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These Geniuses Beat The System

These Geniuses Beat The System
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Yes, civilizations have rules for legitimate reasons. However, when you invent around those rules or find loopholes, does that make you a vigilante? It sure puts some people in hazardous situations, but for these rebellious minds, the rewards outweigh the risks.

Rank The Concert

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When I was 16, a friend and I created a website with fake reviews of concerts in the Washington, DC area that we didn't actually go to. It ended up working out better than I could have ever imagined: Once we had built it up to our satisfaction, we used it as credentials to gain backstage access to a huge DC area music festival three years in a row.

A simple call to the radio station that sponsored the event got us free passes and access to hang out with and interview most of the bands, including Cypress Hill, Coldplay, Social Distortion, and Offspring. Nobody ever caught on, and oddly, nobody seemed to be suspicious of our age.

The Parking Spot Whisperer

I used to keep a can of white paint, a can of yellow paint, and a small paint roller in the trunk of my car. Why? Because I'm an evil genius, that's why.

Whenever I pulled into a full parking lot I just added a space. I expanded a total of four parking lots before I decided to quit. I also cut a “NO PARKING” stencil from two pages I printed off the internet. It didn't really benefit me in any way, I just wanted to see how obedient people could be. Turns out people are very obedient. I spent an entire day at my bedroom window, watching people drive up, almost park, then pull out and drive around the block looking for spaces. One of the better moments in my life.

Sorry, Wrong Applicant

I was applying to colleges, and having slacked off all through high school, I was getting rejected from every one of them. I finally applied to a university I had no chance of getting into, and marked down that I was "Native American", though I'm very clearly white.

A month later, I learned that I had gotten in, contingent on me completing a summer in a program for minorities, focused on bringing up their skills and background to their more-qualified peers. I accepted, had a very interesting summer—a whole other story—and graduated with honors.

You Here?

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When I was a teenager I worked for one of those crappy call centers with one of those horrible micromanaging plans. So they would divide us into "teams" with "team leaders". So one day they switched our teams and I noticed that they never placed me in another team—therefore, I was never accounted for. I had a crazy idea. I figured there was no way it would work, but I had to try:

I would go in every day, clock in, go home or whatever, then come back and clock out. Eventually, I got too lazy for this and just paid a girl to clock me in and out. This lasted for a month and a half before anyone ever noticed.

That’s Why They Hire Interns

When I was in Paris studying abroad, a large group of us had called a trendy club early in the night to reserve a couple tables, so we showed up around 1 am or so expecting to skip the line—which was a few hundred feet long at this point—and get our table. That's why you make reservations, right?

Well, naturally the bouncer apparently didn't get the memo and wouldn't let us in. After a few minutes of pseudo-arguing with their management, my friend pulls out his secret weapon: His ABC press pass—his expired ABC press pass—that he had from his summer intern work for ABC in London. He told them that he was writing a story on Paris nightclubs and that theirs was now going to be let off the list because they weren't letting us in. I started laughing thinking, "yeah sure Ted, good one, let's go home".

And then, boom, all of a sudden the velvet ropes open up and we get two bottles for free at our tables.

That was the coolest trick my friend Ted has ever pulled.

Have You Been A Good Boy?

This happened many, many years ago when I was still a kid. As I was old enough to figure out the truth about Santa Claus, mom took me shopping with her for Christmas. She was buying gifts for the whole family, so the shopping cart was quite full. The department store ran a well-publicized contest where each customer could have all their purchases reimbursed. It went like this: at checkout, the cashier asks you to pick an envelope. If you get the magic voucher, you just walk away and don't pay anything.

Obviously, she asked the "innocent kid" to pick the envelope. But, I quickly realized something: As the cashier handed me the envelopes, the lighting was well-positioned behind them, so I could see through. They're thin and I quickly realize most of them are empty; only one contains a piece of paper. The rest is family history. Not an impressive feat, but it made my day as a young boy!

Car Swap

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Working in the city, I really didn't want to pay $80/week for parking. I noticed there was very little differentiation between the “0” and “O” they used on plates. That gave me a crazy idea. I registered a custom plate—O101101—and parked my car on the street every day. 9/10 times, they would put 0101101 on the ticket. Never came back to me and I saved a ton of cash!

Not Lost But Found

Go to the library a day after it rains and tell them you forgot your black umbrella. Free umbrella!

Lose your phone charger? Go to the front lobby of any hotel and see if they have a match in their lost and found bin.

You Better Have My Money

There used to be a routine that you could do which took advantage of the lag between funds available and check processing with ATM deposits.

Basically, it worked something like this: You have two bank accounts with nothing in them. Write an uncovered $1000 check from one to the other. Wait a day and write a $1000 check from the second to the first. The first check will eventually clear using the phantom money from the first because funds were available faster than check processing.

With the right timing you could get a substantial amount of imaginary money flying around in a long cycle for more or less as long as you like. You could then take short-term loans out of the circulating money but managing it would be a lot of work.

I never did this myself, so I might have the details wrong. I had a friend who did this when he was short on cash. But he's maybe not a guy you should listen to... I'd check with him for the details—but he's currently in federal penitentiary.

Did You Beat The System, Or Beat Yourself Up

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When I was four, I was diagnosed with type 1 Diabetes. When I was six, I took over the day-to-day management of it. That included testing my blood sugar and taking my injections, which then was twice a day—parents still supervised of course but didn't need to do everything and anything for me. It took a few months before I was capable but eventually, I was able to take care of it all on my own and therefore able to do all the other things my Grade 2 classmates did, like have sleepovers and go on school trips, etc.

Sometime later, I can't remember how old I was but I would have been under ten, I discovered how the machine that tested my blood sugar level did it. It would read the color of my blood.

