The average Joe is just that…average. But there are many people out there who fall below the bar set by Joe. These folks shared their encounters with people that made them lose faith in humanity and facepalm hard.
1. Color Me Confused
I was instructing a colleague on the cash register. I posed a question: "If a customer's total is $12 and they hand you $22, what's the change?" Her response: "Am I supposed to calculate that mentally?" Yet, that wasn't her most baffling moment.
After a recent rainfall, as the sun went down, it painted the sky and damp parking lot in hues of red, pink, and orange—a breathtaking sight. She turned to me, and exclaimed, "It must be scorching outside, the ground's turned red!" And she was in her final year of high school.
2. The Radiator
My uncle's girlfriend forbids him from being close to his brother, who is currently receiving radiotherapy for cancer. She's threatened to end their relationship if he visits. She believes that my uncle might somehow contract radiation from his brother and pass it to her and her child. At that moment, I grasped the depths of her ignorance.
3. Laundry Lesson
During my undergraduate years, I worked at a Boy Scout camp over the summer breaks. One particular summer, I was teamed up with an 18-year-old staff member (let's name him Joe) who often displayed questionable judgment.
One memorable evening, a few of us were chilling on the staff cabin's front porch, near the shower building with its laundry facilities. We noticed Joe frequently visiting the laundry area but didn’t think much of it.
As midnight neared and we prepared for bed, Joe approached us, inquiring, "Anyone got some detergent?" I offered him a tide pod, handing it over. He said, "Thanks, the homemade detergent I whipped up probably won't work". We all paused, giving him a puzzled look.
Curiously, one of us probed, "Joe, how exactly did you create laundry detergent?" Without hesitating, he gave the dumbest answer ever: "I blended bleach with hand sanitizer". Amid our ensuing laughter, I inquired, "Why the hand sanitizer, Joe?"
With utmost seriousness, he retorted, "It eliminates 99.9% of germs". I suppose he believed the bleach targeted the elusive 0.1%...
4. Made To Measure
I went to the hardware store with the intention of buying a 12 x 12 piece of plexiglass. Instead, they handed me a 12 x 18 piece. Politely, I pointed out the mistake. To my astonishment, the man called me an idiot. I calmly explained that it should be a perfect square, not a rectangle.
He proceeded to demonstrate how he had measured it. Rather bafflingly, he had measured the same side twice. At this point, I, the supposed "little lady," found myself teaching this 70-year-old man the right way to measure. He's worked at a hardware store for years, yet he didn't know how to use a tape measure properly.
What really surprised me was his annoyance when I pointed out his error.
5. Dragon Slayer
I've spent about six years working as a stylist in franchise salons. Two years into my career, a lady sat in my chair for close to an hour. Her husband and teenage daughter hovered behind me throughout the session. She seemed uncertain about the hairstyle she desired and her hair was thin and sparse.
As we trimmed her hair progressively shorter, reaching just below her ears, she remained unsatisfied. Then, she posed a question that left me stunned: "Could you style me like Goku?"
I responded, "I'm not sure anyone can achieve that look for you. And I believe I might not be able to meet your expectations today. Feel free to leave without paying for the cut". That encounter remains etched in my memory.
6. Code Brown
Recently, during my cleaning duties, I tackled the men's restroom. The conditions of the toilets were particularly challenging: if one flushed the left toilet, water would spurt from a pipe beneath the central toilet, leading to a mini-flood. The middle toilet was severely blocked, and even with a plunger, no progress was made.
Attempting to flush it resulted in murky water rising, and if one tried the urinal, water would accumulate and take ages to drain. I informed my colleagues that the restrooms were dysfunctional and recommended placing an 'out-of-order' sign until a plumber could rectify the situation.
Despite my warnings, one coworker wanted to assess the situation. I cautioned him about the futility of using a plunger and advised against flushing. He ignored my advice. After plunging, he flushed, resulting in a flooded restroom.
Incredibly, after witnessing the mess, he persisted in his attempts, exacerbating the flooding. His actions left me with an unenviable task: cleaning up the filthy aftermath. I found myself vacuuming a significant amount of muddied water, all the while standing amidst the mess.
7. One Direction
My big sis used to think that North was simply whatever direction you were facing. She thought it was a personal concept and dismissed the idea of a fixed North. My dad backed her up when I tried to correct her because apparently, she was right.
