When Dumb Rules Backfire Hard

May 25, 2021 | QS500

When Dumb Rules Backfire Hard

Whether it’s at home, school, or work, everyone has dealt with rules that didn’t go the right way at some point in their lives. Sometimes they can horribly backfire on the person or company making the rules, resulting in a smile or puzzled look on the faces of everyone that has to follow them. Here are some experiences where rules have gone the other way.

1. Win-Win Situation

I used to work at a consultancy firm, typically dispatched to different sites countrywide from Monday to Thursday. We had a sizable hotel budget, which could cover a stay at a five-star hotel, and an interesting company policy. Anyone who opted to stay with a friend during their travels got an extra stipend, around a third of the hotel budget, to express gratitude to the friend.

Then, I was lucky to be assigned to a six-month project in the city where my childhood friend was attending university. We figured out an arrangement: I would stay at his place and we could reap the benefits of companionship - enjoying evenings with video games, drinks, and movies. In return, I would use my gift allowance to cater to our dinners. However, my first expense report was met with backlash from someone in HR, stating the gift allowance wasn't meant to be spent regularly or on personal meals. Unfazed, I found a loophole.

I checked into a posh five-star hotel, was upgraded to a junior suite due to my loyalty benefits, and invited my friend over for our usual evenings, this time with added room service. When my second expense report showed a dramatic increase in spends, the project manager demands an explanation. Upon understanding the situation and evaluating the long-term cost, he took up the issue with HR.

A couple of days later, the controversial policy was revoked. Moreover, my friend even received a brand-new PS3, then a recent release, as a token of thanks for hosting me.

Customer servicePixabay

2. Fumble

In my previous job in the software development field, we had a foosball table in the office. It was a casual activity during breaks but the management, coming across employees playing a mid-afternoon game, imposed a rule of no foosball until late afternoon, precisely 4:30 PM.

Interestingly, this restriction resulted in a surge in the foosball activity as everyone knew when to expect potential participants and games became easier to initiate.

Rules Backfired FactsUnsplash

3. Everyone Makes Mistakes—Sometimes, On Purpose

I used to work at a company that handled the repairs of PCs, our clients mostly being businesses like hospitals and factories. During my orientation, the guide took me to the quality assurance (QA) department, where every repaired device had to pass inspection before being shipped out.

The guide casually mentioned that they earlier used to incentivize their QA employees with bonuses for every error they detected during inspection. As ridiculous as it seemed, it wasn't a joke. However, upon considering how easily one could tamper with a PC and deliberately create a fault only to 'discover' it later, I was relieved to hear this policy had been abolished before my time.

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4. Give Me A Break

I once worked for a company that mandated an hour-long lunch break. We typically only needed 15 minutes as we had our meals on the campus. We proposed shortening the lunch hour to allow us to leave work earlier and beat the commute traffic. The company owner responded swiftly with an email dictating the fixed work and break hours which were to be strictly followed - no loopholes.

But we found the perfect chance for malicious compliance. We received an important client call during our lunch break. Obediently taking the ‘no exceptions’ policy to heart, we let the phone ring until the owner answered it himself. He immediately came over to chastise us, only for us to point out his own hard-fast rules.

A few weeks later, while we were working on location for this same client, we divulged this story over lunch. They found it hilarious and decided to make a running joke out of it. Throughout the duration of the project, they made a point of calling up exclusively during our lunch break, much to the annoyance of the owner.

Rules Backfired FactsShutterstock

5. My Strange Addiction

I had a friend who worked as a lead developer in a small firm. There was an employee, a senior developer, who loved browsing plastic surgery pictures. Now, it wasn't a secret and he was often teased about it, but it wasn't causing any harm.

But everything turned when the project manager told the CEO about it. The CEO did not take it lightly and set an immediate restriction on accessing external websites from the office systems. This had a serious impact on the team's productivity, as a significant part of their job was looking case studies online.

After a day of total chaos, the CEO lifted the restriction, but added a caveat: browser history now would be under strict monitoring. Most employees eventually found a workaround, and started using their personal computers for internet browsing.

Rules Backfired FactsUnsplash

6. No Means Yes

My Starbucks gig that lasted about 5+ years, saw a unique policy implementation by our district manager. He introduced the "just say yes" rule, meaning we were unable to deny any customer request. Not surprisingly, this led to a huge spike of over 300% in product wastage and unregulated items in just three months.

