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Reddit Asks The Question: 'What's The Dumbest Solution To A Problem That Actually Worked?'

By Petr Knava | reddit | October 6, 2017 |

By Petr Knava | reddit | October 6, 2017 |

The funny thing about ‘dumb’ solutions is that sometimes they are actually really smart, as we find out when Reddit asks the question: ‘What’s The Dumbest Solution To A Problem That Actually Worked?’

You can check out the full thread here, but below are some highlights:


My stepdad was taking a sat nav back to the shop as it was acting strange but the bloke serving him refused to take it as the warranty only covers physical damage (not accidental damage) So he just drop kicked it lightly and the bloke just casually said “that’ll do sir” and went out back to get a replacement. Wasn’t to sure what to think about that


A tick crawled into the headphone jack of my phone.
The next two searches on my phone were:
What eats ticks?
Guinea hen mating noises
After about fifteen seconds of female guinea hen sounds, the tick crawled out of my phone.


Napoleon’s army gaining control of an area by pretending that the war was over.
*Edit - For those that are interested:
Apparently Napoleon’s army was having great difficulty conquering the Austrians who had a strong defensive position along the Danube. The only access to the area was over the Tabor bridge that the Austrians had wired with explosives.
Two of Napoleon’s marshals, with a few grenadiers, decided to walk towards the bridge bearing white flags and laughing.
As they neared the bridge, and while obviously acquiring the attention of the Austrians, they yelled out that there had been a signed armistice (truce).
The marshals were so convincing that the Austrians literally threw all the explosives into the water. The Austrian commander hearing news of this “armistice”, decided to head to the bridge. After witnessing both the French and the Austrian armies standing together, he had no choice but the believe that the war was indeed over. As a result, he handed the bridge and the area over to the French.
Moments later, the Austrian commander and his army were astounded to find themselves prisoners to the French.


I called about a pothole at the entrance of my store. They said since it was in my entrance, I’d have to pay for it.
I called back as a concerned citizen and it’ll be fixed in 72 hrs.


I was working as a paramedic at a music festival when we got called to a kid tripping​ on acid. The guy had climbed to the top of a portable generator stadium light. So he’s 20 feet in the air, on a light pole staring into this blazing midnight sun screaming ,”I’m a moth go into the flame”. We had several cops, firefighters and myself standing at the base for 30 minutes discussing how to get him down without killing him or us. The entire time a crowd of people on drugs is surrounding us to see how it all plays out. Do we get a ladder truck and try to coax him down? What if he won’t go. Do we spay mace up there? What if he falls? All of a sudden this greasy looking janitor walks up, turns off power to the generator, turns on his flashlight​ and aims it at the mothman. Dude looks at the flashlight on the ground, scambles down and follows it to the medical rent like a puppy about to get a snack. I’m embarrassed embarrassed that none of us thought about that.


One of my friends is a teacher and he was finding it hard to deal with his kids dabbing in class. So he started doing it.
In a super “white dude awkwardly trying to fit in with no rhythm” way.
The kids stopped.


It’s not dumb now, but back in the 1850’s when John Snow went around telling everybody that the London Cholera outbreak was being caused by a water pump it was seen as pretty ridiculous.
Back then the leading theory on the cause of disease was that diseases were caused by miasmas or “bad air.” John Snow realized everybody that was getting Cholera was also visiting this one water pump, so he got the city to replace it. Lo and behold, the Cholera outbreak stopped.
Nowadays doing this would probably be on par with suggesting you could stop alzheimer’s by sleeping without a pillow or something


I went to cancel a doctor’s appointment and they said it was a $200 charge without a week’s notice. I asked how much it was to reschedule, they said it was free.
“Okay, so I need to reschedule for two weeks out.”
“Is three weeks okay?”
“Alright, you’re all set for three weeks from now. Anything else I can do for you?”
“Yes, I need to cancel my appointment.”
“We need a week’s notice.”
“My appointment is three weeks away.”
“Oh. Okay. Sure.”
“Thank you.”
Couldn’t believe it worked.
Edit: Well, crap, my most upvoted comment is a story about me conning some poor receptionist. I’m a schmuck.


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. Ignoring the problem fixed it.


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.