For those who don't know, Type 1 diabetics need to test their blood sugar by pricking their finger and putting the blood on a small strip of plastic. That plastic then goes into the machine and the machine tells you what your reading is. Back in the 80s, it was a little different. I had to drop the blood on the strip of plastic, wait about 90 seconds then wash the blood off with water, then put the strip in the machine.

I figured out that the darker my blood was on the strip, the higher my reading, and the lighter it was, the lower my reading... and the lower my blood sugar, the more I would need a "boost"...like candy.

So my young self thought, “That's interesting”. What is also interesting is that the strip I have to put the blood on is white.

So I started doing my blood tests as normal, then not putting the strip in the machine properly. The machine was no longer reading my blood, it was reading the white strip and giving me a low reading—which to my young mind was full of win! Lollies, cake, and all the awesome things I was never allowed!

My parents were scared and confused. The doctors were baffled as my pathology results were not matching my daily readings, the manufacturers were confused as when they tested my machine it was in full working order. I was getting all the awesomeness I wanted...and getting sicker and sicker.

Eventually, I confessed to my doctor. Although my parents were a little angry I think my doctor was a little impressed.

So there it is...not so much beating the system when all I'm doing is making myself sick but as a child, it felt awesome!

StuDying

Throughout college, I had a sneaky way of cheating the system when studying for tests. Whenever it was time for me to study, I would send out an email to my entire class saying something like "Hey, I'm working on a study guide for the test...if anyone wants to send me a copy of theirs I will send you mine...just to make sure we haven't missed anything of course".

This is the genius part: Within an hour I would get several study guides sent to me...and I would just send them back a copy of another person's study guide. In the end, everyone is happy and none the wiser.

Thunder Buddies For Life

My swim team has meetings every Saturday morning. They tend to last between three to four hours. On one particular Saturday, there was a thunderstorm. Every time you hear thunder you can't get in the pool for 30 minutes, so the meeting got delayed several hours.

By the time the storm cleared up everyone just wanted to go home. So to encourage the officials to cancel the meeting, I walked out to the parking lot and hit a dumpster with my fist. The boom it created sounded just like thunder. From where I was standing, you could hear everyone in the pool area yell "THUNDER". Dismayed by another delay, the other team's coaches forfeited the meeting and we all got to go home.

You’ve Got Mail

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Used to live in NYC for a long time. For personal mail within the five boroughs, I would put the recipient's address in the return address spot on the corner and my address in the center of the envelope. I'd "forget" to put a stamp on it and drop it in a mailbox. Inevitably, the mail would be returned-to-sender...to the address I wanted it mailed to. It worked every time.

Tweet All Your Worries Away

We all know customer service phone centers make it impossible to get good customer service, especially when you need to return something or get your money back. But I found another way.

Pretty much all large companies now have teams of people monitoring Twitter for complaints. Since hardly anyone uses Twitter to complain, I find that any time I complain via Twitter, someone contacts me almost immediately and rectifies the problem.

For instance, my dress shoes fell apart—Johnston & Murphy—and calling their phone center was really painful, but after I complained on Twitter, I got a brand new pair shipped to me the same day. Pretty decent move if you ask me.

Breaking Bad

My dad works in a chemical company as a scientist. One day, when he was cleaning out the old chemical closets, he found an unopened package containing one kilogram of solid Silver Chloride that had gone past its expiration date. Normally it would get thrown out, but my dad decided to take it instead. He took it to the kilns and decomposed the Silver Chloride back into elemental silver and chlorine gas, and managed to get about 700 grams of silver out of it.

An Endless Roller Coaster

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My dad and I waited in line for hours to get onto the fastest ride at Six Flags. Feeling adventurous, we decided to just see what happens if we don't get off the ride at the end. It turns out that in the rush, nobody notices that you're still on the ride. I couldn't believe it worked. We were only asked to step off after getting five or six rides, but by that time my dad had blacked out anyway.

Thinking Outside Of The Box To Get Inside Of The Bin

When I was in second grade, our school had a carnival with a bunch of different midway-style booths, run by our teachers. One in particular challenged us to build a paper plane, throw it about ten feet, and land it in a small trash bin. Nobody had succeeded in doing so, and I watched many paper airplanes veer off to one side, nosedive, tailspin, and so on. Cleverly interpreting the definition of "paper airplane", I wadded my piece of paper up into a really compact ball, aimed carefully, and tossed my paper ball into the trash bin.

They didn't award me the prize.

Doppelganger Saved The Day

Didn't happen to me but to a woman I met in Japan a couple of years ago, who had gone on a trip to China. After driving in a bus for two hours, they arrived at some destination only to be told that it was already crowded, it was late and they would have to return the next day. Well, one of the people on the bus looked a little like a certain ex-president's daughter, so they told the Chinese people that it was Chelsea Clinton. The place was suddenly open for business again.

Evil Twin

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My friend really didn't want to go to her group meeting for a group engineering assignment in the first year of college. Every week, we persuaded her to make up an excuse and not go. After a few weeks, we've started to run out of plausible excuses. So we decided that she should have appendicitis. And then I had an incredible, devious idea.

I decided that it would be fantastic if she walked into her group meeting, pretended to be her own identical twin and told them that she had appendicitis. She did, and they ended up doing the whole assignment for her.

So Close

I took the SAT for my best friend. We had someone at our school store make a school ID for us using my picture and his name. When I got to the testing center I told them I lost my driver's license and this was the only ID I had. Worked like a charm. I scored a 1400 for him, which was better than I got for myself, and apparently was about 400 points higher than what he scored when he took it himself.

This threw up a red flag and the SAT people weren't happy. They told us—him—we had three options: get a refund and cancel the score, cancel the score and take the test again for free, or send in handwriting samples to prove it was really him who took the test. This is when we decided to roll the dice. We chose to put up a fight and take option three. I pulled a bunch of homework assignments that I hadn't written my name on and put his signature on them.

