Coming up with a solution to a difficult problem is one thing, but finding a simple and dumb solution to that exact same problem is somewhat satisfying... and hilarious!
In this article, people share the dumbest solution to a problem that actually worked!
[Source can be found at the end of the article]
1. The cracked furniture leg replacement
I bought a set of couches from Art Van Furniture this summer, complete with 24-hour warranty and replacement service. Once delivered, I discovered that one of the legs arrived cracked. I spent some time on the phone with their customer service hotline, only to get 15 minutes worth of run-around. I decided to go back to the store, with the broken leg in hand, and just get a replacement.
The customer service desk told me there was no way I could "just get an extra leg" from the store; I would need to file a claim over the phone, have my invoice number, etc etc. I realized that I was dressed about the same as the delivery guys, so I walked into the loading bay and told the first guy I saw that "I need another leg to match this one." He didn't ask any questions, just took one off of another matching couch and handed it to me.
2. Ignore the problem, it'll resolve itself
My car got pummeled in a terrible hail storm. Little dents over every surface of the car. My insurance would only write it off as a total loss, and I didn't want to give the car up. A friend pointed out that since I live in the desert, the heat will likely fix a lot of those dents over time. That's exactly what happened. A year later, you had to look carefully to find dents where there used to be a hundred of them.
We had a problem with an order so I wrote an email (from my email address) to customer support asking them on how to proceed. They told me that since the order was done in my girlfriends name they couldn't give me this information for privacy reasons. So I just replied (still from my email address) with:
I hereby allow [my name] to inquire information about my order.
Regards, <insert girlfriend's name here>
4. Cow in sunglasses milk carton
My sister was hospitalized at 4 years old for a buildup of fluid in her head. She refused to drink any of the milk being offered by the hospital because it didn't have the "cow in sunglasses" on the side of the box that the other hospital's milk had.
Her being a sick child in for literal brain surgery, the hospital went above and beyond sending someone to the local grocery store to try and find this milk brand with the cow wearing sunglasses. When they never found it, I googled the image, asked if they had a printer, and taped the cow to the side of their milk carton. I still think it's adorable that worked.
5. College student ID
When applying for college they never sent me my student ID with my student number and everything I needed. I call in and they made a big deal about having to fill out forms and get approval from someone and all sorts of stuff.
So I just walked in to the front desk and said I lost it, they printed a new ID and gave me my number right then on the spot.
6. Fake bus stop
There was a nursing home in Germany and the patients with dementia kept wandering off.
They installed a fake bus stop in front of the nursing home so when dementia patients got out of the building, they would go sit at the fake bus stop and wait for the (non-existent) bus. The bus stop was clearly visible from the main offices, so whenever staff saw someone out there, they would just go and retrieve them.
Solved the problem completely.
7. Thanks to rainy days!
Several months ago I was working in an ICU... when a pipe burst in the ceiling and began to leak into my patients room.
The supervisors solution was, "move him into the hall," however that would have killed this particular patient.
Thankfully, it had been a rainy weekend... so I propped my umbrella up on the patient and the water ran off harmlessly into the floor.
The surgeon had a tiny heart attack when he saw it a bit later, but he got over it I suppose.
8. The 100 year old basement window
My house is about 100 years old with a basement, and the basement windows are just as old. A basement window kept popping open, and they open to the inside. I noticed there were a few left over 20' pieces of wood trim never used, so I placed one end on the bottom part of the window frame, bent the trim so it bows, and stuck the other end in the corner of the wall opposite. It holds true and fits like a glove. That was four years ago, and I promise myself I'm going to fix it properly. Tomorrow.
9. When not working, just hit it!
We were overhauling a centrifugal pump to replace the wear rings. It's a pretty standard thing but for some reason, when we reassembled it, the impeller wasn't rotating.
We checked for the shaft key and if it was coupled to the motor properly; all fine! After two hours of trying everything possible, the trainee engineer just said "what if we hit it with something?"
We hit the casing with a sledge hammer a few times. Not too hard, the casing is made of cast iron. The thing starts working.
10. Broken sofa legs equality
Back when I was in 6th grade at school, we had new sofas in the common room (a room where our year could hang out and relax/work/listen to music on our time off). They had been there only a couple of days before one of the legs snapped off one of the sofas.
Now we could have attempted to fix it, or just left it missing a leg but there were often checks and cleaners moving furniture would have noticed it was broken and we would have got in trouble for "not respecting school property."
So we did the only sensible thing, which was break all the legs off the sofa, and then all the sofas in the room so they were all at the same height. We stashed the legs in the ceiling, and nobody knew a thing.
11. Play it dumb
Getting onto the NJ Turnpike once, there was an attendant at each both handing out something to each driver. I assumed that meant the machines that issue tickets indicating where you got on were broken.
Turns out they were handing out pamphlets advertising EasyPass, and I had skipped the functioning ticket machine. By Turnpike rules, I would have to pay the full fee as though I had driven the entire length.
