The best way to succeed at anything is normally to step back, make a plan, and really think about what you’re going to do before you do it. However, there are some situations where there’s nothing for it except to jump in and hope for the best, as you execute whatever crazy half-baked plan you came up with on the fly. Courtesy of Reddit, here are the times that people’s crazy last-minute plans totally worked out for them!
1. Car before engine
I’m a car mechanic. One time I didn’t lift the engine out of the car using a cherry picker or drop the engine by raising the car on the lift, with the engine and subframe removed. Instead I, for reasons that seemed completely excellent and sufficient at the time, decided to use the cherry picker to lift the car up over the engine. It worked!
2. Missing the meat
My friends and I got into Warped Tour for free back in 2011 by signing up to volunteer with some vegan group that had a booth there. We stopped by the booth to get our T-shirts with the group’s logo on it, went to the bathroom to change, threw the T-shirts away, and disappeared into the crowd. My friend later told me how he ran into one of the girls in charge of the booth in the food vendor area. She was staring at him from a nearby table with a dead look in her eyes while he was eating a cheeseburger.
3. Accidental insurance fraud
In my freshman year of college, my grades were not great, and my parents were really strict about getting good grades. When my dad asked to see my grades, I panicked and did the inspect command on the computer where you can change type faces on the screen to read different words and letters. I changed all of my terrible grades to good grades. My dad was so happy that I did “good” my first year of school that he asked me to print my results. I did, and turns out he had sent them to our car insurance company for a “good student discount”. Ultimately, I committed insurance fraud by accident. But I got the discount.
4. Hanging by a branch
A storm broke a limb on a tree hanging over my house in my back yard, but it was still hanging on by a few splinters. I didn’t want it to fall, and it wasn’t in a place where I could use my ladder to get to it. So I found some rope, tied a brick to it, threw the brick and rope over the limb, made a crude rope swing, and swung and pulled at the branch until it finished breaking. It wasn’t until I was using the chainsaw to cut it up that I realized how many times during my stupid idea I could have easily hurt or even killed myself.
5. Running on (and over) caffeine
Our power was out due to a storm. I had a campstove to use for boiling water to make a coffee, but I couldn’t use my electric grinder for the coffee beans. I tried fashioning a mortal and pestle but it was taking too long. So, I put the coffee beans in a couple of ziplock bags, placed the bag right behind a car tire, then ran over it back and forth a couple of times to crush the beans. Worked like a charm.
6. An improvised resume
I forgot to bring a resume to a job interview and only realised as I was sitting in the waiting room panicking, but thankfully I had an index card in my bag. I cut the index card in half and wrote my name, my contact info, and “creative problem solver” in my best handwriting, and gave a copy of my “business card” to both the interviewers. I got the job.
7. A marriage of convenience
In college, I was taking a class that required me to purchase an online textbook and workbook that was registered under my own name. It was basically to ensure that each student would have to buy a new online copy each semester instead of buying used textbooks. I had a friend who took the class a semester before me so we came up with the idea to message customer service and explain that I had recently gotten married, so my last name had changed, and I legally changed my first name from my friend’s first name to my first name and I would need them to change it in their system. It totally worked and the rep even congratulated my on my marriage.
8. If you need something doing, do it yourself
My landlord told me I had to have the carpets professionally cleaned or I’d lose my $800 bond, despite that not being in my contract I did some research and found out I could become an accredited carpet cleaner as there are no official licencing boards in my state. So, I did what any sane person would do. I paid the $85, did the online course and got my certificate. Registered a business name, ABN etc etc. Handed the property management a copy of my accreditation and an invoice for services. I became a professional carpet cleaner and launched a vacate cleaning business that is still going 6 months later.
9. Back to the beginning
I was working as art-director at an animation studio, making videos for clients. One client was especially pesky about the use of yellow in the background. They wanted it to be that of their logo, which was this horrible neon yellow. We advised against it but after numerous calls we had to cave and gave a version with that colour.
Obviously they then decided that they hated it, and asked for a change. What followed were 12 versions with numerous calls in between tweaking the colour over and over. Eventually, I got tired of it and just sent the original version again, I didn’t even bother to rename the file. The client said “this looks exactly the way I wanted, thank you!”
10. Dinner and a ride home
Every week, I would order my Saturday night curry for delivery while sitting in the pub and then walk over the road to the curry house. I would then get both myself and the curry delivered home. This went on for about 10-12 weeks. One week, I was sitting having a pint and the owner of the curry house walked in, took my order, and had me picked up from the pub. He said it was easier for everyone concerned.