We sent them in but apparently, there was still too much of a discrepancy in the score and handwriting that they couldn't accept the score. And that was the end of it.

Cooperating With The Teachers

My school had trips to Spain offered every two years. As a fundraiser, we would sell candy bars. I was quite a bit more entrepreneurial than my counterparts, and offered candy bars on credit. This caused me to essentially corner the market to a point that one of the teachers went into competition with me.

The problem with that sales system was that we could only do it the year before the trip, not after. This is because it was, after all, a fundraiser for Spain. I decided that if I wanted to keep my business going I would need to get a little bit shadier.

The same teacher who ran the Spain trip also was in charge of Key Club. I gave 25% of my profits—not total sales—to Key Club in exchange for protection from the school authorities.

All in all, I netted around $1,600 in profit, or $3,200 in revenue—about 4 per person in my school—while going to school, without breaking the law. The year after was the Spanish fundraiser, so the teacher wouldn't accept protection money.

Like Having A Time Machine

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When I would have an assignment that was overdue, I would leave it somewhere under or around the teacher's desk. So, they would just assume you turned it in on time and that they had just misplaced it; I did this once or twice.

All-Inclusive Non-Guest

The hotel I work at has a membership to a full-service gym that's totally free for guests. All they have to do is show their room key, and bring a towel.

The cheating part comes from knowing that they don't verify that people with a room key are actually staying at the hotel. Hello, free gym time!

One Step Ahead

In college from—1998 to 2002—at the end of a semester, I already knew who my professors were for the next semester, and those professors used the same coursework every semester. So, I would download their entire website, where they had the current semester's homework/quiz/test answers. That info was very useful when I started the class.

Taking Quality Notes

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When I was in school—at the beginning of the year—we were supposed to deposit empty notebooks for each subject. Throughout the year whenever the teacher for that subject would give us a test, they would distribute the notebooks to us to take the test on at the beginning of the day.

After the test was completed and checked, the notebooks would be again collected and locked in the class cupboard. What I and some of my buddies did was, whenever they would distribute the notebook at the beginning of the day we would write the answers to most probable questions or important stuff on the last pages of the notebook. When the test was taken, we would copy the answers from the back pages. Once done with the test, we would quietly rip off the last pages before submitting the notebook to the teacher. We always scored well.

Hey, Can You Come Pick Me Up?

In high school, a friend of mine had a cell phone. During class, if he felt like leaving school, he would just call the classroom he was in, imitate a security guard's voice, have the teacher write him a note and he was on his merry way.

Losing My Religion

In grade nine math, I told my teacher I was Jewish—I'm not. She was from the Caribbean and had no knowledge of the Jewish religion. Whenever I would miss a day and she asked why, I would just say "Oh, it was Yum Kavandash" or whatever series of Jewish-sounding words I thought would work that day. Basically, this let me take two weeks off the class while playing cribbage with my buddies in the cafe.

Friend With Benefits

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I had a friend from Belgium of Moroccan descent.

This guy was the most charismatic human being I've ever met in my life. I used to own businesses on the Santa Monica Promenade in LA—in the 90s before it became a corporate dystopia—and he worked for me. I remember going to the movie Independence Day when it came out at the time and was about to pay at the box office for myself, him and two other employees who had all done a hard day's work in the sun when he suddenly stopped me.

Instead of "wasting my money" as he called it, he dragged us—a party of four—to the ticket checker and started sweet talking rapidly—something about a lost cell phone. The next second, we were all waved through without paying. We were all astounded but elated. We'd somehow hacked the system through this guy. And my wallet was heavier through not having to pay. He would have taken it as a personal affront if I had paid. He impressed me to the point that I still remember him 15 years later.

Soon after, I learned he had talked the California DMV into granting him a driver's license even though he was a foreign national. Also, not long after, I learned, he'd gate-crashed the Oscars dressed as a chef and hung out for the night with Oliver Stone. All of this I confirmed.

The guy blew my mind.

We Love Free Candy

My high school had a shop run by the student council and they kept all the candy and soda in a locked room by the gym. One day, I noticed they had left the key in the padlock. During football practice, my friends and I snuck in and looted several duffel bags of candy. We did this for the next few days until they finally changed the lock. The best part, nobody thought twice when they saw a bunch of kids making off with full duffel bags because it was by the gym and everyone had them!

Play The Sick Card

I was up the Sydney Tower and for some reason—I can't remember—they were delaying everyone going down the lift. The queue was approx 1.5 hours long to get in the lift down. They wouldn't allow me to take the emergency stairs—but I knew I had one card to play.

I stated I was a diabetic and I needed my injection which was in my hotel, since I never planned on being up the tower so long. They told me to wait in the queue and I agreed as long as I had a Sydney Tower letter signed by the manager stating that I told them I was diabetic and I was to wait in line delaying me getting my injection. They asked what I wanted this for, and I stated that it was so I had evidence to help my case to sue them when I fell into a coma. Needless to say, I got the next lift down.

Catch Me If You Can

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I used to fill out credit card applications: Platinum Visa, AmEx, Discover card, etc. It took about three weeks, but they'd send me cards. I used to go from store to store and just "charge it". After about two weeks, I'd call in and report the card stolen. Then just repeat. I guess based on their system, it's hard to catch or something. I would also buy stuff from the mall with said cards, then take the bags back and get the cash.

College On A Budget

College textbooks are very expensive, but buying used books at the Student Book Exchange (SBX) can save you some money. However, you need to act fast when the book is a new edition and there won't be many used copies available. Since everyone tends to sell old books and buy their new books during finals week, you need a game plan to lock in a deal, especially if you are short on cash—which was me.

