June 2, 2022 | Eul Basa

These Rules Backfired 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 worked for a consulting company, traveling Monday through Thursday somewhere in my country. We had a pretty good hotel allowance (enough for five-star hotels) and a great rule: If you stayed with a friend, you got an allowance (about a third of the hotel allowance) to buy gifts for the host. I got the rare treat of a six-month project in the town where my best friend from childhood was going to university.

We made a great arrangement: I would crash at his place and we could spend the evenings drinking, watching movies, and play video games. In return, I used the gift allowance to order dinner for the two of us. After submitting my first expense report, I was told by some HR drone that the gift allowance was supposed to be used seldomly, and not for food for myself. Well, I wasn’t about to let that get in the way of a good time.

I booked a room in a five-star hotel, was upgraded to a junior suite because of my rewards status, and invited my friend to evenings of drinking, video games, and room service. After my second expense report, the project manager asked me about the tripling of the expenses compared to the first report. After explaining the situation and pointing out what sum of money it would amount to over the six months, he got in contact with HR.

Two days later, the rule was rescinded. The project even got my friend a PS3, which was new at the time, as a thank you for letting me stay with him.

Customer servicePixabay

2. Fumble

At my former job in software development, there was a foosball table in the office. People would play reasonably often, but just one game to take a break. One day, management came down to the software engineering floor and saw people playing foosball in the middle of the afternoon. They declared "no foosball until 4:30 PM."

That ended up making it so that everybody knows when there would be other people wanting to play foosball, so it was much easier to find somebody willing to play and significantly increased the amount of foosball played at work.

Rules Backfired FactsUnsplash

3. Everyone Makes Mistakes—Sometimes, On Purpose

I worked for a place that did RMA repairs on PCs. Most of our clients were businesses like hospitals and factories. Anyway, as I was touring the workshop during my orientation, the guy taking me around took me to the QA department. Once all builds or repairs are made, they're sent to the QA department for a final inspection before going out to the customer.

The guy jokingly said, "We used to pay the QA guys bonuses for every mistake they found on a build." I started laughing. The only problem was it wasn't a joke. They actually paid bonuses to the QA people who found mistakes on builds. For anyone not familiar with the internal workings of a PC, it could take less than three seconds to completely render a computer inoperable.

It’s weird because you could loosen a connection just by inspecting it. Luckily that policy ended before I was hired. I mean can you imagine giving someone a bonus for finding screw-ups when it would take almost no effort to make a screw-up and then claim you found it?

Lawyers Screwed factsShutterstock

4. Give Me A Break

I worked for a company that had mandatory one-hour lunch breaks. Since we ate on the premises, our lunch break was often 15 minutes or so. We tried negotiating having shorter lunch breaks so we could leave earlier and beat traffic. The next day an e-mail was sent from the owner, stating the fixed work and break hours for the whole team, and they were to be followed with no exceptions.

Cool! Next week, a big client called about halfway through our lunch, and nobody moved. It rang and rang until said owner took the call, talked to them, and immediately came to scold us. "Sorry, boss, as per your rules, we are off until 1 PM, no exceptions." A couple of weeks later, we did some work on site for the same client.

They were, to be honest, one of the coolest clients I ever had in my life. They took us out to lunch, and while talking, we ended up relaying the owner's rule. They had a big chuckle over it, and while the project lasted, they made a point to always call while we were at lunch break just to annoy the owner.

Rules Backfired FactsShutterstock

5. My Strange Addiction

An old roommate of mine was a senior developer for a small company. It was an open secret that one of the other senior developers, a guy who had been there since the beginning, would sometimes spend time looking at plastic surgery photos—before/after shots, photos of active procedures, etc. He did it enough that people would poke fun at him about it, but he didn't seem embarrassed about it, and it wasn't harming anyone.

Well, one day a project manager said something to the CEO about this guy's ongoing plastic surgery obsession, and the CEO flipped. He said that, going forward, no one was allowed to use their work computers to access external websites AT ALL. Anyone who's ever been a developer knows that half the job is googling stuff, so this policy pretty much halted productivity in its tracks.

It only lasted a day before the CEO retracted the rule, but let everyone know that their browser history would be monitored going forward. After that, no one really changed their behavior, they just started remotely accessing their home computers to browse instead.

Rules Backfired FactsUnsplash

6. No Means Yes

I worked at Starbucks for like 5+ years before and during undergrad and at one point our district manager thought it was a good idea to implement a "just say yes" policy, where we literally weren't allowed to tell the customer no. It lasted for about three months and in that three months, our unaccounted product and waste went up over 300% because when the point of sale system didn't have a way to punch in a customer request, we had to just do it anyways.

