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.
1. Rank The Concert
When I was a teenager, my buddy and I crafted a website featuring off-the-cuff reviews on gigs throughout Washington, DC, shows that we never really attended. It was an unexpected hit: Once we spruced up the site to our liking, we leveraged it as leverage to score backstage entries to a major DC music bash for three consecutive years.
Just a quick phone ring to the radio broadcaster backing the event won us complimentary tickets and the chance to rub elbows with and interview a lion's share of the bands, like Cypress Hill, Coldplay, Social Distortion, and Offspring. Curiously, we flew under the radar, with no one raising eyebrows at our young age.
2. The Parking Spot Whisperer
In the past, I kept essentials like a can of white paint, a can of yellow paint, and a petite paint roller in the back of my car. Why, you ask? Let's just say it was part of a cheeky master plan.
Whenever I found myself in a crowded parking lot, I didn't fret. Instead, I created an extra space. I succeeded in adding slots to four different lots before calling it quits. Plus, I manufactured a "NO PARKING" sign using a template I found online.
This wasn't about personal gain, I was more curious to see how people would react. Spoiler alert: people are remarkably compliant!
I remember spending a full day peering through my bedroom window, finding joy in the spectacle of drivers preparing to park, only to hesitate and continue their search elsewhere. Certainly one of the more entertaining moments of my life.
Pure enjoyment, that was!
3. Sorry, Wrong Applicant
During my college application process, after a lackluster high school performance, one rejection letter after another landed on my doorstep. I took a shot in the dark and applied to a university that was a very long shot, inaccurately listing myself as "Native American" even though I'm unmistakably Caucasian.
To my surprise, I received a letter of acceptance, on the condition that I participate in a summer enrichment program for minority students. This program aimed to bridge the gap between these students and their better-prepared peers.
I dove right in, had an experience-packed summer—a separate tale in itself—and eventually graduated with flying colors.
4. You Here?
During my teenage years, I held a job at one of those less-than-stellar call centers that overdid it with micromanagement. The practice was to split us into "teams" and assign us "team leaders." One time, during a reshuffle, no one allocated me to another team and I ended up unaccounted for.
It sparked a wild idea in me. I was doubtful it would work, but I felt compelled to give it a shot:
My plan was to clock in every day, possibly head home or just hang around, then return later to clock out. In due time, this routine started feeling like a chore, and I got a girl to clock me in and out on my behalf. This went on undetected for about a month and a half.
5. That’s Why They Hire Interns
When I was studying in Paris, a big group of us decided to hit a popular nightclub. We'd booked a couple of tables in advance, hoping to rock up at 1 am and bypass the miles-long queue. That's the convenience of pre-bookings, isn't it?
However, it seems the security guard missed that information and barred our entry. We spent a few minutes in a half-hearted disagreement with the club's management, which led to my friend, Ted, revealing his secret tool: His (expired) ABC press pass. He'd earned it during his summer interning at ABC in London.
He attempted to bluff the management by claiming he was working on an article about Parisian nightclubs and threatened to exclude them since they weren't letting us in. I found it hilariously absurd and thought, "Really Ted, what a joke, let's just head home".
Then, to my shock, the velvet ropes parted, and not only were we let in, but we also received two complimentary bottles on our tables.
Without a doubt, that was the slickest move I've ever seen Ted pull.
6. Have You Been A Good Boy?
This story begins many years in the past when I was just a boy. I'd grown old enough to discover Santa Claus' secret, so my mom decided to bring me along on her Christmas shopping trip to pick out gifts for the whole family. As you can imagine, the cart was piled high.
The store we went to had announced an enticing contest that caught mom's attention. Shoppers had a shot at getting their entire cart paid for. Here's how it worked: when it was time to pay at the counter, the cashier would let the customer choose an envelope. If it held the lucky ticket, you wouldn't owe a cent!
My mom, thinking I'd be a good luck charm, asked me to choose the envelope. As the cashier handed them over, I noticed something interesting. Thanks to the overhead lights, I could see right through the thin paper. Most of the envelopes were empty with only one holding a piece of paper.
What happened next is a cherished memory in our family. It might not seem like a big deal, but as a little boy, it sure made my day!