We had to deal with complaints from neighboring Starbucks outlets as well. Customers would ask for stuff that would go against the local food service codes, insisting that we had accommodated their requests in our store. Every time management fretted over the rising issues, I would just sit back and enjoy the unfolding drama!

Rules Backfired FactsUnsplash

7. Unsubscribe!

The company where my spouse worked had no specific rule that regulated the sharing of explicit material or jokes through email. So, they decided to amend their policy and deemed sharing or receiving explicit content a firing offence.

In response to this, a soon-to-be-fired employee sent a graphic image to the entire management team, then reported it anonymously. The IT team, responding to the report, sourced the graphic image and had to suspend all email accounts involved.

Teacher disturbing studentUnsplash

8. This Decision Stinks

In a bid to cut costs, the management at the car dealership I worked for decided to cut down the after-hours cleaning service. As the state of the bathrooms deteriorated, many people left work just to use the restroom at home. As for me, I lived a bit too far away. So I took it upon myself to use the manager’s private restroom instead.

Rules Backfired FactsUnsplash

9. Ring Around The Rosie

At my old high school, the ground level was just a square with a corridor stretching around it. Following an incident where a student got injured, the school introduced a one-way system. They were quite ruthless with enforcing this new rule. Basically, if you walked past your class accidentally, you weren't allowed to just turn around and walk back. The school seemed pretty pleased with this new rule for some reason...until it led to students showing up late for class because they had to make needless, additional rounds of the entire floor.

Rules Backfired FactsUnsplash

10. This Round’s On Me

Back in 2001, we weren't allowed to pay for drinks during lunch with regular cash at my school. Instead, we had to pre-purchase these laminated paper vouchers. At 13, having extra time on my hands, I decided to scan and print duplicates. These fakes were made on paper that somewhat matched the original voucher's color and then I laminated them myself. The copied vouchers were clearly shoddily made; they even had the wrong color on the backside.

Despite the poor reproductions, I ended up creating about a hundred of them. After successfully using these counterfeit vouchers myself, I passed them around. Consequently, I gained some new friends and ramped up my production. It took the school about three weeks to figure it what was happening, but by then, my replicas had infiltrated the pool of original vouchers and had already been sold to clueless students by the school office itself. Eventually, almost half of the vouchers in circulation were my fakes.

From then on, only cash payments were allowed for drinks. However, they grudgingly had to accept the fake vouchers for a little while longer, considering some of them were legitimately sold to students.

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11. Every Ribbon Makes A Difference, Every Bracelet Makes Her Mad

Our principal once decided to ban pink silicone bracelets, which were being sold in town to fundraise for breast cancer. Rather ironically, six months later, she herself had to undergo chemotherapy for breast cancer. It's not a particularly funny story, but it's somewhat ironic. Thankfully, she made a full recovery, and I still spot her around town now and then, healthier than she was before.

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12. Out Of Office & Out Of Their Minds

At a previous place of employment, an upper management policy was established requiring higher-ups to be reachable even while they were on leave. So, the leave request form had fields for the address where you'd be staying and a contact number. A certain zealous individual in HR extended this policy to all staff. This is when the mischief started. People began listing random addresses and phone numbers -- of shops, sports stadiums, health clinics, etc.

In my case, I gave the coordinates, latitude, and longitude, of the place where I was going camping and the UHF radio channel that I would be on.

Stupid Rules Backfired factsGetty Images

13. Just Get A Burner Phone

Once upon a time, my company was a humble start-up. I held the role of Project Manager and Architect, overseeing the launch of an international system during my initial year. I had put in for my vacation time for Burning Man a good six months in advance, which was swiftly approved. However, half a year later, in about June, the management changed and my boss, who had been the IT department head, got a new superior.

Just a month before Burning Man was due to kick off, the new IT bigwig decided my project was too vital for me to disappear off the grid. He wanted me to carry a satellite phone to the event or face being benched. We were still a good three months away from the project's launch, but he deemed it a pivotal period needing my attention.

Yet, neither my boss nor the fresh IT honcho wanted the burden of daily satellite phone check-ins costing $18 per minute, probably aware this bamboozled some sort of labor law. To navigate this issue, they roped in one of our London-based colleagues to call me daily while I was in the Black Rock Desert. I agreed, but I had one condition - no calls before 1 pm, which would be 9 pm London time.

