Bearing witness to true idiocy is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it's hilarious. On the other, it's just plain painful. Either way, we just can't seem to resist basking in a whole 'nother level of stupid. From simple ignorance and honest mistakes to dangerous maneuvers and senseless choices, these Redditors share the most idiotic things they’ve ever seen.
1. The Shapes Must Match
A friend didn't have coins for a vending machine, but she did have a dollar bill. She folded up the dollar bill and forced it into the coin slot, and then did not understand why she did not get her item.
2. Geography Lesson
I was going through security at the American border, and the border official stopped me, telling me that I needed to show a different form of ID. I asked why, because I had given them my (American) driver’s license. They insisted that I needed a US document like a green card or something. I was really confused, because I’m a US citizen, and my license is a US document.
Then I realized what had happened; they were confused about the name of my state, which is called the District of Columbia. I explained how the District of Columbia is, in fact, an American state. It is long for DC. Like Washington DC. As in, the capital of the United States.
3. How Can I Help You?
I'm fairly certain that people who have to work at front-of-house desks deal with so many stupid people that they start to lose their own sense of sanity. I once decided to go see my doctor about something and, as it happened, my bus home from work stopped right outside my doctor's office, so I decided to just walk in and see if I could make an appointment there and then.
The waiting room was empty, so I walked up to the woman at the desk, who asked if I had an appointment. I told her I didn't and would like to make one. She told me that I'd have to call the number, and pointed to it on the digital signboard. I asked if I could just make an appointment with her, and she again pointed out the number on the sign.
I asked whom I'd be talking to when I called that number, and she said that she would answer the phone. So I took my phone out of my pocket, looking her in the eye the whole time, and called the number. The phone on her desk started ringing. She actually said "Excuse me one second!" answered the phone, and then I had a conversation with her. On the phone. While standing right in front of her.
I asked for an appointment. She asked when I wanted it. I said that right now would be good. She said OK, took my details, and hung up. She then looked at me and said, "How can I help you?" I told her that I have an appointment and she told me to have a seat. I went and sat down while she typed some info into her computer, and then the digital sign board popped my name up, and she spoke into the her microphone to call my name, as I'm sitting there. When I went up to the desk she said, "Hello, sir. How can I help you?"
4. What’s in a Name?
A co-worker of mine bought a low-flow showerhead. A few days later, I asked him if he had noticed a difference while in the shower. He gave me a funny look, and then explained that he didn’t take showers. Apparently, he had filled his BATHTUB using the new low-flow showerhead because he thought it would use less water!
5. Orientation Matters
My wife's cousin and her husband fell on self-induced hard times and needed a place to stay for a bit. We set up a queen-sized air mattress in the living room for them. For three weeks, I woke up to go to work every morning and saw them sleeping on it sideways, with their legs hanging off the edge. One day, she asked me to buy her a bigger air mattress because the old one was hard on their backs.
I told her to turn her body the other way on the mattress - the thing even has a built-in pillow on one end, it’s pretty self-explanatory. Her response? “We can’t, because then we can't see the TV. It hadn’t even crossed her mind to turn the air mattress to face the TV! The worst part is that that is only one of many stories I have about this lady.
6. Family Tree Flub
My identical twin brother and I used to work as grocery baggers. One day, we were working at adjacent checkouts. A customer saw us, stared, and then asked if we were twins. I answered yes, and her follow-up question was mind-blowing. "Are you brothers?" We just looked at each other, slowly nodded, and then went back to bagging.
7. No Laughing Matter
I teach high school English. I was working with a small ninth-grade group and found out that all four of them thought Alaska was an island. They were not kidding. I grabbed a globe to show them that Alaska was not, in fact, an island. They were silent for a minute until one piped up with the dumbest follow-up question. He asked, "But how recent is that map?" I laughed really hard but discovered, again, that it was not a joke.
8. A Little Bit Nutty
Once at my old job, a co-worker came into the break room, and I offered him some chocolate that someone had dropped off for us. He thanked me, popped one in his mouth, chewed it for a bit, and then cheerfully asked me, "Oh do you know if there are nuts in this by the way? I'm allergic to them". I was like, “What?! I've literally never seen a bar of chocolate that doesn't contain the words "may have traces of nuts". Why are you eating this??” And he said, "Oh yeah, good point!" and spat it into the trash. He then happily wandered back out to the front like nothing had happened.
9. Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
A guy had bought some land that had a really old house on it and wanted to get rid of it; however, he eventually decided that it cost too much to have it torn down, so he asked the fire department if he could burn it down himself. They said no. A couple of weeks went by, and they got a call about a house on fire. Guess who? The guy had set the old house on fire anyway. He was promptly detained.