7. Car Swap
As someone who works downtown, I was reluctant to pay $80 every week just for parking. I noticed a tiny difference between the "0" and "O" used on license plates, which sparked an unusual idea. I decided to get a custom-made plate with the combination—O101101—and would leave my car on the street daily.
Instead of getting the right sequence, the parking officer would write down 0101101 on the ticket. These tickets never found their way back to me, helping me save a good amount of money!
8. Not Lost But Found
Here's a life hack that works like a charm: head to the library the day after a shower and let them know you left your black umbrella. Score a free umbrella!
Can't find your phone charger? Simply check out the lost and found box in the front desk of any hotel. There's a good chance they've got something to match
9. You Better Have My Money
There was once a sneaky trick that could be used due to a delay in fund processing with ATM deposits.
Here's how it worked: You establish two empty bank accounts. Write a $1000 check from one to the other without having the necessary funds. Wait a day, then write a $1000 check from the second account back to the first.
The first check would eventually be cleared using the 'ghost' money from the first account because the funds would appear faster than the check processing time.
If you timed it right, you could keep a significant amount of this 'fake' money cycling around indefinitely. You could even get short-term loans from this circulating money, although keeping track of it all would be quite the task.
I never tried this myself, so some details might be off. I had a friend who used this trick when he was strapped for cash. However, I wouldn't necessarily recommend listening to his advice...if you want more details, you'd have to check with him—though he's currently serving time in federal prison.
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10. Confidence Is Key
My top trick for "gaming the system" wasn't even crafty or, honestly, much of a trick. It boiled down to telling a fib and packing a solid dose of self-belief. At seventeen, I was the odd one out of my friends who were already of legal age and fancied a visit to an adult club. I was without a fake ID but had no intentions of missing out—so I just tag along.
As we made our way in, everyone handed their IDs to the hostess stationed at the entrance podium—there was no bouncer in sight—I then handed her my legitimate driver's license, being the last in line.
She carefully scrutinized it, then looked at me, bewilderment written all over her face, and said, "This shows you are only seventeen". Seeing no harm in trying my luck, I quickly retorted: "No it doesn't". She glanced between the ID and me once more, shrugged, and allowed me to pass, saying, "Okay, go ahead".
And just like that, I became the adult club Jedi.
During my time at university, I had a clever little tactic to make studying for exams more efficient. Whenever study time rolled around, I'd send an email to all my classmates.
The message was simple: "Hey there, I'm putting together a study guide for the upcoming exam. If anyone wants to swap theirs with mine, let me know. Just making sure we're covering all our bases."
Here's the masterstroke: Within 60 minutes, I'd have several study guides in my inbox. And what I'd do next was pure gold—I'd send them a copy of one of the other person's study guides that I'd received. The result? Happy classmates, none of who were ever the wiser about my tactics.
12. Thunder Buddies For Life
Our swim squad meets each Saturday morning for sessions that typically span from three to four hours. But one particular Saturday mother nature had other plans, and it started to storm.
When thunder is heard, there's a safety rule which states that we have to wait for 30 minutes before going back in the pool, which caused our get-together to extend for a few extra hours.
Once the storm had passed, we were all pretty keen to pack up and head home. I decided to try something out of the ordinary to speed things up. I made my way to the car park and gave a nearby dumpster a strong punch. The echo it generated was strikingly similar to the sound of thunder.
From my spot, I could hear shouts of "THUNDER" echoing from the pool area. Brought down by yet another hold up, the coaches of the opposing team decided to call it a day and we finally managed to leave.
13. You’ve Got Mail
I previously lived in NYC for quite a while. If I needed to send personal mail within its five boroughs, my approach was a bit unorthodox. I'd write the receiver's address in the top left return address spot, and I'd jot down my address in the middle of the envelope.
Conveniently, I'd "overlook" adding a stamp before dropping it into a mailbox. As a result, the mail would be returned to the "sender"—which was actually the address I intended to send it to. This method was successful each time.
14. Tweet All Your Worries Away
It's common knowledge that dealing with customer service over the phone can be a real headache, specifically when it comes to processing refunds or returns. But I've discovered an alternative resolution.