What I used to do was cruise the bookshelves and find a used copy of the book I knew I would need the next semester that got turned in early, a week before the current semester was over. I wouldn't have my cash then as I had not yet traded my current books in, so I would create a bridge loan by taking that used copy from one shelf and sticking it behind a big pile of books nearby. The bigger the pile the better as that pile needs to hold up until I return the following week. Piles that are all new books last longer than a pile of used books.

The next week I would sell my books, walk over to the big stack and grab the used copy that I had stashed and buy that one at a lower price. Often that used copy I had stashed was the only used copy available.

When There’s Smoke, There’s Fire

When I was 16, there was a fire drill in my high school in Texas. My boyfriend and I were skipping class and walking around the hallways when we heard the alarm go off. We decided it would be really awesome if we stayed in the school while everyone left—there's about 2,000 kids at my high school. So, we hid and waited.

When we couldn't hear any more voices we proceeded to skip around the halls and goof around. I realized I had a pack of cigarettes in my bag. I told this to my boyfriend. The moment I said it I knew I had to smoke one, the irony was too much to refuse. So, while the fire alarm was still going off, and in the hall right in front of the library, I lit one and we shared it. He put it out on the wall and we ran away screaming with laughter.

Twenty minutes later, after everyone had already come back in, we decided to check out that hallway again. We come across the administration—the principal and a few of the vice-principals. They were sniffing around, clearly wondering why it smelled. I've never felt so empowered.

That’s Why They Call It “Payphone”

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There was a row of pay phones outside of my local movie theater. After finishing a movie with some friends, we all waited outside to get picked up by my mom. We were bored, just walking and looking around when I saw a quarter stuck in the middle payphone. I tried pulling it out but couldn't reach it, so I took a piece of cardboard on the ground and pushed it in. Little did I realize, I'd just hit the jackpot: A huge pile of coins came tumbling out from all the people who put money into the—malfunctioning—payphone.

The next few days I would pay a visit to this payphone and push the coins in the back and collect my payment. I even went so far as to create "Out of Order" signs and put them on a few of the other phones to encourage people to use the broken one. Eventually, the theater fixed the phone and put an end to my easy money, but I made away with something like $40 in coins.

Nobody Can Block My View

My house is on a very popular public beach. Tourists usually like to come on the holiday weekends and they will set up tent cities right in front of my house—blocking my steps and walkway to the beach.

So, I just started setting up a whole row of fishing rods and chairs near my steps and walkway. You see tourists start to walk up, take one look at the fishing equipment, and say to each other "Ugh, let's sit over there instead".

Solution Is One Button Away

Recently? Big conference. 18th floor, top of the building. Everyone was going down the limited number of elevators at breaks. Big lines.

People are not going down the stairs by one floor because if you hit down you'd just get a completely packed elevator. My solution? Go down one floor. Hit “up”. Board empty elevator. Welcome people on the 18th and enjoy my quick trip down. The greatest hacks are the simplest.... though it would have been better if it didn't fail the categorical imperative.

Of course, if I wasn't an American I'd just take the stairs all the way down.

Let’s Reset The Tank

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Several local gas stations near me would switch from "regular'' pay to prepay-only at a certain time of night. Let's say it was 10 pm. I'd pull up and start filling my tank at 9:58 pm—making sure to keep filling as the clock rolled over to 10:00. When it hit 10, the pumps would go into the pre-pay mode and reset themselves. I'd finish filling my tank and only have to pay for about two gallons.

This stopped working when gas went to $4/gallon and drive-offs became a huge problem, making all the stations go to pre-pay-only full-time.

Life Hacks: Airport Edition

As a college student that lives on one coast and goes to school on the other coast, I have to get a lot of stuff across the country every year. This trick saves me a ton in overweight bag charges.

Go down to the nearest Army/Navy surplus store and pick up one of their backpacks. These fit a ton of stuff and don't look all that big. Pack two backpacks—one regular, one from the surplus store—plus your personal item. When you get to the airport go through security as usual, they don't care if you have more than the usual “1 bag + 1 personal item rule that the airlines use.

After getting through and to your gate, go up to the counter and say you're worried the flight is too crowded and/or you think your bag won't fit—don't let them see the other bag. Ask if there is some way to check your bag now. Most likely they'll "check the bag gate side" for you. Which means they put a tag on your bag and when you walk down the ramp there is a spot to put it. They then put it below with the other checked bags. On the way off the plane, you pick up your bag and you're on your merry way. Best part is you don't get charged for it.

Roommate Whisperer

For two years that I was in the dorms, I picked a roommate who said he was going to pledge and join a fraternity. That way, a few weeks into the term, he would move out. It would take another one or two terms to get the paperwork in line that I needed to get a new roommate. I would pick another guy who was soon joining a fraternity. I had roommates in my closet-sized dorm room for maybe two months of my two years, and I only paid for 1/2 the room.

Photoshop Your Way To The Top

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I was a junior in high school, and I was transferring schools due to a recent move. However, my grades at my previous school were mediocre to say the least. The awfulness of my grades didn't stem from stupidity—I'm quite brilliant, mind you, but rather I had problems with undiagnosed insomnia for a very long time and never went to school because of it. My new school required a personal interview between the principal and myself. During this interview, I was told the school had very strict GPA requirements—my grades didn't cut it.

They'd requested a copy of my transcripts from my previous school, and as I was walking out of the office, I saw a sealed envelope on the secretary's desk—it was from my previous school. I took the envelope from the secretary's desk when she wasn't looking and proceeded to go home with it. I opened it up and sure enough, they were my transcripts.

I took the transcripts to Kinko's and had them scanned at the maximum resolution and quality possible and took them home with me on a CD. Then, I meticulously photoshopped the transcripts and changed my GPA from a mediocre 2.3 to an astounding 3.9. Finally, I had a buddy of mine whose dad worked for the US Postal Service don his dad's work uniform and deliver the transcripts the next day.