We also got complaints from stores in surrounding districts because they had angry customers who were requesting things that were against local food service code, and told them that we did it for them at our store. I knew exactly how that policy was going to play out and I just laughed every time management was freaking out about the problems it was causing.

Rules Backfired FactsUnsplash

7. Unsubscribe!

My spouse's workplace realized they didn't have a policy about sending graphic images or jokes as part of their email acceptable use policy, so they added it. Except they made it a firing offense to send or receive graphic content. I think the intent was to stop people from subscribing to such content. They also said that your access would be immediately revoked until a determination was made.

So, someone got fired at my job for something else and decided to send their whole management chain a graphically explicit image, then report it using the anonymous tip line. IT got the report, concluded they did indeed receive graphic content, and did as required—suspended all the involved email accounts.

Teacher disturbing studentUnsplash

8. This Decision Stinks

The dealership I was working at decided they wanted to save money by not having the cleaning crew come in after hours. People started leaving the dealership to go home to go to the bathroom because they were disgusting. I lived pretty far away, so I would just go use the manager’s private bathroom.

Rules Backfired FactsUnsplash

9. Ring Around The Rosie

The bottom floor of my secondary school was a square that had a corridor all the way around. After some incident where a kid got knocked over, they implemented a one-way system. Unfortunately, they were Very Strict on enforcing it. If you accidentally walked past your class, you couldn't just turn around. They seemed very proud of their new rule...until everyone started showing up late for class because they had to do extra laps of the bottom floor.

Rules Backfired FactsUnsplash

10. This Round’s On Me

We couldn't buy drinks at lunch with cash money. Instead, we had to buy these vouchers. They were just cheaply made laminated pieces of paper. This was 2001, I was 13 and bored. I scanned the vouchers and printed them out on paper that kind of matched the color of the vouchers and laminated them myself. They were horribly made and not even the right color on the backside.

I “made” about a hundred of them of passed them out after I tried paying with them myself and encountered no problems. Made some new friends and upped production. Took them about three weeks to find out, but by then the fakes ones had intermingled with the real ones and had already been resold to students via the student office. About half of the vouchers sold were fakes.

Drinks were cash only from then on. They had no choice to accept the fakes one for a little while longer though, as they had sold and charged people for some of them.

Rules Backfired FactsShutterstock

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

My principal banned pink silicone bracelets. They were being sold in town to raise money for breast cancer. Six months later she had to have chemo to treat her breast cancer. It’s not really funny, but it is kind of ironic. Yes she survived, I still see her around town on occasion, full remission, back to better health than before.

Rules Backfired FactsShutterstock

12. Out Of Office & Out Of Their Minds

A place I used to work had a rule that executive-level staff needed to be contactable when on leave, so they had a section on the leave form for the address of where you'd be staying and a contact number. Some knuckle-shuffler in HR decided it applied to all staff—and the shenanigans began. People would put down the address and phone number of different shops, sports grounds, medical clinics.

I gave the latitude and longitude of the place I was going camping and the UHF channel my radio would be tuned to.

Stupid Rules Backfired factsGetty Images

13. Just Get A Burner Phone

My company used to be a small start-up. In my first year, I was the Project Manager and Architect for a global system rollout. I put in my vacation days for Burning Man six months out (in February), and my PTO was approved. Then a few months later (~June) my boss (who had been head of the IT department) got a new boss (new head of IT).

With a month to go until Burning Man, the new head of IT told me that my project rollout was too important for me to be uncontactable at all and that I would need to take a satellite phone to Burning Man or my vacation would be canceled. We were still three months from go live but he decided that we were at a critical moment that I had to be available for.

However, neither my boss nor the new head of IT wanted to carry out the daily $18/minute satellite phone calls with me, probably because they knew it was violating some labor law. So they got one of the guys in the London office to call me in the Black Rock Desert each day. I said I wouldn’t take the calls before 1 pm, which was 9 pm for our man in London.

Every day he called he had had a few beers, and didn’t give a care about project updates, he just wanted to know what parties I’d been to and what art I’d seen.

Burning Man Facts Wikimedia Commons

14. Fighting Fire With Fire

In Las Vegas, the fire departments had a policy that if someone called out and you covered their shift, you get paid overtime. Eventually, every firefighter at every department was trading shifts so that they were always making overtime. It went on unnoticed for over a year. It was a HUGE scandal and the ones in charge who let it go on and effectively cost the city millions had the book thrown at them hard.