It seems that pretty much every big company out there has designated a group to keep an eye on Twitter for any customer complaints. Given that few people opt for Twitter to air their grievances, I've noticed that whenever I voice my concerns through this platform, the issue gets addressed almost instantly.
Over and out.
15. Breaking Bad
My father is a scientist at a chemical firm. One day, while tidying up the old storage cabinets for chemicals, he stumbled upon an untouched packet. The packet was filled with a kilogram of expired Solid Silver Chloride. Usually, such stuff would go into the rubbish bin, but dad had a different idea.
He brought this to the furnace and broke down the Silver Chloride into its basic constituents—silver and chlorine gas. From this, he was able to extract approximately 700 grams of pure silver.
16. An Endless Roller Coaster
My dad and I stood in queue for what seemed like forever to experience the quickest roller coaster at Six Flags. Brimming with a sense of adventure, we chose to experiment—we decided to remain seated instead of disembarking at the end.
To our astonishment, amidst the hustle and bustle, nobody realized we're still seated on the ride. I was amazed that our little scheme actually worked. Only after enjoying the thrilling ride about five or six times were we requested to leave our seats. Interestingly, my dad had already fainted by that time.
17. Thinking Outside Of The Box To Get Inside Of The Bin
Back when I was in second grade, our school hosted a big carnival, filled with all sorts of fun, midway-style booths overseen by our teachers. One particular game required us to craft a paper airplane and toss it about ten feet, aiming for a tiny trash bin.
I noticed that no one had managed to make it and I saw plenty of planes nose-diving, spiraling, or skewing sideways. Spotting a loophole in the definition of "paper airplane", I chose a different tactic. I scrunched my paper into a tight, compact ball, took careful aim, and managed to lob it straight into the bin.
Unfortunately, they didn't grant me the prize.
18. Doppelganger Saved The Day
This isn't my story, but something I heard from a lady I met in Japan a few years back. She'd taken a journey to China. After a two-hour bus ride, they'd reached their destination, only to find out that it was packed and late by the time they got there, so they'd have to come back the following day.
Interestingly, one fellow traveller bore a slight resemblance to a past president's daughter, so they convinced the locals that she was in fact, Chelsea Clinton. Suddenly, the place was more than ready to welcome them.
19. Evil Twin
My buddy was pretty resistant to attending her engineering group meetings during our freshman year. Week after week, we'd talk her into concocting some excuse to skip it. But after a while, we pretty much exhausted all believable alibis. So, we figured appendicitis was a good one. Then a light bulb went off in my head.
The amazing plan that came to me was this: she should show up to her group as her own twin sister and tell them she's laid up with appendicitis. This was exactly what she did and it worked! They ended up completing the entire project without her.
20. So Close
My best friend needed help with his SAT, so I volunteered to take it on his behalf. Our plan was super sneaky—we created a fake school ID at our school store using my photo but with his name. On test day, I used this ID, explaining to the officials that I'd lost my driver's license.
The plan worked perfectly, and I managed to score 1400 for him, better than my own score, and a staggering 400 points higher than his previous score.
Obviously, a score jump like that raised some eyebrows at SAT headquarters. They contacted us—really him—with three options: refund the test fee and cancel the score, retake the test for free with the score cancelled, or provide handwriting samples to verify that he was the one who sat the exam.
Deciding to double down, we went with the third option. This step was crucial—I found some of my old homework, unsigned, and added his signature.
We sent it off but, unfortunately, the differences in score and handwriting proved too much to overlook. The SAT officials couldn't certify the score, bringing our little adventure to an end.
21. Cooperating With The Teachers
Every two years, my school would organize tours to Spain. To raise funds for these trips, we sold candy bars. I had a bit more of a business mindset compared to the others and started offering candy bars on credit. This smart move helped me dominate most of the market, even leading one of the teachers to compete with me.
However, the catch with our business model was that we could only sell candy bars the year before the trip, not after, as the primary purpose was to secure funds for our Spain trip. To keep my business afloat, I realized I had to be a tad craftier.
Interestingly, the same teacher who organized the Spain trips was also the Key Club's head. I decided to donate 25% of my profits (not overall sales) to the Key Club, securing protection from possible school interference.
