Skip To Content

    23 Times Terrible Rules Backfired In A Big Way, And Now I'm LOLing

    "It lasted one lunch period."

    If you've ever been in school or worked anywhere, you've run into rules.

    So redditor u/Mercurydriver posed to the interwebs: "What is one rule that was implemented at your school or work that backfired horribly?"

    And tales of rules boomeranging hard back to the rule-makers came flying in.

    1. "My middle school had a 'no touching rule,' which meant you'd get suspended for high-fiving a friend. Girls got in trouble for hugging their friends. Our teachers thought this was ridiculous and would have students high-five each other in their classes for a minute every day."

    Closeup of two hands high-fiving

    2. "If you violated the dress code policy, you had to wear these really big gray sweatpants or sweatshirts that said DCV in big orange letters (Dress Code Violation). It became a thing to get caught because they were apparently really comfortable. When the admin finally caught on that people were trying to get them on purpose, they changed it so that you got in-school suspension. Joke's on them for that too. Lots of kids preferred that over being in class."

    u/bonjourkristi

    3. "When I was in kindergarten, during the morning announcements one day they came on and said, 'And please, no throwing snowballs. There is a chance you might accidentally get some rocks in them.''

    A kid outside in coat and warm hat smiling, holding a snowball in gloved hand

    4. "My high school put in a policy so that after the third time you were late, you got detention. They didn't change the absent policy. Tardiness decreased by 52(?)%. Absentees increased 83%. The punishment for missing was nothing until social services comes in."

    u/Griff2470

    5. "A school in my area jacked up the cost of the parking pass. People protested by not buying the pass. Instead they rode the bus. Funny thing is, the county really relies on juniors and seniors driving because they don’t have enough buses for all the students. The parking pass fee dropped. People drove again. Don’t ever let them tell you driving to school is a privilege. They NEED you to drive to school."

    Close up of back of a school bus with letters lightened so it says cool bus

    6. "At a previous job, to try and stop us arriving late at the yard and holding up the bus to the work site, they said if you were more than five minutes late you were docked the first hour's wage. So, obviously, if you noticed you were going to be a bit late you just went to the cafe down the road and had a leisurely breakfast until your docked hour was up."

    u/Mallingerer

    7. "My school banned all balls over a couple of inches in diameter because someone kicked a football through a window during lunch. Most of us that walked home walked past the woods by the golf course and had a ready supply of golf balls as a result. Golf balls were allowed under the new rules due to their size. Three broken windows in one lunch period later, they weren't."

    A hand with painted nails holding multiple golf balls of different colors

    8. "There was a sign in the boys' bathroom asking not to bounce balls on walls. You can bet that wall got humped a lot."

    u/Sharrakor

    9. "Well, it wasn't a school-wide policy, but I had a super-bitchy French teacher who would constantly hand out detentions for things as inconsequential as walking to the trash can to throw away a piece of paper. She absolutely could not deal with the fact that we periodically might need to actually leave our chairs for a perfectly valid reason."

    "One day she locked herself out of the classroom, and nobody would let her back in: 'Sorry! We aren't allowed to get out of our seats!' She had to get the janitor, LOL."

    u/jenglasser

    10. "If you kept a library book past its due date, your parents would have to return it and explain why it's late. It worked about as well as you would think."

    Bookshelf full of books of different colors

    11. "My high school tried to crack down on people wearing their ties too short, as was the fashion. It got to the stage where anything except completely pristine uniforms would get you a detention — which, coming up to exam season, was one more thing we didn't want to deal with. In protest of what was widely seen as a ridiculous rule, ties started getting longer and longer — 1 foot, 2 feet, 2.5 feet, as long as people could get them."

    "It culminated in one girl sewing two ties together into a 5-foot beast that trailed on the floor as she walked and resulted in the Deputy Head having a screaming shitfit one day about how disrespectful we all were to the uniform codes. After that, the teachers quietly gave up on the new hardline approach to uniforms, and everything went back to normal."

    u/Portarossa

    12. "They started a 'no gum' rule that made a lot of junior high kids start a black market for gum."