As I approached my exit, I came up with a plan: act stupid. When I pulled up to the tollbooth window, I said, against every grammatical fiber in my being, "I ain't got no ticket."
The attendant rolled her eyes and asked where I had entered.
Playing dumb saved me about $5.
12. Dinner reservation for 4 on the spot
My folks were in town, and my wife and I wanted to take them to dinner.
We head to a nearby mediocre steakhouse at the request of my parents, and it's around 6:00pm.
The hostesses tell us there's a minimum 45 minute wait. I get suspicious, as their parking lot had barely any cars, so I peek around into their dining area. There are several open tables that would fit a party of 4. Mildly annoyed, I ask the hostesses why we can't be seated at any of these tables. They reply that they're being held for future reservations.
I get on my smartphone, open the OpenTable app, make a reservation for 6:15pm for a party of 4, and we're seated immediately.
13. Buy and refund
A few years ago, my parents bought a sound bar from Best Buy, around mid-November. Two weeks later, Black Friday rolls around, and the sound bar is on sale. I happened to be visiting, so we roll over to Best Buy, receipt in hand, to see about getting a price adjustment. It's busy, but not terribly so... but the manager flat refuses, and says they won't do any price adjustments on Black Friday sales. I can tell my parents are about to blow a fuse, so I pull them away.
Instead, we go over to the speaker section, grab the identical sound bar, and take it up front to buy (at the lower price.) As soon as we're done at checkout, we take the box to the customer service counter, and return it with the old (higher price) receipt, no questions asked.
14. Duct tape to the rescue!
Got a football stuck in a tree. We tried for about 20 minutes to throw balls at it to get it down and to climb high enough to remove the ball. Nothing worked. I tried to be funny and said, "I know what to do!" I ran to my garage and got out some duct tape.
"DUCT TAPE SOLVES EVERYTHING!"
I threw the roll of tape and knocked down the ball.
15. The vacuum sucking character costume
I work at an all student run drama program at my high school. 2 years ago we were putting on a production of beauty and the beast. The problem was how we would show the beasts transformation at the end of the play. He couldn't leave stage, and taking the costume off took 30+ seconds. Eventually, a friend of mine had the idea of strapping a small vacuum to the beasts back and sucking it off. We all laughed our butts off until we realized "OH! that may actually work." With a little lighting misdirection by yours truly, the vacuum sucked off the costume in half a second, and no one even saw it happen. Still can't believe that worked.
16. Blame it on the month of February
One time I worked in a call center for a cell phone provider (vendor). It was like my 3rd day on the job and I still didn't understand the concept of prorates. Neither did most of my customers!
So one lady gets on the phone and is complaining because her bill has prorates. I knew the charges were accurate, but because I'm mathematically retarded, I was doing a poor job of explaining the prorates.
I noticed her bill was printed in February. I told the woman February has fewer days in it, so that's why the bill looked weird. She said "Oh. I get it. Thank you!" Boom, call over.
But now I do understand prorates so I won't have to worry about that again should the matter come up.
17. So much for verification
I wanted to get a seat on a plane with a friend who already booked. So I call into the airline and tell them I want so and so seat number. They say okay. I tell them how I'm traveling with a friend and just wanted to sit with them. Then they ask me for my friends name and address and passport number. I give them name and addy but I dont have her passport number, and she wasn't available to call or anything at the time. They ask me if she's there with me, I say no. Then they tell me that if they can't verify I am a friend of this person, I can't get assigned that seat. And that's the end of the call. So, I call back, get a different service agent and request the same seat without any of the background information. They say, done. And thats the end of the call.
18. How to fix a car dent
There was a small, but noticeable dent in the side of my car for several years. Some of my friends and I were playing basketball in a parking lot and a hard pass caused it. It was honestly no big deal.
Fast forward a few years. I'm chatting in the parking lot with a woman I work with. She spots the dent and says, "I can fix that right up." She goes back to her car and gets a plunger.
She plunged the dent right out of my car. Like it was never there.
19. A jump in grades
In the summer of 10th grade, my parents decided I needed to go live with my mom in a different city. So I moved and decided to try school online for what I assumed was my 11th grade year. I wasn't doing very well, so before the school year was almost over I went to an actual school. So at some point I had to sit down with my advisor and determine what classes I wanted to take for the next year. She kept referring to my next year as 11th grade. I was confused and thought she was too, so I reiterated that I would be senior next year. She tells me no, I am still in the 10th grade!!!?!?!? Anyways, I decided to move back in with my dad and go back to the school I was at in that town. I never mentioned to anyone that I apparently failed the tenth grade and should be in 11th for what should be my senior year. But I enrolled as a senior and graduated that year. I still have no idea what or how that even happened.
20. The curling iron panic
My psych professor told us about this patient. She was a woman in her late 40's, suffering from OCD and paranoia. Everyday while she drove to work, she would panic that she left her curling iron on, and it was going to burn her house down. So she would turn around, drive home, make sure it was unplugged, and then leave again.