11. Self-fulfilling prophecy
I didn’t want to go to a church event so my faked being sick. I decided to try and ride it out as long as possible and see how far I could go. About three days later my mom tells me to get up because we’re going to the clinic. We go to the clinic and tell them what’s going on. They do the swab test and it came back positive for strep. My mom and I were both dumbfounded so she asked for another swab and to have a culture done. The other swab and the culture ended up positive.
12. Insect Saw trap
There was a swarm of hornets that had made a nest under the front of our porch with only one specific narrow entry in or out. Spray wouldn’t work and it was right under our front door, so we had no way to keep exterminating them. Then I realized “why not whirring blades of metal?”. We did have an old 50s metal fan and I could maybe blow them away from the entrance so they had no way to get in. The unanticipated effect was that it worked, but after a few hours we had created a Civil War battlefield of dead or dying hornets piling up like a zombie tower in World War Z. Every few moments you’d hear “thunk” as another hornet fell into the trap.
13. The performance of a lifetime
Far from the dumbest working idea in the thread, but I once got an extra day to work on a video project in high school by coming to class with a video that was just a quarter second of blackness, eagerly volunteering to go first, then acting confused and scared when the file “didn’t work.” The teacher took pity on me and told me to just bring it the following day, and I got to finish it that evening and still got full credit as if I did it on time.
14. Have you tried dropping it again?
Back in the flip phone days, I had dropped mine and the screen stopped working. I could make and receive calls, but the screen was just completely blank. I put up with it for a couple of weeks because I couldn’t afford a new phone, but one day I had the thought of “Well, if dropping the phone made the connection loose, maybe the same thing can fix it” and threw my phone at the ground. I picked it back up and the screen was working.
15. Playing it cool
I was really REALLY desperate to leave past employer after 15 years. I had been applying and interviewing and striking out. I finally got an interview at a place where (at the time) I felt, “meh, I am not really sure this is right for me, but anything is better than where I am at.” Instead of prepping for the interview, rehearsing answers, etc…I pulled an “office space.” I was cocky, brash, unconcerned, made it seem like I was happy where I was at and didn’t really care if I got the job or not.
They called me back the next week and I waited a week to return their call. Same deal with the second interview. When they offered me the job, I hemmed and hawed, said I needed to think about it really hard, and that it was a “big move” for me, etc., etc. I came back and demanded well over $15,000 above what they were offering in salary. They accepted.
16. Fishing for keys
My parents used to run a bed and breakfast, and we used to keep a section of the house locked to stop guests from accidentally going into our living space. We used to keep the key on top of a door frame, but it turned out that the frame was hollow and there was a hole on the top.
I put the key up there, it fell into the hole but didn’t sound like it dropped all the way to the floor. 14 year old me didn’t realise that taking the door frame off isn’t a major job, so I was a bit worried my parents would kill me. I found myself a wire coat hanger, straightened it out and attached a magnet to the end to go “key fishing”. It was more out of desperation than anything else but it somehow worked.
17. Movie star stunts
I was stuck on a cliff, but thought that if I jumped at a really sharp angle at the gravel field, I could just slide down there and be fine, just like in the movies. Every time I think about this I am amazed that I wasn’t either flattened by a rock or crushed against something. Childhood really is just the turorial level sometimes.
18. A handstand in a hole
Years ago, the foundation of my house would let water in right at the seam of the wall and hatchway. I decided to dig down so I could seal it from the outside. I got a few feet down before I couldn’t reach with a shovel. So what did I do? I went in head first and kept digging, but then my arms were getting tired and I decided I should quit.
I’m now doing a handstand in a narrow pit and have no way to back out of it. I live far enough from neighbors that yelling would do nothing. After a few minutes of coming to terms with the fact that this is how I die at 28 years old, I decide I will try to “walk” up the foundation wall with my hands one last time. Thankfully it worked.
19. Insider trading
In college my buddy and I took an investing class and for one of the projects we had a month to “invest” fake dollars into the stock market and see which team would have the most money after a month. It was spring semester so we put all of our fake money into Heinz, thinking there would be a spike in ketchup and mustard sales as the weather got warmer. The next day, Berkshire Hathaway purchased the entire Heinz company and the professor accused us of insider trading. We had no idea what we were doing.
20. A complete air con
When I was in college we had to sneak beer and lots of other things into the dorms, as it was a strict dry campus and we were also under 21. Fortunately for us, we lived in an old converted motel, so we would remove the air conditioner from the wall, which gave us direct access to outside since we lived on the ground floor.
We then made two hinges for the grate on the outside, so it would stay attached and could swing open and closed. When we wanted to sneak stuff in, we would jiggle the AC unit loose and remove it, swing open the grate, and pass the booze through. I consider it brilliant, but many others thought we were stupid. Worked every time though.