    A young woman with long hair and glasses blowing a big bubble with gum

    13. "In high school, they banned backpacks in classrooms. Everyone was pissed. Some girls started bringing bigger purses to put their books in, so a bunch of dudes brought their mom's purses in and were using those for school books. Administration and teachers got upset because we found a loophole, so they banned purses too. At which point a bunch of moms got upset because their daughters had to carry around tampons and stuff in their coat pockets, in addition to all of their books, notebooks, calculators, pens/pencils, and whatever else they have in those purses."

    A young girl wearing a backpack on stairs looking up at camera smiling

    14. "'No more smoking at the front gate during recess and lunch.' Then the smokers started leaving at recess and didn't come back the rest of the day."

    u/fantasticmrfox_thm

    15. "At my college, my dorm used to have this thing called Malt Mondays. Someone would go around knocking on doors at around 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. asking if you wanted to order a 40 oz. Then they would go on a run to the liquor store and buy them for people that ordered them. We would then all hang out outside drinking 40s and listening to music until security came and told us to take it inside. It was a fun tradition we had, but the dean hated it. He decided to fund his own Malt Mondays, but instead of malt liquor he wanted to draw people in with free chocolate malts."

    Chocolate milkshake in glass topped with whipped cream and Oreo cookie

    16. "My company, as part of its alcohol policy, said you should not drink for at least four hours before coming to work. When engineers got called about production problems over the weekend, they all 'just had a beer' but could be there in about four or five hours."

    Five label-less beer bottles in a row

    17. "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 — 4 tables and we have about 300 employees here), and 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 more sassy 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."

    u/therealmrthomas

    18. "Our 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 piss, but it was good to have the option on a tough day. Stoner guy 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."

    A guy on a couch with legs propped up and eyes closed, plants and office doors around him

    19. "'Don't do anything unless directed by your boss; any deviation from this will result in write-up/termination.' This was a very literal directive from upper management that took place after an office incident. Our work is very fluid, and our team alone contained 20 people. Needless to say, productivity hit unfounded lows."

    u/squeeeeenis

    20. "I worked for a software company that routed all sales under $100K to 'inside sales,' while larger orders went to the outside sales teams that worked directly with the customers. Until one of the inside sales guys convinced the customer that they didn't need the $2 million software, and only needed a $99K upgrade."

    u/gecampbell

    21. "I used to work for a production company that employed a lot of really skilled, award-winning editors. There were producers and executives and directors, but the real money makers, the people who really made the company were the editors, so the company was basically centered around them. The executives would always order in food for the editors, and the editors would usually eat in their offices while doing their thing. One day the executives decided to cut paid lunches to save money."

    Plate of sashimi next to a smaller dish with soy sauce and chopsticks

    22. "My dad was a corpsman with the Marines doing high desert training in the Mojave. They had a big problem with unidentified snakebites, i.e. people would get bit but not identify the snake, so it was hard to find the right antidote. So my dad got all the Marines in a room and said, 'If you get bit by a snake, bring it back here so we can identify it.' Not even a full week later they had to alter the wording a bit, because a Marine was bit by a rattlesnake and decided to bring it back — without killing it. This man had carried this snake all the way back to base ALIVE, and the snake decided to let him know exactly how he felt about that by repeatedly biting his arm the entire time."

    "Needless to say, that Marine went home, and they made sure to hold another meeting where they told everyone to KILL the snake, then bring it back. (Edit: He kept the arm. They got him to base hospital in roughly 50 minutes and gave him anti-venom. He was out for six weeks.)"

    u/SwordAvoidance

    23. "At a former job (software development), there was a foosball table. 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 p.m.'"

    Employees crowded around a foosball table

    Have you experienced a rule gone wrong? Let us know in the comments!

    Check out the full thread here (H/T: AskReddit).

    Note: Some answers have been edited for length and/or clarity.