two hours for such news to reach the Hilton's staff.
    • Security was inconsistent, with claims that the aforementioned problems were ignored or outright allowed, as well as allegations of harassment.
    • Public intoxication was absolutely out of control, with numerous drunk and/or high attendees walking around in public areas. Gross public indecency was also a major issue, as attendees in fetish gear also freely wandered around public areas and were not reined in, including numerous diaperfurs who wore (often full) adult diapers around the general public.
    • By the final night, the Hilton had become exasperated to the point of threatening con-goers eviction over single noise complaints. They later sent RainFurrest's organizers a letter announcing their refusal to ever host the con again. Other hotels from Seattle to Bellingham responded similarly, the event's infamy now spreading like wildfire; Trapa, one of Rainfurrest's founders, alleged that said hotels had received letters from a vandal from the convention.
    • A different venue for RainFurrest 2016 was secured at the Spokane Convention Center in Spokane, Washington, only for the news to drop less than a week later that the event was cancelled. Furries were redirected to Furlandia in Portland, Oregon. A post-mortem analysis of the debacle by a former RainFurrest board member was later posted.
  • Universal FanCon was in the works for two years, and billed specifically as a place welcoming to women, LGBTQ, disabled, and persons of color. Then just a week before it was set to launch, the organizers abruptly announced they didn't have enough funds to do the event like they wanted and it would be postponed. This left everyone who'd been planning to attend with useless and non-refundable travel plans, and many called out the announcement for having an overly flippant tone like they didn't care at all how much inconvenience they'd caused, in some cases putting people's finances in serious jeopardy as they'd been planning a big sale of their work.
    • In addition, when sending out the announcement via email, the organizers forgot to BCC in at least two cases, leaking thousands of email addresses. (Luckily, nothing too bad seems to have come of it, but still.)
    • One of the con board members was Thai Nam Pham, who was allegedly connected with several failed conventions, Pride Con and what might be Akihabara Con, both of which played fast and loose with backer money. Pham's Linked In profile at one point listed one of his tasks on the board as "collaborate with finance team to ensure event is within budget", which it was not.
    • Several board members resigned suspiciously quickly, or, in the case of Jamie Broadnax, the head of Black Girl Nerds, demoted herself to "member" and claimed ignorance, which many saw as facetious as Jamie had previously described herself as a cofounder.
    • Compounding this was that many, many fans from marginalized groups now feel they were scammed by their own, lured in with promises that Universal Fancon would fix the bad experiences they'd had at other cons, which made it all the more heartbreaking when things went wrong.
    • However, at least one good thing happened: people pulled together and managed to run a pop-up con called #WICOMICON, so vendors were still able to sell and no one's plane fare, time off, etc was completely wasted.
  • Botcon 1996 is infamous in the Transformers fandom for being completely mismanaged by convention organizers Men In Black Productions (who for no apparent reason, themed the entire convention around Pulp Fiction). TFWiki.net has a write up of everything that went wrong here and MIB Productions obviously weren't brought back for any future Botcons—though this didn't stop them from trying to form their own unofficial Transformer fan conventions in '97 and '98, both of which went just as ineptly as their Botcon had.
  • TanaCon was an event hosted in June 2018 by social media celebrity Tana Mongeau after a bad experience at VidCon 2017, where her requests for a "featured creators" badge (and the added security that comes with it) were declined, which led her to try and start her own YouTuber convention with big names like Bella Thorne and Shane Dawson joining her. At TanaCon, everybody would be a "featured creator" and fans' interests would be taken to heart. It would be held at an hotel in Anaheim, not far from the convention center where VidCon was held, on the same weekend.
    • As detailed in this article by Julia Alexander for Polygon, it spiraled into disaster—not surprising, given that, by all accounts, it was thrown together in two months, even less time than the previous year's colossal event failure, the Fyre Festival, to which TanaCon was often compared.
    • The first sign of trouble was the "sale" of the first round of free tickets in May. Two minutes after they were made available, they were gone. No one at the actual con ever recalled seeing anyone with one.
    • Expecting 5,000 people for her first convention, at a hotel whose ballrooms were capped at 1,150, organizers planned to rotate the crowd in and out of the building. On the first morning, however, an alleged 20,000 showed up.note  Many had hoped to purchase tickets at the gate and stood in long lines outside in the heat for hours without getting in. Photographs of their sunburn became the defining social media image of TanaCon, joining the sandwiches from the Fyre Festival and the ballpit at DashCon. Those who finally made it to where they could pay the $65+ admission found that their heavily-anticipated gift bag had only a condom and some stickers. The former were frequently blown up for use as beachballs by the crowd. Many were given VIP passes, but only because that was the only ticket available.
    • It was little better inside, where a big part of the marketing push was that the YouTubers in attendance would mingle with the crowd rather than having to wait in line for a limited number of expensive meet-and-greets. However, that had been abandoned without informing the attendees. And worse, the meet-and-greets were only available to those who had RSVPed online—something few fans had been informed of. Lastly, the meet-and-greets were subject to caps because of fire-code rules, so many had already been fully RSVPed before (again) attendees even found out.
    • Those who missed out on this found themselves largely confined to a hall with none of the promised creators available, no vendors and little food. They were told that if they left the building they would not be allowed back in. But at least they had their condom beach balls. Ultimately, the fire marshal had to shut everything down, with Dawson promising refunds out of pocket in case Mongeau wasn't able to.
    • Some eager fans returned the next morning, buoyed by reports that Tana was getting things together, including a new venue. Again there were long lines in the parking lot, but at least this time those in them learned this early in the day... hours before Tana officially announced it. The announcement led to a small-scale riot as disgruntled attendees threw their gift bags at the registration tent and demanded refunds. Tana's arrival in person also sparked an outburst; many fans were mollified when she promised refunds.
    • After its cancellation, a police report filed June 26 revealed the actual number of attendees to be about four-to-five thousand, as was planned to attend, and that the venue holding the convention could only hold a little over a thousand people. Considering many are starting to see this as a huge scam, and at least one person was taken to the hospital for injuries from the crowd, Tanacon was doomed from the start. More info can be found here.
  • TouhouCon, a convention dedicated to Touhou Project in Anaheim, California, ran for only two years. The first year, in 2014, wasn't too bad. The second year, in 2015, the convention organizers decided to invite a number of big-name, big-budget guests from the Touhou doujinshi industry, including the band Yuuhei Satellite and musicians/DJs REDALiCE and Masayoshi Minoshima (best known for his iconic cover of "Bad Apple!!"). Outwardly, everything seemed like it was going well, but staff soon realized that the number of badges they were selling were well below expectations, and started making last-minute efforts to draw in large amounts of revenue to recoup the costs, such as handing out a $999 "Strongest Badge"note  that grants admission not only to TouhouCon 2015 but all future iterations of it as well, and selling last-minute badges for a mere $9. The con came and went and as far as attendees were concerned, everything went well. But the convention could not make back the cost needed to have the guests over, so the hotel that was hosting the convention slapped charges of about $1,500 per room on those guests because they needed the room payments from somewherenote , ending the convention's short run and souring the American Touhou community.

    Esports Events 
  • Gaming Paradise 2015, a Counter-Strike and Dota 2 e-Sports event in Slovenia, wound up degenerating into a disaster, as detailed in these articles from Kotaku,HLTV, and Dot Esports.
    • The event was the brainchild of Sasa Bulic, CEO of a company called The Gaming Resorts, who had no organizational experience, but made a deal with tournament organizer Gaming.rs; the latter would organize the infrastructure of the actual event, while Gaming Resorts acted as a sponsor providing the financial handling.
    • The first canary in the coalmine arrived during qualifying matches in May, where teams were flown in but stranded until 3 AM as the buses that were supposed to drive them to their hotels came extremely late. The next day, the entire venue was hit was a massive storm that would be inconvenient on its own, but since the games were being played in tents, the stage had to be delayed.
    • Come a week before the next round in August, the person who was supposed to deliver the tournament PCs went MIA, and when the organizers finally got some working computers, it was found that they didn't have the tech to run the games to expected professional standards. Because of this, the tournament's Sunday kick-off had to be pushed back ten hours, but even after they were upgraded using tech supposedly found from bitcoin miners, they still underperformed throughout the tournament.
    • Combined with PC inadequacy, the broadcast itself was plagued by technical issues, to a point where the Dota 2 portion of the tournament had to be canceled entirely, leaving the teams that showed up for it with nothing to show for the trip they made to Slovenia.
    • The kicker came when it was discovered that Gaming Resorts failed to pay the expenses for the hotel, the venue, and the production equipment, resulting in equipment being confiscated by police along with the players' passports (since they were now on the hook for food and lodging). This left many players not only unable to attend another tournament in Dubai scheduled for later that week, but stranded in a foreign country without computers until Gaming.rs stepped in to negotiate.
    • The questions among players wondering if there was any prize money left became more pronounced until Sasa Bulic confirmed a resounding "no", announcing that in order to deal with their failed pay deals, teams had to wait an additional 90 days to receive any of their tournament winnings, which they begrudgingly agreed to. Once the tournament concluded, however, Gaming Resorts filed for bankruptcy and Bulic disappeared, and to date, no teams have received any of their prize money.
  • The 2016 Shanghai Major was a Dota 2 event hosted by Valve Corporation, which in spite of the company's history of top-notch tournaments ended up in a flaming freak storm of controversy and production issues, detailed by PC Gamer, Dot Esports, and SBNation as one of their most infamous snafus:
    • One of the biggest issues came through the abrupt firing of the entire English production team during Group Stage a week before the main event, with major attention towards then-host James "2GD" Harding, who was fired for dropping the C-bomb and making crass on-air jokes about masturbation and government censorship/surveillance. The replacement production crew was sent into a scramble to set up the international broadcast within a few days.
    • Come the event, behind-the-scenes was a complete mess lacking in coordination and featuring sparse-to-nonexistent crew accommodations, no doubt cascading into the technical issues which ended up plaguing the entire event. A two-hour delay caused the opening ceremony being cancelled, another game was delayed after a staff member lost a player's keyboard, and as a consequence of stadium policy and poor scheduling, the entire crowd had to empty out during a climactic lower bracket match. Sound and internet problems bled drastically into the broadcast, causing the livestream to be borderline unwatchable if it was even online.
    • Even once the tournament completed, it still wasn't over for the players. In the morning after the finals, the practice rooms in their hotel were unexpectedly torn down by cleaning staff without prior warning, and many players' personal equipment and other belongings (including one player's car keys) were lost, forcing the police to get involved.
  • The Fighting Game Community's premiere tournament, Evolution Championship Series/EVO, didn't become the fighting game tournament without troubles along the way. Just about every Evo since it was known as the B series has had difficulties, ranging from lacking equipment, power outages, and sheer dumb luck. No matter the odds, the team behind Evo always pulled through. However, the one event that barely made it completion was Evo Japan 2019.
    • Evo Japan 2018 went off without a hitch (the only complaints being the venue being somewhat cramped and hot contrasted against an abnormally cold Tokyo winter). After the dust settled, it was revealed that went over a million dollars in the hole. Many questioned if Evo Japan would return for 2019, but sure enough later that year Evo Japan 2019 was announced.
    • The first sign of trouble was the confirmation that the location would change from Tokyo to Fukuoka. Logic being venues would be cheaper there and the close proximity to Korea and other South East Asian countries would increase international participation, but what Evo didn't expect was a major BTS show happening at the same venue in Fukuoka right before Evo Japan. This meant that lodging was difficult to find.
    • The second issue was the extremely long time for any announcements for Evo Japan 2019. Usually the official games for any Evo are announced a good 6-7 months in advance so competitors will know what games to practice and for developers to finalize any patches before the event. The final game lineup wasn't announced until December 2018, nearly two months away from Evo Japan's start date. The roster was expected but solid (Street Fighter V, Tekken 7, Soul Calibur VI, Guilty Gear Rev 2, BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, and The King of Fighters XIV), yet there were two notable exceptions. Dragon Ball Fighter Z note  and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate note  were not at Evo Japan 2019 as official games. With such a long time for the official lineup to be announced, attendance figures for all games were considerably lower than Evo Japan 2018's.
