People From Around The World Share Dumb Ideas That Actually Worked

People From Around The World Share Dumb Ideas That Actually Worked

"That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard."

"It will never work."

"What, are you taking stupid pills or something?"

We've all had people say things like this when we proposed a solution that maybe wasn't thought through. Heck, we've all said these things to ourselves thousands of times.

Sometimes a dumb idea is just a dumb idea. But sometimes it's a dumb idea that actually works. These folks recently went online to share their half-baked schemes that actually panned out. There's hope for all of us!

facial-2089059-300x200.jpgImage by

40. Police escort to buy some gum

I was pulled over for speeding by a state trooper with a car full of friends in college. I didn’t have time to explain to them what I was about to do, and to just go with it. Officer is walking with that swagger walk they do when they do they’re gonna write a ticket.

When he comes up to the window and I’m having a full on asthma attack wheezing and rocking back and forth saying “my inhaler ran out, trying to get to a Walgreens for a new one” the guy was like “oh crap! follow me!” I got a police escort to buy a pack of gum. Got out of the ticket.

police-car-1332230-300x194.jpgImage by

39. It was 'professionally' cleaned

Real estate told me I had to have the carpets professionally cleaned (wasn't in the contract) or I'd lose my $800 bond.

I did some research and found out I could become an accredited carpet cleaner as there are no official licencing boards in my state.

So, I did what any sane person would do. I paid the $85, did the online course and got my certificate. Registered a business name, ABN etc (all free).

Handed the property management a copy of my accreditation and an invoice for services.

I became a professional carpet cleaner and launched a vacate cleaning business that is still going 6 months later.

vacuum-cleaner-268161-300x200.jpgImage by

38. Ketchup insider trading

In college my buddy and I took an investing class and for one of the projects we had a month to “invest” fake dollars into the stock market and see which team would have the most money after a month. It was spring semester so we put all of our fake money into Heinz, thinking there would be a spike in ketchup and mustard sales as the weather got warmer.

The next day, Berkshire Hathaway purchased the entire Heinz company and the professor accused us of insider trading. We had no idea what we were doing.

To clarify, we didn’t actually get in trouble for “insider trading” but the professor came over to us before the next class and was like “what happened here?” We explained it and she thought it was funny but said we would definitely be investigated for insider trading if this was real money.

tomatoes-1448361-1-300x133.jpgImage by

37. You failed successfully

I once faked being sick when I was in middle school and told my mom I had a sore throat and felt a cold coming on. She took me to the doctor and it turned out that I did, in fact, somehow have strep throat.

doctors-office-1944117-300x225.jpgImage by


36. That's an insane textbook rule

In college I was taking a class that required me to purchase an online textbook and workbook that was registered under your name, basically ensuring that each student would have to buy a new online copy each semester instead of buying used textbooks.

I had a friend who took this class a semester before me so we came up with the idea to message customer service and explain that I had recently gotten married (so my last name had changed) and I legally changed my first name from [my friend’s first name] to [my first name] and I would need them to change it in their system. It totally worked and the rep even congratulated my on my marriage.

books-441866-300x225.jpgImage by

35. True or false? Why not both

Back in high school, I stopped by one of my teacher’s rooms after class to ask him some questions about our homework. When I walked in, I noticed he was grading some of our tests. Of note, all of his tests were made up of multiple choice, true/false, or matching, and all of the answers were bubbled in.

What I noticed was that instead of using an answer key to grade, he was just placing a stencil over the paper with the correct bubble punched out. The stencil wasn’t transparent, so all it showed was whether we bubbled in the right answer or not.

Flash forward to our next test, and I’m stuck on a T/F question. Knowing how he graded, I figured I’d bubble in both T and F, and if he caught it, it would be easy enough to claim it was an accident. Well he didn’t catch it, and I used that trick the rest of the year for a little extra boost on all of his tests.


34. Can you trust a criminal with your business?

I stuck my neck out for an ex-con on house arrest at my job. He interviewed well, but his availability was HORRIBLE between the ankle bracelet and meeting with his PO, treatment program, etc. My GM said "no" and I said "I'm hiring him anyway."

The FIRST night he worked there, I found myself in a bind. He was the ONLY person scheduled in the kitchen from 8-10pm, and I had no one who knew the kitchen besides myself, because our store had a wicked virus traveling around.