I mean she claimed to be a scientist and had worked in some research labs, and well, dad's an engineer. But guess what? I have chosen not to have them in my life now, and thankfully, I don't have to listen their idiotic remarks anymore.
8. Have Wings, Will Fly
I'm employed in public works, and right beside our building, there's a vast, enclosed yard where we store items like signposts and additional streetlights. It's quite a spacious area.
Every day, our closing routine involves securing the yard's gate. One evening, as I was about to do so, my supervisor stopped me. When I inquired why, his reason nearly sent me into fits of laughter.
He was hesitant because of some geese present inside the yard; he didn't want them to get trapped. Remember, this yard is open-topped. Three of us were present, and following a few moments of stunned silence, I remarked, "They're geese. They have the ability to fly out". His surprise at this obvious fact was palpable.
9. The Meaning Of Life
Once, at a party, a pretty and playful girl was amused by a discussion a friend and I were having. We were debating the pros and cons of Evolutionism and Creationism, and even perspectives in-between. Out of the blue, she passionately argued that dinosaur fossils were placed in the ground by Jesus a few centuries ago, and that Evolutionism was just a big scam.
When it came to politics, she was extremely liberal with economic policies and strongly favored communism. However, on social issues like abortion, she held very conservative views. It was quite an unusual mix.
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10. Round Peg, Square Hole
I observed two men struggling mightily to push a road case filled with drum kit hardware (which was quite hefty) through a door that seemed too slim. They attempted different angles, but it just wouldn't go through. What they did next was baffling and unforgettable.
Instead of reconsidering their approach, they UNLOADED THE CASE and tried to push it through once more, expecting a change. We couldn't contain our laughter, it went on and on.
This is about my mom. I truly adore her. Yet, she often lacks spatial and self-awareness. Whenever her phone rings or she gets a text, she stops immediately to attend to it. Be it at the escalator's end, in front of an elevator, or any other inconvenient spot. Almost always, someone would voice their inconvenience.
The usual comment would be a firm "excuse me". Every time, she seems taken aback and offended, and it's amusing to witness. Growing up, if I ever pointed out such behavior, it was deemed "disrespectful," leading to repercussions. Now, as adults, without anyone reinforcing her, it's quite entertaining to watch.
I'm aware it might sound a tad harsh discussing my mom this way. But there have been numerous instances where, for example, she'd block me in our driveway, take ages to move her vehicle, resulting in my tardiness at school. Then, I'd face consequences for either being late or for urging her to hurry so I wouldn't be late. It was a lose-lose situation every time.
12. You’ve Got To Be Puddin’ Me
Once, I embarked on a class excursion. It was the kind where you endured several nights in a mediocre hotel, supposedly picking up lessons on "teamwork" alongside your classmates and teacher. On the final day, pudding was served as our post-lunch dessert.
As we dug in, a classmate inquired, "Why is this warm?" I explained that it likely was just prepared, but she gave me a perplexed look. She seemed unaware that pudding preparation requires BOILING the mix of ingredients. Naturally, if not refrigerated immediately afterward, it remains warm.
What amazed me was after our chat, she felt the need to validate my explanation by querying every teacher and student present. I understand not everyone's a culinary expert, but really. Come ON.
13. Water Me
I recently witnessed a couple bring their dog to a water fountain equipped with a regular dispenser, a bottle filler, and a separate dog bowl. The husband directed the dog to the proper dog bowl, but the wife intervened. She pulled the dog away and pointed to the drain before activating the water.
I tried pointing out that the dog bowl was on the other side, where her husband initially had the dog. She paid no heed to me. Soon, the dog began lapping water from the bottle filler nozzle. It's perplexing how she acted. I genuinely sympathize with her husband; living with someone who disregards advice must be challenging.
14. What’s The Solution
I once worked in a laboratory and was responsible for a summer intern. When I explained that we needed to dilute a specific chemical by mixing it with a solvent, I was met with a vacant expression. I employed various analogies and explanations to convey the idea of combining a designated quantity of one substance with another.
At one point, I even shared my post-work plan of pouring bourbon into a glass and then adding water. The same bourbon quantity, just more drink in total. But the concept never registered. Clearly, a career in science wasn't in the cards for them.