Best day on the jobPexels

15. Jackpot

Not sure if this applies, but I worked at a restaurant that started doing Thursday Night Trivia in hopes of getting more customers. The prize for the winner was that their bill would get comped. One guy asked to have everyone in the restaurant's food put on his ticket... And then won. They stopped doing trivia night after that experience.

Rules Backfired FactsUnsplash

16. Victim Blaming

In chemistry class, we had plastic bottles of distilled water, which could be squeezed to produce a small jet of water. We used to spray one another’s crotches to make it look like you just relieved yourself. To counter this, our teacher introduced a punishment to anyone caught spraying OR HAVING BEEN SPRAYED. Hence, if you could spray someone and get away with it, they would have wet trousers AND have to write excerpts from a Martin Luther King speech.

Needless to say, the punishment for being sprayed was quickly abolished.

Rules Backfired FactsShutterstock

17. What Goes Up Can’t Come Down

To make moving between classes more efficient, they had designated up and down stairways. But they didn't take into account that the stairs were located at the ends of the very long corridors, which meant it was impossible to get to your next class on time. Because of this, no one bothered trying to get to class on time, and just blamed the stairway rule.

Rules Backfired FactsWikimedia Commons

18. Race Against Time

When I was a teacher, one of my classes had an issue since the class they were coming from was on the other end of the building and downstairs. Considering that I always saw them rushing to at least try to get to class on time, I never enforced the rule against tardiness for that class. Luckily, they were a great group and none of them ever took advantage of it.

Not like other girlsPexels

19. We Don’t Support That Rule

My high school principal was known for sending girls home to change if their bra straps were showing. In my sophomore year, he tried to send one of my classmates home, but she knew just how to put him in his place. She was like, "Nah, I've got a change of clothes, no need to send me home." So she went to the bathroom, took her bra off, and made a show of putting it in her locker.

Well, she sparked a whole revolution. The principal was mad, but couldn't do anything about it since she technically was following the dress code. It became a thing. Like, hundreds of high school girls removing their bra at school or just showing up braless as a big screw you to the principal.

Unfair Things Teachers Have Dona FactsShutterstock

20. The General Moron

The general manager did this when I worked at Best Buy. If you were late, he'd send you home. Even if it was only by five minutes. Nearly every department was understaffed on any given day because of it. Sometimes the schedules would be changed without the employee’s knowledge. The GM would call the employee asking where they were, telling them to get to the store ASAP.

When they got there, he'd reprimand them in front of customers and send them home only seconds after walking into the store. One or two people quit on the spot when that happened to them. I specifically remember one employee taking off his nametag and throwing it in the GM’s face. That was special.

Rules Backfired FactsShutterstock

21. This Whole Situation Is Out Of Order

I worked in a gym. The Smyth machine, this huge squat rack type thing, wasn’t bolted to the floor and rocked back and forth. I come on shift, see the problem, mark it out of order and call the company in to fix it. I leave a note for the boss, who takes the out-of-order sign off it. This cycle repeats almost every time I come on shift and it’s back in play. Well, that stupid manager got what was coming to him.

We get sued by a member who hurts his back on it. Solicitor comes in. I point him to where we leave notes for management about maintenance. They then settle with the member.

Rules Backfired FactsUnsplash

22. Antisocial Networks

Back in 2011, a company I worked for had the bright idea to block all social networks because, you know, employees should work instead of slacking off on Facebook. I could write volumes of books on the toxic culture in that place, but the owner/president who lived in a different country and visited about once every few months was universally feared by everyone and a few days before his arrival the whole building went into panic mode.

So, a few weeks after the social network ban, his royal highness shows up, and five minutes later half of IT department is scrambling to his office. Apparently, there was an issue with the Wi-Fi, or at least that’s what he figured, since he couldn’t log onto Facebook. It was fixed in seconds. A few years and three promotions later, I make a joke about it with him.

Instead of a laugh, I get a confused look. Turns out he still thinks it was “some internet problem” since whoever decided to ban social networks didn’t have the balls to tell him about it after the incident.