I told him "look, dude, we're pretty jammed up back here, and I'm going to try to keep my cool but I can't promise... And because I'm the only manager on duty, I might have to run to the front/drive thru."

Well, this guy MASTERED production in about an hour. He was faster than my GM on the grills and fryers, and his attitude was so good. I waited on NOTHING and he even tried to help me make sandwiches and send them out. He also managed to clean up the entire kitchen.

He eventually moved to maintenance and fixed all the crap the previous guy ignored in a day. Then he moved to service for more hours when the hour restrictions came off and was great with the Karens.

My GM got over the ankle bracelet, record, and tattoos, and actually hired him for his house flipping business.

All because I said "we need freaking employees, and you can't be picky when he's the only guy I've interviewed in a month..."

mcdonalds-1340199-300x200.jpgImage by

33. Ice cream truck, please!

On Fourth of July I was in Brooklyn in neighborhood not too far from my own. Was having a heck of a time catching a cab when suddenly and Ice cream truck pulled up. My apartment was right next to a ice cream truck depot. I knew any truck in the area was parking there. So I asked for a ride in what little Spanglish I knew. They obliged. I got a free ride home and an ice cream cone. Big win. Awkward ride.

food-truck-1662327-300x200.jpgImage by

32. Dinner and a ride

At college I was at a friend's house on the other side of town, was very late and the buses had stopped so my only way home was to call a cab (this was before Uber). I was also really hungry so, because I only had about $10, my choice was either get some takeout and walk for an hour to get home at night, or call a cab and go hungry.

Then Eureka! I went in to the Chinese takeout place and asked for a delivery to my home address and asked for a ride home. They protested at first but I explained that me hitching a ride was no extra cost for them. They agreed and I got a free ride home and a Chinese takeout!

takeaway-154591-250x300.pngImage by

31. How to change a tire with no jack

A Bobcat tire blew during a job. Had another tire, but no jack. Positioned the Bobcat behind a dump truck. Bobcat then tries to lift the rear end of the dump truck, dump truck is too heavy, Bobcat lifted itself instead. Then I got the tire changed and went back to work.

I know that sounds like a good way to end up crushed to death.

It was a dicey situation to say the least, but it was far superior to any other idea being suggested at the time. I even remember me saying "this is a bad idea," and it was my idea.

bobcat-3248721-300x200.jpgImage by


30. No keys? No problem

Breaking into my own house through the kitchen window using a piece of wire and a wooden table after I was locked out.

Well, I arrived home with my mom and my little cousin and we realized we forgot the keys at my grandma's house, way the heck across the city. Mom calls my dad to bring his keys. He was working at the time and he'd take an hour to arrive, so we'd have to wait outside.

I went full "no way" mode and kept looking for other ways in. Turned out that one of the tiny back windows was open, but there was a safety pin that kept it from opening all the way up and the only way to remove it was unscrewing it. So I grabbed a wooden clothespin that was lying there, broke it, removed the wire that kept it together because it was just the right size to unscrew the window pin.

I did it, pulled a table underneath the window so I could climb inside and just like that I managed to successfully break into a house at age 13.

key-3348307-1-300x169.jpgImage by

29. Writing the essay during class

I once completely blanked on an essay assignment and didn't realize it was due till I was sitting in class. I hadn't even started.

Luckily, the teacher didn't collect the essays till the end of class and I proceeded to write the whole paper in my notebook during lecture. When people were handing in essays I went up and told the teacher that I forgot to print it, but I had a version in my email, showing him the hand-written one to prove I had completed the assignment.

He let me go print it and I typed the whole thing up in like 5 minutes, ran back, handed it in and got like a C or B. Couldn't argue that since I was about to get a 0

writing-1149962-300x200.jpgImage by

28. Wow, I thought Europe had free healthcare

I am a poor student living in Germany. Students are required by law to have health insurance. The university will expel you if you don't have health insurance. The lowest rate I could get was about €189 ($208) a month.

I usually don't even spend that much on food! There was just no way that I could pay such a high rate. I wrote my insurer countless letters and emails explaining how there was no way that I could pay €189. They refused to lower my rate, explaining how they are just following "the law". They even informed my university that I had failed to pay health insurance. The university then threatened me to expel me.