10. Do Not Enter
One time, I watched someone who had missed their exit on the highway stop on the shoulder, back up, turn around, and go up the entrance ramp. I could not believe my eyes. A couple of fun details about this incident really highlight its stupidity: the next exit was only a few miles up the road. Going there and then turning around might have delayed the person’s drive by 15 minutes, tops. There was also no traffic ahead.
11. Nice Try
This was my first experience in retail where I learned what many customers would be like. Seasons were changing, so we put a lot of shirts that we had to get rid of in the front and made them 50% off. I was working the register when a woman came up to buy her things. I rang her up and could see from the look on her face like something was wrong. That’s when the following happened.
Lady: “Why is this so much?” Me: “Pardon me?” Lady: “This should only be $10 not $20". I thought that maybe her item was on sale, so I asked if she could point out the sign, because I wasn’t aware of it. It was a small store and we didn't have to walk anywhere. Lady: “This sign here". Me: “This sign says that all shirts are 50% off". Lady: “Yes, so why is this full price?” Me: “Ma’am, this is a hat".
12. Green Nuclear
Back when the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster happened, we were discussing how the reactor had failed in a science class. Five minutes into the conversation a girl piped up and said, "I don't see what the big deal is. Why can't we just regrow it?" She seriously thought a nuclear power plant was literally a biological plant.
13. Blind Privilege
There was a girl in my high school who forced the teacher to pause a documentary about people living in mud huts in Africa because she was upset that they were showing us “fictional” movies in a history class. It took everyone else in the room to convince her that people actually live like that in some places. That’s wealthy-area living for you.
A man's convenience store burned down. At first, it looked like a terrible accident. Then the investigators caught the owner in the biggest, dumbest mistake. He did it himself so that he could get a bunch of insurance money. They figured it out when they saw that the owner had conveniently stopped the milk and bread deliveries one day before the "accidental" fire. Buddy was not a mastermind.
15. Multiple Misunderstandings
Someone I knew from school was pregnant, and she knew she was having identical twins. The day before the scan to find out if they were male or female, she posted on Facebook asking her friends to guess girls or boys. One friend of hers replied with, “One of each!” The mum-to-be replied, “They’re identical". The person actually responded again with, “It could still happen!” No honey. Just no.
16. The Dangers of Sarcasm
A summer camp counselor made all the kids on a school bus keep the windows up on a hot day on an hour-long trip so that they could “feel the air conditioning" coming from the front of the bus. Thing is, she was completely wrong. Even though I was about 10 years old at the time, I tried to explain to the 40-year-old counselor that the "air conditioning" she was feeling was the wind coming in through the bus driver’s open window. She still didn't believe me.
I begged her to ask the bus driver to confirm that the bus did not have air conditioning, but she didn't want to bother him while he was driving. She finally got hot enough that she asked the bus driver if the bus had air conditioning. He jokingly replied, "The bus only has air conditioning when the windows are down and the wheels are turning". She then looked back at me and said, "See? I told you the bus had air conditioning!" and proceeded to force us to keep the windows up.
17. Tire Trouble
I once rescued a co-worker on the side of the road with a flat tire. While waiting for the tow truck, I pointed out the nail at the top of his tire, commenting that the problem was clear. He scoffed, looked at me like I was the stupidest person in the world, and exclaimed, “That’s not possible, because it’s only flat at the bottom!” I just walked away and never brought it up again.
18. Is it More of a Squeal or a Clunk?
A girl I knew was complaining about her car making a weird noise. She kept bringing it to the repair shop and they kept finding that nothing was wrong with it. So she sold her car and bought another one. She complained that the same weird noise was in the new car too. Then one day she was in the car with a friend of mine, who was driving.
He veered out of the lane just a little bit and hit the rumble strip along the edge of the highway. “That’s it! That’s the noise my car makes!” The girl said excitedly. “What, this?” He purposely drove onto the rumble strip. “Yes!” She said. She sold her car because the “weird noise” it was making couldn’t be fixed. Her nickname was rumble strip after that.
19. Kid Logic
When I was a kid, I had a real old transistor radio, which I used to listen to old music. One day, I asked my parents for a newer radio—so that I could receive and listen to newer music. Not my finest hour.
20. Lost In Translation
I was working at a grocery store in the US that had a Coinstar machine. Basically, you could place all of your unwrapped change in it, and it would be converted for a small fee into a receipt that you could claim for actual cash. I was walking past and noticed a woman struggling with the machine, so I stopped to help her. Big. Mistake.