    • When the event started, there several issues that would persist the whole weekend. The venue (Fukuoka Convention Center) was far out of Fukuoka's city center and transportation was limited to just buses, meaning competitors were frequently late. And the venue was just too small for an event like Evo. The tournament was cramped, it was hard to move around the venue, and it got hot very quickly. Evo also encouraged competitors to stay up to date with the brackets by using the free wifi provided, but it was spotty.
    • The tournament structure was also criticized. Normally large fighting game tournaments are ran with a pool system, as in there are smaller, 16 person brackets and the top two/three from any given pool moves up to a larger bracket. Evo Japan 2019 was ran like a giant double elimination bracket. Some competitors noted having to wait up to two hours just to play their loser's round match and many simply disqualified themselves instead of waiting.
    • Probably the thing Evo Japan became the most known for (maybe other than Arslan Ash's Tekken run, more on that below) was the infamous "Core Values" incident. A Dead or Alive 6 exhibition got a little too steamy for Evo, and they pulled the plug on the exhibition. Evo founder Mr. Wizard stated in a now deleted tweet that the DOA6 stream "didn't represent Evo's core values." Unfortunately, this ended up blowing up in Mr. Wizard's face as it went viral instantly. Mr. Wizard and the other staff behind Evo kept a low profile in the aftermath of the exhibition, not even showing up on the main stage for finals day.
    • Arslan Ash's Tekken 7 win needs to be noted, as it wasn't an easy one. Multiple flight delays and visa issues blocked his path, and by time he got to Japan he had difficulties exchanging money. As soon as Ash got to Fukuoka he had to play cold, but he persevered and put himself and Pakistan on the map for ''Tekken''.
    • Overall, Evo Japan 2019 was regarded as a hot mess by all who attended. Once again, Evo Japan's future was put into doubt, but sure enough Evo Japan 2020 was announced at that year's Evo in America. By all accounts, the Evo team learned their lessons and Evo Japan 2020 went MUCH smoother than 2019. After the COVID-19 Pandemic became a global issue, Evo moved to an online tournament format for its events during 2020. All was well until Evo co-founder and president Joey Cuellar was accused of sexual misconduct by various people, prompting multiple companies to pull their games out of the online events, along with players and commentators backing out in protest. Evo Online was promptly cancelled for 2020, and Cuellar stepped down from his position.

    Military 
  • All three of the United States Navy's first 21st-century surface ship programs have been... troubled, to say the least:
    • The Gerald R. Ford class aircraft carriers were conceived to gain back weight and stability margins lost with the weight gain of the Nimitz-class, as well as introduce new technologies to improve self-defense and sortie generation. Practically all the new systems have proved troublesome. Reactor issues caused months of construction delays. A problem with the water twisters caused a four-and-a-half year delay with testing the advanced arrestor gear. The dual-band radar system ended up an orphan due to the failure of the Zumwalt class destroyers, detailed below. Four years after commissioning, the lead ship is still not considered fully combat-ready due to ongoing reliability issues with the new electromagnetic catapults and advanced weapons elevators, not to mention over 25% over the original cost estimates. The one bright spot is that the following ships of the class seem to be benefitting from the lead vessel's teething problems and their constructions have so far been much less troublesome.
    • The Zumwalt-class destroyers were conceived as a replacement for the Spruance-class destroyers, with a new, post-Cold War focus on littoral operations in anti-submarine and land attack warfare. Unfortunately, the development was rocky to begin with. The original DD-21 program was canned in 2001 amid political spats and Navy debates over the littoral mission despite the design being largely finalized. Already the ships had been delayed by a year, and program costs had increased by two-thirds in 4th quarter 1999 alone. Despite reworking the program, including making the ships somewhat smaller and less well-armed, costs continued to balloon due to the fact that practically everything in the ships was new technology. Worse, the doctrinal questions only intensified, with advances in land-based anti-ship missiles making the ships far more vulnerable than expected. The order was progressively cut from 32 to 3 ships, making the per-ship costs skyrocket even higher, and leading to the cancellation of features such as the AN/SPY-4 search radar and the Long Range Land Attack projectiles for the main guns - the latter of which was the only round available for the guns, leaving them useless upon commissioning. Oh, and both Zumwalt and the second ship Michael Monsoor have suffered engine breakdowns during their extended trials, with Monsoor requiring outright turbine replacement due to blade damage. Despite all this, the ships are big, stealthy, and extremely seaworthy, making them suitable for conversion to blue-water surface warfare vessels armed with hypersonic missiles, albeit after a refit to remove one of the main guns in favor of more missile cells. In the end, the Navy chose to instead order more flights of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, which has been in continuous production since the late 1980s, very successful, and easily upgraded to keep up with the times.
    • The Littoral Combat Ship was the other half of the planned littoral mission, a small, very fast corvette-sized ship that could engage successfully the small boats that had given the US Navy significant grief in the Persian Gulf. They were also intended to be modular, able to swap out mission packages so that they could act as ASW patrol ships and mine warfare vessels. Unfortunately, the first four ships ran into immediate problems. Financially, they came out 220% over the original estimated cost. Both lead ships Independence and Freedom suffered severe structural problems - galvanic corrosion for Independence and cracking for Freedom on top of thousands of other bugs. So bad were the problems that the US Navy currently plans to retire the first four LCS in 2021, barely ten years after Freedom and Independence were commissioned. The remaining ships have to deal with the fact that their mission modules have been stuck in Development Hell due to delays prompting Congress to cut funding, which causes further delays, and then further cuts. And then there's the crippling transmission issues that plague the Freedom class...

    Railroading 
  • The restoration of Chesapeake and Ohio 1309, a 2-6-6-2 that holds the distinction of being the last steam locomotive constructed by Baldwin Locomotive Works, became an infamous discussion among railroad fans. The engine was acquired by the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad in 2014 after its own engine, the former Lake Superior and Ishpeming 2-8-0 34 (in the guise of Western Maryland 734) had to go out of service for its federally mandated inspection. After its acquisition and transport from the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum, the newly-christened "Thunder" was intended to be running by 2016, in order to bolster the line's revenue and by time for 734 to get its turn in the shop. But what started as a simple restoration turned out to be anything but.
    • The locomotive's overall condition, despite initial inspections, was found to be much poorer than anticipated. Because the C&O had only purchased this group of engines as a stop-gap measure until they could purchase diesels about a decade later, they only performed just enough maitenance to keep it running, to the point that the drivers were completely shot and needed a total overhaul. On top of that, 50+ years of exposure to the elements didn't help the already problematic condition of the 1309, and it needed a much heavier rebuild than anticipated. Rather than simply patch it up to make it run, the railroad made the decision to do a top-to-bottom overhaul so they could have it brand new by the time it was ready to roll. This meant the 2016 date couldn't be met.
    • Problems continued to worsen when, due to the engine's poor condition and the sheer amount of manpower needed to get it running again, money quickly dried up, halting the restoration multiple times between 2016 and 2020. No work on it could proceed until the state of Maryland could provide a sufficient grant to allow the restoration to resume.
    • On top of it all, the railroad found that they needed to upgrade their existing trackage and facilities to be able to accommodate their new arrival, as it was simply too big for the current line.note  That meant more money needed to be sunk into the railroad that it simply didn't have lying around.
    • Worse yet, an employee stole parts off the locomotive for scrap, resulting in the restoration being delayed again until a replacement set of parts could be made.
    • COVID-19 was the last to strike the project, slowing down the project further due to a lack of manpower.
    • As all of this played out, constant Trains Magazine-sponsored trips were postponed or cancelled outright while the entire debacle played out. Fortunately, the story does have a happy ending, for it finally saw steam in 2020, right as New Years Eve concluded, and conducted a test run in 2021 to ring in the new year.
  • Pennsylvania Railroad 1361 holds the distinction of being one of only two steam locomotives of the famous K-4 class of 4-6-2 Pacific types left (the other being 3750, at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg), one of the two state steam locomotives of PA (the other also being 3750), and one of the most troubling restorations in history. The locomotive was built 1918 by the railroad's Altoona shops, and had been spared from the torch in 1957, being displayed in the center of the world-famous Horseshoe Curvenote . It was restored back to service in 1987—and that's where the trouble began:
    • Only a year after it returned, 1361 was hauling a low-speed excursion in York, PA when it suffered a minor derailment. The incident in question did little damage, but it dislodged a crucial component under the axle, causing a critical failure en route back home. Due to the incident, it was taken out of service, then, in 1996, dismantled piece by piece to the Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, PA for a complete overhaul.
    • Said overhaul proved to be particularly costly, due to the fact that the engine was significantly older and required a much steeper set of rules to be placed back into servicenote . Despite receiving significant funding, little, if any work, was accomplished, in part due to the sheer undertaking required. As a consequence, it largely sat in the Scranton shops as an empty shell.
    • Naturally, the RRMM were not happy about their star attraction being stuck in its current state, and demanded its return. Thus, in 2013, 1361 returned to Altoona—its very birthplace—in pieces to the museum's newly constructed roundhouse, where it was kept in pieces until what to do with it could be determined. Debate went on about either restoring it to full service for tourist work, or doing partial work for local operation, since the nearby Norfolk Southern line was too busy for mainline service.
    • Some hope did finally come when former Amtrak CEO Wick Moorman provided personal funding to get the engine back into service as a state-wide tourist hauler, complete with a new boiler and a fresh set of modern upgrades to make her mainline worthy again. Her tender was completely overhauled by 2019—and then COVID-19 hit, setting her back once again as work slowed to a crawl.
  • Milwaukee Road 261, dubbed by Trains Magazine as the "Energizer Bunny of Steam" for having made at least on excursion a year between 1993 and 2008, was taken down for her 1,472 inspection at the end of the 2008 season. The hope was to have her running again by 2010, but circumstances almost took her out of service for good.
    • Any efforts to get 261 back on the rails had to be temporarily halted in 2009, as the world-famous Southern Pacific 4449 needed the Friends of the 261's help to getting to Train Festival 2009—a fundraising event held by the Steam Railroad Institute of Owosso, MI to raise funds for the famed Pere Marquette 1225's (alias The Polar Express) own overhaul. The Friends loaned the 261's own consist, including the Cedar Rapids observation and the famous Super Dome, to the Daylight, as well as providing access to the shops in Minnesota for en-route maintenance. Work was supposed to resume once 4449 left back for Portland, but—
    • The team didn't own the locomotive outright. Rather, she was being leased from the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, WI, where the engine was originally donated to. For whatever reason, the NRM wanted to increase the lease to $225,000 a year, and the Friends understandably didn't want to pay that high of a cost. Much to their chagrin, the decision was made to end the lease, meaning the engine needed to be reassembled and returned to the museum, never to see steam again. There was discussions about leasing out another engine, or having someone else by the 261 and let the Friends continue operating it, but nothing seemed to go anywhere. The engine's overhaul was halted and plans were made to simply take it back to the museum after it had been put back together.
    • Fortunately, this story does have a happy ending. Rather than returning it to the museum, the Friends were able to buy the engine for the $225,000 price tag they had wanted for the lease, and work resumed in 2010, culminating in the engine's return to service in 2013.
  • Through the 2000's and early 2010's, the Italian train manufacturer AnsaldoBreda became notorious for producing a series of trains that were difficult to work with, to the point where it eventually killed the company when it was bought out by Hitachi Rail and turned into Hitachi Rail Italy.
    • The 4000 Series created for the Washington Metro, in spite of being an evolution of the prior 2000 and 3000 Series trains also built by the company, proved to be unreliable with a critical flaw that would see their doors open while the train was moving. The 4000 Series was retired in 2017, while its predecessors were refurbished and kept in service until the mid-2020's.
    • The SL95 was built for the Oslo tram network, and suffered many issues often stemming from its electrical and air supply systems not being well suited to winter conditions, something kind of important when you are building a tram specifically for Oslo. Other issues included the wheels wearing down quickly (on a few occasions after just a single day of service), and a contract dispute stemming from the vehicles being louder in operation than what the tender specified. They will be fully retired in 2024 as part of a complete replacement of the Oslo tram fleet after just 24 years in operation; the SL79 it serves alongside will have lasted 42 years in service by comparison.
    • The Sirio built for Gothenburg's tram network suffered from a chassis that would rapidly deteriorate and cause damage to both the train and the track due to the poor materials used, with AnsaldoBreda being found liable for the cost of repairs in court.