Each day, when our British buddy called, he'd been enjoying a beer or two and wasn't bothered about project updates. He was more interested in the parties I'd been to, and the different art pieces I'd come across.

Burning Man FactsWikimedia Commons

14. Fighting Fire With Fire

Over in Las Vegas, there was a system among the fire department employees that if a colleague couldn't work their shift and you stepped in for them, you'd bag some overtime. Soon enough, all the firefighters began trading shifts, ensuring that they were racking up the juicy overtime hours. This went unnoticed for more than a year until it blew up into a colossal scandal. The authorities became aware when the system cost the city millions. Safe to say, those managing the situation faced severe consequences.

Best day on the jobPexels

15. Jackpot

Not sure if this fits, but here goes. During my stint at a restaurant, we initiated a Thursday Night Trivia to draw in more patrons. The thrilling prize? The winning party's bill would be on the house. However, one wily customer asked to have every diner's order added to his bill, and guess what? He won. The restaurant decided to hit pause on trivia night after that cheeky stunt.

Rules Backfired FactsUnsplash

16. Victim Blaming

In my chemistry class, we had these plastic bottles filled with distilled water. When squeezed, they squirted out a small jet of water, which we'd use to have some lighthearted fun by aiming at each other's pants, making it look like an embarrassing accident. To put an end to these shenanigans, our teacher set in place a deterrent, penalizing anyone caught in the act of spraying or being sprayed. So now, if you managed to spray someone without getting noticed, not only would they have a wet patch, but they'd also be punished, having to write out passages from one of Martin Luther King's speeches.

Predictably, this penalty for being sprayed was revoked in no time.

Rules Backfired FactsShutterstock

17. What Goes Up Can’t Come Down

The changes they made to facilitate smoother transitions between classes, including dedicating certain stairways as up and down lanes, didn't consider the location of the stairways. They were stationed at the ends of extensive corridors, causing the next class to be virtually impossible to reach on time. As a result, students just stopped trying to arrive promptly, simply blaming the new stairway arrangement.

Rules Backfired FactsWikimedia Commons

18. Race Against Time

In my days as an educator, I remember how challenging it was for one class to get to their next lesson. Their previous class was located on the completely opposite end of the building, plus they had to navigate downstairs. Despite watching them hurriedly trying to make it in time, I refrained from penalizing them for tardiness. They were responsible students and never tried to exploit the leniency.

Not like other girlsPexels

19. We Don’t Support That Rule

The principal of my high school was infamous for his strictness, especially over the dress code. He was notorious for sending girls home to change if their bra straps were visible. On one occasion, he tried to send home one of my sophomore classmates. She was both brave and smart. Instead, she simply retorted, “I got a change of clothes right here, I’m good”. Then, she went to the restroom to remove her bra, before placing it dramatically in her locker.

Her stand ignited a revolution among the female students in school. Although the principal was infuriated, he couldn't technically blame her for breaching the dress code. It became a trend, a movement of sorts, with a surge of girls choosing to attend school braless as an act of defiance.

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20. The General Moron

When I used to work at Best Buy, the general manager had a bizarre policy. Arriving late, as short as by five minutes, would definitely get you sent home. This inevitably caused most departments to be under-staffed on any given day. What was worse was that work schedules were often altered without notifying the affected employees. The shocked employee would receive a call from the GM, instructing them to rush to the store immediately.

Upon their arrival, the GM would quickly and publicly scold them in front of customers, then abruptly send them home just after entry. A few even quit right then and there. One particular employee, I still vividly recall, peeled his name tag off and flung it directly at the GM's face in utter frustration.

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21. This Whole Situation Is Out Of Order

Once, I was working at a gym that had this gigantic Smyth machine, like a really big squat rack. Can you believe, it wasn't even fastened to the ground? It would wobble every now and then. Once on duty, I spot this hazard, label it as "out of order", and request the concerned firm to mend it. I also leave a message for the proprietor who, instead of addressing the issue, simply discards the warning sign. This became a common routine. One day, just as expected, the negligent owner faced the consequences.

A gym-goer injured his back while using it and decided to sue us. When the attorney arrived, I guided him to our internal maintenance and communication record. Eventually, the matter was settled with the gym member, whose compensation was paid.