This was before high speed internet. We had to transfer a database between two cities 500Km appart and we had only one night to do it. People started searching how to compress the files and rent several expensive digital lines (I think ISDN) to spread the copy.
Then someone said “why don’t we remove the hard drive out of the server and move it there by car?” So I drove 500Km during the night to deliver the disk and mount the new database.


There was a nuresing 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 dementaion 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.


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.
add-on edit: I was wearing the same thing that I wear every day; grey levis, grey work shirt. The couches are nice for the price and while my experience was a bummer, they make good sturdy stuff. I’ll tolerate some customer service dummys for the sake of supporting local jobs any day.


When Buzz Aldrin reentered the LEM he turned and his backpack broke off the switch needed to light the ascent engine. Houston studied the problem and told them to stick a metal pen tip into the hole where the body of the switch was. When the launch time came up, they used a pen to make the circuit and launch off the Moon.


Back when I was in 6th form 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.


Had to send in a letter once, the envelopes had no sticky adhesive and couldn’t find the tape at home. My dad who’s pretty much as old as Confucius just grabs a grain of rice out of my bowl and used it as the adhesive. It worked so well.
Edit: since people keep asking, it was just cooked white rice I was eating for dinner,.


I once owned a subaru and drove a half hour away to a friend’s house. On the way home, the brakes lost all their fluid. When I stepped on the Brake pedal, the car just coasted.
This was in the middle of a blizzard. Nobody else was on the road… so in my head, it made the most logical sense to drive it home right then and there, rather than wait for a tow truck during a blizzard. I took back roads and stayed in 1st or 2nd gear, 20 mph at most, and braked to a stop with the emergency brake. It was really easy in retrospect. Dumb, but easy.


TL;DR- 3, then 4 marines kick expensive plane to fix it.
So this isn’t quite my story but a friends instead. My buddy was is in the Air Force and was in Fuels at a Joint Base. He happened to be working with a group of marines trying to refuel/working on an aircraft when the something on the plane just stopped working. He goes to call over for someone when 3 marines just start kicking it starting slowly and then more and more as if it owed these marines money. After a few minutes of these kicking a multi-million dollar aircraft, one of the marines calls up to his superior and relays that the plane’s not working. The first thing the supervisor says “did you try kicking it?” After confirming that these Jarheads did kick the multimillion dollar aircraft, the super visor was not pleased and came down to take look himself. The supervisor takes one look and just starts kicking the shit out of the plane as if it didn’t pay the first 3 marines enough money. The other marines then start kicking it with the supervisor. Just when my buddy thought maybe I should call my supervisor, all 4 marines simultaneously land a kick at the same time and the plane roars back to life. The supervisor then gives a lesson in kicking and returns to his office.


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). Anywho, 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.


Tapping on the guidance computer during the Apollo 11 Moon landing.


During WW2, a bomber made of wood, designed to outrun enemy fighters. Despite struggling to convince the British Air Ministry of the potential for such a design, eventually the project got off the ground and created the de Havilland Mosquito, which was used as a bomber, fighter, night-fighter, and a variety of other roles.

I’ll let Herman Göring do the talking:
‘In 1940 I could at least fly as far as Glasgow in most of my aircraft, but not now! It makes me furious when I see the Mosquito. I turn green and yellow with envy. The British, who can afford aluminium better than we can, knock together a beautiful wooden aircraft that every piano factory over there is building, and they give it a speed which they have now increased yet again. What do you make of that? There is nothing the British do not have. They have the geniuses and we have the nincompoops. After the war is over I’m going to buy a British radio set - then at least I’ll own something that has always worked.’


I’m really late to this, but, in my ecology class we learned about how there’s a snake problem in Guam. Particularly, brown tree snakes.
The solution? Dropping dead mice laced with Tylenol attached to tiny streamer cardboard parachutes. Tylenol is poisonous to the snakes and the streamers attract their attention.
It worked. The snakes ate the mice and it mitigated the snake problem that was affecting the native bird species.
I was tested on this in my final exam.


I couldn’t connect to the Wi-Fi. My Wi-Fi adapter wasn’t working right and wouldn’t connect to anything. So I right clicked on the adapter in the control panel, clicked diagnose and Windows fixed it automatically. Only time I have seen it work.


Petr Knava lives in London and plays music

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Petr is a staff contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.