In my desperation, I wrote the German ministry of health. I explained myself and asked them to talk to my insurer. A week later I received a letter from my insurer informing me that they had cut my rate to a mere €89 a month and that this reduction was applicable to the month prior.

My rate is about to go up again but this time I should be able to manage...


27. Fake it till you make it

It probably wouldn't work in this day and age but back when I was young I was tired of retail and wanted an office job. I just lied my butt off and pulled a total George Costanza -- with friends coached to answer their phones as a business and give me a good reference and such. Got hired as an admin assistant and been steadily moving up since.

office-2820890_1920-300x200.jpgImage by

26. When in doubt, use Crisco

We had a noisy rotating rooster weathervane - loud enough to keep people awake on windy nights, despite having been lubed.

So I filled the hole the rooster rotates in with Crisco, even though people said it was a dumb idea and wouldn't work.

Never had to lube it again because the Crisco didn't break down like other lubes.

weather-vane-711082-300x200.jpgImage by

25. You have to break it to fix it

Back in the flip phone days, I had dropped mine and the screen stopped working. I could make and receive calls, but the screen was just completely blank.

I put up with it for a couple of weeks because I couldn't afford a new phone, but one day I had the thought of, "Well, if dropping the phone made the connection loose, maybe the same thing can fix it" and threw my phone at the ground. I picked it back up and the screen was working.

lg-1426537-300x200.jpgImage by


24. War games

When I was brand new to the army, we were training with another unit and, we had to defend the urban combat area (MOUT site) from an incoming force. We were allowed only allowed a few hours to prepare. One guy suggested that we set up trip wires to at least slow them down. The doors are all painted bright blue, and all anyone had was my package of black 550 cord (parachute cord) that could easily be seen. Setting this up we thought there was no way they would miss it.

I was wrong.

Instead of checking the door, like they were supposed to, the opposing force simply tried to rush through. I almost couldn't return fire due to the fact I was laughing so hard. I even put a piece, just below knee level, in the doorway to the room I was in. I turned around when I heard people falling over each other. I looked and almost the entire squad was crawling on top of each other trying to get up.

I put my weapon on burst and emptied the magazine. Then fumbled with my last one as I started to laugh even harder than before. After I blindly fired down the hallway I just leaned against the wall and the entire group and myself just looked at the scene and started laughing. Then their platoon leader came running in and tripped over the same cord.

At this point I was done. Put my weapon on safe, put it against the wall, and tried not to pee my pants over the whole situation.

army-camouflage-men-1564432-300x200.jpgPhoto by Rosemary Ketchum from Pexels

23. I'm actually going to try that

We were at a friend's house about to cook a roast. It needed to be patted dry with paper towel, but he was all out. I semi-jokingly suggested using a couple slices of bread. We all chuckled at the idea. It worked perfectly.

barbecue-1239146-300x200.jpgImage by

22. So... just mail fraud

One time I sent a letter to a local address by putting the return address as the address I wanted it to go to, not putting postage, and dropping it off in a public mailbox. Went to them return to sender due to insufficient postage.

mailbox-595854-300x190.jpgImage by

21. How to fix a bad kid

In my senior year of high school, we had to spend our final quarter doing mandatory volunteer work to graduate. I was placed at a Head Start in my city, and while some of the kids I worked with were great, there was one, Brandon, who was an absolute nightmare. 20 months old, endless energy, no empathy, no speech beyond a few words, and no ability to recognize pain in other children.

At nap time, someone always had to be sitting next to his cot, as he would otherwise just get up and run around, sometimes hitting the other sleeping kids, if he could get away with it. He would be a spiteful little jerk and repeatedly stick his feet out from under his blanket after you pushed it back in, like it was a game.

One day I got so frustrated trying to get this brat to sleep that I basically just laid him down flat, arms and legs together, and closely tucked his blanket in under him from top to bottom like a burrito. To my overwhelming JOY, he made no attempt to escape and was asleep within two minutes. I repeated this tactic over the next few days with the same results. It worked. Brandon would sleep.