21. Sent home soaking
I jumped in a puddle with a frozen sheet of ice on top to get out of doing a test I didn’t study for in elementary school. Soaked and freezing, I told my teacher that I slipped and fell. She called my mother to pick me up and I got another day to study. It was below zero and I could’ve gotten hypothermia or something, but I guess it worked.
22. Hiding in the barn
My father was in the military for a while when our country still had active civic duty, and he was stationed in Germany. They had an assignment to hide their rocket launcher in the woods as well as possible, and some officers would check in on them every once in a while. At the same time, they had to watch out for the officers. The assignment took place at night. So somewhere late afternoon/night ish, they went their way, and they encountered a local farmer.
They asked him if they could maybe sleep in the barn when they were not on watch. He told them yes, and that they could also put the rocket launcher in the barn if they wished. They decided they would. They also spread a lot of twigs across the area so they could hear the officers coming, and quickly go out and pretend they were on watch. At night, they heard the twigs break several times, but the officers never thought to check the barn. They were never found and completed it and were told they did very well, while they were just sleeping in the hay.
23. Dropped in the wrong box
In university, I was late on an assignment that was supposed to be in my T.A.’s drop box by noon that day. I didn’t manage to get there until almost 3 so I was sure he had already emptied it. Now, the drop boxes were literal boxes in cubbies with a slot on the front and a lock on them that prevented them from being pulled out. The rack holding them was just a basic metal frame with about 5 rows of boxes. My T.A.’s box was somewhere in the middle of the shelf.
So I figured, “I’m late anyway, why not take a chance?” and slipped my assignment into the box below my T.A.’s box. I got my assignment handed back a few weeks later than everyone else and it had a note from another T.A. scribbled on it that said “Looks like this fell into my box by mistake.” I got full marks on the assignment.
24. Jellied eggs
When I was in junior high I did this project where I had to drop an egg off the back of some bleachers onto the sidewalk and not crack the egg. There was a sidewalk down there with grass next to it. You had to hit the sidewalk, if you missed it you had to drop it again. You had three shots and if you missed every time you got a D, with an F if you missed and your egg broke.
I got a Pringles can and a few packages of Jello. I made the Jello using half the water it asked for because I figured it’d be thicker. I also cut a hole in the middle of the can because the teacher had to see me put the egg in there. When I dropped my pringles can it landed exactly how I expected it, however, I did not expect the next part. The little door I made to put the egg in burst open and the egg shot out the side and went skidding across the grass unharmed. I got an A because it landed on the sidewalk first.
25. Feigning an asthma attack
I was pulled over for speeding by a state trooper with a car full of friends in college. I didn’t have time to explain to them what I was about to do, and just had to hope that they’d go with it. The officer was walking with that swagger walk they do when they do they’re gonna write a ticket and he came up to the window as I pretend to have a full-on asthma attack. I was wheezing and rocking back and forth saying “my inhaler ran out, trying to get to a Walgreens for a new one”. The officer was like “oh no! follow me!” I got a police escort to buy a pack of gum at the pharmacy and got out of the ticket.
26. Lo-tech is sometimes best
In my high school engineering class, we were tasked with designing a marble sorter and challenged to sort the marbles faster than other groups with high accuracy. We had three different marbles of differing materials (wood, plastic, metal). We were given plenty of options to sort the marbles. Most groups used light sensors and other electronics to sort the marbles. My partner and I decided to sort our marbles by bouncing the marbles.
The plastic marbles bounced the furthest, wood a little shorter, and metal did not bounce. We essentially made a tower and a couple of funnels to keep the marbles from bottlenecking as that screwed up our tests. We designed boxes for each marble type and placed them at various distances from the tower. We ended up winning the challenge as nine times out ten we sorted the marbles with 100% accuracy and the fastest.
27. Taking a shortcut
I and my friends wanted to get into this fancy expensive club but it was sold out and also very expensive. We got into the club next to it for free, and there was a hallway connecting it to the other club. We sweet-talked the bodyguard staying that this party sucked because it was empty and we were ripped off and to please let us cross the hallway into the other club. He agreed! We were all shook and had a really fun night at that fancy club without paying at all.
28. Playing the dating game
Dressing like a redneck to pick up chicks. I went to college in the south but the guys there were all very preppy. I thought because a lot of the girls grew up in the south, they would be drawn to more of a redneck vibe that not many people on campus had. So I bought a camo fishing hat, and I literally had three girls start conversations with me that day. Every time I wore the hat, dating got much easier.
29. A savvy disguise
I had one of those jackets that are black on the outside and had a plaid lining inside. I was doing some dumb teenager stuff like underage drinking, and I stupidly got caught. The cops were chasing me, so I ran into a bar, pulled my jacket inside out and took off my hat. Hilariously, they couldn’t find me anymore after that.
