This story was brought from APhO2005 in Kazakhstan. Our team was met by the Israeli ambassador. Yes, the one that was involved in resolving the long-remembered security problems (See ILPHO's pbwiki). He also shared this lesson on sizes, and lengths in particular, while talking about the local bureaucracy.
The guy was sent for a several years diplomatic mission. As usual, his house contents were packed and shipped to his temporary home in the ex-soviet country. Several months have passed, and the luggage still would't arrive. Nobody seemed to know where was it on planet earth, or how longer will it take.
At some point the guy went completely nervous, and managed to fight his way through the kazakh and the russian bureaucracy to figure out the fate of his luggage. The luggage container was stuck in Omsk*, at a railway station.
The problem was this: the container length is 25 meters. The train car base is 50 meters long. (guess the answer?)
So, the guys have been waiting for another 25-meter container to pack them together, to reduce waste.
*a.k.a. my place of birth