One of the actual teachers/workers there saw me doing this to him one day, and asked me what I was doing. I explained the process, but she was skeptical until I showed her just how quickly Brandon would chill out. I swear, her face lit up like I had just given her the most life-changing advice ever, "Oh my God, you're right, he actually falls asleep!"

baby-1266117-300x199.jpgImage by

20. How to get a huge raise and a better job

Was really REALLY desperate to leave past employer after 15 years. Had been applying and interviewing and striking out. Finally got an interview at a place where (at the time) I felt, "meh, I am not really sure this is right for me, but anything is better than where I am at."

Instead of prepping for the interview, rehearsing answers, etc... I pulled an "office space." I was cocky, brash, unconcerned, made it seem like I was happy where I was at and didn't really care if I got the job or not.

They called me back the next week and I waited a week to return their call. Same deal with the second interview. When they offered me the job, I hemmed and hawed, said I needed to think about it really hard, and that it was a "big move" for me, etc., etc.

I came back and demanded well over $15,000 above what they were offering in salary. They accepted.

handshake-2056021-300x270.jpgImage by

19. It needs to be yellower!

This idea could've easily gotten me fired if it went wrong.

I was working as art director at an animation studio, making videos for clients. One client was especially pesky about the use of yellow in the background. They wanted it to be that of their logo, which was this horrible neon-pee yellow. We advised against it, but after numerous calls we had to cave and gave a version with that colour. They hated it, and asked for a change. What followed were 12 versions with numerous calls in between tweaking the colour over and over.

Eventually I got tired of it and just sent the original version again, I didn't even bother to rename the file. The client said "this looks exactly the way I wanted, thank you!"

How that ever went right I still have no idea.

yellow-926728-300x200.jpgImage by


18. Creative problem solving

I forgot to bring a resume to a job interview, but I had an index card in my bag. I cut the index card in half and wrote my name, my contact info, and “creative problem solver” in my best handwriting, and gave a copy of my “business card” to both the interviewers.

I got the job.

career-3449422-1-300x169.pngImage by

17. How to make coffee with no power

Our power was out due to a storm. I had a camp stove to use for boiling water to make a coffee pour-thru, but I couldn't use my electric grinder for the coffee beans. I tried fashioning a mortar and pestle but it was taking too long. So, I put the coffee beans in a couple of ziplock bags, placed the bag right behind a car tire, then ran over it back and forth a couple of times to crush the beans. Worked like a charm.

caffeine-coffee-cup-6347-300x200.jpgPhoto by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

16. Helmet for the win

Wearing a motorcycle helmet while snow blowing. I did it because I missed riding, it kept my face warm and when snow would fly back at me the visor would protect me.

motor-bike-1847779-300x169.jpgImage by

15. I'm an artist

When I was younger I got called into HR because I drew a very detailed picture of male anatomy. It was really, really good. Here's how I got out of it.

The HR meeting happened like a week after I drew it and my only defense was, " I don't recall doing that, do you happen to have the picture? It might jog my memory." They didn't have it of course because I had it, and because I didn't confess they couldn't do a thing.

Investigation results inconclusive, have a nice day!

pencil-1486278-300x169.jpgImage by

14. Lucky to be alive

“I'm stuck on a cliff, but if I jump at a really sharp angle toward that gravel field, I could just slide down there and be fine, just like on TV!“

Every time I think about this I am amazed I'm not either flattened by a rock, or impact against something.

Childhood really is just the turorial level sometimes.

Rock_climbing_at_Kangaroo_Point_Cliffs_Brisbane_Australia_02-225x300.jpgWikimedia Commons

13. That's a good bit

Got a really long drill bit stuck in a piece of thick wood (butcher's block). I tried everything I could think of to yank it out.

My solution that ended up working for me was attaching the drill bit to a chain, put the chain on my truck, and have a piece of wood kind of stuck between two branches of a tree. I drove off slowly and it popped right out.

To the many wondering on how I hooked up the bit to the chain, the drill bit was a long spade drill bit. The end sticking out of the block was long enough that I could bend into a little hook. Attached the chain to the hook, bent the hook in a little further, and ta da. It was now another link in the chain.

drill-444517-300x215.jpgImage by

12. "This is how I die"

Years ago, the foundation of my house would let water in right at the seam of the wall and hatchway. I decided to dig down so I could seal it from the outside. I got a few feet down before I couldn’t reach with a shovel.

So what did this genius do? I went in head first and kept digging. But then my arms were getting tired and I decided I should quit. I’m now doing a handstand in a narrow pit and have no way to back out of it. I live far enough from neighbors that yelling would do nothing.