    • Perhaps the most notorious product of the company was the V250 "Fyra" high-speed train. The train was built for use on the newly-constructed high-speed line connecting Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Brussels, and the company got the contract after promising that they could build both a cheaper train than their competitors, and one with a top speed of 250km/h, much higher than the 220km/h that the tender specified. This turned out to be a terrible decision, as the V250 was plagued with reliability issues that meant less than half of its services were on-time. The fleet was ultimately withdrawn in 2013 after just 39 days in commercial service and replaced by much slower locomotive-hauled trains while awaiting a replacement fleet by CAF sometime in the early-2020's. The subsequent legal battle between the government of The Netherlands' and AnsaldoBreda dragged on for years, though the trains themselves at least had a happy ending: they were sold to Trenitalia, where they were refurbished and put to work on some of Italy's secondary high-speed lines, where they have performed much better.
    • If the V250 didn't kill the company by itself, then the IC4 built for Denmark's intercity services certainly helped. Originally set for delivery in 2003, it took until late 2008 for them to finally enter regular service as the process of completing the regulatory approval for them proved to be a very lengthy process, not helped by the fact that the IC4 itself was a very bespoke design. Even in-service, it took another few years for the trains to be approved for use as coupled units, by which point the slow delivery of the trains resulted in AnsaldoBreda being locked out of maintaining the trains and being required to refund half the value of the contract they had won. This story also saw a bizarre tangent when one of the IC4 trains built turned up in Libya, where it had been gifted to Gadaffi to celebrate 40 years of his rule and still carried some of the signs that the trainset was supposed to be delivered to Denmark instead.
  • The ICE series of trains manufactured for Deutsche Bahn include some of the most iconic and well-regarded trainsets of the modern era. Unfortunately, the ICE series contains one blight on the family: The ICE TD. A joint-venture between Bombardier and Siemens, the TD is a diesel version of the far more successful ICE T, intended for non-electrified intercity routes and international services into Denmark. The TD however proved to be asking for too much as a diesel train with a tilting mechanism that was also intended for high speeds made it a reliability and maintenance cost sink. It was introduced into service in 2001: Of the 20 ordered, one was written off immediately when it fell off an elevated platform during maintenance, and a broken axel on another train in 2002 resulted in the whole fleet being turned in for maintenance, and by 2003 the ICE TD was withdrawn from regular domestic use in order to focus on Germany-Denmark services in a deal that saw DBB buy some of the sets. In the end, the TD had an embarrassingly short lifespan when DB cancelled their lease to get rid of them and DBB refused to buy up what they had, and all of them were out of commercial service by 2017, with one example surviving as an experimental train to test new technologies.
  • The Ottawa Confederation Line is a low-floor light rail line that was built to partially replace a BRT lane while giving the city a modern rail-based rapid transit option. Unfortunately, despite a relatively smooth inauguration the line has become massively unreliable in regular service, with two derailments within a month in 2021 shutting down the line completely until its operations can be evaluated. The line is a victim of trying to build a system that does absolutely everything on a checklist, when cutting some features to build a more focused product would've done it huge favors. Looking at some of the decisions made during its creation makes it easy to see where some of the failure points lie:
    • The is operated by Alstom Citadis trams, which have demonstrated themselves to be fine vehicles in other markets but have proved disastrous in Ottawa. The Confederation Line is intended to support large numbers of passengers at peak hours on a linear system, whereas the Citadis is designed for lower density lines with more frequent service and smaller peak demand. This mismatch has resulted in the trams seeing far more wear and tear than they were intended to take: For example a common failure point on the line were the tram doors breaking or becoming stuck. Other trains install sturdier doors to handle the number of commuters trying to go though them at once, but the Citadis was designed with no such rush in mind. Because the Citadis' interiors are also not designed with high capacity (instead of longer trains, the trams are linked together to fill the platform), this has led to severe overcrowding both on the trains themselves and on the platforms, where service isn't frequent enough to make up for the small trains serving them.
    • So why use trams instead of proper commuter-focused trains? The original plan for the line was that it would involve a portion of street-running where low-floor trams make sense. It was turned into a fully grade separated line later, but the train specification wasn't updated to reflect that. This means the line lost the advantages of using trams while exaggerating the downsides of them, such as the less comfortable ride quality and the smaller interiors, both of which are even more perceptible in low-floor vehicles compared to high-floor ones.
    • Other issues with the line itself come down to its in-use design. The construction is technically sound, but features sharp turns that put extra wear on the trains, as well as a lack of sidings for trains that develop a fault to be moved to with minimal disruption.
  • St. Louis Southwestern Railroad, better known as the Cotton Belt, boasts a lesser known 4-8-4 of the preservation era numbered 819, the last steam engine built for the line right out of their own shops. The engine was saved from the torch in the 1950s, but years of exposure to the elements left it a rusting hulk. Thus, a small group of volunteers fixed it up in the 1980s, and got it running again to the point it enjoyed a pretty decent excursion career, most notably appearing at the 1990 NRHS Convention in St. Louis. It went out of service in 1993 for an overhaul—an overhaul that, by 2021, is still ongoing. Reasons have varied as to why the work has been so slow (ranging from claims of a lack of funding to the volunteer staff being toxic to work with), but even if the locomotive was able to get steamed up again, she has nowhere to run; Union Pacific does not allow any steam engines besides its own to run mainline excursions on its tracks, and the museum only has access to the UP main. She's safe for now, but whether or not she'll see steam again is another matter.
  • During the 1970s, Amtrak was in desperate need of a new electric locomotive to replace its aging fleet of former Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1 locomotives, most of which were nearing their 50s. General Electric provided that replacement in the form of the E60, or at least that was the idea. Flaws in the truck designs made these engines derailment prone, causing them to be limited to 90mph. Such limitations led to the EMD AEM-7 replacing them during the late 1970s, with all of the E60s retired by 2003, and only one from the line save at Strasburg. Ironically enough, their intended replacements, the Bombardier-Alstom HPP-8, was even more unreliable, and lasted a lot less longer, when they and the AEM-7s were replaced by the Siemens ACS-64.
  • Santa Fe 2926, a massive 4-8-4 2900 class steam engine (the heaviest of its type in existence in fact) had spent the last several years resting in a park in Albuquerque, New Mexico, exposed to the elements and undergoing heavy decay. A small group, the New Mexico Steam Locomotive and Railroad Historical Society (a sister organization to the San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society, the same group that restored fellow Santa Fe 4-8-4 3751), decided to get the engine back into service so they could run it on the mainline. The project began in 1999; the first time the engine turned a wheel under its own power was in 2021! The long and troubled road to get there is a fascinating tale in and of itself.
    • The engine was first moved out of the park in 2000, before it was taken to its home base in 2002 to being the restoration project. Unfortunately, the team wasn't all that experienced compared to the SBRHS (who took 5 years to get 3751 back up and running, from 1986-1991), so they decided to build up some experience by tackling the engine's massive tender first. That project was completed a few years later, so they had half the engine done, but they still needed to work on the more important half—the locomotive itself. Of course, the big 2900 was no walk in the park, as 50 years of rust and decay had settled in. To ensure it wouldn't have any problems for its eventual return, the crew decided to do a total top-to-bottom teardown of 2926. The intention was to have it running by 2012 so it could officially participate in the centennial of New Mexico joining the Union. But then...
    • A band of scrap thieves broke into the shops sometime around 2012 or so and swiped several critical components, meaning the engine wouldn't be able to make the date. It was fortunate that five other 2900s existed, so the group reached out to the Pueblo Railroad Museum in Colorado to borrow parts from 2912 (itself undergoing its own restoration, which was cancelled due to the downtrodden economy) so they could be cast-molded and replicated for 2926. It still set the project back by several years, as the group not only had to install security fencing around the engine, but they eventually had to build a massive shed for 2926 so nobody would try swiping parts from it again.
    • Several years later, by 2019, the engine was almost ready to go. It had a few steam-ups (though not under its own power), it looked almost brand new, and it was ready for a little test run around the site...then the engine derailed while being backed into the shed. Not only did the crew have to spend money to get the locomotive off the ground, but they had to use critical funds to repair the damaged section of track and prevent further derailments in that spot. And if that wasn't enough, a planned steam-up date in 2020 was postponed when COVID-19 hit and New Mexico went on lockdown, meaning that limited work was all that could be performed on the site.
    • Come 2021, and the engine finally got to move under its own power—but it's still not out of the woods yet. With COVID still raging, and with the big 2900 still needing a spot on the mainline to run, it's clear that 2926 had a rough go to even turn a wheel again, and still has a big challenge ahead of it. And that's not even getting into how it's intended double-header with 3751 will have to wait since that engine is undergoing an overhaul.
  • A minor example compared to a lot of the other steam restorations, but Union Pacific Railroad's intended restoration of Big Boy 4014 was literally completed at the last-minute. The engine had been sought after in 2012, and reacquired in 2013, for the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad's completion. Moving the engine took almost an entire year due to logistical planning over a heavy-freight route (not to mention extracting a 1.25 million pound engine over a parking lot to the UP main), and work on the engine didn't actually begin until 2016 since their regular locomotive, 4-8-4 844, had to undergo an early overhaul when a change in the water treatment clogged its boiler tubes; UP was forced to not use any excursion engines for two years since neither 844 nor 4-6-6-4 Challenger 3985 were able to run (and indeed, the 3985 was retired in 2020 after 4014's career resumed due to budget constraints), the Big Boy had a long way to go before it would run again, and it's historic diesels were down for repairs that still haven't been completed. Once 844 was done, things went a little smoother, and 4014 returned to service in 2019, just days before the final event it was reacquired for was set to take place.

    Shopping malls 
  • Forest Fair Mall/The Shops at Forest Fair/Cincinnati Mills/Cincinnati Mall/Forest Fair Village in suburban Cincinnati, Ohio may be the best example in the history of retail.
    • Australian-based developers LJ Hooker acquired the land for Forest Fair Mall in the mid-1980s. Originally it was going to be just a location of local supermarket/discount store Bigg's, but LJ Hooker chose to make that store the anchor to a 1.5 million square foot mall. It would be the second-largest in Ohio at the time, despite proximity to both Northgate and Tri-County malls (the latter of which was undergoing expansion at the time). The other anchor stores were to be Higbee's (based out of Cleveland) and four other upscale regional department stores (Bonwit Teller, B. Altman and Company, Parisian, and Sakowitz) that LJ Hooker bought controlling interest in, just to force them into the mall. Right after the Bigg's wing opened for business in 1988, Higbee's backed out of the project, so B. Altman was hastily moved to their intended spot and Dayton-based Elder-Beerman took B. Altman's original place. Even before the mall opened, many analysts felt that the four upscale department stores that Hooker had purchased were poor choices, due to both their unfamiliarity with the market (Bonwit Teller and B. Altman were both based in New York City; Parisian in Birmingham, Alabama; and Sakowitz in Houston) and the more blue-collar demographics of the neighborhoods around the mall. Forest Fair fully opened in 1989, featuring such lavish tenants as an Australian brewery, the first licensed day care center in a US shopping mall, a huge arcade/entertainment center called Time Out, and a sprawling food court.
    • LJ Hooker made a myriad of ill-fated retail decisions in the States that ended up bringing them to bankruptcy in 1990. Among these was reconstructing the Richland Mall in Columbia, South Carolina into a similarly opulent megamall which also failed right out of the gate; most of it was later converted to a Verizon call center which has since closed. They also built smaller malls in Denver, Colorado and Louisville, Kentucky which both wound up getting redeveloped less than a decade into their existence. Megamalls were also planned in Orlando, Tampa, Raleigh, Charlotte, and Atlanta, but none came to fruition. The bankruptcy also took down the B. Altman, Sakowitz, and Bonwit Teller chains (Parisian survived largely unscathed, and persisted until it was sold to Belk in 2006). With both its original developer and three of its major department stores gone, tenancy sank quickly.
    • A group of lenders took over the mall and managed to replace B. Altman with a nightclub and Cincinnati's first Kohl's department store. New ownership in 1996 saw the addition of Bass Pro Shops and a number of "big box" stores, including Burlington Coat Factory, Guitar Center, and even Saks Fifth Avenue's outlet division Off Fifth. In 2002, it was sold again to Mills Corporation, whose other properties were known for a similar mix of discount/outlet, big box, and entertainment tenants. They remodeled the mall, renamed it Cincinnati Mills to fit their Theme Naming, and held a grand reopening in 2004. However, the decline of the retail sector in the coming years saw the demise of many key tenants such as Media Play, Steve & Barry's, Bigg's, and Elder-Beerman. Mills itself was financially struggling (and under scrutiny by the SEC) by the time it sold most of its portfolio to Simon Property Group, the largest mall company in the US, in 2007.