Rest My Case factsShutterstock

23. Paper, Plastic, Or Pointless?

The grocery store I work at is now required to charge five cents for plastic bags. Because of this, we have a lot of customers requesting paper bags. Since our paper bags are poor quality, we typically double bag so they don’t rip. Well, one day the store manager sees a cashier doubling paper bags and yells at them because paper bags are more expensive and we can’t afford to double bag them, so now we have a new rule you can’t double paper bags unless they’re really heavy.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, and my bagger is using single paper bags. Right as the store manager walks by, the bagger picks up one of the bags that wasn’t even that heavy and it rips right open, right in front of the manager. We’re allowed to double bag them now.

Tales from retailShutterstock

24. Leaving The Client High And Dry

I worked as a carpet cleaner and we weren't allowed to clean anything with moisture already there. We had these moisture meters that were super sensitive—they would go off from the steam accumulated on the top of a pizza box or from touching your hand—so if we didn't want to do a job, we'd test the living heck out of their carpet.

Sometimes it'd go off and we could go off and do something else. But I heard stories of guys doing fake readings by touching the probes with their fingers as they poke the carpets to set them off. I never did that, but I completely understand the desire to.

Disturbing homesShutterstock

25. Time Trials

I worked in a call center and we had a clock system. We were allowed to arrive five minutes early then get on the phones at their scheduled time. One girl figured out they would pay for those five minutes. She started clocking in earlier and earlier until she was arriving an hour early and sat around for an hour every day.

Five extra hours of overtime every week, for close to a year or more until she quit, with no one one in management catching wind.

Ridiculous 9-1-1 Calls factsShutterstock

26. Working The System

One of the first jobs I had, was as a trainee in a big corporation's office. My supervisor noticed I came in a few minutes late once and told me off for it. I did arrive at 9:03 or whatever, but a few more minutes and my computer was booted up and I started working. Same day, close to 9:30, I saw several coworkers coming out of the kitchen with coffee still in their hands and chatting, getting to their desks and just then booting their computers.

Boss didn't say a word. So, I took up joining my coworkers for a 30-min coffee break every single morning for the two or three months I continued to work there.

Lawyers wish could forgetUnsplash

27. Appearance Is Everything

I had one job where I would get there about 10-15 minutes early every single day because I took the bus and the busses ran near perfectly. I was usually working 10 minutes before my “start time,” so I didn’t think it was too big a deal that I left two minutes early to catch my bus home. Wrong. My boss saw me leaving once at 4:28 to get my 4:33 bus, and she chewed me out for leaving early.

You could show up 30 minutes early and they’d ignore you, but if you tried to leave one minute early, they’d write you up. It’s nonsense too because we weren’t hourly and my work was getting done every day and on time. And they didn’t care if you showed up at 7:59 and hung out in the kitchen for 30 minutes or took a smoke break at 8:37, as long as you stayed until your end of day. They want the appearance.

Worst Co-workers FactsShutterstock

28. Come Se Dice Pointless

I worked at a language teaching center where the lessons are pre-planned by the curriculum and on weekdays, we often only have 2-3 hours of classes sporadically spread out through the afternoon/evening. The management was pretty chill when I started, and people just planned their lessons in bulk—which basically entailed checking your schedule and printing out the required unit/session worksheets—and just showed up 10 minutes before to deliver the lesson.

On weekends we'd have full 10-hour workdays. Apart from that, we'd have the odd training session or faculty meeting but otherwise you could basically go home or go do whatever you wanted between lessons. All the provided apartments were within 10 minutes walking distance of the center, so this was pretty ideal. The nice managers left, and the new management were jerks who started scheduling mandatory “office hours” where we had to be in the center with absolutely nothing to do.

There'd be a noon staff meeting and my next lesson would be at 4-6pm, with three and a half 'office hours' in the middle. When we asked them what we should do, they said “think about your teaching methods.” Basically, just to sound superior. A bunch of the other teachers starting watching movies on the projectors in the spare classrooms, I brought in my Switch, some people would just straight up go nap on the beanbags in the reading nook.

The thing was, there was literally no busywork they could generate and soon it was apparent to everyone—especially prospective new students and parents—how unprofessional and awful it made the center look. The managers embarrassingly just stopped scheduling and enforcing these office hours.

Worst Co-workers FactsUnsplash

29. Hitting Below The Belt

I went to a strict Catholic school with uniforms. The kids in fourth to eighth grade had to wear belts until we got a new principal who made it mandatory for all the kids in the school to wear belts. There were many bathroom accidents from kindergartners, first and second graders who couldn’t unbuckle them fast enough, and complaints from parents, of course.

The principal rescinded her addition to the dress code. More recently, this principal was fired for embezzling money from the school.