After a few minutes of coming to terms with the fact that this is how I die at 28 years old ... I decide I will try to “walk” up the foundation wall with my hands one last time ... and it worked.

It could have ended quite badly.

In the end, it worked ... I was able to seal the issue from the outside.

basement-stairs-347482-300x201.jpgImage by

11. How about I 'be myself' in a cover letter

Years ago I remember applying to a bunch of copywriting jobs and feeling frustrated because I wasn't hearing back from any of the places I was applying. It was especially frustrating because I was putting in all this time on cover letters and I felt like nobody was even reading them, so I said, "Fuck it, I'm gonna write one that is ridiculous, that is more me." I absolutely thought it was a dumb idea and never imagined that it would work, but somehow it did.

I applied with a cover letter comprised of stupid jokes and the subject line "Copywriter: Will Work for Beer" to a job that I was underqualified for. It managed to catch the eye of the headhunter for the ad agency and was enough to get me an interview. Shortly after that I was hired and ended up working there for a few years.

However, this probably wouldn't work everywhere, but it fit the culture of the agency. Plus the job listing said that I would be working for beer brands as clients and that free beer was a perk of the job.

once-upon-a-time-719174-300x161.jpgImage by

10. Act the part, be the part

A friend and I once snuck 15 people into a Warped Tour by giving them some bracelets from a party supply store and clipboards full of paper. Walked up to the side gate and said we were with Rock The Vote. The security guard waved us right in.

dreadlocks-990114-300x199.jpgImage by

9. Either you're playing dumb or it's not an act

I realized f I stop showing coworkers how to use Microsoft Excel, I'll get to do all the easy excel stuff while simulataneously being patted on the back for doing the hard stuff on the team no one else can do well.

That worked for years. Everyone thought I was a super useful genius even though I'm just a guy who is moderately skilled at Microsoft Office.

Basically, unless you want to be super upper management and give your life to your work - play clueless. Don't let them know you could simplify a report that takes several days into literally minutes. Shhhhhhhhh, someone else will take the credit and then you'd have more to do.

employee-3005501-1-300x195.jpgImage by

8. "I committed insurance fraud by accident"

In my freshman year of college, my grades were really not great. And my parents were really strict about getting good grades. When my dad asked to see my grades, I panicked and did the inspect command on the computer where you can change type faces on the screen to read different words and letters. I changed all of my crappy grades to good grades.

My dad was so happy that I did “good” my first year of school. He asked me to print my results. I did, and turns out he had to send them to our car insurance company for a “good student discount”. Ultimately, I committed insurance fraud by accident. But I got the discount.

pen-162124-277x300.pngImage by

7. The missing ball

When I was like 7 years old I was playing in my back garden with those incredibly bouncy little balls you got, just bouncing them high off the house and letting them bounce randomly before trying to catch them, as you did.

One time I went for this huge throw off the wall and it bounced crazily off various surfaces so fast I completely lost track of it. So my 7 year old logic was to stand back in the same place and throw another ball the same way. I watched it bounce this way and that about 10 times before finally hitting a plant and coming to a rest in a flower bed. I went over to pull back the foliage and sure enough there were both balls literally lying touching each other in the mud.

At the time I was like “yep, makes sense...” but over the years since then I’ve often thought about it and how the heck it worked!

smiley-1274739-300x199.jpgImage by

6. Hornet wars

There was a swarm of hornets that had made a nest under the front of our porch with only one specific narrow entry in or out.

Spray wouldn't work and it was right under our front door, so had no way to keep exterminating them.

Then I realized "why not whirring blades of metal?". We DID have an old 50s metal fan and I could maybe blow them away from the entrance so they had no way to get in.

The unanticipated effect was that it worked, though after a few hours had created a Civil War battlefield of dead or dying hornets piling up like a zombie tower in World War Z. Every few moments you'd hear "thunk" as another hornet fell into the trap.

So satisfying.

vespa-crabro-3611583-300x200.jpgImage by

5. How to turn in a late assignment

In university I was late on an assignment that was supposed to be in my T.A.'s drop box by noon that day. I didn't manage to get there until almost 3 so I was sure he had already emptied it.