    • Simon quickly passed the mall on to a series of other developers, none of whom seemed interested in doing anything to it. In addition, the retail sector had shifted further north in the intervening years, with newer shopping malls in Hamilton (Bridgewater Falls), Liberty Township (Liberty Center), and Monroe (Cincinnati Premium Outlets) pulling away most of the tenants from Forest Fair and Tri-County alike. Later developers had plans to add an ice rink and a Candlewood Suites hotel that never materialized. Bass Pro Shops also proposed to move out of the mall as early as 2013 in favor of a new store in nearby West Chester Township, but the chain's merger with Cabela's (which also has a store in West Chester) stalled those plans. The mall, with no internal guidance and nothing replacing its vacated stores, withered away to nearly nothing by The New '10s, leaving a hulking, pristine, yet ghostly behemoth with only five tenants: Bass Pro Shops, Kohl's, a gym, an arcade, and a children's play place. Despite this, a Christian media company out of Nashville expressed interest in converting part of the mall to office and studio space, and Kohl's announced that they would be moving out in 2021.
  • Another troubled mall was Eastland Mall on the east side of Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was to have been opened in the 1970s, but sat half-finished for years due to a myriad of problems, one of which was a worker who fell to his death during construction of a Dillard's department store. It finally opened in 1984 and was initially successful, but the first domino fell in 1999 when anchor store Service Merchandise went out of business. After this, J. C. Penney closed in 2001 due to poor sales, Mervyns pulled all of its Oklahoma stores in 2006 (they would go out of business entirely in 2008), and Dillard's downgraded to a clearance center before closing as well. The rapid departure of anchor stores completely gutted the interior mall of tenants as well. By 2007, it was converted almost entirely to offices, retaining only a couple eateries and small service shops for use by office workers. The mall's short life was due not only to its troubled beginnings and poor anchors, but also a bad location. It was put on the far east side of town, a direction that development just never followed — the mall building is still largely surrounded by fields, and literally the only peripheral development was a single strip mall that also wound up converting largely to non-retail use. It also didn't help that nearby highway expansion provided easier access to the other, more successful malls in the Tulsa area.
  • There's also Illinois Centre Mall in Marion, Illinois. When it was built in 1991, nearby Carbondale already had a fairly succesful mall called University Mall, whose Sears relocated to join the newer center. Many retail analysts thought that the newer mall would win out with its proximity to Interstate 57, along with the fact that its other three anchor stores (Dillard's, Target, and Phar-Mor) were all new to the market. Instead, the newer mall struggled for many years. The first blow was when Phar-Mor went out of business after only two years; as it was at the back of the mall and had poor visibility, the owners had to resort to converting it to offices. Although a few businesses built on the periphery, the interior mall constantly struggled due to its sprawling, awkward floor plan. The original developers sold it after only five years, and it was only 60% leased in 2000. Despite a rename and another change in ownership in the noughties, it continued to bleed tenants — it didn't help that many of its remaining stores were chains that were either going under entirely or scaling back locations. Also not helping was very poor visibility from both Interstate 57 and Illinois State Highway 13. A 2015 newspaper article revealed that three of the five new owners had been jailed for violating the Sherman Antitrust act; the leasing company was completely unresponsive to inquiries from the tenants; and leasing was further complicated due to the parking lot and each anchor store having its own ownership. Sears closed in spring 2018, and the few remaining tenants were evicted in fall 2018 (except for Target, Dillard's, a furniture store in the old Sears, and the offices in the old Phar-Mor space).
  • Fashion Mall, in the Fort Lauderdale, Florida suburb of Plantation, was built in 1988 as an upscale mall. However, it struggled right out of the gate, maintaining low occupancy due to the existing Broward Mall just across the street. It still managed to stay afloat until anchor store Lord & Taylor closed all of its Florida stores in 2003, while Hurricane Wilma destroyed Macy's and part of the mall proper in 2005 (Macy's stayed in the area by buying out Burdines, which had a store at Broward Mall, in the same year). Tenancy plummeted and the mall was shuttered in 2006. The first redevelopment plans in 2008-09 were crushed by the recession, and later redevelopment was stalled by a myriad of legal issues, including a developer that filed for bankruptcy. Demolition finally began in May 2016.
  • Perhaps the most famous "dead mall" of all is Dixie Square Mall in the Chicago suburb of Harvey:
    • Built in 1966, the mall was initially successful with a fairly typical lineup for the era, including J. C. Penney, Montgomery Ward, Woolworth, Walgreens, and a Jewel supermarket. An expansion in 1970 added Turn Style, a short-lived discount department store then under the same ownership as Jewel. However, Dixie Square was quickly plagued by crime and poverty, with many shootings, thefts, and other incidents occurring. Between these and the demise of Turn Style, the mall was gradually closed off between 1976 and 1978 (except for Walgreens, which stayed until the following spring).
    • A school later used the former Turn Style building for a short time after the mall closed, but its most famous use was in the movie The Blues Brothers, where the former J. C. Penney wing was fitted with fake storefronts for the Signature Scene in which Elwood and Jake drive a car through a mall while being chased by police.
    • The abandoned mall quickly became a haven of vandalism and crime, despite a police station being built in the parking lot. The city of Harvey was unable to get the building demolished, so it sat well into the first decade of the 21st century, at the mercy of harsh Midwestern winters, scrappers, urban explorers, and vandals. Fires were also started in the former Woolworth and a space once occupied by a nightclub, further compromising the structure's integrity. The area around the mall continued to decline as well, leaving it surrounded by blight.
    • The first redevelopment plans were announced in 2005, at which point the mall was to be demolished for "big box" retail such as Costco, with a home goods store moving into the former Montgomery Ward space. However, this was scuttled when it was discovered that the mall was loaded with asbestos, and the company that had begun demolition did not acquire a permit.
    • The mall's power plant was demolished (still illegally) one night, and accidental demolition of the Montgomery Ward building had also begun until the mayor of Harvey happened to drive by and stop them.
    • Over the next several years, the property passed from developer to developer while the proper permits were acquired for demolition, but another fire had also started in the former J. C. Penney. Finally, after years of legal wrangling, the property was fully demolished and cleared in 2012.
  • The American Dream Meadowlands megamall in East Rutherford, New Jersey, part of the vast Meadowlands Sports Complex that includes MetLife Stadium (home field of the New York Giants and Jets) and the Meadowlands Arena (former home of the New Jersey Devils and the then-New Jersey Nets), was first proposed in the early '00s by the Mills Corporation as the Meadowlands Xanadu, described as "a new standard for bringing lifestyle, recreation, sports and family entertainment offerings together in one location." This would be no ordinary mall — it would have an NHL-sized Ice Hockey rink, a minigolf course, an indoor water park and theme park, an twelve-story, 800-foot indoor ski slope, a 26-screen movie theater with an outdoor lounge overlooking Manhattan, a concert hall, an aquarium, a LEGOLAND Discovery Center, and to top it all off, the Pepsi Globe, a 287-foot-tall Ferris wheel. This profile in GQ describes it as something "ripped from the pages of David Foster Wallace's dystopian novel Infinite Jest." The project was announced in 2002 and ground was broken in 2004, with expected completion in two years. It did not begin to open until late 2019, with the $5 billion that has been sunk into it making it the most expensive retail project in history.
    • The first problem arose when the Mills Corporation was hit by the Securities and Exchange Commission for financial chicanery, forcing them to sell the mall off to Colony Capital in 2006 before declaring bankruptcy the following year. Meanwhile, as the original timetable for completion proved laughably unrealistic for a project of this scope, opening day kept getting pushed back.
    • Many people in the area thought that the complex, with its colorful checkerboard-and-stripe outer appearance, was butt-ugly, feeling that it looked like shipping containers. Among those who agreed was the original architect, David Rockwell, who claimed substantial Executive Meddling from his original design and quit the project.
    • The real disaster came with the onset of the Great Recession. When a subsidiary of Lehman Brothers (the firm whose collapse started the whole mess) missed its payments in 2009, other lenders started pulling out, causing the Meadowlands Xanadu to lose half a billion dollars' worth of funding. The mall, about 80% finished at the time, would likely miss its opening day (pushed back to 2010 by this point) again, causing retailers who had leased space inside the mall, including big anchors like Cabela's, to shelve their plans to open their Meadowlands locations. Related to this, three of the proposed major tenants (Borders, Circuit City, and Virgin Megastore) filed for bankruptcy and went out of business.
    • In 2010, having missed yet more deadlines, Colony Capital gave up and handed the mall over to a group of five lenders. The state of New Jersey stepped in, and the following year it was announced that the Triple Five Group (owners of the Mall of America and the West Edmonton Mall) would be taking over the project, renaming it to American Dream Meadowlands. Triple Five added the indoor water park and the DreamWorks theme park to the plans — a move that was fiercely opposed by the New York Giants and Jets, who filed a lawsuit to get them to drop the expanded plans, citing traffic concerns and claiming that the complex was now far larger than what they agreed on. A settlement was reached in 2014 allowing the expansion to go forward, but it held up construction even further.
    • January 2011 broke snowfall records in the area, with the vast quantity of snow and ice dumped on the mall causing a large section of the eastern wall to buckle and collapse in early February.
    • In 2016, Universal bought out DreamWorks Animation. This presented a problem, since the theme park was going to be DreamWorks-themed, and Universal, which already operates its own theme parks on the East Coast, had little interest in cannibalizing its business by supporting a competitor, causing them to pull out of the project. Nickelodeon subsequently acquired the rights to the mall's theme park, hoping to create a new Nickelodeon Universe location like the one at the Mall of America. (The water park, however, would remain DreamWorks-themed, as Universal's East Coast water park Volcano Bay is a much smaller part of its business.)
    • The mall finally met completion in the last quarter of 2019 and began a phased opening, only for the March 2020 restaurant and shop debuts to be postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the region that month, which also shut the rest of the operation down and (due to the pandemic's devastating effect on retail) led to the loss of Forever 21 and Lord & Taylor as tenants. On September 3, 2020, it was announced that the mall would finally receive its full proper opening, retail and entertainment included, as well as the reopening of Nickelodeon Universe, on October 1 — although considering all that has happened since March 2020, it will most likely be a very long time before American Dream Meadowlands can really make money as few people will want to go out to it before a vaccine, etc. is developed.
    • Many have come to view the American Dream Meadowlands as one of the biggest boondoggles in New Jersey's history, its equivalent of the Big Dig given how much public money in the form of loans, bonds, and tax breaks has been given to the developers, especially given how many malls already exist in northern New Jersey. Five separate state governorsnote  have overseen the project, and it has become a joke akin to Duke Nukem Forever or Chinese Democracy within the state, such that Terrence T. McDonald, a reporter for the Jersey Journal, suggested on Twitter that a future New Jersey governor will be saying that "voters elected me in 2077 to get this thing done and we're just about there."
  • City View, a shopping center in the Cleveland, Ohio suburb of Garfield Heights. It was built in 2006 on the site of a former landfill, which immediately caused problems. Walmart closed abruptly after only two years due to methane leakage, sewage backup, and settling floors. The issues caused by the site abruptly aborted construction, to the point that several outbuildings were left only half-finished, or in the case of a few restaurants and Home Depot, never even begun. With Walmart gone, the other stores in the center trickled out over time (including Circuit City and AJ Wright, both of which went out of business entirely), leaving just a small cluster of stores on safer ground closer to I-480, a Giant Eagle supermarket all the way at the other end, and several mostly-unfinished rotting structures in between.
