Zoom Fails: The Most Painful, Hilarious, Wonderful, Grim, LOL Moments We’ve Ever Heard

For two years now we’ve been communicating with each other through those little squares on Zoom – but sometimes, it really doesn’t go to plan. Here we’ve found the biggest Zoom fails we’ve ever heard…

It’s hard to believe that two years ago, a Zoom was just something I did to my teeny old phone screen in order to be able to read anything with my prematurely old lady eyes.

Now, it’s just part of our regular vernacular. For most of us, it’s simply a way to still be able to do our job, no matter the alert level. A necessary evil in this weird new world.

I say evil, because longtime readers of Capsule will know that Zoom actually has a lot to do with our origin story – we started this site up after we were all made redundant, one week into the first Level 4 lockdown, quite unceremoniously over Zoom. It was the first time any of us had ever used it.

It’s unfortunately how many people have lost their jobs in two years since Covid hit – their little squares snuffed out, while they sit, stunned, alone in their own homes, rather than out at a pub commiserating with their work colleagues.

But, yes, while it’s been a place of Doom, Zoom has also proven to be a source of hilarity. Microphones get accidentally left on, family members bowl into the background and occasionally, lawyers log on, unsure how they wound up with a cat filter stuck over their face and how to remove it.

By now, everyone has a story (or ten) about Zoom fails – I know I’ve been in a large meeting when a woman clearly thought her microphone (and video?) was off when she gave a giant exaggerated yawn into the screen. Her outburst, of course, suddenly made her the focus of the main screen, which was when realised her mistake and wide-eyed, pounded the button to leave the meeting.

Or there was the time I had my own fail when I got up to open the door to let some fresh air in, and revealed that while my top half was ready for work, my bottom half was still in pajamas.

I’ve also had a few near misses – particularly while I was suffering through some horrendous morning sickness. Feigning “internet connection troubles” I’d routinely turn my camera and mic off to throw up in the bin next to me, tuning back in without anyone being any the wiser.

During another fun faze of my pregnancy – the fainting stage – I started seeing little dots while I was interviewing a Vanity Fair and CNN reporter about her dealings with Jeffrey Epstein (I have a bit of a true crime obsession), and yip, fainted during our Zoom. Luckily, it was my last question, so I quickly got it out, turned off my camera and promptly passed out – somehow managing to come to at the perfect moment as she was wrapping up her answer. The glamour of Zoom.

And it seems I’m very much not alone. SO MANY of you have had memorable moments on Zoom. And thankfully, you’ve been willing to share! So here goes, some of the most painful, hilarious, wonderful, grim, LOL Zoom fails I’ve ever heard…

“I thought my partner had finished working for the day, so I went into the kitchen and started drinking orange juice straight from the bottle in the fridge, while just wearing a towel from the shower. He was not finished for the day. He was in a Zoom meeting, with a dozen other people who, yip, all just saw me in the background of his screen.”

“I had a person forget their mic was on during a large Zoom, and then order two large pizzas!”

“Not funny, just cute. Our very serious boss finished up our very serious meeting by saying that although we were in lockdown, he was treating his wife to a date night that evening at home and had a special meal planned. But he wanted our advice – and asked which shirt he should wear (he showed us both) and wanted to know whether the Uber Eats meal he had picked out would be any good, or if it’d go with the wine he’d secretly had delivered that morning. It was very sweet and changed how we all saw him.”

“I had the most depressing Zoom experience of my life. I went to two funerals and a wedding over Zoom during lockdowns. In the worst Zoom – one of the funerals – it got to a point where someone was supposed to be doing a reading. No one was sure what was happening. Then a woman came on and said something like, ‘Bill won’t be doing the reading today because he died last night. If anyone would like to help me with that Zoom funeral please stay on the line after this one ends.’”

“My boss sent our team a group invite for a Friday catch-up, which he titled ‘happy hour’. GREAT. It was for 1-2pm, which seemed a bit early, but it was a Friday and it was during lockdown! So, I logged in, with a glass of wine clearly in my hand… and I was the only one. It was not a drinking thing and I just looked like I had a drinking problem. EVEN WORSE? My boss then changed the title of the meetings to ‘Friday Catch-Up’ instead.”

“I was in a company-wide zooM when my flatmate walked behind me, shirtless. I’m sure everyone loved it.”

“I cannot believe I’m sharing this, but… I was presenting a proposal to a client and shared my screen. During the presentation, one of them asked a question about a location in NZ, so I said sure, ‘let’s bring it up on the screen now’ and opened my browser to go into Google Maps. Except, I obviously had Google already minimized so it popped up… with a Healthline page all about the symptoms of thrush, with three tabs open all about thrush (which I had completely forgotten I had Dr Googled the night before). It was so incredibly embarrassing and uncomfortable. Thank God they couldn’t see my beetroot face.”

“I sat at the kitchen table for a change to do a serious Zoom call. I was sitting near a full length mirror and didn’t realise until 20 minutes into the hour long meeting when someone messaged me that I might want to check the reflection in the mirror. You could only see my top half on the video – except in the mirror, where you could see I wasn’t wearing pants, just my underwear. Mortifying.”

“Our team had been doing Friday Fun-Day dress ups, where we’d all wear the most ridiculous thing we could find/make/have delivered to our homes. I looked forward to it every Friday. Then, during the week I got delivered the giant Pokemon Pikachu costume I’d ordered a few weeks earlier and was so excited to wear it. On the Thursday we had a new meeting booked in for the Friday at 10am. We all went from our 9am meeting in our costumes to the 10am one, where two very serious women in suits and our big boss all let us know that we were being made redundant. I’ll never look at Pokemon the same.”

“There was all this noise in a Zoom meeting none of us could work out what it was. Then one of the guys – who had his camera off – was like, ‘Oh sorry, that’s me.’ He turned his camera on and he was sitting there with a litter of puppies his dog had the night before. It was the best thing I’ve ever seen.”

“A colleague took her laptop to the loo during a long meeting… but she forgot to turn the camera off!”

“We were in a team meeting and one of the girls’ boyfriend came up behind her eating a sandwich, going, ‘What are you up to?’ She must have thought her mic was off because she said, ‘Not much, just this stupid f****g boring meeting’ My boss just said, ‘Your mic is on, Sarah’ and kept talking. She left the meeting!”

“I’m just very nosy in meetings and look at what is in the background of everyone’s screen. I had a meeting where a guy was obviously in his room sitting next to his dresser… where you could clearly see a bottle of KY Jelly.”

“A work colleague forgot to mute herself in a meeting and kept screaming at her dog to shut up!”

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