15. Star Search
A couple of summers ago, I was at a local rodeo and struck up a conversation with a fellow attendee while we queued for the portable restrooms. He mentioned the two large stars visible even though it was still somewhat daylight. I commented, “I think those are Jupiter and Saturn! They usually rise above that mountain".
He responded, "Nonsense, lady. How could we see planets before the stars? The stars are much closer than planets". I thought to myself, that's not accurate at all, and also, why so rude?
Years ago, I was employed at a video rental shop. This was around the time the first Pirates of the Caribbean was set for home release. A man, accompanied by his daughter and her friends, approached the counter with a film titled Pirates. We had just a SINGLE copy of this film, which was intended for mature audiences.
He later returned, upset, blaming me for renting a movie unsuitable for children. Firstly, did he genuinely believe we'd stock only ONE copy of Pirates of the Caribbean? And secondly, I wasn't about to challenge his rental decision in front of the young ones.
17. English Lesson
While I was at work, I was guiding a colleague on how to position wrap on a food wrapping device, mentioning, "You need to stretch it taut". She paused and responded with a remark I'll always remember. She claimed, "That's not the right word usage. A wrap can't learn".
When my supervisors intervened, I found myself explaining to them that 'taut' indeed is a word. They advised me not to frequently use such 'complex' terms. The term in question? “Taut”.
18. Spaced Out
Once, at a casual gathering at my parents' home, I brought up the National Space Center in Leicester. A woman chimed in, "I frequently take my son there. He's a fan. I just find it funny since I don't subscribe to the idea of space".
Baffled, I questioned if she was referring to skepticism about funding space ventures. But no, she genuinely did not believe in the existence of space. She was convinced that anything shown or told about space was fabricated, and that every space agency and astronaut was dishonest.
Others in our group began to voice their agreement, making comments like, "You know, I've never really witnessed space myself".
19. Chill Pill
During my sixth-grade year, a teacher entrusted me and my friend Sonia with supporting a fellow student who struggled with ADHD.
He had challenges focusing in class, leading to poor academic performance. We willingly accepted the responsibility. However, the next day, immediately after the teacher introduced the boy to us, Sonia took some medication from her bag and gave it to him to consume. Panicking, I quickly alerted the teacher.
By the time she reached us, the boy was visibly distressed, crying and trembling. Understandably upset, the teacher chastised us. Once things settled, the boy explained the incident.
Confronted by the teacher, Sonia defended her actions by saying she believed that if he consumed the ADHD medication, it might "cure" him and thus reduce her responsibility. (It's worth noting that while ADHD meds can assist in symptom management, they aren't a cure).
I'm uncertain about Sonia's fate post-incident. She was absent from school for several weeks, so perhaps she faced a temporary expulsion? I'm not clear on the disciplinary policies in our nation. As for the boy, we became good friends. We occasionally chat over Facetime, and he's genuinely a great person.
20. Tax Time
I recently found myself in a discussion with a colleague regarding public versus private (faith-based) schooling. He argued that since he opted for religious schooling for his children, he deserved a tax reduction for not utilizing public schools. (To clarify, I'm not against choosing religious schools; it's a personal decision and one's own financial responsibility).
I countered that opting for private schooling was a discretionary decision made by parents based on their resources. The conversation took an interesting turn when I pointed out, "Since I don't have children, shouldn't I be the one getting a tax break, considering I don't directly benefit from public education?" (For the record, I don't genuinely believe this. I firmly support a robust public education system as it benefits society at large).
He became quite agitated, launching into a tirade about entitlements. Ironically, he felt that childless individuals like me should pay more to subsidize his decision to send his children to a private Catholic school. The logic escaped me.
21. Off The Vine
At the grocery store where I worked in the produce section, a shopper expressed concern about a flattened, yellowish area on all the watermelons. I clarified that this was simply where the fruit rested on the ground. Her follow-up question was, "When do they even touch the ground?" She believed watermelons grew on trees.
Imagine if Isaac Newton had been under a watermelon tree instead.
22. The Final Frontier
In science class, we tuned into a live broadcast of Voyager II, with a bold "LIVE" icon in the upper left corner. After our teacher spent roughly ten minutes describing the event, one student exclaimed, "Whoa, it just left the solar system!" His friend reacted with, "Hold on, this is happening in real-time?"