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22. Antisocial Networks

Back in 2011, I was working for a company that thought blocking all social media on official systems was the best way to increase productivity. Wish I could go into all the details about the unhealthy work environment there, but the gist of it was the big boss, who lived in another country and only showed up every few months, could make everyone nervous. His visits would turn the whole office into a tension zone.

A few weeks post the "social sites ban", our president visited. Within minutes of his arrival, he needed IT's help. His presumption was that our Wi-Fi was malfunctioning because he couldn't access his Facebook. The issue was sorted in no time. Several years and a trio of promotions later, I casually referenced the incident to him.

Rather than finding it funny, he appeared confused. Apparently, he continued to believe that it was a simple internet glitch, as no one had dared to clarify the social media blackout to him after the incident.

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23. Paper, Plastic, Or Pointless?

I work at a grocery store that has now mandated a charge of five cents per plastic bag, leading to an increase in demand for paper bags by our customers. Our paper bags, however, are not sturdy, so we usually double them to avoid any rupture. One day, the store owner sees a cashier double-bagging and gets angry. He insisted paper bags were more costly, and doubling them is wasting resources. This prompted a new rule: no double paper bags unless absolutely necessary for weighty items.

A few weeks later, a bagger on my shift was using single paper bags. As luck would have it, the store owner was there just as a bag which wasn't even that full ripped open. We now have the go-ahead to double-bag paper bags.

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24. Leaving The Client High And Dry

I was once employed as a carpet cleaner. Our policy was strict - if the carpet was already damp, we weren't supposed to clean it. We had these highly sensitive moisture meters to detect any existing dampness; they could even respond to the steam hovering over a pizza box or if touched with a hand. So, if we felt like skipping a job, we'd heavily probe their carpet.

Occasionally, the meter would alert, and we could excuse ourselves from the task. Some cleaners would even trick the system by touching the sensors with their fingers while puncturing the carpets, triggering a false dampness alert. Although I never followed this practice, I completely get the motivation behind it.

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25. Time Trials

In my time at a call center, we had a system that allowed us to clock in five minutes before our shift. One of my coworkers figured out that these extra minutes were in fact paid. She began showing up earlier and earlier, until she was actually arriving an hour in advance and just lounging around for an hour. For almost a year, she gathered five extra hours of overtime a week without management noticing before she eventually left.

Ridiculous 9-1-1 Calls factsShutterstock

26. Working The System

I recall my experience as a newbie in a large corporate firm. One day, I got in a couple of minutes past the hour and my supervisor scolded me. I had indeed walked in at 9:03 or thereabouts, but once I turned on my computer, I dove right into work. However, by 9:30 that same day, I noticed many of my colleagues emerging from the kitchen, coffees in hand and still engrossed in conversation, just beginning to boot up their computers.

Not a peep from the boss. So, I decided to join them and started enjoying a daily morning coffee break lasting thirty minutes. This went on for the remaining two to three months of my tenure there.

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27. Appearance Is Everything

My previous job saw me arrive 10-15 minutes ahead of my shift every single day, courtesy of the punctual bus services. I typically started work 10 minutes before my official start time, so I thought leaving a couple of minutes early to catch my bus home wouldn't be an issue. I was mistaken. My manager saw me leave once at 4:28 for my 4:33 bus and gave me an earful for leaving early.

Despite not being on an hourly wage and completing all my work on time every day, this seemed to be a major issue. You could arrive 30 minutes early, they wouldn't bat an eye but attempt to leave a minute early and face a potential reprimand. It was ridiculous. As long as you stayed until the end of your shift, it didn't matter if you loitered in the kitchen for half an hour after arriving or snuck out for a smoke break. It was all about keeping up appearances.

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28. Come Se Dice Pointless

In a language learning center where I worked, the lesson plans were already prepared. On weekdays, we'd usually have 2-3 short classes scattered throughout the afternoon and evening. The environment was laid-back initially with people just needing to print out the lesson sheets and show up 10 minutes before class.

We worked full, 10-hour days on weekends. Outside of the sporadic trainings or staff meetings, we were free to do as we pleased between classes. Since most of us lived just 10 minutes away from the center, this was quite convenient. However, the flexibility diminished when stricter management took over and implemented obligatory 'office hours', even when there was no work to do.

During these imposed office hours, we'd sometimes have a huge gap between a noon staff meeting and the next class at 4-6pm. When we inquired about what to do during this time, they responded condescendingly suggesting we 'reflect on our teaching methods.' Many of my peers started to take advantage of the vacant classrooms to catch up on films. I brought my gaming console along, while others opted for a snooze in the cozy reading nook.