In the end, I managed to net a profit of around $1,600, which brought in a revenue of about $3,200, averaging around $4 per person in my school—while still being a full-time student and not crossing any legal boundaries.
However, the following year was earmarked for the Spanish trip fundraising, hence the teacher would no longer accept my protection contributions.
22. Like Having A Time Machine
You know, whenever I had a late school task, I’d sneak it under or near my teacher's desk. This way, they might just think they actually misplaced an assignment that I'd handed in on time. I've pulled this off a couple of times.
23. All-Inclusive Non-Guest
The hotel where I'm employed offers our guests complimentary membership to a fully equipped gym. Guests just need to present their room key and carry a towel.
Here's the sneaky bit—the staff at the gym doesn't really check whether the key holders are actual guests of the hotel. So basically, there's potential for cost-free gym sessions!
24. One Step Ahead
In the period from 1998 to 2002, when I was a university student, it was common for me to already know by the end of a term which professors would be teaching my classes during the upcoming semester. Knowing this was a huge advantage—these professors typically recycled their coursework each semester.
Therefore, I'd make sure to get a head start by downloading the entire content of their websites, where they posted the solutions to the semester's assignments, quizzes, and exams. This early access to information proved really handy once the new class began.
25. Taking Quality Notes
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.
26. Hey, Can You Come Pick Me Up?
Once upon a time in high school, a buddy of mine owned a mobile phone. If he ever got the urge to skip out on school during class, he had a sneaky trick. He'd simply dial the school's phone number, imitate the voice of a security guard perfectly, and request the teacher to give him a permission slip. Just like that, he was free to go.
27. Losing My Religion
When I was in 9th grade studying math, I mistakenly told my teacher that I was Jewish, which I'm not in reality. She originally hailed from the Caribbean and wasn't aware of the specifics of Jewish traditions.
If I skipped a class and she asked the reason, I'd casually respond, "I was observing Yum Kavandash," or any other phrasing that sounded authentically Jewish on that particular day. Essentially, this scheme gave me a chance to take a two-week hiatus from math class to play cribbage with my friends in the cafeteria.
28. Friend With Benefits
I once had a buddy hailing from Belgium but of Moroccan roots.
This fella was the most captivating person I've ever crossed paths with. Back in the day, I ran a couple of businesses at Santa Monica Promenade in Los Angeles, before it morphed into a corporate haven. That's where he worked for me.
A vivid memory I have is us going to see the new release of Independence Day on a whim. As I approached the booth to buy our tickets after a tough day's work in the California sun, he stopped me in my tracks.
Seeing it as "squandering my cash", he swiftly guided our group towards the ticket examiner, spinning a tale about a misplaced mobile phone. Before we knew it, we were all in without parting with a single cent. It felt like we'd cracked a secret code with him leading the charge.
Not having to foot the bill left me pleasantly surprised and my pocket a bit fuller. Him allowing me to pay would have felt almost insulting. He made such an impact that I recall the incident even after 15 years.
Shortly after, I found out he'd managed to sweet-talk the California DMV into issuing him a driver's license, even though he wasn't a US citizen. That's not all—he even snuck into the Oscars posing as a chef and networked with Oliver Stone throughout the evening. I double-checked and all this really happened.
The man completely blew me away.
29. We Love Free Candy
At my high school, the student council owned a store where they stored all the sweets and fizzy drinks in a secure room near the gym. One day, I spotted the key left, forgotten in the lock. Amidst football training, my pals and I stealthily snuck in and filled up multiple gym bags with candy.
We carried on with this little candy robbery for several days until finally, they replaced the lock. And the funniest part? No one batted an eyelid seeing kids strutting around with stuffed gym bags because it was near the workout area where everyone had one anyway!
30. Play The Sick Card
While visiting the Sydney Tower, they suddenly held everyone back from using the elevator to descend. I can't seem to recall why. The line to catch the lift down was roughly about an hour and a half. They wouldn't let me use the emergency stairs. However, I had an ace up my sleeve.
So, I explained to them that I was a diabetic and had left my medicine back at the hotel. I never expected to be at the tower this long. They responded by asking me to wait in the queue. I was okay with the wait, but I requested a written statement from the tower manager.