Our teacher, seemingly defeated by the exchange, just took a seat. Keep in mind, this was during our high school years.
During my two-year stint at a grocery store, we had a fresh recruit taken to the office for his overall poor performance. He was informed about his limited working hours and that he was only allowed to sample products for free during weekends.
Instead of addressing those points, he genuinely asked, "Alright, but can I have the district manager’s personal number to discuss a sponsorship for my Twitch?" He had a tendency to rush after customers in the store, insisting they try or purchase his samples, often running full speed towards them. But that wasn't all.
He once nearly strangled himself while attempting to wear an apron.
24. Furry Friends
At a nearby animal fair, we showcased our emu. Adjacent to us was a stall displaying an alpaca, with a table stretched out before both our enclosures. A parent approached with their young child in tow. They glanced at the emu, then at the furry sample on the table, and exclaimed, "See, [kid's name], this is what comes from the bird!"
It's surprising how many people I've come across who aren't wearing masks and then mention they're feeling ill. Just the other day at the grocery store, as I was checking out, the man ahead of me leaned uncomfortably close to the cashier.
He then loudly said, "I HAVEN'T BEEN FEELING WELL SINCE THE WEEKEND. HOPE IT'S NOT SERIOUS". Frankly, I wish such individuals would be more considerate. It seems impossible to make them realize their thoughtless behavior.
26. On A Rant
My dad often goes on long monologues when he discovers people have differing opinions from him. He's so aggressive, dominates the conversation, and if you attempt to walk away, he pursues you. It's quite draining. Ironically, one of his diatribes concluded with him expressing bewilderment at why no one is open to having a conversation with him.
27. Hamming It Up
I got a chance to run a meeting focused on emergency communications. The person who requested the meeting—who, by the way, holds an MBA—and I were discussing potential topics others had proposed. Ham radio was one of these suggestions.
The individual with the MBA, with complete seriousness, said, "There should be a way to create a radio from a ham". They weren't making a joke at all. Not in the slightest.
28. Potty Problems
Once, while I was engrossed in my studies (I was in my early 20s), my older sister, who was in her mid-20s, approached me, fidgeting impatiently. She exclaimed, "I feel the urge to pee, but it just won't happen!"
I advised, "You might be dehydrated. Try drinking some water; it should help". Not long after, I hear her hollering from another room, frustrated. I had to explain that she shouldn't expect immediate results by drinking water on the toilet. She should drink it elsewhere and give it some time.
In high school, I dated a guy who was a year senior to me. Once, while out for lunch with his mom, we were discussing Tennessee; she had grown up there and I had spent my early years there. Out of nowhere, he earnestly looks at me and asks, "Isn't that in Texas?"
Another time, he curiously questioned how butter got into microwavable popcorn. There were several such moments which made me ponder about my choice in dating him and wonder how he managed to progress academically. Clearly, he wasn't the brightest bulb in the box.
30. On The Chopping Block
I once worked in a print shop where we had these massive paper cutters. These machines boasted enormous, razor-sharp blades capable of slicing through a stack of 1,000 sheets as easily as cutting through butter. Due to its potency, several safety measures were in place. I was tasked with training a new recruit on its operations.
The procedure was: turn the machine off, position the paper and guides, switch it on, secure the paper in place, close a protective lid, and then simultaneously press buttons on both sides of the machine—ensuring your hands were safe.
Instead of following my instructions, the new guy was immediately keen on figuring out ways to override the machine's safety features—features guarding against a swift and inadvertent amputation. When questioned about his perilous curiosity, he confidently remarked, "I'm smarter than a machine".
Honestly, his judgment was seriously lacking.
31. Road Rage
Last night, after leaving the cinema, I was trying to join the highway just as another car was attempting to exit. They maintained their speed while I decelerated, given the limited space available for merging. Normally, cars should yield to those on the ramp. Glancing into the other vehicle, my heart skipped a beat.
The driver was engrossed in his phone. Only when he looked up did he realize he was quickly running out of room to make his exit. I honked vehemently as their speed had drastically reduced. It was beyond frustrating. Put the phone down when driving.