The lack of actual tasks during these office hours soon made us look unprofessional to potential new students and their parents. With the awkwardness of it all, the management eventually stopped enforcing these contrived office hours, much to everyone's relief.

Worst Co-workers FactsUnsplash

29. Hitting Below The Belt

I attended an old-fashioned Catholic school where uniforms were the norm. From fourth to eighth grade, we were made to wear belts. However, a new principal later mandated that all students, regardless of their age, had to sport belts. As you can imagine, this led to numerous accidents, especially among the younger lot who found it challenging to unfasten their belts quickly enough. An array of parental complaints later, the principal had to retract her new rule. Interestingly, she was sacked later for pilfering funds from the school.

Rules Backfired FactsUnsplash

30. When Three Become One

In 2014, our HR department issued a regulation that we couldn't switch buildings. Our company operated across three buildings situated within a block of each other. All three had shipping departments that required our warehouse workers to move between buildings. The new rule forced us to stick to one building. I pointed out that we all shipped from all three locations asking who would handle the work then? The response was vague, suggesting it would be taken care of. The very next day, a shipment worth half a million dollars failed to be dispatched. When questioned, we referred to the new rule forcing us to stay in one building. As expected, the rule was promptly revised.

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31. Home Is Where You Make It—And So Is The Office

There was an incident that still grinds my gears every time it crosses my mind. A coworker of ours, who was extremely proficient at his job, was abruptly terminated. The reason-being he resided in Green Bay, but was employed remotely for our office in Minneapolis. Everyone was aware of his location and was perfectly fine with it, except HR. The management claimed they should have been informed, criticizing their own incompetence. They accused him of dishonesty since he couldn't physically be present in the office, and simply fired him. The irony hit us like a truck when after a couple of months, everyone had to transition to remote working. Currently, the company is hiring from across the country, disregarding the physical office locations entirely.

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32. Ronaldo Junior

Here's a frustrating episode involving my child, who was unjustly suspended for "fighting". He had enough of being teased by a so-called friend who always seemed to have plenty to say but weighed barely 80 lbs. My kid, on the other hand, is a calm 5'10", weighing approximately 135 lbs. When my boy retaliated to a physical shove from his friend, the latter dramatized the response like a soccer player, pretending to be seriously hurt. The school called but only to inform me that MY kid was being suspended, brushing aside the fact that the other child's mother was an employee at the same institution. Despite this happening thrice before, the other kid escaped punishment yet again.

Dismayed, I assured my child that he was not in trouble and requested the principal for a joint counsellor session for both boys to sort their issues. Unfortunately, he denied my request, stating that only my child needed counselling. So much for their "zero-tolerance" policy.

Shouldn’t Have Done That FactsShutterstock

33. Assistant To The Regional Manager, Private School Edition

At the private school where I had a job, a "Second Deputy Head" was hired, who was mainly tasked with establishing rules and policies that often seemed unnecessary. Their masterpiece was a small laminated card, given to all the students, offering guidance on what to say when they were being bullied. The students, mostly ranging from 14 to 18 years old, largely ignored these cards. Many were found discarded in the village river, while the phrase printed on them was ironically parroted by the students whenever they were asked to tidy up or concentrate on their work.

I once asked a star rugby player from the school if the card helped him deal with bullies. In response, he said, "Yes, but while saying it, I kicked the bully where it really hurts."

Revenge backfireShutterstock

34. The Power Trip

My boss always moaned that us workers, including welders and millwrights, had breaks and lunches at irregular times (usually, whenever we got the chance). Consequently, a rule was enforced stating that missing the designated break/lunch time meant missing the break/lunch entirely. One day, another welder and I had to repair a machine urgently, which took us a two-hour drive away from the shop without our lunches — we were told the repair would be quick.

However, the 'quick fix,' ended up being a significant welding task — entirely rebuilding a motor mount. The irony? If our boss had let us decide our break times or informed us about the actual job, we wouldn't have wasted time and money by driving four hours back-and-forth just to have our lunch as per the designated time. TLDR: Due to our boss's rigidity on break time rules, there was a loss of over $1,000,000 in a day - all so we could have our lunch 'on time.'