It turned out she had accidentally hit “Spanish” as a language selection. I quickly explained what she needed to do, figuring she couldn’t read Spanish. I ran through how it worked and showed her where the receipt would print out that she could turn in at customer service for the cash. She turned, looked at me and said, “but I don’t want Spanish money!”
21. What About ‘Cousin It’?
I once had to explain to a girl that she couldn’t grow her hair down in front of her face like a curtain, and just cut out eyeholes. Even after explaining it, she couldn’t grasp it, and brushed me off as being "too smart".
22. Muddled Mayonnaise
I once worked in a Midwestern US grocery store deli, and I was trying to explain to a woman that the name brand and generic brand of the macaroni salad that we carried were, in fact, identical. The woman yelled at me, saying she could only have the generic brand because, “One is made with mayo and the other is made with mayonnaise and I don’t like mayo". When I tried to explain that mayo is an abbreviation of mayonnaise, she just said, “I’m from the south, I know my food” and stormed away.
23. College Catastrophe
One day, a friend was making a sandwich in our college dorm. It had walnuts garnished on top of the bread. I then remember him telling me “Oh look there’s walnuts on here!” before he proceeded to eat the entire sandwich. At the time, I didn’t know he was allergic to nuts. I left to shower and when I came back, my jaw dropped: There were two paramedics in our dorm taking him out on a stretcher.
Luckily, he recovered. The following day, I asked what happened, to which he replied, “I accidentally ate some walnuts, which I’m allergic to, and by the time I went to get a Benadryl, my throat had started to close and I couldn’t swallow it, so I had to call an ambulance". I was just utterly shocked how he even let this entire situation happen. I really couldn’t believe it. He knew there were walnuts on the bread and still ate it?!
24. Mirror Image
I have an identical twin sister. My sister and I worked in adjacent buildings connected by a skywalk. One day, I thought I saw her as I was walking across and cheerfully said hello—to a mirror—in front of a bunch of coworkers.
25. New Technology
A friend of mine from an African country told me that when they were in Europe, someone in an elevator asked him if they had elevators where he came from, as if my friend should be amazed to be riding in one. He told them no, jokingly, and when they asked if it was hard walking upstairs all the time, he said "No, we take a helicopter to the roof and walk down". They seemed impressed.
26. Seeing is Believing
My stepbrother was baffled that dogs were color blind because he could see his reflection in our dog’s eye when he looked very closely, and it was in color. It was not a black and white reflection, he reasoned, so how could the dog be color blind? I tried explaining it to him and I don’t think he really got it.
27. A Little Too Meta
I’m an identical twin, and I have been asked all manner of utterly ridiculous questions about it throughout my life. I think my favorite was when a girl once asked me, “Do you ever get yourselves mixed up with each other?” I responded, “Are you asking me if I ever sometimes think I’m my brother?” She replied, “Yeah,” as if it was a valid question. No. I don’t.
28. Math Lesson
While driving from one big city to another, I stopped in a small town to eat at a fast-food chain in Texas. I ordered my food, got my orange number, and sat down to wait for my order. The lady who was bringing out orders had this "I give up" demeanor as she was calling out numbers that guests weren't claiming.
Each time this happened, she spoke to a couple of tables to seemingly figure out who the food was for. Then I heard her call for number 55 while holding a tray of food for one person. I was number 54, and noticed I was the only single-party guest there. We made eye contact and she headed towards me, looking grumpy.
She confirmed my order with me and said, "Sorry, for some reason the computer prints 1 number higher on our side". I immediately asked, "Well then why don't you just call out one number lower than what's printed?" She froze and I could see the gears turning in her head. I thanked her, and she went on her way.
29. Selfie Snafu
My friend was trying to take a selfie with his phone in selfie mode, using the front camera. The lens was smudged, so we told him he should clean it. He then turned his phone over and began to clean the camera on the back. He turned it back over and tried to take a selfie again, and couldn’t understand why it was still smudged.
30. Superfluous Spam
My boss asked me to file the spam mail. This man was one of those people who think they are the smartest person in the room, and nobody is allowed to question him. So, I thought, spam folder, okay. Weird, but okay. I went through the emails and couldn’t find any spam mail that wasn’t already in the spam folder.
The afternoon arrived and he stomped over to my desk area, wanting to know why the spam wasn’t in the spam folder. He then threw a Manila folder on my desk. The folder was hand-labeled “Spam". My jaw nearly hit the floor. He apparently printed spam mail out and filed it. Catching the skepticism on my face, he insisted that the IT guy told him that’s where spam goes, so he had got himself a folder and that was it.