32. No Hablo Español
Roughly a decade ago, I was with one of my sisters, and we decided to visit her friend's house. During our visit, my best friend, who is Mexican, gave me a call. Since I was in the process of learning Spanish, I picked up the phone using the language.
Suddenly, my sister's friend became irate and exclaimed, "YOU DON'T SPEAK MEXICAN IN MY HOME!" I responded with, "I'm conversing in Spanish," fully anticipating an ensuing disagreement and possibly being shown the door. But, to my surprise, the guy relaxed and apologized with a simple, "Oh, right. My bad".
I was left bewildered and momentarily at a loss for words. My friend on the other end eventually broke the silence, asking, "Dude, did I just catch that right?" All I could muster was a hesitant, "um... Yep..."
33. Made To Order
While working as a sous-chef in a restaurant, we had a line cook who, while friendly, was a bit out of touch. His actions often left us scratching our heads. One day, he prepared a basic salad and smothered it with an excessive amount of grated parmesan cheese. I queried, "Why so much cheese?"
He responded, "It's how I like it". I tried to emphasize that we prepare dishes according to set standards for customers. He corrected that particular order but, astonishingly, he kept making the same mistake with subsequent salads, despite my guidance. It just wasn't sinking in. Yet, as hard as it might be to believe, this wasn't his most bewildering act.
On multiple occasions, I had to remind him of the dangers of putting his hand into a blender while it was running. Over and over again.
34. Across The Pond
I was raised in the UK and later relocated to the US, where I had this exchange:
Her: “What's the language you used in your home country?"
Her: “No, I mean, what was your native language growing up?"
Me: “I'm from England; we speak English”.
Her: “But we speak English here in America, so what did you speak there?"
Me: “I'm out”.
35. Truth Teller
During a high school band trip, I found myself in a deep conversation with a fellow student. He sat beside me and proclaimed, "The only undeniable fact is that there's no undeniable fact," as if he'd unlocked some profound cosmic secret.
Initially, I assumed he was jesting, so I laughed, but this upset him. He went on a convoluted rant for about 20 minutes, seemingly unaware of the contradictory statements he was making. After a few attempts to highlight the inconsistency, I just thought...sure thing, pal.
36. Snake Charmer
I've managed to persuade my colleagues that snake oil is genuine. They're eager to purchase some from me in hopes of incredible benefits. I've held off on selling any because it's winter, and the snakes are dormant. Hence, I'm preserving all the snake oil I possess for my family's well-being.
However, once Spring arrives and the snakes become active, I should have a fresh supply. I'm hoping they'll have forgotten by the time Spring comes around.
37. Electrical Problems
In high school, I served as a TA for a standard world history class. It wasn't honors or an "Academically Enriched" class, but it wasn't the lowest level either. One day, I walked into the classroom to find the power out, leading to some chaos because, well, it was dark.
The teacher intended to continue teaching, but was met with groans. Suddenly, a student exclaimed, "Let's watch TV!" This was met with enthusiastic chants of "TV! TV! TV!" by the rest. The teacher's glance towards me was one of sheer disbelief and worry about the future.
It seemed they hadn't grasped that a power outage meant no TV. It was a disheartening moment.
38. Photograph Politics
My grown-up sister is an ardent Democrat who always looks for a political debate with anyone in earshot. I was once showing her some snaps I took during a visit to Washington DC. She paused at a photo of the Capitol Building and remarked, "Oh, what a beautiful structure. What's it called?"
I hesitated for a moment before responding, "That's the Capitol Building". She looked puzzled and queried, "Capitol Building? What's its purpose?"
39. Up In The Air
During my year as an exchange student in the USA, I'm originally from Germany, we had a session in class where I introduced myself. Students could ask about me and my homeland. One girl genuinely inquired, “Do you guys have airplanes?”
I was taken aback and clarified that I actually arrived in the US on a plane. Yet, I still wonder if she might have been pulling my leg. Surely, one can't be THAT unaware?
40. Playing Telephone
Once, my friend couldn't locate his iPhone at his place, so he decided to call it using the house phone. The iPhone started ringing, and it was right there on the table before him. He answered, but of course, no one responded. Holding both phones, he yelled to his parents upstairs, "Who's calling me?"
I was there, just shaking my head in disbelief.