Rules Backfired FactsFlickr, Marco Verch

35. Front End, Back End, Dead End

I was the back-end engineer for a successful website. We've had a rigorous hiring process and quite competent colleagues. At some point, our company purchased another company with not-so-rigorous hiring standards, and we got a new team leader transferred from it.

In our first performance review meeting, he questioned the value of my work since he 'did not witness' me doing anything. Despite my productive output and the features I implemented, I found myself needing to defend my vital contributions.

His lack of understanding came to light when he asked me to identify my contributions on the website. It seemed he didn't fully grasp the concept of front and back-end engineering, assuming that all visible changes were the only important ones. Despite my best efforts, he couldn't comprehend the importance of what lies beneath the visible interface of a website.

This lack of understanding led him to give me an unfavorable review. Fortunately, he was shifted to another less critical team soon and was let go a few months later. I doubt if he ever understood the difference between the surface of a website and the infrastructure that powers it.

Dumbest Things Explained factsShutterstock

36. Incommunicado

I'm an employee at a furniture store where they recently made it mandatory for everyone to download an intrusive app. When they noticed most of us weren't complying, they decided to ban cellphones from delivery vehicles. The ban backfired because it hindered our ability to locate delivery destinations, resulting in backed up orders.

They also couldn't track us during deliveries because we didn't have our phones. Inserting a curveball, if we had to undertake a long store trip, we wouldn't know how to get there due to lack of any GPS resources. They left us forcing to navigate the sticks without any clue where we're heading.

Rules Backfired FactsShutterstock

37. Broken Telephone

First off, my boss was being a bit of a dictator. He insisted: "All lesson reschedules with a client must be coordinated by a secretary who will then update the room reservation and keep me informed." The implied menace was: "If you allow clients to reschedule too casually, I won't want you on my team."

Old system: you get contacted directly by the client, agree on a new date/time and let the secretary know so she can change the room reservation. Simple and effective.

New system: The secretary gets a change request from the client without having knowledge of your schedule. She contacts you, learns your availability, and when she has some free time, because honestly, it's not high on her list, she contacts the client with your availability. After some time, the client picks a date and it goes back and forth between you and the secretary for confirmation.

However, due to the course of events, our schedules often change in the meantime, leading to a prolonged ping-pong, before finally settling on a new date and time. This eats up so much of the secretary's time that she gets swamped, slowing down the process and increasing the chances of calendar changes that need more revisions.

This inefficient system lasted only for four days. Under severe stress, one secretary had to take medical leave. The rest equally shared her workload and, predictably, another one went on sick leave just three days later due to the same reason. When the boss tried redistributing the workload one more time, he faced the music.

Furious secretaries confronted him saying "What's wrong with you?!" and another walked out in tears to take stress-related sick leave, essentially killing the new system. The saying holds, "When you shun the easy way, it will come back running."

Nightmare Co-Workers factsShutterstock

38. Nature Calling

I work from a geo-tracked van which means bathroom facilities are not readily accessible. When nature calls, the only option is to drive to the nearest public restroom while on a break between visits. But, I can't exactly predict when I'll need to go. My boss, quite ruthlessly, threatened my livelihood, saying I could only use the bathroom during my two 10-minute breaks or my one 30-minute lunch break.

Bear in mind, my job is client-based. Each appointment's duration is unpredictable until I reach the spot, not to mention whether I'll be close to a public restroom or not. My boss, keeping an eye on my geo-location, would report me for unscheduled stops whenever I needed a quick bathroom break. Despite being constantly busy, I could manage only about one of the prescribed breaks every two weeks.

The physical stress of holding it in resulted in a kidney infection. The hospital nurse said the cause was not going to the toilet frequently enough and questioned why. She documented my working conditions, which barred bathroom breaks, and shared a copy with me. Unable to return to work for a week due to the health issue, costing the company significant money in sick pay and missed hours resulted in a policy change. Now, we're all allowed bathroom breaks anytime during the day with that manager made redundant as soon as the opportunity arose.

George Michael Facts Shutterstock

39. The First Rule Of Fight Club Is Stop Being So Gross

There was a fight club set up by boys at my school. They picked times to meet in the bathrooms, usually during class hours, to wrestle with each other and then return to classes. Teachers initially turned a blind eye, dismissing prolonged washroom trips as just boys goofing around. But, suspicions started when the boys reappeared drenched in water.