The statement needed to acknowledge that they knew about my medical condition and that I was essentially postponing my medicine due to their hold-up. On being asked for the reason, I mentioned how the note would serve as critical evidence.
I planned to use it to build my lawsuit against them if I lapsed into a coma because of the delay. Unsurprisingly, I was on the very next elevator going down.
31. Catch Me If You Can
In the past, I would complete applications for various credit cards, like Platinum Visa, AmEx, or Discover card. After a waiting period of around three weeks, these companies would provide me with their cards. Then, I would hop from shop to shop, putting my purchases on these cards.
Roughly two weeks later, I'd phone the companies to declare the card lost. I would then start this process all over again. It seems their checking systems are not as efficient, making it difficult to be noticed. Additionally, I'd use these cards to buy goods from the mall and then return them later for cash.
32. College On A Budget
College textbooks can really wreak havoc on your wallet, but the Student Book Exchange (SBX) offers a way to cut costs with used books. It's a bit of a race, though, when there's a new edition out there and not many used ones up for grabs.
With end-of-term rush, when everyone's selling old and buying new textbooks, you need a plan, especially when you're strapped for cash—story of my life.
What I would do is check out the bookshelves a week before the end of the current term to snatch up a used copy of the textbook I'd need for next term, turned in early by some diligent soul. At that point, I'd still be cash-poor, as I hadn't yet sold my current textbooks.
To bridge this, I'd come up with a clever plan: I'd hide that used book behind a sizeable stack of other books nearby. The larger the stack, the better—it needed to act as a sturdy book fortress until my return the following week. Also, note that a stack of new books seems to hold up longer than a stack of used ones.
Flash forward to the next week, I'd sell my textbooks, saunter over to that large stack, pull out the hidden used book, and buy it at a fraction of the original cost. More often than not, that tucked-away textbook turned out to be the only affordable copy available.
33. When There’s Smoke, There’s Fire
When I was in high school at the age of 16 in Texas, my boyfriend and I were cruising the corridors while missing class when the fire alarm went off. We thought it would be super cool to remain inside the school while the rest, about 2,000 students, fled the building. So, we hid ourselves and lay in wait.
Just as the last of the voices disappeared, we danced around the deserted hallways, acting silly. Suddenly, I remembered I had a pack of cigarettes in my backpack. Upon sharing the news with my boyfriend, a spark of irony kindled in my mind and I found myself compelled to light one up.
In the middle of a fire drill, right outside the library, there I was, sharing a cigarette with my boyfriend. After he extinguished the cigarette against the wall, we bolted, giddy with laughter.
Roughly twenty minutes later, after all the students had filed back into the building, we thought we would revisit the scene of our little escapade. That's when we came upon the school administration—the head principal and several assistant principals puzzling over the lingering smell. I've never felt so exhilarated.
34. That’s Why They Call It “Payphone”
Just outside my neighborhood cinema, there was a line of public phones. After a movie night with my buddies, we hung out there, waiting for my mom to come and pick us up. Killing time, we just strolled around the area. That's when I spotted a quarter jammed into the central phone.
My attempts to retrieve it with my fingers were useless, so I improvised with a scrap of cardboard I found nearby. I was utterly shocked—it was like striking gold! A load of coins that countless other users had inserted into that faulty phone, just came cascading out.
For the next few days, I made it a routine to visit the payphone and push the stuck coins out, piling up my 'earnings'. I even made a few 'Out of Order' placards and placed them on the surrounding phones, as a tactic to drive people to use the defective one.
My good fortune lasted until the movie theater staff eventually repaired the phone, cutting off my source of pocket change. But not before I'd hoarded around $40 in coins!
35. Nobody Can Block My View
My home is located on a much-frequented public beach. It's a real magnet for tourists, especially during vacation weekends. They seem to adore creating tent towns directly in front of my house, blocking my stairs and pathway leading to the beach.
So, I've taken to setting up a line of fishing rods and chairs near my stairs and pathway. I witness tourists coming up, casting a glance at the fishing gear, and quickly declaring to each other, "Let's find a spot over there instead".