Now, the drop boxes were literal boxes in cubbies with a slot on the front and a lock on them that prevented them from being pulled out. The rack holding them was just a basic metal frame with about 5 rows of boxes. My T.A.'s box was somewhere in the middle of the shelf.

So I figured, "I'm late anyways, why not take a chance?" and slipped my assignment into the box below my T.A.'s box.

I got my assignment handed back a few weeks later than everyone else and it had a note from another T.A. scribbled on it that said "Looks like this fell into my box by mistake."

I got full marks on the assignment.

correcting-1870721-1-300x200.jpgImage by

4. Fishing for house keys

I threw my keys up to my wife... they landed on the roof (Apartments, so we didn't have a ladder, and it was after hours).

It was getting ready to rain...

So, I took 3 paper clips, a AA Battery, and a cord (the rope kind, not like a power cord). Taped the 3 paperclips around the batter to make a large 3-pronged "fish hook."

Then after about 100 attempts to fish my keys off the roof I finally got a nibble... A good tug pulled them over the storm drain, and the rope was just long enough that the lanyard barely touched the ground (Didn't even break my FOB

key-96233-300x199.jpgImage by

3. One way to lose a tooth

I was like seven and had a lose tooth that I couldn't pull out. Tried to string attached to the door. Didn't work. So I tied a string to it and tied the other end to my dog's collar. Threw a tennis ball. Bye bye tooth.

teeth-1670434-1-300x300.pngImage by

2. Accidentally aced the test

Took a class on Greek history my senior year in college because my roommate said the professor was cool and the class was easy. Well, cool and easy are relative. My roommate was a classics major and knew Greek history inside and out. He was also a genius, so everything was easy.


We had our first test that covered everything we learned so far. Like, chapters 1-8 in the textbook. Or so I thought. It was also on the intro to the book even though we never reviewed or discussed it in class. Apparently the professor emphasized this in the class before the test, but I wasn't there.

I stay up all night cramming for the test and feel great as I'm taking it the next day until I get to the last essay question, which was worth 25% of the grade and said something like, "according to the textbook intro, there were 5 reasons why scholars debate whether Crete was one of the locations in the Odyssey (I think...). Name 1 and explain it."


This never came up in class or in the rest of the textbook. So I rack my brain for something even remotely coherent and remember an episode of Jeopardy about when Crete was supposedly discovered or something. So make up some nonsense about how because the Odyssey was written in XXX but Crete wasn't discovered until YYY, then it couldn't be Crete. Thought I might get points for writing more than 100 words, but fully expecting to max out at a C-.

The following week, the prof is giving out the graded tests. He's making a bit of a show of it, commenting on how the class did overall and calling out a few people that really whiffed in a kind of funny, not too harsh way, but still pretty embarrassing. And he's given out everyone's but mine.

"And then we have Mr. Thatwickertrunk. Mr. Thatwickertrunk didn't show up to the last class before the test and apparently didn't talk to anyone that did. How do I know this? Because his answer to the last essay wasn't even close to anything that was in the book."

The whole class is looking at me. My roommate is trying to contain his laughter. A girl I was into was giving me a sad, pitiful, must-suck-to-be-you face. I'm beet read.

"HOWEVER, after rereading it a few times, I was curious. So I handed it to the chair of the department and asked him to read it. He laughed because the answer was just, well, dumb. But then started to scratch his head. You see, while Mr. Thatwickertrunk didn't do the assigned reading, he has identified a 6th, and perhaps better answer than what was in the book. So, reluctantly, I'm giving him full credit. And we reached out to the author and suggested he include an update in the next edition. Next time though, Mr. Thatwickertrunk, please just do the reading."

It was great. Best part was that my roommate missed something minor and wound up losing a few points, so I pulled the better mark.

man-3653346-300x200.jpgImage by

1. Accidentally fixed my car

Something broke on the front wheel of my car while I was on a cross-country trip, and it made a terrible noise and smoke. It was the middle of the night and the shops in the town we pulled into were all closed. I jacked it up to see what was wrong, took off the wheel, and then the jack tipped over and the car dropped onto the exposed brake disk. I did it again and the same thing happened.

I jacked it up again, still couldn't figure out what was wrong, put the wheel back on, and whatever it was had been fixed by the jolts. I drove that car for years with no further problems.