  • Oviedo Mall, formerly Oviedo Marketplace, in the Orlando suburb of Oviedo. The mall opened to great fanfare in 1998 with department stores Dillard's and Gayfers, Major tenants included a movie theater, Bed Bath & Beyond, and "superstore" locations for both FYE and Foot Locker. However, its small size and poor freeway access meant that it never got above 80% occupancy. Also, the Gayfers anchor underwent several changes within the first few years. Dillard's bought out the Gayfers chain only seven months after the mall opened, so their store was sold to Parisian. This lasted only two years due to the store's unfamiliarity in the market, so it was hastily converted to Burdines in 2000 — only for Burdines to sell to Macy's in 2003. However, Sears joined as a third anchor in 2000. Occupancy continued to dwindle as shoppers preferred other, larger, and easier to access malls nearby. In addition, many of the other key tenants left as well: FYE closed its large store due to record stores falling out of favor, Foot Locker left as it began to phase out its superstores, and Bed Bath & Beyond moved out because its store was too large, ultimately becoming a gym. One large space originally intended for a restaurant was never even tenanted until a Paul Mitchell cosmetology school opened there in 2012. Macy's closed in 2017 and Sears in 2019.
  • Kyova Mall, formerly Cedar Knoll Galleria, just outside Ashland, Kentucky. Due to a lack of foresight, Ashland ended up getting two malls built in the same year by competing developers: Ashland Town Center was built on the edge of downtown in a still thriving retail core, while Cedar Knoll Galleria was built on a remote lot far southwest of town with almost no development surrounding it. (Both were preceded by the much larger Huntington Mall across the Big Sandy River in Barboursville, West Virginia.) Cedar Knoll struggled right out of the gate, losing Phar-Mor almost instantly and Kmart in 2002. Two more anchor slots were proposed but never built out, meaning that two of the mall's hallways dead-end in grassy lots. Still, it hung on with about 50% occupancy, anchored by Sears and Elder-Beerman. A major restaurant in the mall closed due to issues with liquor licenses, creating another huge vacancy. Both Target and Meijer had expressed interest in anchoring the mall, but neither came to fruition. The Kmart later became a flea market and then a short-lived Steve & Barry's sportswear store, but after the latter went out of business, the mall only continued to lose tenants, and not even the name change to Kyova Mall helped any. Jo-Ann Fabrics and many other inline tenants moved to Ashland Town Center. While a movie theater and restaurant moved into the former Phar-Mor and a Rural King farm supply store filled the former Kmart, the mall has continued to grow increasingly vacant, never having been anywhere close to full occupancy and still surrounded almost entirely by forest. Sears finally closed there in 2014, while Elder-Beerman's parent company The Bon-Ton went out of business in fall 2018. Meanwhile, both Ashland Town Center and Huntington Mall continue to thrive.
  • Scottsdale Galleria in the Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale went through this very quickly. It opened in 1991 as an upscale mall featuring an IMAX theater, an aquarium, and all sorts of other amenities. However, originally planned anchor store I. Magnin backed out, leaving the mall with no major department store (not that it mattered, since I. Magnin went out of business soon afterward). Also, the nearby Scottsdale Fashion Square expanded, luring away potential tenants. After only two years, the mall was foreclosed on and largely closed except for the theater and a TGI Friday's, while plans were drawn up to turn it into a sports complex. These plans failed, as did plans to turn it into a planetarium and a museum. Scenes from Tank Girl were also filmed in the complex during its long period of abandonment. It was finally converted to offices at the Turn of the Millennium.
  • Brandywine Town Center was first proposed for Wilmington, Delaware in 1983, and was slated to be built on the site of an abandoned racetrack. The mall was supposed to have brought upscale merchants to the area, such as Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. However, the property was hotly contested for years, as many felt that such a mall would have killed the existing Concord Mall down the road, and analysts pointed out that such upscale stores would have performed poorly in Delaware, especially since most of them already existed across the border at King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania. By the time construction began in the late 1990s, Target and a Regal Cinemas movie theater were chosen as the anchors, while most of the mall space was taken up by "big box" stores, including both Home Depot and Lowe's, along with Bed Bath & Beyond and Dick's Sporting Goods. A large arcade/entertainment center owned by Regal Cinemas was abruptly closed, leaving a vacancy that was later filled by a call center before closing as well. Several of the "big box" stores in the center closed within a couple years (including Cost Plus World Market and a furniture store), leaving more glaring vacancies. The actual mall concourse consisted of only about a dozen stores, most of which were never tenanted. As a result, the concourse was eventually removed entirely in favor of a different furniture store, while other large pieces of the sprawling complex remain vacant.
  • Newmarket North Mall in Hampton, Virginia eventually fell hard into this.
    • The mall opened in 1975 as the largest shopping center - along with the nearby Mercury Mallnote  and Coliseum Mallnote  - in Hampton, part of the northern section (called the Peninsula) of the Tidewater or Hampton Roads region of Virginia, with anchors including a Sears, Miller & Rhoadsnote  and Leggettnote .
    • Things went relatively well for the mall until a string of developments began taking its toll on the mall. First came the 1987 opening of Patrick Henry Mall in nearby Newport News. Both Coliseum Mall and Newmarket North Mall attempted to counteract with remodeling, with pastel colors replacing the original earth tones decor, and by 1990 the mall was renamed Newmarket Fair Mall.
    • The next shoe to drop came when the Miller & Rhoads chain folded in 1990, which along with the early 1990s recession and the 1992 opening of the Monitor Merrimac Bridge-Tunnel (allowing easier access to malls in Norfolk and Virginia Beach)note  added to Newmarket's rapidly growing list of woes, to the degree that the mall had a vacancy rate of almost 40% by early 1994.
    • Following attempts to convince local start-ups to move in with no success and the Leggett being downgraded to an outlet store, By 1997, non-retail use for the increasing number of vacant spaces were being considered.
    • After Thomas Nelson Community College and Colonial Downs turned down offers, Bell Atlanticnote  moved into the vacant Miller & Rhoads, where it remains. Shortly after buying out the numerous partnerships, Belk left the former Leggett location. Other large spaces would be occupied by AMSEC, an engineering firm for the U.S. Navy, and training facilities for the nearby Newport News Shipyard by 2003, with the property eventually renamed NetCenter. The office buildings that currently occupy the former store spaces are closed to the public, with the only spaces remaining available to the public are the Sears location (due to Sears owning the property) and a Piccadilly Cafeteria, with Sears Holdings' October 2018 Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection announcement resulting in that Sears location being set to close; leaving Piccadilly Cafeteria (which would be the lone remaining remnant of Newmarket North Mall operational once that Sears location closes its doors) with a very uncertain future.
  • Going back to Kentucky: Lexington Mall (in the city of that name) opened in 1974 and quickly became the area's leading shopping destination, despite being smaller than its main competitors, Fayette and Turfland Malls. It benefited greatly from its location—it sat next to some of Lexington's most exclusive neighborhoods, and it was noticeably more accessible to shoppers in outlying counties to the east than Fayette and Turfland were. The popular radio commercial jingle "Lexington Mall has it all" rang true until the 1990s, when...
    • First, Fayette Mall added a food court and a large new wing early in the decade, seriously cutting into Lexington Mall's traffic.
    • Turfland Mall underwent a lesser renovation in the mid-1990s, and drew several popular restaurants.
    • Starting in 1997, notorious horse farm owners and socialites Preston and Anita Madden turned most of their farm into the big-box shopping mecca of Hamburg Pavilion. Unlike the urban core of Lexington, or any of the city's existing malls, Hamburg had direct interstate highway access, making it much more accessible to shoppers from outlying counties who used to flock to Lexington Mall.
    • The year before the Maddens got into the game, The Home Depot planned to build a new store immediately to the east of Lexington Mall. The mall owner, Saul Centers LLP, wanted the store built as part of the mall in the parking lot of a former supermarket next to the mall. Home Depot instead built a free-standing store on the former supermarket site, which was in fact on a separate piece of property from the original mall. The dispute led to a meeting of Lexington's planning commission that became a shouting match. The commission basically told the parties to "grow up"... they didn't. Saul then filed suit—and became so obsessed with winning the case that it lost sight of the fact that virtually all of the mall's tenants got tired of the mess and left. By the time the legal action was over in 2004, the only significant retailers left in the complex were a Dillard's (which pulled out the next year) and the same Home Depot that triggered the legal mess (which remains open to this day).
    • The final chapter: Lexington megachurch Southland Christian Church, whose main worship center is in adjacent Jessamine County, bought the former mall in 2010, tearing out most of it to build a satellite worship center that opened in 2013. Only the Dillard's space remains from the original mall, and even that portion was gutted to turn it into support facilities for the worship center.
  • North Towne Square on the north side of Toledo, Ohio was also a troubled mall. Built right below the Michigan border in 1980, the mall originally included local department stores LaSalle's and Lion Store, along with Montgomery Ward. However, LaSalle's was rebranded by parent company Macy's in 1982, and then closed and sold to Elder-Beerman only two years after that. While the mall initially held its own, it quickly lost traffic when Frenchtown Square (now Mall of Monroe, and now very dead in its own right) opened across the border in Monroe, Michigan in 1988, followed by an expansion of nearby Franklin Park Mall in the early 90s. Elder-Beerman closed in 1997 during its first bankruptcy (they also had a store in Monroe at the time), and Dillard's bought out Lion Store only to close it a year later, leaving just Montgomery Ward until they went out of business in 2001. A gym took the former Montgomery Ward space, but the other two department stores remained vacant, with the mall itself closing in January 2005. An attempt to build a Walmart on the site in 2007 was shut down by city council, so the building sat and decayed. In 2010, the city mayor issued a condemnation notice due to leaking roofs and broken pipes on the vacated property, along with $86,000 in back taxes owed by the building's last owners. The property was finally torn down in 2013 except for the gym.
  • Stones River Mall in Murfreesboro, Tennessee (southeast of Nashville) managed to recover from a rough start. Already delayed from an originally-planned opening of 1984, it remained a vacant lot for several years after that thanks to financial difficulty of the original developers. The mall's original anchor stores (Sears, Walmart, and Goody's) opened in 1989, but other than an Applebee's restaurant, the mall was kept from opening for nearly three years due to said developers going bankrupt. When another company took over and opened it in 1992, much of the mall space was not yet occupied, including a slot for a fourth department store (Anderson's) that went out of business before the mall opened, and a food court that ultimately never took off and got removed. In addition, Walmart moved to a supercenter next to the mall after only six years. However, things began to turn around when local department store Castner Knott (which soon got bought out by Dillard's) moved into the former Walmart building and J. C. Penney took the last anchor slot. Combined with Murfreesboro's strong economy and the decline of the next-nearest mall in Nashville (Hickory Hollow Mall in Antioch), tenancy quickly rose, to the point that both Dillard's and J. C. Penney built newer, larger stores to free up their older locations for further mall expansions. Even though a "lifestyle center" outdoor mall has opened just up the road in the intervening years, Stones River has managed to hang in there.
  • Worcester Center in downtown Worcester, Massachusetts, went through this twice. A large urban renewal project in the early 1970s, an attempt to revitalize the then-dying downtown district, cleared out 34 acres of downtown for a massive, three-story shopping mall with Filene's and Jordan Marsh as the anchor stores. Although it opened in 1971 to great fanfare, it was constantly described as struggling; as early as 1973, there were doubts to its long term success. It had a reputation for crime, and its downtown location was inconvenient relative to malls that were already being built in the suburbs, while its size and positioning made for inconvenient traffic patterns downtown (particularly for pedestrians). Still, it limped along until the early 1990s, when Jordan Marsh went out of business entirely and Filene's closed due to declining sales. A developer took over and reopened the mall in 1996 as an outlet center, bringing in a myriad of new "big box" and outlet stores, including Bed Bath & Beyond, Media Play, and Sports Authority. While initially successful, it still suffered from the same logistical problems as its predecessor... and it quickly lost footing when an outlet mall opened in Wrentham in 1997. A rapid decline in tenancy ensued, with nearly all the anchor stores closing in 2004, and finally the mall itself between 2005 and 2006 for redevelopment. The building sat abandoned for years as new developers attempted to secure funding for a new development. Finally by the 2010s, demolition began on most of the property (except the former Filene's-turned-Media Play, which became a CVS/pharmacy and some city offices), with many office and retail buildings having displaced most of the former mall's site.