36. Solution Is One Button Away
You know what happened recently? We had this massive conference on the 18th floor, right at the peak of the building. As you'd expect, everyone wanted to take the elevators during breaks, which resulted in huge lines because there weren't enough of them.
Oddly enough, nobody thought of going down the stairs by a single floor. Why? Well, if they were to press the down button, they'd likely be greeted by an elevator crammed full of people. However, I came up with a clever workaround. Just go down the stairs to the 17th floor, hit the "up" button and voila, you get an empty elevator.
Then, you jovially welcome the folks who got on at the 18th floor as you enjoy your swift ride down. Sometimes, the most practical solutions are also the most straightforward. The pitfalls? It would've been more ethical if it didn't fail the categorical imperative.
All this being said, if I weren't typically American, I reckon I'd have just taken the stairs all the way down from the start.
37. Let’s Reset The Tank
Several gas stations close to my house had a practice of changing their payment method from "pay-after" to "pre-pay" after a particular hour, say 10 pm. I had a way around this— I would drive up to the gas station and start fueling my car two minutes before 10, letting the pump continue even after the clock struck 10.
Right at 10, the payment method would shift to pre-pay and the meter would restart. I would keep going until my tank was full and would only be charged for approximately two gallons.
However, this trick became void when gas prices hiked to $4 per gallon. Drive-offs started becoming a major issue and gas stations had to enforce the pre-pay rule all day.
38. Life Hacks: Airport Edition
As a university student who lives on one coast while attending school on the other, I need to haul a lot of stuff across the country annually. This handy tip has saved me lots of money in avoiding overweight baggage fees.
Head to the closest Army/Navy surplus store, and grab one of their backpacks. These hold loads of items without seeming too large. Pack two backpacks—one ordinary and one surplus store backpack – along with your personal item.
At the airport, pass through security as usual; they generally don't fuss about you having more than the standard "one-bag-plus-personal-item" airline rule.
After you clear security and reach your gate, approach the counter. Express your concern that the flight may be full or your bag might not fit—avoid showing them your second bag. Ask if there's an option to check your bag right then and there. Usually, they'll "gate check" your bag for you.
This means they tag your bag and you leave it in a specified spot as you head down the ramp. Then it's stashed below with the rest of the checked bags. As you leave the plane at your destination, you collect your bag—no extra charge. Quite a nifty trick, huh?
39. Roommate Whisperer
During my two-year stay in the dorms, I developed a strategy of choosing roommates who planned to pledge to a fraternity. In this way, they often moved out just a few weeks into the term. Paperwork to get a replacement typically took one to two terms to finalize. Hence, I consistently selected another potential fraternity pledger.
With my closet-sized dorm room, my time with actual roommates lasted maybe two months throughout the two years. Despite this, I was only charged for half the room.
40. Photoshop Your Way To The Top
When I was in my junior year of high school, I had to switch schools because my family moved. My grades at my old school were not exactly top-notch. It was not because I was unintelligent—far from it. The real issue was that I had been grappling with an undiagnosed case of insomnia, which kept me from going to school regularly.
At my new school, they required a personal interview with the principal. During this meeting, I discovered their GPA expectations were stringent, and unfortunately, my grades weren't up to the mark.
My former school's transcripts were requested, and I noticed a sealed envelope on the secretariate's desk as I was leaving the office. I realized it was from my older school. Spotting a moment when the secretary wasn't looking, I grabbed the envelope and took it home. Upon opening it, my suspicions were confirmed: they were my transcripts.
Then, I made a trip to Kinko's to scan these transcripts in the highest quality and resolution possible. I saved them onto a CD and headed home. With painstaking detail, I used Photoshop to tweak my GPA from a disappointing 2.3 to an impressive 3.9.
The final touch was having a friend of mine, whose father worked for the US Postal Service, deliver the adjusted transcripts while wearing his dad's work uniform.
Incredibly enough, it worked. By my senior year, I had pulled myself together and graduated with a real GPA of 3.8. I was even admitted to one of the best 4-year universities in the state. I've since completed my degree and established a successful career.
41. Is It A Six Or A Nine?
I attended a traditional college where we had to be back in our rooms every night by a certain time. Whenever we planned to be off campus for a while, we had to submit a form online requesting permission from university officials, like a dean or someone of similar authority, to leave.