Needless to say, it worked. I went on to graduate with a 3.8 GPA in my senior year—I got my stuff together—and was accepted to one of the state's best 4-year institutions. I've since graduated and have a very rewarding career.

Is It A Six Or A Nine?

I went to a conservative university that had a nightly curfew. If you went away for some period of time, you'd have to fill out an overnight leave form online which would need to get approved by a student dean or dean or something. One fall break, I needed to fill out one of these forms for 10/03/06 to 10/06/06. I purposely filled it out for 10/03/06 to 10/06/09—in my mind, hitting a nine instead of a six was a legitimate typo if I had to explain myself. Their online system didn't automatically check for this kind of discrepancy, and the student dean overlooked it when he approved it because the month and day columns looked correct. It got me three years without curfews. I never had to worry about it again.

Think Simple, Think Fast

There was this really nice apartment complex next to our not-nearly-as-nice apartment when I was in elementary school. During the summer, it got really hot and the community pool was not walking distance. Unfortunately, the complex was pretty well fenced so no one without a key could get in—and they had a really nice pool which everyone was envious of. On top of that, the people living inside were pretty strict and would never just let us in. One day, I realized I could stick my hand through the metal grating of the fence and open it from the inside. I swam a lot more after that.

Don’t Overthink It

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I used to live in a condo building that had three clothes washing machines and two dryers on each floor. Often all of these machines would be in use at the same time that I wanted to use them. My solution: Go to another floor and use the machines there. There are 18 floors in the building, that's 54 machines to choose from, so that I could wash my clothes simultaneously, in parallel. It's kind of obvious, but when I first realized this, it seemed pretty cool to me.

Language Barrier

Okay, so in Ireland we have two official languages, Irish—Gaelic which is the first—and English. Because of our constitution, all services provided by the state have to be in the two official languages. The funny thing is though that the majority of Irish people cannot speak their mother tongue—Irish. Whenever I do my taxes or any other business with the state I always conduct it through Irish or demand that it be conducted through Irish. The advantage of this being that the queue/line and waiting time for things to be processed for things such as passports, tax credits etc. is always minimal or practically nonexistent.

I don't like the way my co-patriots don't speak our language, but it sure is a massive advantage to me. Also, if the state cannot provide the service through Irish, they try to fast track you through their system of whatever so as to try and not to offend you so you wont complain. I love it.

We’re Here, Obama!

My friends and I went to the Obama inauguration and since driving and walking were out of the question, we took the Metro. Well after the ceremony ended we headed towards the nearest metro stop which happened to be near the Air & Space museum. The stop was closed with a huge crowd of people trying to get in, so we went back to the museum and played poker for an hour and a half. After that we checked back at the station, still closed, so we walked up three blocks to another station, also closed. Then we were told we had to walk all the way across the mall.

At this point it was like four or five in the evening and we had been up since 3:30 am. So, we sucked it up and walked the mile or two across the mall to the one open station, and there was a line because it wasn't open yet...so we waited in a nearby food court for an hour until the station opened, and then we got back in line.

After we got inside the station, there was a solid mass of people trying to get back to Virginia, it would have easily been another hour or two waiting for the train. Then, I noticed that the Maryland-bound platform was nearly empty so I said, "Hey let's ride up a few stops then get on the train headed the other way".

Everyone agreed this was at least a better idea than waiting. After two stops, the platforms were empty and we got off that train and right on to another headed towards home. I was quite pleased as we rode past the platform of people who would be stuck waiting for empty trains for hours.

Like Father, Like Son

person using phone and laptopPhoto by Austin Distel on Unsplash

I got a free trial cell phone and just didn't give it back. It stayed free for like 7 years, until someone took it from me.

Also, me and my dad used to tell the cable company that C-SPAN wasn't broadcasting clearly—like there was static and stuff. They would come over and remove some "block" which allowed us to watch HBO for free.

Also, in 1999, my dad worked in the IT department of a large insurance company. For Y2K, they needed one person to stay in the building, in case everything exploded or whatever. To determine who would stay, there was a tournament of coin flips throughout the company. Out of the hundreds—maybe thousands—of people who worked in the building, my dad was one of the final two people. It all came down to one coin flip, between him and his former college roommate. My dad said, "Okay, if it's tails, you stay, if it's heads, I don't". Apparently, the guy did not realize that either way, my dad would win.

Also, my friends and I inadvertently realized how to get free food at fast food establishments. You go through the drive-thru and tell them something like you spilled a drink in your car and you need some napkins. Something that they won't make you pay for. Then you pull up to the first window, they just wave you on, because you didn't order anything. Then you get to the second window, and usually, you'll get the food ordered by the people behind you. The two windows don't communicate. The first one just assumes you're going to ask the person at the second window and not take someone else's food.

Does This Ring A Bell?

When I was in high school, we had a bell system that sounded through a tone in the phone that was in each class instead of an old school bell. That gave my friend a brilliant idea. Realizing that this "bell" sound had a very digital ring to it, my friend and I decided to record it one day. Now having acquired the tone, I was able to replicate the sound of the bell, thus fooling my fellow students—who instinctively would get up and leave once they heard the bell—and the teacher into believing that the class had ended.

I was able to use this to end class early throughout a large part of the year until the administration caught on and started changing the tone daily.

Perfect Revenge

This one time on a road trip me and my friend stopped at a local restaurant and bar to grab lunch. Halfway through my friend knocked over the salt and I told him to throw some over his shoulder for good luck. Unfortunately, the man behind us didn't enjoy it so he came over—he was much, much larger than us—and secreted a fluid out of his mouth right in my friend's burger.

Disgusted, but wanting to get back at them, I came up with a great idea. I went over and apologized to him and his friends and offered them a round of beers. They of course accepted and then, me and my friend headed over to the cashier. We said that this man and his group of friends felt bad and wanted to pick up our tab. The girl was skeptical at first but we pointed him out, and he signaled for what he thought was his round of beers. The waitress obliged and we headed out of the restaurant with a free lunch!