Rules Backfired FactsUnsplash

30. When Three Become One

Back in 2014, our HR made a rule people couldn’t go to other buildings. We had three buildings within a block of each other. All three had shipping areas and the warehouse employees had to go to each building to work. We were told to stay at one building. I mentioned we ship out of all three, who is going to do the work? The genius said, “Oh, it’ll be taken care of.”

The next day a $500k shipment didn’t go out. The following day, we have a meeting. Why didn’t you ship this? Uh, two days ago we were told to stay in our building and someone would take care of it. The rule was quickly changed.

Rules Backfired FactsShutterstock

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

This still makes me furious when I think about it. There was a guy on our team that was great, very good at his job, and very knowledgeable about the client. One day he was fired without warning. It turns out that he lived in Green Bay, but was working remotely for our Minneapolis office. Everyone knew this and didn't care, until HR found out. According to his boss, they should have known in the first place, but they don’t know what they’re doing.

They didn't like that he wasn't in the office with the rest of us, so they booted him for lying. Well, two months later, everyone was suddenly forced to work remotely. Now they're hiring left and right, including people from all over the country where we don't have offices. The irony wasn't lost on any of us.

People fired factsShutterstock

32. Ronaldo Junior

My kid got suspended for “fighting,” because he finally got tired of being made fun of by a friend of his. This kid was like 80 lbs. soaking wet, five feet tall, and ran his mouth constantly. My kid is like 135 lbs., 5’10” tall, and super placid. He didn’t want to get into it, but the kid shoved him, so of course, he shoved him back. Kid decides to do a soccer-style injury and throws himself back onto the floor.

I got a call from the school that only MY kid was being suspended because the other kid’s mom works in the school. This was like the third time he picked fights with other kids and got away with it. Ugh. I told my kid I didn’t care; he wasn’t in trouble. I told the principal that I wanted BOTH boys to talk to the counselor together to hash it out.

He refused and said the other kid didn’t have to but mine did. Ugh. Zero tolerance, yeah, right.

Shouldn’t Have Done That FactsShutterstock

33. Assistant To The Regional Manager, Private School Edition

The private school where I used to work hired a "Second Deputy Head," whose main function seemed to be creating rules and policies without stopping to consider whether they were really needed. Their piece de resistance was to give all the students little laminated cards advising them that if they were being picked on, they were supposed to tell their tormentor "I've had enough, I want you to stop doing/saying that."

The students, all in their mid to late teens, reacted predictably; most of the cards were soon spotted floating in the river that ran through the village where the school was located, and the phrase "I've had enough, I want you to stop doing/saying that" was used frequently—by students to whichever member of staff asked them to comb their hair/make their bed/settle down and work.

I do remember asking one of the school's star rugby players whether the phrase had ever been used the way it had been intended, and his response was, "Yes, but I kicked the guy in the nuts while I said it."

Revenge backfireShutterstock

34. The Power Trip

The boss constantly whined and complained that we all (welders and millwrights) took lunch and breaks whenever we felt like it (actually just when we got the chance) and implemented a rule that if you didn’t take your break/lunch at the right time you didn’t get them. Myself and another welder got sent to do a repair that was about a two-hour drive from the shop first thing in the morning, boss said it was going to be a quick fix so we didn’t bring our lunches.

We needed the machine running ASAP because it was costing a quarter of a million an hour for downtime. It turns out his quick fix was a pretty major welding job, and required us to completely rebuild a motor mount. The operator knew this and had told the boss that was when needed to be done. Well, guess what boss man?

If you just let us take our lunches and breaks when we wanted or had at least told us what the actual job was, we wouldn’t have driven two hours to the job, done one hour of work, driven another two hours back to the shop, ate lunch at noon like we were supposed to, and then driven two hours back to the job to finish it. TLDR: Boss's power trip cost over $1,000,000 in a single day so that we could eat our lunches on time.

Rules Backfired FactsFlickr, Marco Verch

35. Front End, Back End, Dead End

I was the back-end engineer on a very popular site. Our company had a very involved hiring process, and in general, most people we worked with were very competent. We acquired a company with less stringent hiring requirements and my team got a new manager who was a top guy at the acquisition so they wanted to find somewhere to put him and he ended up leading us.

No big deal, we were tech-oriented and the tech leads mostly did the work managers did at other companies and in general, you didn't interact with your manager day-to-day except during performance reviews, which they were mainly supposed to collate and summarize from your immediate collaborators, and if you needed something administrative or whatnot.