I remember one autumn break when I had to fill out such a form for the dates of 10/03/06 to 10/06/06. I filled in the form with a deliberate error—10/03/06 to 10/06/09, hoping that if questioned, I could pass it off as a simple mis-hit on the keyboard pressing a nine instead of a six.
Their online system did not have any error-detecting methods for such instances, so the oversight slipped through. The dean validating my request didn't catch it since the day and month sections were in order. This clever "mistake" bought me three curfew-free years. I was then set, never having to stress about curfews again.
42. Think Simple, Think Fast
As a kid, there was a swanky apartment complex right next to our less-than-luxurious one. In summer, the heat was nearly unbearable and the local pool wasn't anywhere close. Regrettably, this lavish development was gated tightly, keeping out anyone without a key.
They had a fabulous pool that everyone else could only dream of. To top it all off, the residents were rather fussy and never thought to invite us in. Then one day, an idea struck—I found that I could slide my hand through the fence's iron bars and unlatch it from the inside. After that, I found I was able to swim much more often.
43. Don’t Overthink It
Once upon a time, my home was a condo that housed three laundry washers and two dryers on every level. Regrettably, more often than not, these machines were occupied just when I needed them. After putting some thought into it, I found a workaround: head to another floor and grab a machine there.
After all, with 18 floors filled with these contraptions, I had a whopping 54 options at any given time! This meant I could do my laundry all at once. Looking back, it may seem unmistakable, but when this idea first sprang up, I found it incredibly nifty.
44. Language Barrier
Alright, here in Ireland we boast two official languages: the primary one being Irish-Gaelic, and the second is English. Our constitution mandates that all state-provided services be available in both official languages. The irony is, a large number of Irish folks don't speak their native language—Irish.
Whenever it's time for the tax return, or any other state-related matter, I opt to communicate in Irish or request that the discussion be held in Irish. The bonus here? The wait times. For stuff like passports, tax credits and so forth, my wait is always either super short or practically nonexistent.
I'm a bit bumbersome about my fellow Irish not speaking our language, but hey, I can't deny the huge perk it provides me. Plus, if the state isn't equipped to offer the service in Irish, they hustle to expedite your request so they don't risk irritating you and eliciting a complaint. Yielding such a great advantage, I can't help but love it.
45. We’re Here, Obama!
So, we detoured back to the museum and killed about ninety minutes playing poker. Still no luck at the station, so we gave the Metro stop three blocks away a try—unfortunately, also a no-go. We got the news we were dreading; we had to traverse the entirety of the mall on foot.
By this time, it was somewhere between 4 and 5 pm and we'd been up since the crack of dawn, "bright-eyed" at 3:30 am. Despite our exhaustion, we mustered up the energy and walked the considerable distance, just over a mile, across the mall to the only station still operating.
When we arrived we found ourselves in line, so we waited it out in a nearby food court for an hour until it opened. After that, it was back in line.
Once we made it inside, the station was heaving with people all attempting to return to Virginia like us. We were looking at another 60 to 120 minutes waiting for the train. But then I saw a glimmer of hope—the platform for the Maryland-bound train was practically deserted.
So, I suggested we hop on that train for a few stops, then double back in the other direction.
Everyone thought this was a more sensible plan than just sticking around. After a couple of stops, we found emptier platforms, so we changed trains and started heading home. I couldn't help but feel smug as we passed by those who were left behind, still waiting for space to board.
46. Like Father, Like Son
I once managed to keep a trial-period cell phone entirely for free. It remained in my possession for close to seven years, only leaving my hands when someone took it from me.
Next in line, my father and I had a little trick with the cable company. Whenever C-SPAN wouldn't broadcast properly due to static interruptions, we would complain. The company would then visit to remove some sort of 'block,' which had the side benefit of providing us with HBO for no cost.
Bringing things to Y2K, my father once found himself working in the bustling IT department of a major insurance company. As the millennium turned, they required one person to be present just in case any glitches occurred. The ultimate 'volunteer' was chosen through a companywide coin-flip competition.
My father, against all odds, found himself in the final round against his ex-college roommate. With a winning phrase, he figured out a way to claim victory no matter the outcome.