But as time went on she started making multiple trips home, sometimes in the middle of the day, and she was about to lose her job over this. No therapy was working, her medications weren't working, coping techniques weren't working. Nothing could calm this woman.
Then she saw my professor. And my professor told her to bring her curling iron in the car with her. So if she got nervous that it was still plugged in, she could look over and see that it was next to her.
21. When both beam lights go out
Drove to a neighboring town 80 miles away with one burned out headlight, remaining headlight went out while in said town. I had no money, and shops were closed regardless. These were dual beam, so although I had lost both headlights, the high beams worked. I didn't make it out of town with getting honked at and flashed repeatedly by angry passing motorists, and understandably so. What was I to do? I continued down the highway and made it about 15 miles before I'm pulled over by the first officer to see me. I explain the situation, officer has no suggestions (this was before cell phones), tells me I can go but that I won't make it home without getting stopped again. I pull over at the next exit, get a free water, dump it in the dirt, make a thin mud, and smeared it over my lights. Worked like a charm, no more honks or flashes, passed multiple officers.
22. How to ditch a test and pass it after
I was in high school, I had a huge test that I didn't study for and was known at the school for ditching classes. I really needed to pass this test so after the bell dismissing us from the class prior, I walked myself straight to the office, told the secretary that I was caught swearing in the halls and was sent there to see the principal by one of the staff. I sat on the bench and waited for 20 minutes for the principal to call me in. The next 45 minutes consisted of him scrolling the staff directory asking me which teacher it was that sent me and lecturing me about behaving appropriately in the halls. Needless to say I missed the class and my principal wrote me a note excusing me. That night, I studied my butt off and passed the test the following day.
23. Dog walk for gas
My friends and I were driving cross country and ran out of gas about 5 miles short of a gas station. so we waved down a dude in a pickup truck. He rolls up with huge dog (Bernese mountain I think) and says he'd offer us a ride but his dog is too big to fit anyone else. So I offered to walk his dog so my friend could go with him and grab gas. He said ok. So, I walked a strangers dog in the middle of Nebraska field for gas.
24. The grandma whisperer
Nurses here will recognize this one. Once I was dealing with an extremely agitated and fearful Alzheimer's patient who had been "sundowning" since 3pm (sundowning is an occurrence in some Alzheimer's patients where their mental function gets worse and worse as the day goes on/once it starts to get dark).
Anyway, this sweet old lady was having an absolute fit. All through my shift (night shift yay) I was running in and out of her room. The bed alarm kept going off, she was so confused, afraid... I desperately wanted her to go to sleep. Mind you I had 7 other patients! I finally walk her out to the nurses station and plop her down in a seat next to me while I do my charting. She is yelling at me and throwing things. I've had it at this point and I'm running out of ideas. I finally look at her and say, "how will I ever finish with the wash? My husband will be so mad when he gets home! Would you help me finish??"... she looks me right in the eye, clear as day, and says "dammit sister don't you ever learn? Give me that laundry!"... haha so I grab a stack of folded towels and mess them up real quick and plop them in front of her. She folded all of them. I would say oh look at that! She turned around and I would mess the towels up again. This went on a few times until this sweet lady just passed out, exhausted from being so worked up earlier (and maybe from all the towel folding). I slowly push her in the desk chair down the hall and gently get her back into bed. She started to wake up and I leaned down and whispered, "all the wash is done. You have nothing else to worry about!" She slept throughout the night. We were both happy. I am the grandma whisperer.
25. Kidney stone issue
I've had kidney stones off and on for about 15 years now. Varies with soda consumption... but I primarily try to drink water now, so in the past 5 years, I think I've had 2 or 3 issues.
It's called Jump 'n Bump. I found it online years ago, but it's not available anymore. I was reading it while on the toilet in dire pain during one attack (you get the feeling like you gotta deuce...but really nothing happens). Their suggestion is to drink warm water, 12-16 oz worth, wait half an hour, and then jump. The jump is as high as you can, but the key is that you lock down your heels prior to hitting the floor so that when you come down you basically jar your body - and in turn the stone loose.
The first time I tried this, I think it was 2 rounds of jumping, and a massive stone came out. It occurred again about a year later, and I believe it took 3 jumps before it got loose. I don't remember passing it.
The bump part of it is for older folks. They suggest, instead of jumping, the folks are to take a seated position on something solid and hard, and drop down abruptly. Same idea, jarring the stone loose.
Anyway ... hope someone finds that helpful. It was weird to me, but it works!
26. Spaghetti bridge challenge
Freshman year of college, I go to the first Association of Computing Machinery meeting and there's an icebreaker activity involving building a bridge made of dried spaghetti. The bridge is to span two chairs and hold a bucket of candy. There were simple designs, over-engineered designs and then there's the one team who took the bundle of spaghetti, moved some sticks out to make tapered ends to span the length between chairs, taped the bundle up tightly and spent the rest of the time chatting. Not only did their design showed no sign of breaking, it held the most candy in the bucket. For the rest of my college years, that bundle of spaghetti hung in the club office with a sign that said something like "Sometimes brute force is the best solution".