At my first review meeting with him, he was like, "What have you done, from where I sit, I have not seen you do anything." And I'm confused. I submitted plenty of CLs. Implemented some new features. All in all, I thought I was doing well. I tried to explain what I did and he just sort of nodded along and was acting like I was lying.

Eventually, he brought up the website and asked me to point to what I did. I'm like…everything behind it. He was having none of it. He pointed to a UI change and was like Bob did that and pointed to another new button for a feature and was like Sue did that. What did you do? I tried to explain that I did everything that actually happens when you press that button, and Sue and Bob are front-end engineers.

He didn't really understand the difference. It was very confusing and I left with a bad review and a bad attitude note. He was transferred to another less important team shortly after that and quietly let go a couple of months later. I am still not sure he understands the difference between the buttons on a website and the infrastructure behind them.

Dumbest Things Explained factsShutterstock

36. Incommunicado

I work for a furniture store. They recently came out and said that everyone had to download a super invasive app and that it was 100% required. When they realized nobody was doing it, they said that's fine, but no cell phones allowed in the delivery vehicles. It's working great because if we can't find a place, "oh well," the furniture goes back, we're out and off work.

They can't call us and ask us where we're at because we don't have phones. They want to send us on a really long store trip? No clue where that is. They refuse to get us a GPS and send us out to the middle of who knows where.

Rules Backfired FactsShutterstock

37. Broken Telephone

Control-freak boss says: "All rescheduling of a lesson with a client should be run through a secretary, who will do the room reservation update, and keep me updated." Implicit threat: "If you let clients reschedule too easily, you are a worthless wimp that I don't want to work with." Old version: client contacts you directly, you work it out together quickly and inform the secretary of the new date/time so she can change the room reservation. Boom and done.

New version: Secretary receives change request from client, but doesn't know your availabilities. Contacts you. Gets your availabilities. Sends them to client when she has time, because it's frankly a low priority for her. Clients eventually picks a date, and sends it back to the secretary, who sends it on to you, you send confirmation.

OR.....Calendars often have changed in the meantime due to new circumstances so.... Back-and-forth a few times before a new date/time is chosen. Secretary reserves the room for that time date. This chews up so much time that the secretary falls behind with her other work, slowing down the process, which increases the chance of a calendar change obliging another run-through.

The new system lasted about four days. Then an overloaded secretary went on stress-related medical leave. The workload was shared in equal parts between the other secretaries. So...three days later, another secretary went on stress-related sick leave. When the boss tried to re-apportion the workload again, he got what was coming to him.

It came in the form of an immediate face-full of secretaries yelling “What is wrong with you?!” and the next-to-last secretary storming out in tears to go on stress-related sick leave. The new system was extinguished right there and then. As the French say, "When you chase away the easy way, it will come galloping back."

Nightmare Co-Workers factsShutterstock

38. Nature Calling

I work in a geo-tracked van, so I don't have access to bathrooms, and when needed, I have to drive to a bathroom on breaks between visits. I can't exactly control when I'll need the loo. My boss decided to threaten my job by saying I am not allowed to use the bathroom outside of my two 10-minute breaks (if I even manage to even have them) or my one 30-minute lunch break.

Remember, my work is people-based and therefore there is zero ability to know how much time each appointment will take until I get there. It also depends if I am anywhere near a public bathroom. He watched my geolocation and reported me for unauthorized stops when I would stop in for two minutes for a bathroom break outside of a dedicated 10-minute break—which I was only ever able to take maybe once a fortnight, we were so busy.

The constant holding it in and stressing my system caused me to get a kidney infection. The nurse at the hospital said the main cause is not using the bathroom enough—why wasn't I going? She wrote it down on her report that I wasn't allowed to use the bathroom while working in a restricted environment and gave me a copy when she signed me out after the appointment.

She wrote me off work for a week to recover. My health concerns cost the company thousands in sick pay and lost hours of me not being able to complete my jobs. Now we are all allowed bathroom breaks at any time during the day, and that manager was made redundant immediately when the option came up.

George Michael Facts Shutterstock

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

Boys at my school started a fight club. They would pick times to meet up in the bathrooms, usually during class time and they would just wrestle on the floor and they would then come back to class after a bit. Teachers would think the long amount of time spent in the bathrooms was just boys being boys, but they started getting suspicious after boys kept coming back covered in water.

And that’s not the worst part. Some of them started relieving themselves on the floor to make getting knocked down worse. The teachers put up a rule that only 2-3 boys could go at a time to the bathroom, and there was always a security guard standing outside the bathroom. Well, the boys created a team roster chart type thing and the 2-3 boys sent in at a time would wrestle.