41. Paper Pusher
I once held a position in the records department of a governmental unit. A worker from another section, after getting injured, couldn't carry out manual tasks anymore. So, my supervisor thought it'd be suitable for him to assist us with filing, despite knowing he couldn't read or write. A significant oversight.
Fast forward, and we found ourselves sorting through more than 80,000 misfiled documents years later. Reflecting on the decision, the supervisor admitted, "I wondered how bad it could get". The answer? Quite bad.
42. No Energy
During ninth grade Earth Science, a girl began questioning the teacher about how one's halo functions. She described it as a reservoir of your body's energy, emitting ultraviolet light and circling you. She wondered how it remained anchored to your body. Surprisingly, a good portion of the class appeared to consider her query genuine.
(I believe she intended to say "Aura" instead of "Halo". Regardless, the concept was still steeped in dubious pseudoscience).
43. Lost At Sea
Discussing the missing Malaysian airplane, a girl in my class commented, "It probably ended up in Panama". Puzzled, I asked, "Why would you think Panama?" She shot me a condescending look and replied, "It's in the Bermuda Triangle". Both the other guy in our conversation and I exchanged bewildered glances.
He then teased, "Jackie... Can you name the seven continents?" While we expected her to know, her response was even more hilarious, "Obviously. America, Mexico, Britain, North Africa, South Africa, Europe, and China”. We chuckled, then grasped that she was earnest.
44. Charged Up
I was with a girl who had recently acquired a new phone and was puzzled about its battery consumption while we were at a bar.
Her: "Why's my phone's battery running low?"
Me: "Maybe because you're using it?"
Her: "But it's got wireless charging. Shouldn't it always stay charged?"
45. Times Change
A peer once mentioned that there could be a month's difference in "local dates" between two countries. Like, if it's October 18th in Canada, it could be November 18th in France "because of how the Earth rotates". We were in a science course and had studied the Solar System for several years.
I attempted to clarify that the moon and sun weren't the same in size, and suddenly, I had to emphasize that they were indeed distinct entities—not just one side fiery and the other stony.
They ridiculed my "wild" ideas, then questioned if the sun was so distant, why did it appear in the daytime sky on Earth just like the moon did at night? They found it hilariously absurd, and I just joined in the laughter. This exchange happened just a few weeks back with my 56-year-old mother-in-law.
At times, being correct doesn't mean you've won the debate.
47. Doctor’s orders
A man was brought into the ER due to a Pulmonary Embolism. Upon arrival, he yelled at the ER team without cause, insisting he was fine and demanded to leave. The aftermath was shocking.
We attempted to move him to Critical Care, but he resisted laying down and ultimately shoved a medical trainee aside before bolting out. He collapsed from cardiac arrest just 50 feet away from the Ambulance entrance in the parking area.
48. I Don’t Know My ABCs
While overseeing a GameStop, I instructed a temporary worker to arrange the wall alphabetically. After making substantial progress, he paused to ask an astonishingly basic question: He was unsure whether P preceded V in the sequence. And he was in his final year of high school.
I hinted about the classic alphabet song to jog his memory, to which he replied, "I just hum the tune once I reach M". From then on, I had all potential hires sing the alphabet for me.
49. All Booked Up
I once had a date with a girl who was into geek culture, and it started off great. We capped off our evening by watching Detective Pikachu. We arrived at the cinema a bit early, chatting excitedly about Pokemon. As the previews rolled, one featured the Tolkien biopic, and I casually mentioned I might catch that when it releases.
She remarked, "He wrote a book, right?" and gave a dismissive gesture. When I inquired if she didn't like LoTR, she said, "I've read only three books ever, and that was overdoing it". Apparently, her reading threshold was about the length of a tweet.
What really left me puzzled was when she pondered if it was strange to find Ryan Reynolds' Pikachu somewhat attractive.
50. Baby Babble
Recently, my wife and I became parents (just two weeks ago). To help and support us during this phase, my in-laws are staying with us for a while. My mother-in-law is always concerned about why the baby isn’t interacting with the toys she bought him. I mean, he's only two weeks old; he can hardly focus on anything/
Yesterday, my father-in-law considered a trip to the emergency room because our baby had an eyelash in his eye. It's baffling. While my in-laws are genuinely kind-hearted, I'm amazed they successfully brought up two children.