  • Avenue Mall in downtown Appleton, Wisconsin is a lesson in not building malls in downtown districts. It was proposed in the mid-1980s to link two existing downtown department stores, Gimbels and H. C. Prange Company (Prange's). The mall opened in 1985, requiring the demolition of two city blocks. However, Gimbels went out of business only a year later and sold their store to Marshall Field's. The mall was extremely sparse on opening day, with only about 20 tenants open for business. Not helping matters was the opening of Fox Valley Mall out in the suburbs around the same time. Noticing the lack of tenancy, the owners of the Prange's chain announced that they would close the downtown store by 1989 in favor of the Fox Valley store unless Avenue Mall's occupancy reached 70% — and sure enough, downtown's store was closed in 1989 as promised. Marshall Field's closed in 1991 when the parent company opened a branch of Dayton's over at Fox Valley (which itself would assume the Marshall Field's name in 2001, and become a Macy's in 2006). The downtown mall was already facing foreclosure, but still managed to snag Herberger's in the former Marshall Field's space in 1993, only for then-parent company Saks to rebrand the store to Younkers in 1997. Since Younkers had also gotten into Fox River by taking over Prange's, they closed the downtown store in 2001, leaving the now almost entirely vacant Avenue Mall with no anchors. As a result, the building was renamed City Center, and both former department store spaces were sliced up for offices and ground-facing retail. The mall structure still exists, but it is largely barren except for the occasional office suite.
  • Also in the Orlando market was Interstate Mall in Altamonte Springs. Opened in 1974, it immediately got outmoded by the larger Altamonte Mall across the street, and was plagued by poor access from nearby highways. An A&P supermarket which served as one of the anchor stores closed after only two years, and the mall was foreclosed on due to its unprofitability. It was bought by a lender in 1977, and passed on to his sons a year later when he died in a car crash. The new owners did some fixing up in the 1980s, replacing the A&P with Orlando's first TJ Maxx in 1984, while the Montgomery Ward was turned into their discount division, Jefferson's... only for that division to go under in 1985. After a Dallas developer backed out on redevelopment plans in 1986 (which would have included putting home improvement chain Builder's Square in the former Jefferson's), the Jefferson's was turned back into a Montgomery Ward. A Phar-Mor drugstore was added to its east, but it quickly went out of business. The mall was finally put out of its misery in 1995, with the enclosure removed for "big box" stores, and only a small hallway leading to the still operational movie theater in back. But it didn't stop there — the Montgomery Ward closed again in 1997, and became a Burlington Coat Factory with a Gold's Gym on the upper level. Many of the replacement stores such as CompUSA, Linens 'n Things, and David's Bridal all went out of business, TJ Maxx moved to a new store, and Gold's Gym abruptly closed in 2015, leaving the redeveloped center to struggle a second time.
  • Rolling Acres Mall in Akron, Ohio is another one that has been widely documented. It got off to a slow start, as it had been planned as early as 1971, but difficulty in excavating and developing the land set it behind schedule to the point that the city of Akron nearly withdrew building permits. On opening day in 1975, only 21 stores were open for business, despite plans calling for more than 120. By 1977, the mall had filled out to full capacity, with four department stores (J. C. Penney, Sears, Montgomery Ward, and O'Neil's), and nearly all of its 140 stores filled. It also boasted a movie theater and food court on the second level. While Montgomery Ward closed in 1986 due to declining sales, it was quickly replaced with Higbee's, which in turn became Dillard's in 1992. O'Neil's was renamed May Company Ohio in 1989, and again to Kaufmann's in 1993.
    However, in 1991, the mall owners enacted a cost-cutting measure by hiring "rent-a-cops" instead of off-duty police officers as security. This backfired massively when a riot broke out at the movie theater after a falling metal sign was mistaken by mall patrons for a gunshot during a screening of New Jack City. This negative publicity, combined with the theater's smaller size, caused it to close in 1993. While mall owners managed to attract Target as a fifth anchor in 1995, both J. C. Penney and Dillard's downgraded their stores to clearance centers, and the mall had gained a reputation for being a lower-class "urban" mall, compared to the much nicer Summit Mall to the north in Fairlawn. Rolling Acres was sold off several times, and by 2001, it was owned by Heywood Whichard, a Raleigh, NC-based group known for buying struggling malls at rock-bottom prices just to let them deteriorate. While it was sold off again, the mall's reputation for crime and blight had only exacerbated, to the point that a homeless man was found living in a vacant storefront with over $30,000 in stolen goods from mall merchants. Between 2006 and 2008, Dillard's and Macy's (which bought out Kaufmann's) closed, while Target moved to a new location. Due to an inability to pay for power, the entire mall was shuttered at the end of 2008, with every tenant getting evicted except for Sears and the J. C. Penney outlet.
    But the problems didn't end there. The vacant mall was auctioned online in 2009, but attracted no buyers. A company bought the building in 2010. Sears closed in 2011, and J. C. Penney Outlet in 2013, leaving the structure fully abandoned except for a storage facility in the old Target. Throughout The New '10s, the abandoned mall was repeatedly broken into by vandals, scrappers, and urban explorers, including one man who was electrocuted to death when attempting to steal copper wiring. The then-owners stopped paying for security, and blocked attempts by the city to auction it off. It was auctioned off in 2016, but again found no buyers, so ownership was transferred to the city of Akron. The mall was finally torn down in 2017 except for the former Sears, which houses a recycling facility.
  • Bellevue Mall, also in Nashville. It was first planned in the early 1970s, but shifts in developers, difficulties in rezoning the land, and failure to find suitable anchor stores doomed it almost from the start. Taubman Centers had joined development in 1981, but the mall did not open until 1990. Unusually for a Taubman mall, it had only two anchor stores: Dillard's and local chain Castner Knott. The hopes were for the mall to spur southwesterly development into the suburb of Bellevue, and that the upscale stores offered would give incentive. Instead, the exit at which Bellevue Mall was located remained sparsely developed, as suburban sprawl instead pushed due south into Franklin, where CoolSprings Galleria (which also had both Dillard's and Castner Knott among its anchor stores) opened a year later. Still, Bellevue managed to hold on for a while. Attempts were made to lure in more anchors, but the only other interested party was Sears which joined in 1999; in addition, after Castner Knott was purchased by Dillard's, their store became Proffitt's, Hecht's, and then Macy's within the course of five years. But perhaps the biggest blow was the much older Mall at Green Hills just to the northeast: originally an unassuming strip mall built in the 1950s, it was aggressively expanded into a much larger mall with much of the same posh offerings. Bellevue quickly resorted to temporary tenants such as libraries and churches to fill its increasing vacancies. Lack of surrounding development and redundancy to the other area malls quickly sent Bellevue Mall into a tailspin: Dillard's bailed in 2007, the mall itself closed in 2008, and Macy's a year after that, leaving only the Sears attached to a vacant property. It remained that way until 2015 when the property was finally torn down — all after a mere 18 years in business, a short life for a massive suburban megamall. A much smaller, more compact outdoor mall opened on the property in 2019.
  • Raceland Mall, a small community mall in Louisville, Kentucky, went through this as well. Originally planned for a 1970 opening, it was held up for many years following an attempt to sell the then-unfinished mall to another developer, after which the original developer went into receivership with the mall 95% finished. Raceland Mall finally opened in 1975, by which point anchor store W. T. Grant had already been open for two years. However, Grant's went out of business that same year, and their store was sold to Britt's, only for them to go out of business in 1979. By this point, only 19 out of 33 spaces in the mall had been filled, with much of the blame being placed on the slow start and inability to secure an anchor store, along with poor store selection and highway access. Ownership changed multiple times, with one owner attempting to sue the previous one for a mortgage. The former Britt's became local department store Consolidated Sales in 1980, only for them to go out of business as well in 1985. Their replacement, and the mall's fourth anchor store in less than a decade, was a Pace warehouse club store; however, unlike its predecessors, Pace did not retain an entrance to the mall itself. By 1990, the mall was entirely closed except for Pace and a supermarket. Yet another batch of new owners renamed the mall to Creekside Pavilion and promised redevelopment plans, which fell through when the supermarket and Pace both closed. After being put up for sale for the tenth time, the entire mall structure was converted to an auto dealership in 1996, which continues to sell Fords, Lincolns, and Nissans in 2021.
  • Valley Green Mall in Newberry Township, Pennsylvania, halfway between York and Harrisburg, was a very quick example. A local developer built the mall in 1987 in hopes of attracting more stores, but they never came. Major points of contention were difficulty in access (the center is all but impossible to get to from southbound Interstate 83, and access northbound is easier but still impacted by poor visibility) and a lack of major stores (the anchor stores were Jamesway, a local competitor to Kmart, and a supermarket). So quick was the mall'a decline that it was "de-malled" — that is, turned from an enclosed property to an open-air one — only five years into its existence. It was also at this point that the center was renamed Newberry Commons. After that, Jamesway went out of business in 1995, so their store and much of what was left became corporate offices for Rite Aid.
  • One Schaumburg Place in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg was troubled right from the start. Built in 1991, it was intended as a "discount" oriented complement to the massive Woodfield Mall across the parking lot. However, it found considerable difficulty in securing tenants, particularly when three of the major tenants (Highland Superstore, Phar-Mor, and Filene's Basement) filed for bankruptcy and closed less than two years into the mall's existence. While the Highland store was replaced with an Office Depot and a branch of local footwear store Chernin's, Montgomery Ward closed their store in 1997 due to poor sales, thus leaving the mall without an anchor store. As a result, the shopping center was converted to a more successful outdoor format that year, in which it survives to this day.
  • New Orleans Centre was an attempt to bring a third mall into downtown New Orleans. However, instead of building along the Canal Street corridor where most of downtown's retail (including the other two malls) can be found, it was built much further west, among a cluster of office towers and across from the Louisiana (now Mercedes-Benz) Superdome. Opening in 1988, it featured Macy's and Lord & Taylor as the anchor stores; of these, Lord & Taylor had no other stores in Louisiana, while Macy's would have only one other until 2006. Its distance from downtown's retail core left its upscale offerings vastly out of place, while the oil bust did further damage to local demographics. Almost none of the third floor was ever tenanted, resulting in portions becoming a TV studio. The only consistently successful part of the mall was the food court, and even then it mostly served only office workers. Anecdotes from former workers have reported that some of the stores went entire days without a single sale, and that the only traffic came from office workers, customers of the adjacent Hyatt Regency, or the occasional spillover from New Orleans Saints games. Lord & Taylor closed its store in 2004, taking with it nearly all of the mall's on-street access. As with many other fixtures of New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina dealt the final blow. The entire mall was closed in 2005, although Macy's lasted until 2007. The mall structure was torn down in 2009 except for the former Lord & Taylor and Macy's locations (both repurposed into other uses), and the rest of the site was repurposed into an open-air event center called Champions Square.
  • Pavilion Shops in San Jose, California was troubled right out of the gate. It was intended to bring upscale shopping and a food court to downtown. However, the opening was delayed multiple times. First, the original developer Campeau Corporation dropped out due to a lack of commitment, leading Melvin Simon & Associates (now known as Simon Property Group) to take over. Leasings were held up as the company failed to secure a major department store anchor. Analysts also balked at the mall's concept, due to a lack of tourism, higher-income residents, or commuter traffic in the area. Although the mall was busy on opening day in 1989, business quickly plummeted; more than 50 stores would open and close by the early 1990s, a number made all the more shocking by the fact that the mall only had 30 spaces to begin with. Simon responded by decreasing rent. When a sports bar opened at the mall in 1991, the few remaining businesses worried that such an establishment would detract from the originally intended upscale image. In return, Simon included a clause in the bar owner's contract which said that he could not sue them under any circumstances; when the owner refused, he was given the choice to be evicted or pay the pre-reduction rent, and chose the former. (He was able to get his rent waived, but lost a fraud lawsuit against the mall.) Another developer who had planned to build an upscale restaurant adjacent to the mall also sued Simon for breach of lease; when a judge ruled in Simon's favor, the developer of the intended restaurant committed suicide. Simon then chose to reassess the mall with a focus on restaurants and entertainment, which led to many of the remaining tenants getting evicted and a further spiral of lawsuits before the mall was finally closed in 1996.
    Opening in the former building were a United Artists theater and arcade known as Starport. However, United Artists ran into financial issues and closed it in 2000. The city of San Jose lent $2.5 million to a local theater chain, Camera Cinemas, to reopen the theater on a 15-year lease. However, an ill-fated expansion to 12 screens and the Great Recession put a financial strain on Camera, causing it to fall behind on rent. After years of decline and owed rent, the theater finally closed again in 2016. In 2020, a real estate funding company called Urban Catalyst announced a massive redevelopment plan focused on San Jose's downtown. Conversion of the former mall-turned-theater to offices began in December 2020.