If they won, they’d move their names up the chart. Teachers never found out.

Rules Backfired FactsShutterstock

40. Using Their Own Rules Against Them

I worked in construction as a traveling assembler. We were not allowed to drive work vehicles for non-work stuff, reasonable enough, since they have to pay me whenever I drive the car. One weekend they told me to take the car home instead of my co-worker. Then, on Saturday, they let us know that we’d split up for the next week and that my co-worker would be needing the car.

So, I logged the four hours of time It took to sort that out, and my friend logged his four hours. We got a good angry call about it and they withdrew the work vehicle. That is all well and good too, except our union rules state that we drive no tools in private cars. So, Monday morning at 7 am, we both call our manager asking where he is with our tools, since it is now his job to sort that stuff out.

We had our work vehicle back by lunch. I think we woke him up, too, which is priceless because he is super strict about time.

Partners Cheating FactsPixnio

41. Running In Circles

My daughter's high school has a one-way movement policy. So, all pupil traffic walks one way around the entire school. So, if she comes out of one classroom and her next classroom is literally one door back, they can’t walk the five meters to that door. She has to walk around the entire school, including up and down three flights of stairs. FOR EVERY SINGLE LESSON!!!

And then they get disciplined if they’re late. Imagine how high the anxiety was on the day they all started at the school and didn’t have a clue where they were going for any class! And imagine if they went around the entire school, only to mistakenly miss the door—they have to start the process again!

Rules Backfired FactsShutterstock

42. Power In Numbers

During high school, as a way to try and improve behavior and decrease amount of people in detention, they brought in this new rule halfway through term where you couldn't sit with your friends during lunch at the canteen, but had to sit with your homeroom class. And if you were caught sitting with your friends, you'd be given after-school detention.

It backfired tremendously. Initially, most people stuck to the rule, but around two or three weeks in we all got fed up, so more and more people started sitting with their friends in the canteen. Within just over a month, no one followed the rule anymore and they just ended up with more than double the people in detention.

It turns out if you threaten the whole school with detention and no one listens, eventually you'll have too many people in detention. So, they scrapped it after six weeks.

Rules Backfired FactsShutterstock

43. This Rule Doesn’t Hold Water

My senior year of high school we got moved into a new school building across from a grocery store. The builders put walls up over the plumbing for water fountains by accident, so there was a huge increase in reusable water bottles, and the school put up a vending machine entirely full of water. Now I suppose it’s time to mention that this was in Washington State, where you can sell liquid courage in grocery stores, along with anything else.

So, some freshman got the bright idea to start taking said liquid courage from the store access the street, fill disposable water bottles with it, and sell it to other students. This caused a huge problem with a large population of underclassmen wandering the halls of the school and getting into trouble. Finally, the staff got together for a meeting about what to do.

Someone suggested banning water bottles. So now students had NO access to water during school hours, and everyone was enraged. There were articles written about it and parents complaining. People all over town were talking about how we had a ban on water. They eventually lifted the ban, and the substance problem resumed.

Water FactsShutterstock

44. Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire

In my dorm, if you did something that triggered the smoke/fire alarm, you had to do a safety presentation for everyone on your floor. This was intended to deter pranksters from pulling the alarm. A guy on our floor was making grilled cheese in the kitchenette, and burned it, which legitimately triggered the fire alarm.

Afterward, he assumed that since it had been a legitimate alarm, and not a prank, that he wouldn't have to do a presentation. He was, of course, wrong. So, the next Wednesday night, the entire floor assembled, and we were treated to a 30-minute safety presentation on the dangers of grilled cheese sandwiches. It contained literally nothing about fire safety.

It was all choking hazards and cholesterol. Our RA was furious, but the student pointed out that the write-up that he'd been given just said "safety presentation." We didn't get any more presentations after that.

Worst Guests factsShutterstock

45. Sleeping On The Job

The new manager got rid of the sofa in the break room so people couldn't nap on their hour-long lunch break. No one overslept or took the bathroom break, but it was good to have the option on a tough day. There was this one lethargic guy that started sleeping in other places, including in-between walls and in the warehouse.

That's when we started losing him and couldn't find him, as he'd go into a deeper sleep and was less likely to be disturbed. He didn't lose his job somehow, that place had a hard time hiring.