To make matters worse, some started relieving themselves on the floor to make the wrestling more challenging. Seeing this, the school introduced a rule allowing only 2-3 boys in the restroom at a time, with a security guard positioned outside. Cleverly, the boys worked around this by creating a roster, sending in pairs to have their fights.

Winning wrestlers moved their names up on the chart, unnoticed by the school authorities.

Rules Backfired FactsShutterstock

40. Using Their Own Rules Against Them

Working in the construction field as a travelling assembler, we were not supposed to use company cars for personal errands- a reasonable rule given they had to pay for our time whenever we drove the vehicle. One weekend, against the norm, they asked me to take the car instead of my coworker. Later, on Saturday, they said we'd be working separately for the following week and my coworker would need the car.

So, we each logged our four hours of time sorting this out. The management was not happy and took away our company vehicle. This created an issue as our union prohibits carrying work tools in private cars. On Monday morning, we checked with our boss about our tools as it was now his responsibility to organise them.

To our surprise, we had our company vehicle back by lunch. The fun part was that we had to wake him up to sort things out, which was a sweet victory given his sternness around time management.

Partners Cheating FactsPixnio

41. Running In Circles

At my daughter's high school, they've implemented a rule where students can only walk in one direction around the school, even if their next class is just a few steps back. So instead of walking a few meters, she has to trek around the whole school including three flight of stairs for every class! It's absurd! To top it off, they're reprimanded if they're late. Think about when they all started and had no clue where to go! And if, by any chance, they pass their classroom by mistake, they are compelled to start the loop again!

Rules Backfired FactsShutterstock

42. Power In Numbers

In an attempt to improve student behavior, my high school initiated a strange rule during my time there. Mid-term, the school decided we couldn't sit with our pals during lunch at the cafeteria but instead with our homeroom class. If found breaking the rule, we'd face after-school detention. The plan totally backfired. At the beginning, we respected it, but as time passed, we got sick of it. More and more students began sitting with their friends. Around a month later, nobody adhered to the rule, and the detentions doubled. They finally had to scrap the rule six weeks in, proving an empty threat of detention doesn't sit well with students!

Rules Backfired FactsShutterstock

43. This Rule Doesn’t Hold Water

During my senior year, we moved into a new high school building near a grocery store. The building had no water fountains due to a plumbing oversight, so everyone switched to reusable water bottles and the school set up a water vending machine. Located in Washington State where you can buy liquor at any store, some freshmen decided it'd be fun to mix the two – buying liquor from the grocery store, filling up disposable water bottles, and selling it to other students. This created a huge issue, with many students getting into trouble for being under the influence. The school’s solution? Banning water bottles. Now, this didn't go well at all – there were protests, articles, and parental complaints. Ultimately, they had to lift the ban and the alcohol problem resumed.

Water FactsShutterstock

44. Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire

In the dorm where I stayed, if you accidentally tripped the smoke or fire alarm, you were required to do a safety presentation for everyone on your floor. The idea was to discourage pranksters from messing with the alarm. One time, a guy burned his grilled cheese sandwich, setting off the alarm. He figured, since it was a genuine mistake, he wouldn't have to present. He was obviously wrong. That Wednesday night, we all gathered to witness a 30-minute talk, not on fire safety, but on the dangers of grilled cheese sandwiches – choking hazards and high cholesterol. The event sparked fury in our Residential Assistant, but the student correctly defended himself that he was only asked to do a "safety presentation." That was the end of the safety talk series.

Worst Guests factsShutterstock

45. Sleeping On The Job

Our fresh-out-the-box boss decided to ditch the couch in the break area to eliminate the temptation of a lunch-hour nap. Nobody was really breaking the rules or disappearing to the bathrooms to snooze, but it was nice to have that option after a hectic morning. There was one particular guy, though, who got creative with his nap locations — tucked between walls and hidden in the warehouse.

We started to lose track of him as he ventured further and essentially disappeared into deep sleep. Despite the hide-and-seek, he didn't get fired. The place was always scrambling for staff anyway.

Rules Backfired FactsUnsplash

46. Work In Progress

If there's one thing to summarize my high school journey, it's a series of flawed educational strategies. Case in point: sophomore year, when they made tests weigh everything in grades and homework, though it was still handed out, weighed nothing at all. As predicted, homework was totally ignored. It was especially difficult for those who struggled to absorb information or who just weren't naturally good at tests. Consequently, the failure rate rocketed.