  • San Mateo Fashion Island was a failed mall in San Mateo, California, halfway between San Francisco and San Jose. It was built in 1982 on a muddy field, and required special building techniques to counter this. It opened to great fanfare with anchor stores JCPenney, Montgomery Ward, Bullock's, and Liberty House. However, the latter closed after only five years due to struggles with profitability outside their home base of Hawaii. Also, the Bullock's store was built with a canvas roof, which made the store too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. In response, Bullock's closed the store and sold it to a sporting goods company, which itself went out of business in 1989. Developer Hahn Company gave up on the mall in 1986, but it continued to struggle with two anchors gone. Already plagued by poor access from California State Highway 92, it lost further ground when Hillsdale Shopping Center across highway 101 was rebuilt as a larger enclosed mall. Business plummeted at Fashion Island, and JCPenney closed in 1991. By 1993, the mall was over 80 percent vacant and targeted for redevelopment; this led to the owner of an arcade inside the mall attempting to sue the then-owners for breach of contract. Finally in 1996, Montgomery Ward closed as well, leaving Fashion Island to be demolished for a conventional strip mall. The only piece that survived is the former ice rink.
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    Software 
  • Microsoft Windows Vista was the product of one of these that took twice as long as a typical Windows release cycle.
    • In the time they took to release Vista, Microsoft originally planned to release 2 operating systems; the first was Longhorn, which would include modest improvements over Windows XP, and the second would be Blackcomb, which would be a more major overhaul of Windows that Longhorn would pave the way for. However, Microsoft's designers lost sight of this idea, and began packing more and more major complex features in to Longhorn, the supposed minor update, which caused it to fall way behind schedule since it lacked a clear direction in which to go.
    • It soon became clear that Longhorn would not meet its intended release date, which prompted Microsoft to abandon their two-release plan and combine Longhorn and Blackcomb into one, which would be long overdue by the time it arrived. However, Longhorn had by then become so unworkable that most of the work that had been done was scrapped, forcing the team to start over from scratch, leaving them with just over 2 years to complete the major overhaul of Windows that would be expected by then.
    • While all this was happening, a series of major high profile malware attacks caused Microsoft to pull staff way from the Vista project in order to improve the security of Windows XP. In addition, having announced just after XP's release that Internet Explorer would no longer receive stand-alone version updates, Microsoft were forced to spin the team developing Longhorn's web browser off into a new Internet Explorer team after it turned out that Internet Explorer 6's security and standards compliance were both horrendously broken on a fundamental level, leaving the new team to develop an Internet Explorer 7 that plugged up the major holes, while in the longer run creating an Internet Explorer 8 that was built on an entirely new code-base.
    • Another thing that made life difficult for Microsoft was the fact that the 20+ year-old x86 architecture had clearly reached its limit, leading to a war between Intel's IA64 and AMD's AMD64 as to which would get to be the new industry standard. Microsoft, meanwhile, were caught in the middle of this and forced to devote resources to maintaining separate x86, IA64 and AMD64 codebases for Windows XP and potential Longhorn betas, which strained things even further. By 2004 it became evident that IA64 was a colossal failure and that AMD64 was the future of the industry, leading to Microsoft terminating their support for the architecture and basing the rebooted Longhorn on the AMD64 version of XP, which had the fortunate side-effect of plugging up a lot of security holes. However, this left all the development work on the older betas essentially useless.
    • In 2005, Apple unveiled their new version of macOS, Mac OS X Tiger, which introduced many features that had long been thought impossible on desktop computers, and of course Microsoft had to have these in their new operating system, putting further pressure on the Vista development team and reintroducing the feature creep that had caused the project to become so unworkable in the first place.
    • When it was eventually released in 2006/2007, it was criticized for being bloated, slow, incompatible, and full of new features that were more annoying than anything.
  • Windows 8 obviously wasn't anywhere near as troubled as Vista, considering that it only took half as long to release, but it had its problems. And this time, the problems weren't the result of feature creep or over-ambitious developers, but rather corporate politics:
    • For the first year or so of development, things went reasonably smoothly, with the development team continuing their approach from Windows 7 of trimming and optimizing the OS's kernel and core components. During this stage, Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer, along with Steven Sinofsky, who took over as director of the Windows division shortly before the release of 7, decided on a "grand unifying version" of Windows that would serve both x86 computers and the increasingly ubiquitous ARM-based portable devices. A good idea on paper, seeing how Apple derived MacOS and iOS from the same codebase, albeit Windows had a lot more legacy baggage than Apple's two OSes did.
    • Sinofsky believed that touchscreen interfaces were the way of the future, and ordered the OS's entire user interface re-architected around such an interface, with the classic desktop only kept around for compatibility purposes. The design team warned him to be wary with this approach, as they had spent a lot of effort optimizing Windows 7 for netbooks, a product category that became extinct virtually overnight once the iPad arrived on the scene, but he stuck to his guns.
    • As development wore on, several members of the Windows team became increasingly concerned that they were developing something that people wouldn't want to use on a day-to-day basis. They tried to appeal to Sinofsky to keep Windows 7's user interface for desktop users and keep the new UI for tablet and touchscreen users, but he bluntly refused, claiming that much like how the Ribbon interface had been contentious when it was introduced in Office 2007, people would initially complain, but see that the new UI was better. It even got to the point where the Xbox team were ordered to use the Metro interface for the Xbox 360, which for the most part was met with a shrug by the console's userbase (who had already been through two major UI redesigns since the console was first launched in 2005), and the lack of any major controversy over the change just persuaded the top brass at Microsoft that they were on the right track.
    • Some of the developers tried appealing directly to Ballmer, but he admired Sinofsky's vision and take-no-prisoners attitude, and warned said developers that the next person who went over Sinofsky's head would be out of a job. Ironically, the relationship between the two men reportedly disintegrated during the project's final months, due to Ballmer's fears that Sinofsky intended to mount a boardroom coup that would have seen him become the company's new CEO.
    • The release of a public beta on February 29, 2012 revealed the biggest change in Windows 8's design; the complete absence of the Start Button (and Menu) for the first time since it was introduced in Windows 95, with the classic desktop being firmly relegated to being a cut-down secondary UI. Reaction to this change among users and developers was almost wholly negative, but both Ballmer and Sinofsky publicly described the Start Button and classic desktop as being yesterday's news, giving the impression that Microsoft were arrogant and disdainful towards their users.
    • Its final release later in 2012 gained an even more negative reaction than Vista had, leading to Sinofsky departing the company before the year was out. Ballmer hung in there for a bit longer, before being forced to announce a timetable for his retirement midway through the following year, due to a combination of poor uptake for Windows 8, a series of acquisitions having under-performed financially, and a bad reaction to the reveal of the Xbox One.

    Space Programs 
  • Alexei Leonov is famous as the first human to ever perform a spacewalk, which occurred during the Voskhod 2 mission in March 1965. As Cracked has noted, it's probably a miracle that Leonov made it back to Earth alive as the mission pretty much devolved into a disaster once the spacewalk was finished.
    • Leonov was temporarily unable to enter the Voskhod module when his spacesuit inflated from being in the vacuum of space, forcing Leonov to let out some of his oxygen while suffering from heatstroke and the bends. By the time he made it back into the module, he was literally up to his knees in sweat inside his spacesuit.
    • The Voskhod module itself was a logistical nightmare. It held three occupants for this mission, even though it was based on an earlier spacecraft design which called for only one. This deprived the cosmonauts of any means of escape in emergency situations, and forced them to crane their heads at 90 degree angles just to read their instruments.
    • As could be expected from such a feat in engineering, the module's automatic landing system failed on re-entry. And thanks to the myriad design flaws, Leonov's crewmate Pavel Belyayev had to lay down across the module's three seats to reach the navigation panel while being held in place.
    • While he tried to land the thing manually, Belyayev asked Leonov to check their altitude. That move cost them time and landing accuracy, forcing them to land 800 miles off-course in a heavily forested part of the Ural Mountains where no rescue helicopters could land. The crew spent two days cutting firewood and fending off wolves before they were rescued.
    • To say the Voskhod program was a mess is an understatement. The aim of the program was simply to one-up the United States instead of work towards the goal of a moon landing like NASA did with Project Gemini. To that end, both of the Voskhod spacecraft were simply surplus Vostok spacecraft haphazardly modified first to carry a crew of three, then to carry a crew of two and an inflatable airlock.
  • Also mentioned in that same Cracked article is the early Soyuz program, the USSR's answer to Apollo. The space race was reaching its climax by 1967, and the Soviets cut a lot of corners to ensure that they put their man on the Moon first. Unfortunately, unlike Voskhod 2, this did not end with the cosmonaut coming home alive.
    • Like the Voskhod spacecraft, the Soyuz 1 capsule was designed as a Rube Goldbergian death trap. For example, traveling from the orbiter to the landing craft required a spacewalk, while Apollo had an internal docking tunnel that was not only safer, but also afforded astronauts more legroom. When cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was called in to inspect the capsule, he found 203 structural deficiencies and recommended that the program be postponed. He was rebuffed by the Soviet higher-ups, as was everyone else who reported any errors; they wanted to beat Apollo in time for Lenin's birthday, safety be damned.
    • To add a huge Tear Jerker element to this, Gagarin discovered that his close friend Vladimir Komarov was expected to man the flight, with Gagarin ordered to be his potential replacement. Neither man wanted to back out and force the other to go on what they agreed was a suicide mission, despite Gagarin's attempts to remove Komarov from the flight in hopes his own status as a national hero would cause them to call off the mission, but in the end (despite Gagarin showing up at the launch pad pleading to take Komarov's place) Komarov was sent up in Soyuz 1.
    • Almost immediately, things went From Bad to Worse. Once Soyuz 1 reached orbit, its solar panel failed and Komarov's systems went with it. Then the orientation detectors froze, further crippling the craft. Then the automatic stabilization system died with the manual system only partly working. To make matters worse, the launch of a second spacecraft that was to dock with Soyuz 1 was postponed indefinitely due to inclement weather at the cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. After thirteen orbits around Earth, the mission was aborted and Komarov was ordered back home.
    • Then things took a turn for the terrifying when the Soyuz 1's parachute failed to deploy on re-entry (only the drogue chute deployed successfully - the primary one failed, and the manual reserve got entangled with the drogue chute), causing the capsule to crash to the ground at almost terminal velocity and kill Komarov in the process. This is all that was left of him afterwards.
    • After this, there was another fatal incident on Soyuz 11, the first flight to dock with Salyut 1 (itself the first space station) when all three cosmonauts aboard suffocated to death when their spacecraft leaked oxygen. Fortunately, the incident was a major wake-up call for the Soviet space program, and they began taking safety much more seriously; since then, there hasn't been a single fatality in the Soyuz program (though there were a few scary close calls in 1983 and 2018). As of 2021, the Soyuz spacecraft is still being used, having undergone numerous upgrades and modernizations over the years, and is scheduled to be replaced by the new Orel spacecraft in 2025.
  • Then there was the Soviet analogue of the Saturn V rocket, the N1. An overcomplicated jumble of thirty engines, and the Soviets decided to save on the ground tests. The result? Four failed launches, including one sub-nuclear level explosion.
  • The Galileo and Cassini missions to Jupiter and Saturn respectively for different causes:
    • Galileo, a probe designed to be launched from the Space Shuttle, had its launch date delayed several years due to the Challenger disaster. Due to safety issues, it also had to use a less powerful rocket to be launched from the shuttle, meaning it took more time to reach Jupiter, and as its lubricant eroded away during the years-long journey that the main antenna did not fully deploy, meaning less data could be transmitted back.
    • Cassini suffered budgetary cuts that forced its redesign, the contempt of NASA's administrator at the time who called it derisively "Battlestar Galactica" due to its size and high cost, and was close to be cancelled several times. The only thing that saved it was the fact that the Huygens lander, designed to land on Titan (Saturn's largest moon), was European-built; it was worried had the mission been cancelled the resentment felt by Europe after having expended so much money on said lander could extend to other areas beyond space exploration. Despite all those troubles, both missions were great successes at the end, especially the latter.
