People are always encouraged to ask questions in a classroom or at a training session for a new job. "There are no such thing as a dumb question," an instructor or a person in a position of leadership might say.
But is there such a thing as a dumb question?
That is debatable and the distinction can vary depending on the situation. On one hand, the encouraging phrase assures someone who is unsure of something to dispense with their fear of sounding naive.
On the other hand, some questions can stem from laziness.
If you go in for a job interview and didn't do your research beforehand and then ask a question about the company that is common knowledge, that would be an example of a dumb question.
After all, that's what Google is for – to save face.
Curious about other examples from strangers on the internet, Redditor WinterCrusader91 asked:
"What's the dumbest thing you've ever been asked by anyone?"
How many times have you misspelled your own name in school or at work? Probably never.
So why is it that anyone with a different spelling of a common name or those with foreign names seem to encounter difficulty?
That is a genuine question.
Let Me Ask My Birth Certificate
"Are you sure that's how you spell your name?"
The Shady English Teacher
"My high school honors English teacher had a full on argument with me about how I spell my name and whether it was cultural appropriation for me to spell it that way."
"My name was a Native American word, despite me being whiter then wonder bread. My parents thought they were just being creative with the spelling of an extremely popular girls name at the time of naming me, found out when I was 3 or 4 that it was the word for 'turtle' in a Lakota Sioux."
"I changed my name last fall so there's less arguments but people are still weird."
"My surname is also a first name. My friend once asked me how to spell it because she needed to write our classmate's name (the first name version) on our project, and once I spelt it, she was like 'are you sure?' Yes you numpty."
"I also have a cousin with that first name (different surname obviously). He was spelling it for me (he was telling me his email) and I was like 'I'm gonna stop you there mate.'"
Inquisitive To A Fault
Some people have a tendency to ask stream-of-consciousness-type questions that could have been avoided if they just took a moment to think about what they were about to ask.
Or worse – as you will see below – people might violate another person's physical space to check something to confirm a suspicion.
"one of my best friends came to visit me in the hospital when i had my baby. i was laying there with my newborn and there was a banana on a tray next to the bed. he asked, 'has he had lunch yet? is that for him?' everyone in the room just cackled so hard that i almost felt bad."
A Genuine Concern
"What happens if the contact lens falls behind your eye and into your bloodstream -- oh, wait.. blood would go through it because it's clear, right?"
"This person was not high, drunk while very kind, they were easily the most air-headed person I've ever known. That quote was over 25 years ago and I've never forgotten it."
"A lady asked if the bubble lights on the Christmas tree were "filled with colored champagne."
"Was she filled with coloured champagne?"
"After trying to pull my hair off:"
"Stranger: It's not a wig!?"
"Me: Uhhh no, it's my hair"
"Stranger: I thought maybe it was a wig because of cancer or something."
Those working in customer service have had their share of eye-rolling interactions with customers.
Aside from the typical inquiries about certain products or store hours, these Redditors dealt with customers who did not seem aware of their surroundings. At all.
Point Me To The Direction Of...
"I use to work in a grocery store."
"People would legitimately ask me 'where's the juice aisle?' while we are in the aisle with the juice."
Encounter At The Counter
"Repairing the scanner scale at a grocery store. I have the scale out of the checkstand, on it's side, bottom removed from the scale, one of the circuit boards removed from the scale and placed on the conveyor belt, I have JUST removed the board that the spinner part connects to (that spinning mirror thing in the bottom of the scanner scale), and someone walks up to the checkstand, places items onto the conveyor and asks 'Are you open?'"
Not A Costume
"Do you work here?"
"No, ma'am, I just... felt like stealing a work vest and working this shoe pallet for giggles."
The Things Tourists Ask
"I used to be a tour guide in a cave and one summer we had a running contest among the guides to see who could get the dumbest question. Keep in mind, we only accepted questions from adults for entry into the contest. Some of the finalists were:"
"Is this cave underground?"
"Will the stalagmites bite me?"
"Are the steps natural?"
"What time is the 4.30 tour?"
"And the winner: 'Does the water go all the way around the island?'"
Sure, there are specific answers – like the location of the juice aisle – that simply can't be found on a Google search, but sometimes, the answer is literally right in front of you. Just be aware of your surroundings.
But when it comes to other mysteries in life that stump you and keep you up at night, dispense with your fear of sounding dense and ask away.
We will be here in this subReddit and waiting to hear about it.