Count Me Twice

gray computer monitorPhoto by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

About 10 years ago, I had a summer job that used online timesheets. When I started, my name was spelled wrong on the system. I had it corrected and received a new login, but they didn't disable the old one. That gave me an idea. For two months I completed two timesheets every week and got paid double. Nobody ever found out.

Confidence Is Key

My best “cheating the system” moment wasn't even clever or really even cheating the system. It was just outright lying mixed with extreme confidence. When I was seventeen, a bunch of my friends who were already eighteen wanted to go to an adult club. I didn't have a fake ID, but I didn't want to miss out—so I just went with them anyway. As we're walking in everyone gives the woman at the front podium—there was no outdoor bouncer—their IDs. I'm the last in line and I just gave her my real driver's license.

She looks at it for a minute, and then looks at me with confusion on her face: "This says you're only seventeen". Figuring there's nothing to lose I just went for it: "No it doesn't". She looked back at it, back at me, shrugged, and said, "Okay, go ahead".

BOOM, adult club jedi.

People Explain Which 'That Can't Happen To Me' Thing Actually Happened To Them

"Reddit user Bob_the_peasant asked: 'What 'that can’t happen to me' thing happened to you?'"

Life is full of shock and surprise.

Apparently, that is part of the fun.

Who hasn't been left stunned by life events?

We always think we're immune to way too many things.

Anything and everything is possible.

It's important to be ready.

Redditor Bob_the_peasant wanted to hear about the things that have left people SHOOK, so they asked:

"What 'That can’t happen to me' thing happened to you?'"

I haven't been left that shocked that often.

I'm always expecting the worst, so I'm prepared.

But you never know.

I'm Dead

Snakes Imacelebau GIF by I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! AustraliaGiphy

"A snake fell out of a tree and bit me on the head."

"ETA: I have always been more scared of snakes than anyone I know, so it’s just so ironic that this happened to me of all people."

amanitachill

Crash Into Me

"A car crashed through my kitchen last year."

aster636

"I woke up to a truck parking in my bathtub 2 weeks before Christmas a few years ago. I watched my sink roll past my bedroom door followed by a hubcap. The driver managed to cross a median, 3-lane road, up an embankment, through an iron fence and between trees. He'd been involved in an altercation nearby and was fleeing the scene."

anjie59k

Hot Air

Swinging Hot Air Balloon GIF by Red BullGiphy

"My family and I were in a hot air balloon crash."

GymDoll2000

"My friend had one crash into her pool when she was a kid."

Environmental-Car481

This is why hot air balloons and skydiving are just a HELL no for me.

Always have. Always will.

Tragic

Cat No GIF by Looney TunesGiphy

"My wife cheated on me with my best friend. They’re moving in together next month. I’m in a new city thousands of miles away. I found out a month ago."

Tssodie

Bad Penguin

"Everyone else’s stories are very sad so here’s something a bit lighter. I’ve mentioned this story before but I got bitten on the neck by a penguin."

"I was at an event where the local zoo had a penguin and owl sitting on tables with handlers so you could take a picture next to them. The penguin went for my glass of wine, I moved the wine, and it bit me on the neck hard enough to bruise. They removed the penguin after that. 😂."

archaeologistbarbie

All Gone

"Our house burned in a wildfire, we lost absolutely everything we owned and only salvaged a single coffee 3 cup."

"On the good side: There was a boy I crushed on all through high school. We went to summer camp together and I adored him. We ended up getting together in our 20s after reconnecting, and have now been together more than 20 years, married almost 17. We’re as madly in love as ever."

toomuchisjustenough

Good Luck

"Homelessness. It came swiftly and out of nowhere. had no savings and the landlord sold the house I was in. couldn’t afford a new place so lived in my car with my dog for a few months. ended up finding community assistance and got into an apartment."

jumbospicyslimjim

"I can’t even imagine being in that situation. Hopefully, this is just the start of things turning around for you. Sending you good energy!"

frappbarqueen

Early Michael Myers

"About 10 years ago, I was stabbed in the arm with a flathead screwdriver. It was a coworker whom I had previously gotten along well with. He had stopped taking benzos and smoking weed a few days before and was on a hair trigger. I said something sarcastic, and he just snapped."

Mr_Spaghetti_Hands

Bad Landing

Bad Day Seagull GIF by Sound FXGiphy

"I was lying on the beach and a seagull flying very high took a poop and it went straight in my mouth."

Competitive_Show6205

This is why I say... "Never trust a seagull!"

They are minions of the devil.

Person cooking in home kitchen
Conscious Design on Unsplash

We've all heard the phrase, "You can't eat at everybody's house," but some of us have a few examples of our own to live by.

From not properly cleaning the environment to questionable hygiene ourselves, there are countless reasons why a person may not want to eat what you've cooked after watching you prepare it.

Bracing themselves, Redditor 195901 asked:

"What is your 'you can't eat at everybody's house' horror story?"

Fly Spray Sandwiches

"I told my dad my sandwich tasted like fly spray at my grandma's house. He didn’t believe me."

"Two days later, I caught my grandma spraying the benches 'clean' with the two-dollar fly spray you find at the cheap store."

"Dad figured it was safe to make sandwiches straight on the countertop because they looked clean. I dragged him over to see and he apologized and took my sister and me for fish and chips for lunch."

- littlehungrygiraffe

Special Seasoning Deviled Eggs

"My crackpot aunt served us a lovely tray of deviled eggs, complete with very old paprika sprinkled on top. So old, in fact, the many weevils mixed in it were dead."

- PhoneboothLynn

A Disturbing Surprise

"I visited a friend's house who was living with his mother, and she asked if I wanted a coffee and I said I would."