Then, my junior year, they reintroduced homework grading. This time, however, there was a twist — no due dates and penalties for late submissions within the six-week period. Inevitably, this meant that students procrastinated homework until the eleventh hour.

The result? Stressed-out teachers drowning in a sea of last-minute submissions. This ultimately fueled their irritability, leading them to dump irrelevant tasks on us while they raced against the clock to get all the grading done.

Memorable teachersUnsplash

47. Stand Up For Your Right To Sit Down

We had a new office manager who was fresh from outside the company and eager to prove her worth. She was fixated on the concept of productivity, so much so that, she began her tenure with a rather impolite email dictating we could no longer eat lunch at our desks. Unfortunately, the break area consisted of just four tables for 300 employees.

In a cheeky act of defiance, a group of sassy employees decided to simultaneously take their lunch break, resulting in an overcrowded breakroom with about 90 people rubbing elbows and munching on their food standing. Suffice to say, she backpedaled the very next day, issuing another email permitting us to eat at our stations but advising us to take regular breaks. To say the least, it was humorous.

Glitch in the matrixPexels

48. Safety Second

During my time as a medical assistant at a private clinic, we had a peculiar clinic manager who wouldn't let the newest receptionist drive to the bank for deposits in fear that she would vamoose with the cash. So, instead, this receptionist was to walk to the bank with the money. Weird, I know. This went on for weeks.

Eventually, she was mugged and more than $1,000 in cash was taken. Following that incident, she was finally permitted to drive to the bank.

Lives destroyedUnsplash

49. Poo Patrol

Our boss was becoming increasingly anxious over what he perceived as us misusing our bathroom breaks. As an eccentric individual, he decided to lock every bathroom in the office except the one within his line of sight from his office door. He even went as far as to cut off water supply to the others and labeled them as out of service. Quite ridiculously, he sat with a stopwatch, timing us from the moment we entered and exited the bathroom and would then announce the duration aloud.

While this level of control was outrageous and likely illegal, he refrained from officially implementing a bathroom time policy, but rather sought to instill discomfort among us if he felt we spent too much time. I found that my height allowed me to manoeuvre my way through the ceiling tiles and over a half barrier, thus granting me discreet access to the men's room—primarily used by our diminutive boss. I devised a cunning plan.

I would enter the restroom, lock the door from the inside, do my business, then climb out through the ceiling, leaving the door locked. This would inconvenience my boss by denying him access to the restroom and force him to use the women's, which led to complaints from our female coworkers about the time he spent in their bathroom. To my knowledge, he never discovered my crafty tactics.

Nightmare Roommates FactsShutterstock

50. Oh, How The Tables Have Turned

Living the closest to our workplace, I was made the primary contact for the alarm company whenever the building's alarm was triggered outside work hours. It used to be a flexible arrangement. If there were substantial reasons to believe the alarm was a false alarm, we could instruct the alarm company to refrain from notifying the police. I'd normally ascertain this by checking the building cameras remotely.

The alarm was often accidentally activated by the cleaning crew. However, when another branch ignored an alert that later turned out to be a genuine break-in, the facilities director decided to adopt a more stringent approach. In the event of an alarm, we were to immediately contact the police, on-site to meet them, get their all-clear, then reset the alarm.

Despite being a nuisance, this policy seemed bearable since my house was only two minutes away. That was until our company hired the alarm company to upgrade all our panels and sensors—a process that turned out to be a dreadful months-long ordeal, plagued by frequent false alarms, even multiple times a night. These unwelcome midnight drives were turning my life into a horror movie.

After each trip, I'd have to compile the obligatory report, send it to the facilities director, and plead for a return to the old alarm procedure. But he would always refuse, citing the risk of ignoring a potential break-in. Eventually, it was time to instigate some payback. Having had enough of this nonsense, I was due for a vacation out of town. Company protocol dictated that whenever I was away, I was to ignore all calls from the alarm company, causing the call to be redirected to the next person on the list—which in this case, was the facilities director himself.

During my five-day absence, I must have dodged at least four late-night calls, which would have naturally redirected to him. Upon my return, news reached me that the problematic alarm was temporarily disabled amidst its upgrade. Apparently, the prospect of risking a break-in didn't seem as threatening anymore!

Rules Backfired FactsUnsplash

Sources: Reddit,

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