Rules Backfired FactsUnsplash

46. Work In Progress

My four years of high school were full of my school trying out new policies and procedures to use in the future—and they were all pretty stupid. My sophomore year, my school decided to make tests count for 100% of the grade, and homework count for 0% (but it was still assigned). And as you'd expect, kids did absolutely no homework. The ones that didn't retain information well (or were bad test takers) struggled pretty hard to make the grade without homework padding it.

Our failure rate was pretty high that year. Then my junior year, they brought homework grades back and made a new rule that there were no due dates, nor penalties for turning in late work for your six weeks (we didn't do quarters). As long as it was before the next six weeks started, you were good. This led to students doing no homework until the last few days of the six weeks.

Teachers then had to accept and grade them all before grades were due. This put teachers under immense stress by causing them to work insane hours and spend every hour at home grading. Which made them very irritable and more likely to just shove pointless activities and busywork at us until they could finish grading.

Memorable teachersUnsplash

47. Stand Up For Your Right To Sit Down

We got a new manager for our office. She was an outside hire and was trying to prove herself quickly, and she was obsessed with efficiency. So, her first week here she sent out this very rudely worded email about employees eating at our desks. We have a very small break area of four tables and we have about 300 employees here. She said that we all had to stop eating at our desks, because, "it was not efficient to eat and try to work at the same time."

Through a coordinated effort by some of the sassier people at the office, they all had their lunches at the same time and filled the break room with about 90 people. Elbow to elbow, and they all ate standing up. Literally, the next day after that happened, she sent out a follow-up email saying that we could eat at our desks but she advised us to take a break from our work from time to time. It was pretty funny.

Glitch in the matrixPexels

48. Safety Second

I was working as a medical assistant at a private practice medical clinic. Our clinic manager wouldn’t allow the new receptionist to drive to the bank to deposit cash when we needed to. Instead, she made her walk, carrying the money bag so that she couldn’t “drive away with the money.” Bizarre. I know. That went on for a few weeks.

Then the receptionist was mugged and over $1,000 in cash was taken. She was allowed to drive after that.

Lives destroyedUnsplash

49. Poo Patrol

A boss was worried we were "taking away time" by using the bathroom for too long. So, being the nutjob he is, he locked all the bathrooms in the building except the ones he could see from his office door, shut off water to them, put out of order signs on them, and would sit there with a stopwatch timing us between walking into the restroom and walking out, and then would call out the time.

This was ridiculous, over the top, and probably against the law, but he never made a policy officially restricting bathroom time...he just wanted to make everyone feel uncomfortable if they took too long. I discovered that with my height, it was really easy to go through the drop ceiling and over the half wall, and I was the only other person using the men’s room besides my boss, who is short. So, I came up with a devious plan.

I went in, locked it from the inside, did my business, and climbed out the ceiling, leaving the door locked so my boss could not get into the bathroom when he needed to go and was forced to use the ladies...which led to our female employees complaining that he was taking too long in their bathroom. To this day, I don't know if he ever figured out how I was doing that.

Nightmare Roommates FactsShutterstock

50. Oh, How The Tables Have Turned

I am the one who lives closest to work, so if the building alarm goes off overnight, I'm first on the list to get the call from the alarm company. It used to be that if we had good reason to believe the alarm was not an actual break in, we could tell them not to summon the authorities and ignore the alarm. I can access the building cameras from home.

The most common alarm was the cleaning crew who were always messing up the disarming. Then a sister site ignored an alarm that turned out to be an actual break-in, and the facilities director decided that no matter what, if there was an alarm we should have the alarm company summon the authorities, then go to the building, get the authorities all clear, and re-set the alarm.

This was a pain, but rare enough and I lived literally two minutes away. Then we contracted for the alarm company to come in and replace all of our panels and sensors. It was a nightmare process that ultimately ended up taking months, and the whole time there were phantom alarms, sometimes multiple times a night. It was a living nightmare.

Each time I had to go out in the middle of the night, I'd prepare the required report, send it to the facilities director, and request to go back to the old process. Each time he said no, we couldn't afford to miss a potential real break-in. Well, I got my revenge. After about three weeks of this nonsense, I was due for some time off. I was going out of town, and the protocol for that was for me to ignore calls from the alarm company so they moved to the next person on the list...which happened to be the facilities director.

In the five days I was off, I must have ignored at least four overnight calls that all would have gone to him next. Then suddenly, nothing. When I got back, I was informed that for the duration of the alarm update, we just weren't going to arm the building at all. So much for "can't afford to risk a break in!"

Rules Backfired FactsUnsplash

Sources: Reddit,


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