  • Speaking of Challenger, its doomed flight was caused by this trope, mostly thanks to NASA not heeding its own safety instructions.
    • NASA's publicity stunt of recruiting Christa McAuliffe, a public school teacher who would have been the first private citizen to travel in space, created much incentive for NASA to ensure that upcoming mission proceed with as few issues as possible, which would later be determined to have caused the space agency to downplay or ignore major warnings about the faulty O-rings in Challenger 's solid rocket boosters.
    • The shuttle launch was supposed to occur at 2:42 PM Eastern Standard Time on January 22, 1986. However, a series of delays caused them to push it back until January 28th. These included delays from a previous mission, bad weather at a Transoceanic Abort Landing site at Dakar, numerous bad weather moments and problems with its exterior access hatch.
    • On January 27th, engineers for Morton-Thiokol, the company who made the O-rings, realized that the launch date would be unsuitable as the O-rings were not rated for a launch temperature so low (they were rated at 40 degrees F, while launch day would only have it at 30) and desperately called NASA for a conference call to beg the group to delay the launch until it got warmer. NASA refused. Morton-Thiokol tried again, but only with the management of the Kennedy and Marshall Space Centers. They were again refused. Amazingly, Morton-Thiokol management then gave the thumbs up for the launch to proceed, with one shocked engineer admitting to his wife that Challenger would be destroyed.
    • The day of the launch, Rockwell International, the main contractors for NASA's shuttles, was aghast at the amount of ice on Challenger and feared that build up could damage the shuttle upon ascent. As well, the temperature that day was colder than most launches, at about 28 degrees F. Rockwell tried to warn NASA to scuttle the mission, but they ended up only delaying until around 11:38 AM.
    • Everything went swell until, over a minute after launch, everything fell apart, hot gases escaped from a hole created from the damaged O-rings as well as sudden wind shear, causing a series of cascading failures that lead to the shuttle's sad disintegration on live television.
    • Various investigations were launched as to what happened to cause Challenger to fail. Ultimately, blame was to placed at NASA and Morton-Thiokol's feet for their blatant disregard to the warnings laid out by many. On a lesser note, these investigations also said Challenger disintegrated; it did not explode, though many media outlets continue taking a layman's perspective instead of doing actual research.

    Other 
  • Cardmageddon, a Magic: The Gathering invitational tournament held in Las Vegas. Upon announcement, it was claimed to be the first in a series of tournaments managed by a company named CardAgain. An eye-opening prize pool of "at least $25,000" was also boasted. Needless to say, it fell flat.
    • The most serious blow to the tournament — and the root of most of the problems that beset it — was the dismal attendance. Most assumed that the player turnout would be large, given the aforementioned prize pool. However, only 67 players showed up. In turn, this guaranteed that the prize pool was going to be nowhere as advertised when players paid $42 each. Because they didn't have enough people, the management cancelled the Modern division. According to one Twitter post, one unfortunate player had driven all the way from California to participate, only to find out what had happened.
    • The tournament had stiff competition with other Magic competitive gaming events running over the same weekend, which included Grand Prix - a series of very popular worldwide competitions — and SGC Invitational in Columbus, Ohio — again, another well-established alternative with a sterling reputation for extremely organized events.
    • Another flub came with the Cardmageddon's marketing, which wrongly portrayed it as an invitational-only event — yet another contribution to the middling amount of players that actually arrived.
    • Reportedly, CardAgain had spent over $40,000 on advertising alone. This included contacting about 1500 card shops to each hold mini tournaments, along with sending a free packet containing a free voucher to the event to the winner. Numerous shops refused the offer, another contingency of them had failed to actually run a tournament (instead offering the packet as a prize for an already-existing tournament), or outright taking full advantage of the opportunity. This was all overshadowed by immense budgets for running advertisements on sites including Facebook, Google, Reddit and Twitter.
  • The Runaway Guys' first Thrown Controller panel at PAX East 2012 was this is spades. A gameshow-esque panel filled with prizes and gameplay, the panel itself started 20 minutes late due to technical difficulties involving their laptop and projector. When they were able to work, the program could not be fullscreened and ran very slowly. While the gameshow itself ran smoothly, it wasn't until the end when things really started to hit the fan. While trying to end the panel due to loss of time, Jon's laptop ended up crashing right when he was about to bring the final event up, causing him to have to reboot it in front of 700 people. And the entire buildup led to a mighty Anti-Climax. Needless to say, Jon and the rest of the guys didn't like this panel, with Jon feeling very disappointed. Later Thrown Controller panels were reworked into a style that ran way more smoothly and faced far less technical problems.
  • While the The Notorious B.I.G. biopic Notorious didn’t have any problems, the same couldn’t be said about its press junket, as recalled by Martin Thomas:
    • 20th Century Fox flew a whole bunch of film critics and journalists to New York, where the temperature was below freezing. First was a bus tour involving Biggie Smalls’ mother, Voletta Wallace, guiding people to specific spots. Problem was, the tour was behind schedule due to crazy slow Manhattan traffic. It didn’t help that the temperature on the bus was high, resulting in the reporters all bundled up for the cold sweating and overheating. During all this, a kid threw a big rock at the bus. What also didn’t help was Voletta’s very soft voice, which was often drowned out by the traffic and reporters’ chatting with each other.
    • The next day was the press screening and cast interviews, where the real problems started to arise. Already behind schedule, the cast interviews were conducted in a three story recording studio that was far too small for everyone the film reps invited. The elevator holding numerous journalists ended up getting stuck for almost an hour, leaving them in a small, tight space with no ventilation, meaning the event had to be pushed back even further until the elevator was fixed. At this point, employees were panicking, while journalists immediately declared the experience to be the worst, most disorganized press junket they've ever attended.
    • The interviews themselves were handled via roundtable discussion, but due to schedule conflicts, each interview was very short (around 12 minutes, and decreasing), with six questions asked per session (in a room full of 12 interviewers). To make this worse, there was one guy who kept asking repeat questions, which wasted both everyone's time, and the interviewers' possible questions.
    • What made the junket awkward was Voletta's reaction to seeing the movie for the first time, where she got to witness her son on the big screen selling crack to pregnant women, cheating on and abusing his girlfriends, and abandoning his kids. All of which she had no idea about.
  • After the success of "We Are the World", Ken Kragen, the president of the USA for Africa organization, decided to turn his attention towards the issue of hunger and homelessness in his home country. This time, however, a mere Charity Motivation Song wasn't enough. To go along with it, he came up with a far more audacious publicity stunt: Hands Across America, a chain of millions of people holding hands from New York City to Santa Monica, California on May 25, 1986, hoping to raise at least $50 million for the cause. Whereas "We Are the World" was a smashing success, Hands Across America was a failure.
    • The first problem came with the obligatory charity single to promote the event. While the event as a whole boasted the participation of Bill Cosby, Lily Tomlin, Kenny Rogers, and baseball star Pete Rose, Kragen couldn't find any superstar artists for the tie-in song, save for Toto doing the instrumentals while anonymous studio singers handled the rest of the music. The real problem, however, emerged when it came time to premiere the song. It was meant to premiere at the Super Bowl XX halftime show, only to immediately face protest from Michael Jackson over concerns that it would upstage "We Are the World", causing it to be quickly yanked and replaced with a commercial featuring Cosby and Tomlin. Needless to say, the song flopped when it was eventually released.
    • The question of the route the human chain would take also became a source of controversy. In Massachusetts, Senator Ted Kennedy and Representative Ed Markey protested over the fact that the New England states were not included in the route, and similar concerns were voiced in the South, the Upper Midwest, and the Pacific Northwest. In Hawai'i, Tom Selleck and Senator Daniel Inouye staged a "Hands Across Hawaii" event to remind people on the mainland that Hawaiians were Americans, too.
    • The participation of President Ronald Reagan in Hands Across America came in for criticism, as many activists blamed his cuts to poverty assistance for the problems that the event was designed to raise money and attention for. It didn't help matters when, just days before the event, Reagan made comments indicating that the only reason people were going hungry in America was because they didn't know where or how to get assistance, comments that were widely seen as dismissive of those problems.
    • The event went off mostly without a hitch, with about five million people joining the human chain and another million creating smaller chains elsewhere in the US. However, the American Southwest created major logistical problems, as that region of the country was sparsely populated and filled with unforgiving geography. Out there, gaps in the chain were unavoidable, and had to be filled with ribbons and banners; some cattle ranchers found a creative solution by lining up their steers to take part.
    • Afterwards, it became apparent that, as a fundraiser, Hands Across America had almost completely failed. Once the large amounts of money spent on the promotion were accounted for, only $15 million was raised for charity, coming in far short of the $50 million that Kragen was hoping for. However, it did succeed in raising awareness for the cause of homelessness, such that it has been credited with leading to the passage of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987, which provided a billion dollars a year for the funding of programs to help the homeless. Its profile would also be raised years later thanks to the 2019 horror film Us, in which it played a prominent role.
  • In The '90s, Planet Hollywood's illusion of real-deal cinema glamour elevated it above a typical Kitschy-Themed Restaurant and made it the hottest ticket in town. Then, as detailed in this article by Kate Storey for Esquire, who called it "[a] creation only the nineties could give us", it fell apart in spectacular fashion as it turned out that the chain's founders also brought Hollywood's tendency for off-the-rails productions with them, culminating in the chain going bankrupt twice.
    • The idea was born in 1987 when Brian Kestner, an executive at Taft Entertainment/Keith Barish Productions, got the idea to create a version of the Hard Rock Cafe dedicated to film as opposed to music. Kestner teamed up with his boss Barish and Robert Earl, the CEO of Hard Rock International, and they envisioned a restaurant that would not only double as a Hollywood museum, but would have actual, A-list Hollywood stars associated with it. ​They managed to get the involvement of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, and Sylvester Stallone (who said point-blank that he was motivated by greed) and purchased all manner of old movie props to decorate the place with, while Anton Furst, the set designer who won an Oscar for his work on Batman (1989), would design their first restaurant on 57th Street in Manhattan.
    • The restaurant's opening on October 22, 1991 was preceded by a public-relations blitz courtesy of Bobby Zarem and treated like a red-carpet premiere for a Summer Blockbuster, with 57th Street closed off and a list of celebrities too long to name all in attendance, and the reviews were solid, praising the food and the restaurant's fun atmosphere. Before long, stars were lining up to get involved with Planet Hollywood as it expanded across the United States and eventually the world, and the openings of new restaurants got ever more extravagant.
    • Warning signs were starting to emerge, however, even at this early date. Peter Morton, cofounder of the Hard Rock Cafe, sued Earl for stealing the company's trade secrets for use in Planet Hollywood, the two settling out of court. Furthermore, studio heads were starting to complain, feeling that their stars were becoming Famous for Being Famous and that restaurant openings were drawing more people than screenings of the films they starred in. The chain never quite managed to balance the allure of exclusivity with the promise of getting to meet the stars, and the restaurants quickly became known as tourist traps after they opened, save for when they screened films or hosted special events. Zarem left the company in 1993, saying that the classiness it originally had was gone by then, while gossip columnist R. Couri Hay said that it was never classy to begin with. Most importantly, however, the focus on the celebrity allure meant that the quality of the food, which few people involved seemed to care about, was going into the gutter, and the restaurant earned a reputation among foodies for serving garbage. For many tourists, however, the illusion kept them pouring in. The company went public in 1996, its IPO making for the busiest in NASDAQ's history.
    • This turned out to be Planet Hollywood's downfall. It created pressure on the company to constantly grow, which caused it to spread itself thin branching out into merchandising, as by that point most major cities had a Planet Hollywood restaurant, so openings were hitting diminishing returns. What's more, knockoff celebrity-themed restaurants in everything from sports to modeling to Country Music were flourishing, cutting into Planet Hollywood's appeal. By the end of 1996, Planet Hollywood's profits had fallen from $12.7 million to just $4 million, going deep into the red soon after, and the restaurant's cool factor was collapsing with it. Barish left the company in 1999 amid reports of a falling out with Earl, a matter that both of them refuse to talk about, and the chain filed for bankruptcy later that year, closing nine of its 32 American restaurants and many of its international locations. Schwarzenegger sold his stake in the company in 2000, and in 2001 Planet Hollywood filed for bankruptcy again. Since then, the chain has survived, but as a shell of its former self.

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