31. Think Outside the… Options?
I gave a multiple-choice quiz to my high school students this year. I went to grade the first question and saw that instead of choosing option A, B, C, or D, a student had written in his own option and circled it: "E) I don't know". He went on to do this for roughly two-thirds of the questions on the quiz. I appreciated the honesty, but guessing to have a chance at some points or at the very least just leaving it blank might've been a bit wiser. Oh well.
32. Technically Illiterate
During the pre-hotspots and widespread WiFi days, I had an Editor-in-Chief ask me for “access to the server” before she went on vacation. I set her up with VPN and FTP access for all the servers she used and called it a day. The next week, she called my boss screaming, because she was at “the cabin” in the middle of the woods and had no Internet.
Apparently, I was not only supposed to divine that “access to the server” meant a wireless Internet service, but also somehow empower her “new,” neon-orange iBook to access some mystical WiFi network made from sunshine and rainbows. My boss wanted me to apologize, but I told him that the only apology she’d get from me is that “I am deeply sorry I assumed you weren’t a moron".
33. Lacking Logic
I accidentally locked my purse with my keys and cell phone in my apartment. I went to the office to ask maintenance to let me in. The woman at the desk said she would call maintenance, and asked for a phone number they could reach me at. I said there wasn’t one, because my cell phone was locked in my apartment. She insisted she needed a number.
I said I could give her the number, but that I wouldn’t be able to answer if they called. She suggested I get my phone out of my apartment so that I could answer when they called. I rolled my eyes at her and said if I could get in my apartment to get my cell phone, I wouldn’t need maintenance to let me in. She never did understand me. But maintenance did show up ten minutes later.
34. Strange Times
In March 2020, a friend was freaked out to hear that there was a case an hour away from her. She thought she should get in her car and drive in the other direction to keep ahead of it. She genuinely thought the virus was approaching like a wave of zombies and was an hour from reaching her.
35. Dip in the Brain
When I was in university, I brought hummus to class one day. A girl who sat next to me was like, “Oh that looks good! What is that?” And I said it was hummus and she went, “Don’t you mean dip? Hummus is the capital of Saudi Arabia!” And then I just explained to her that hummus is a type of dip made from chickpeas. Then I offered her some. I thought it was just a brain blip. I was wrong.
We were class friends for a little bit, but I had to stop studying with her because when we talked about Latin America and poverty in class, she informed me that to “cure” Latin America’s poverty, Peru should just get rid of Machu Picchu and replace it with a giant resort to attract tourists. She felt that Machu Picchu was too old and that no one cared about it anymore. I found new people to study with.
36. Alien Technology
We were in seventh-grade science class and the teacher was telling us about the vacuum of space. A girl I knew raised her hand and asked, “If a spaceman talked into a rock and handed it to somebody, would they hear it?” The class was silent for a few seconds before our teacher explained that rocks are, in fact, not alien tape recorders.
37. No, Eh?
I was born in Toronto and then moved to the US. In middle school, people would ask me if I lived in an Igloo, or even if I had TV and electricity. Over time, I realized that too many people asked about it for me to chalk it up to isolated stupidity. I can only hope the internet has improved general knowledge of how other societies live, and of basic geography.
38. Confusing Conversations
Back in my senior year of high school a bunch of friends were eating lunch together in the cafeteria. All of us had to explain to two things to a truly stupid girl: why time zones exist and why you can’t raise chickens without bones. First, she argued that China should just have to “deal with” keeping the same date and time as the US. We tried explaining the International Date Line and all of that, but to her, it was all preposterous and unnecessary.
The conversation somehow devolved into her suggesting that scientists should find a way to genetically engineer chickens to be raised to slaughter-age, as we already do, but without bones so that people don’t have to deal with them while cooking and eating. She now has a Master’s degree and teaches elementary school, so it’s likely she’s learned a thing or two since then. For the children’s sake, I sure hope so.
39. Canadian Zoo
I work for Parks Canada in Yoho National Park. I have been asked this question not once, but twice in my career: “Where do you keep the animals at night?” To this day, I still find great joy imagining what they thought was going on each night as we “collected” every large animal in the Parks, including moose, grizzlies and mountain lions, just to name a few.
40. Absent Alaska
I spent seven years working for Transportation Security Administration in the US. I had a pretty sweet detail where I would assist passengers who did not have ID, or assist TSA agents if they had questions about the validity of the given ID. One day, I got a call on the radio asking for assistance in verifying an ID. I had no idea what I was in for.