"Upon getting to the bottom of the cup and taking the last few gulps, I found there was a used bandaid stuck to the bottom… I never ate or drank there again."

- MrRailton

In Need of Child Protective Services

"I was babysitting a kid in a pretty dirty house. I was told to wake him up, supervise bathing and changing clothes, and feed him. I was welcome to whatever was in the fridge. Okay. The house and his clothes were filthy."

"Then, when I opened the cabinets, floods of roaches poured out. There were roaches in every opened box and container."

"I took him back to my house and returned him later that day. I hope the boy ended up in a better situation. I found out CPS (Child Protective Services) got involved shortly after."

- Alltheprettydresses

Traumatized by Raisins

"I was gonna complain about raisins in the potato salad but the other comments on here are scary. Oh my god."

- tcumber

"When I was a young kid, I stayed over at a friend's place, and his mom made veal or something with godd**n raisins INSIDE the meat somehow. It was so nasty, I never forgot it."

- User2716057

You WISH That Was Vinegar

"My MIL fished around in the green bin (compost bin) with her bare hands, didn't wash them, WIPED her GARBAGE JUICE HANDS on the tea towel, and then WENT BACK TO PREPPING THE SALAD."

"She also got horrifically offended if I didn't want to eat at her house."

- 116843189

Poor Home Hygiene

"My first boyfriend’s parents invited me for Thanksgiving. I came over a few days before Christmas and all the same dirty dishes from Thanksgiving were still in the kitchen. I passed on coming over for Christmas dinner."

- MinimalistHomestead

Every Surface Covered

"I went to a friend's house after school, he was going to teach a group of us to play D&D (Dungeons and Dragons)."

"We got there and his house was disgusting. I'm not the neatest person but the carpet hadn't been vacuumed in forever, clothes were all over the place, and dirty dishes were stacked everywhere."

"I tried to be polite even though the place reeked, but at some point, he was like, 'Who wants snacks!'"

"He picked up a bowl that was crusted with stuff, splashed in some water, wiped it with a towel that clearly hadn't been washed that decade, and poured chips into it. Then he asked if we wanted to stay for dinner. We did not."

- KnittinAndB***hin

O Holy Expiration Dates

"When I was a kid, Christmas Eve was always celebrated at Grandma's. I always got sick afterward. Like, Merry Christmas, you're going to puke now."

"It wasn't until I was all grown up and helping her out in the last weeks of her life that I learned why. She did not believe in expiration dates on anything!"

- SundayMorningTrisha

An Immune System to Remember

"My grandma made me a food phobic from a young age. Whether it was ramen with moths floating on top, or chunky milk in my cereal, it just scarred me for life."

"Dinner at her house was always a fight. Not eating her food was not an option. I'm not sure why that was the hill she would always choose to die on, because she was an amazing grandma other than this."

"Expiration dates aren't a thing. If the cheese was moldy, you cut it off... I think living through the great depression and raising kids in poverty changed her mindset on food."

"I mean obviously, she's doing something right because she's 91. She must have the immunity of a superhero."

- tha_stormin_mormon

Neighborly Love

"I used to help an old neighbor out with grocery shopping, I’d drop the bags at her door and she’d give me a check for the amount of groceries. She’d give me homemade cookies once in a while, chocolate chips."

"I didn’t ever eat them because one time I caught sight of her apartment. It was a large studio, a small kitchen, and tv, and a bed/couch. And there were about 20 cans of cat food, half-eaten, and one million flies and small maggots in different stages of growth, dishes with crusty food stuck to them, and a wall of empty beer cans."

"After I saw that, and got a whiff of her apartment, I started helping her with taking garbage out and putting groceries away, cleaning out her fridge, and making sure her cat was healthy."

"A couple of months later, she got the virus, ended up at a rehab facility, and passed within two weeks."

"Some people need help and a little company…"

- SnooPeripherals6557

No Longer Rice

"A girl I was interested in at the time had cats. I came to her house one day to pick her up for a date and he had a large sack of rice open in her pantry with the pantry door open."

"One of the cats hopped out of the sack of rice and she just casually laughed at it like, 'Oh, they are always getting into things.'"

"I came over the following weekend that SAME sack of rice was in the pantry and I could hear one of them tussling around in it again, we stopped dating sometime after that but anytime she offered to cook for me I immediately pivoted to taking her out to eat instead."

- justad**nfool

"Those cats probably used it as litter."

- Anonymanx

"Yeah, that was my fear."

- justad**nfool

Could Have Warned Her

"My mom told me one about going over to her aunt Virginia's house. She, her parents, and her siblings were sat around the kitchen while her aunt cooked, and my mom could not figure out why no one else was having ANY of this incredibly delicious bread that was on the table."

"She was on her third slice when her aunt stepped out to do something else, and my mom was told by her brother to go look in the flour bin."

"It was absolutely filled with miller moth larvae. Aunt Virginia had been losing her eyesight for years."

- smoothiefruit

"It's f**ked of her parents not to warn her not to eat the bread... like, what the f**k, you KNOW the bread isn't safe, so you're not eating it, but you're fine with letting your daughter have three slices?"

- whydontthissitework

Bad to the Point of Malnutrition

"I graduated high school at 6' 10" tall, but weighing only 120 pounds."

"That's not skinny, that's emaciated."

"The food prepared by my bio-mom was so bad that it wasn't providing me with the nutrients or calories I needed to survive. I went off to college where I had to cook for myself (I wasn't allowed to cook at home because my father insisted that "cooking was women's work")."

"Not only did I discover that food didn't have to be burnt to a crisp, flavorless, or boiled until everything was grey. I also discovered that food can be made to taste good, and using things like salt, or pepper, spices, or various condiments can make it taste amazing."

"The "freshman 15" likely saved my life."