Lastly and quite comically, my pals and I discovered a methodology to score free food from drive-thru eateries. You ask for something trivial like spill-cleaning napkins which are usually given for free. As you drive up the lane, the first window just waves you past.
Upon reaching the second window, you often receive the meal ordered by the next person—an occurrence largely attributed to a lack of communication between the two windows. Of course, it relies on the assumption that you wouldn't take someone else's meal.
47. Does This Ring A Bell?
Back in my high school days, instead of using a traditional bell, classes relied on a distinctive tone that rung through the phone in each classroom. This sparked a cunning idea in my friend's mind. Since this "bell" sound had a unique, digital vibe to it, we thought of capturing its audio one day.
Once we had the tone on record, I could play it back, recreating the bell sound. This trick fooled both the students—who usually started packing up once they heard the bell—and the teacher into thinking class was over.
I managed to pull off this trick and sneakily end classes early throughout most of the year—until the school administration got wise, and switched up the bell tone daily.
48. Perfect Revenge
Once on a trip with my buddy, we made a pit-stop at a local diner and pub for some grub. My pal accidentally knocked over the salt shaker half-way through our meal. I advised tipping some over his shoulder for prosperity. Sadly, a big fellow sitting behind us didn't appreciate our antics and spat into my friend's hamburger.
Although grossed out, we resolved to play a little prank of our own to even the odds. I ambled over, apologized, and offered to buy them a round of beers. They readily agreed. Then, we strolled over to the cashier. That's when we spun a clever story—we said that the big guy and his mates felt remorseful and wanted to cover our meal.
The waitress was a little doubtful initially, but we pointed them out and he gave a thumbs up thinking it was for his beers. The waitress conceded, and we left the place without paying a dime for our meal!
49. Count Me Twice
Around a decade ago, I landed a summer gig that involved online timesheets. Initially, they botched the spelling of my name in the system. After getting it fixed, they provided me a fresh login, however, they overlooked deactivating the old one.
This sparked a thought. For eight weeks, I filled out two timesheets weekly. This led to twice the amount in my paychecks. Surprisingly, it went unnoticed.
50. Did You Beat The System, Or Beat Yourself Up
When I was just a little kid of four, I found out I had type 1 Diabetes. At the age of six, I started handling the daily routine of taking care of it. This involved regularly checking my blood sugar and administering my own insulin injections, which were initially twice daily.
My parents were there to make sure all was well, but they started letting me manage it myself. It took a few months for me to get the hang of it, but before long, I could manage everything independently and was free to do things other second graders were doing, like going to sleepovers and participating in school trips.
Some time later, before I hit double digits in age, I figured out how my blood sugar testing device actually worked. It measured the color of my blood.
To give some context, those of us with type 1 diabetes need to monitor our blood sugar levels by pricking our fingers and applying the blood to a tiny strip of plastic. This strip then goes into the machine, which gives us a reading. Back in the 80s, the process was slightly more complicated.
I had to put the blood on the plastic strip, let it sit for about a minute and a half, rinse the blood off with water, and then insert the strip into the machine for the reading.
Through this process, I realized that my blood sugar reading corresponded to the color of my blood on the strip: darker blood led to higher readings and lighter blood to lower readings. And low blood sugar meant I needed something to raise it, like candy.
My younger self thought, "Huh, that's neat." Curiously enough, the strip that I put my blood on was pure white.
So, I began doing my blood tests as usual, but I wouldn't fully insert the strip into the machine. The machine was then reading the white strip, instead of my blood, and kept giving me low readings. To my younger self, this was a win! I could get all the candy, cake, and rare treats that were usually off-limits.
My parents were worried and puzzled, while the doctors were scratching their heads because the lab results and my daily readings weren't adding up. The manufacturers too were stumped, as the machine was working perfectly fine when tested. All the while, I was enjoying forbidden treats and, unknowingly, getting sicker and sicker.
In the end, I confessed everything to my doctor. My parents were understandably upset, but I think my doctor was somewhat impressed by my cunning.
So there you have it. I thought I was outsmarting the system as a kid, but in reality, I was just making myself unwell. Still, it felt pretty awesome at the time!
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