I went over and asked what the issue was. The agent handed me a driver’s license and says he, “can’t accept this Canadian ID". Hearing this, I assumed it was expired or had the wrong name. I took a look and saw that it was an Alaskan driver’s license. I quickly approved the passenger and sent them on their way.
I then spent 10 minutes explaining that a) Canadian driver’s licenses are acceptable according to TSA regulations and b) Alaska has never been a Canadian territory. This co-worker has a Masters degree in mathematics and served 25 years in the US Air Force.
I worked at a deli for a summer job, and a woman came in and asked if we had any meat without spices or sauces. She then proceeded to tell us that "the doctor" had said that her dogs got sick because she kept feeding them pizza, and they couldn't handle the spices. I suggested that she stop feeding them pizza. She then said, "Oh but they love pizza so much, I feel bad for them. I'm probably still going to feed them pizza".
42. Wrong Universe
Sitting in a 300-person lecture for a first-year University Astronomy class, I witnessed a girl raise her hand and ask, "Is the sun in our solar system?"
43. Naturally Gluten Free
I work at a grocery store. I once had to explain to a woman that apples did not contain any gluten, meat, or dairy ingredients. How can one think apples contain dairy? She thought gluten was found in every major grain, and that apples were a grain because they "have seeds".
44. A Little too Literal
A girl once told me that the London Eye was a giant statue of an eye in London, which was pointed towards England. When I pointed out that London is in England, she said that the city of London had been moved. Her perception of history was that since England and France had fought so many wars in the past, they had switched the names of their capitals. Then her reasoning somehow got even stupider.
This was because, "English people don't want to invade London and French people don't want to invade Paris, duh". According to her, before the English gave up the name London to the French, they built a giant statue of an eyeball to look back at England from its new home in France, like the city missed its homeland.
45. Anatomy Lesson
I had a concussion and was getting X-rays taken. They gave me a lead blanket to wrap around my twig and berries. Instead of wrapping it around my waist, I took it and wrapped it around me like a cape. I could not for the life of me understand what they wanted me to do. I blame the concussion.
46. Unconstructive Criticism
I was helping a colleague with his graduate thesis film. My job was to animate a solar eclipse, since we couldn't shoot one for real. I animated it using some real-life reference footage to make it look realistic. When I showed him, he asked why the moon was black and had no detail. I asked him if he had ever seen a solar eclipse. He replied, "Yes of course, but I want this one to look surreal since it's the moon in front of the sun, it's not like a normal solar eclipse".
At this point, it became clear something was amiss, and after asking a few more clarifying questions, it became clear he had no idea that the large object passing in front of the sun during a solar eclipse is, in fact, the moon. I confronted him about it and he apologized for "not being great with astrology".
47. Misguided Selfishness
I just learned that people in my workplace, a paper mill in Maine, are taking extra facemasks from the boxes that are provided by the company. However, they aren't wearing them or using them, or even taking them for their families; they're taking them and throwing them out, under the impression that if they get rid of them faster, then they won't have to wear them for as long.
That's right, while first responders and healthcare workers are in danger, sometimes because they can't get the appropriate supplies, these people are just taking face masks and throwing them out. It even got to the point where a few employees rushed the temperature-taking room, took as many whole boxes of masks as they could carry, and made a point of dumping them in the trash in front of the person taking temperatures that day.
48. Tall Tale
My good friend is from Estonia, and he came to visit me in Germany. He was in a bar waiting for me, chatting with his girlfriend in Estonian. As the language is not really known, they attracted the attention of the neighboring table, and were asked about their origins. As you know, everybody is a little bit more relaxed after a few libations.
My friend was fluent enough in German to reply. By the time I made it to the pub, he had persuaded the table next to him that Estonia had no electricity, that he communicated with me through snail mail, and that they had borrowed their neighbor’s horses and ridden for over a month to come to visit me in Germany.
49. Biology Tutor Needed
I demolished my right foot in a motorcycle crash and had to have the top of my foot removed. A guy I worked with asked me when it would grow back. I explained that the skin and stuff was going to have to be grafted, but that the tendons and bones that had been removed were gone forever. He looked me straight in the eye and asked, "Why don't they just cut the whole thing off and let it grow back?"
50. Mom’s Misstep
I got a bad grade in geography in high school. My teacher kept trying to push me to do better, and suggested I talk to my parents about it. I very reluctantly told my mom that I was failing geography. I’ll never forget her response: "How irresponsible can you really be Justin? How do you fail geography? It's just shapes!"