"The thing is, I don't think that my biomom was even aware that her food was that disgusting. Whenever we went out for dinner (which was more often than what my father wanted, but he was the one who insisted on going), she did nothing but complain about how the food was undercooked, 'practically raw,' or 'too spicy,' to eat."

"When she went to other people's houses (including her own extended family) she would criticize them for 'doing it wrong' when she watched them cook anything. She would often end up refusing to eat their food because she 'watched them ruin it,' when they cooked it. We never had guests over to eat her cooking. Ever."

- Galaxy_Ranger_Bob

Clean Hands

"We have a chili contest every year at work around Thanksgiving and I've stopped participating in voting for it because I want to know whose I'm eating before taking any. I work with some great people, but I wouldn't eat at or anything from their house. Strangely enough, the guy I absolutely despise I'll gladly eat his chili because he is clean and well kept and I know his house is."

"I also work with a bunch of people who don't wash their hands after using the bathroom in any capacity and we've secretly kept a list so to avoid any potlucks where they take food or to get food before they do."

- SafewordisJohnCandy

We're left with chills after reading these stories.

Where some people might make some mistakes in the kitchen out of just not knowing, like not properly washing rice before cooking it, most of these are just careless mistakes that have disgusting, if not dangerous, results.

Collection of VHS tapes
Bruno Guerrero/Unsplash

What makes us all unique is our passions and the things we love, whether it's singing in the shower, reading books, or listening to specific music artists.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where we are judged for our various tastes and interests thanks to social media, and it makes us consciously selective about sharing the things we love on the internet.

Curious to hear about people's personal desires under anonymity, Redditor sweet_chick283 asked:

"What do you secretly love that you would never admit to in public?"

These aren't really chores for the following Redditors.

Good Clean Fun

"Mopping, im a janitor and generally hate my work... but damn mopping is so good."

– MrDDog06

"When you have a great rhythm going it is something special. I get the same feeling while I vacuum, but won’t let my wife know I enjoy it."

– Bogus_34

Act Of Unwrinkling

"Ironing clothes. A dozen of them. Can’t explain how it relaxes me. I told one person and they looked at me like I’m crazy."

– eerie_white_glow

"My mum misses the days when dad would be out on a Friday night, my brother out with friends and me upstairs quietly playing PS1. She would pour herself a Bacardi & Coke and do the ironing while watching her TV shows."

"I'm sure she doesn't really miss it now that we've moved out and they've retired but it was her wind-down after a busy working week so I can see how people can find it relaxing."

– xdq

Our solo actions can spark joy.

Big Brother Is Watching

"pretending to be on the Truman show and whenever im in my house i act all inconspicuous so they dont know that i know that they’re watching me."

– Bec_121

"C’mon man, you’re not supposed to let him know. You signed a contract when signing up for live views. I’m reporting you."

– doeswaspsmakehoney

The Multi-Tasker

"Playing video games naked at home while eating cheese."

– thickening_agent

Releasing The Kraken

"I love the feeling when you've eaten good fibre and let out a solid long train log in the toilet. That feeling is heavenly."

– therapoootic

"Even better when it’s a clean wipe and not a poo crayon."

– TheWarmestHugz

Ultimate Comfort

"My (male 41) weekend routine is coming home from work, make hot chocolate, start a fire, dress in a ugly pink nightgown made for old ladies and watch forensic files."

– crazyloomis

Some people are obsessed with collecting things.

So Kawai

"Sanrio stationery stores. All those different multicolor pens, a thousand kinds of erasers, spiral bound notebooks galore... my kids sadly have absolutely no appreciation for this wonderland..."

– HavingNotAttained

It's A Staple

"Office supplies have a weird, special place in my heart ever since I was a kid. They don't even have to be 'cute' necessarily."

"Japan's legendary stationery stores is unironically a reason I want to go."

– _CozyLavender_

Not Caring Anymore

"The older I get the shorter that list gets. Not because I love less things, but because I don't care about hiding it."

– Bi-Beast

"YES!! I'm 53 now. I'm working my first job in public since 2006. Today is Halloween and we're allowed to dress up so I am sitting here waiting to go to work dressed as a VERY bad Wednesday Addams. My bf said I'd 'look stupid' because no one else will probably dress up and I'm like, 'WHO CARES!' My makeup looks horrible and not like I practiced, but I DO NOT CARE! I'm having fun with it anyhow and I don't care if my coworkers dress up or not. I'm bein' ME! :)"

– deanie1970

Honorable mentions start here.

The Savior

"Picking up worms from the street and sidewalks when it rains and moving them into the dirt so they don’t burn in the sun, every time it rains I do this."

– sky_kitten89

Hero Of The Moment

"Yoooo I scoot SO many snails and worms. I work as a tech/mechanic at an automotive shop, I had a peoject car towed to my house the other day and it was covered in snails. I saw them when the tow guy/coworker was unloading and I was like, 'oh! It comes with free snails!' and began moving them. He laughed then realized and said, '... Oh, you're serious. Uh... Okay.'"

"I don't care who knows it. These little things barely can look out for themselves, why shouldn't we if we can take a moment to help? I don't care what happens next, it probably doesn't matter overall but I can help this moment."

– chris14020

Why should some of the hidden desires mentioned above have to be secret?

Redditors opening up about some of these would make them a hit at parties–no shaming.

As a matter of fact, I'll totally be down for a Forensic Files viewing party where we all make hot chocolate, light the fireplace, and cozy up together in our respective pink ugly nightgowns for old ladies.

historical reenactors
Sigmund on Unsplash

We've probably all heard some variation of the saying "Truth is stranger than fiction."

Real life isn't just strange, it can also be downright ridiculous.

History is riddled with moments of absurdity.

So ridiculous that people have a hard time believing real life is, well, really real.

Keep reading...Show less