30. Overestimating the loss
This happened at a time when I desperately needed a short term loan. I deposited about 4-600 dollars cash into an inside-bank ATM, which malfunctioned and swallowed my money, leaving a lone $20 in the tray. I was angry, but I quickly saw an opportunity. When I was on the phone with the customer service agent, I said I lost $1500, not $400.
They said they needed two weeks to process a request of that size. I pretended to be rightfully outraged. I just lost 15 hundred! They returned “my” money within a week. Of course, the error was reversed, but it took about a month longer to process. By that time, my personal problem was fixed, and I had their money waiting in my account.
31. Honesty is the best policy
In my junior year of high school, All the Pretty Horses was assigned reading for my English Literature class. I found McCarthy’s style, specifically his lack of basic punctuation, very irksome, so I chose not to read it. On the day of our written exam on the novel, my very untraditional/eclectic teacher told the class that if you didn’t read the book, she’d rather you just said so instead of wasting her time pretending your way through the essay. I took her at her word, wrote, “I didn’t read this because I don’t think the use of punctuation is a stylistic choice,” and ended up getting an 85. It was the right decision since many other kids in my class that also hadn’t read the book but still tried to write an essay failed the exam.
32. Fixing your behaviour
In college I was driving my friends around, annoyingly honking the horn to the music, when all of a sudden I saw blue lights. I tell the guys in the car to let me handle it. A cop walks up and asks “was that your horn” and I said “yes sir – there’s a short in the horn, so I’m actually going home right now and just disconnecting it until I can figure out the issue.” The cop says “ok you do that.” So I start the car and immediately lay on the horn and get right back to holding the beat with the music and drive away. He followed me for about half a mile before turning off.
33. A very convincing character
In my early 20s I decided to skip classes and hop on the train from San Diego to Los Angeles to visit friends. I had no money and no ticket. The train car was empty. When the guy came by to check my ticket, I put on an English accent (better than most but nowhere near authentic), and explained that my passport and money were lost and I had to get to the British consulate for assistance. He was so charmed by my fake story that he let me sit with the conductor, honk at intersections and smoke cigarettes during the whole ride.
34. Hacking the marker
I dropped my phone in the toilet back in 2013 and called the company and just said it broke. They said to send it in and as long as the water marker is white (they turn pink when water touches it) they’ll send me a new one. I put a cotton swab in some bleach and painted the strip and it turned back to white again. I got a free $250 phone for an idea everyone said wouldn’t work.
35. Lax computer security
I was taking a first-year computer science course at university, and for the final project we had to code the thing in Java, and I had no idea how to do it. I was really stuck, and thought I would end up failing the class. Then I remembered back to a lab session during the first week of class. The TA had been teaching us the Unix systems and was explaining about file permissions.
To let us get a hands-on understanding, he demonstrated how he could set his personal directory public, and then we could all view his files. I thought, surely he had set his personal folder back to private after that, but I tried accessing it just in case and jackpot! I could see everything in the TA’s personal folder, including a working solution to the final project. I spent the entire weekend trying to understand his code and then rewrote it. I think I ended up getting an A on the project,
36. Hidden treasure in the garage
Back when bitcoin was fresh on the market I had a spare computer that I set up to mine. Back then, the hashing power needed wasn’t quite what it is today. Anyway, I left it running in my garage for two years straight before the computer died on me. Years went by and I totally forgot about it until Bitcoin was all over the news for the nearly $20K per coin cost. I logged into my wallet and low and behold, I had 10 BTCs. Bought my first home with nearly no financing needed.
37. Just over the border
I was trying to hitchhike to Vegas from Laughlin, Arizona. Laughlin is on the border between Arizona and Nevada, so I was sitting just beyond the “Welcome to Nevada” sign with my thumb out. A cop stopped and told me that it’s illegal to hitchhike in Nevada and that he’d arrest me if he caught me again. So I walked 10 feet back into Arizona and sat back down with my thumb out. Didn’t get bothered again.
38. Pizza to go
A friend of mine was drunk and far from his home so he got a genius idea to not have to walk home. He ordered a pizza delivery for where he was standing. He then asked the delivery man to take him to the pizzeria which was not far from his home. The pizza guy found that so funny he actually drove my friend all the way home.
39. A well-earned snooze
I teach in a middle school and we have clubs for students on Friday’s at half one. I was tired from all of the other responsibilities I had in the school, so I decided to ask if I could have a nap club. I explained that we all need a nice 30-minute nap in the middle of the day to help get us through school. The bosses thought it was great, thus the nap club was born! I had to limit my class due to its popularity!
40. Learned it from the TV
When I was a little kid my nana would always watch crime shows, and I would sneak looks at the TV to see what was happening. One day me, my mom, teen neighbour, and kid neighbours decided to play cops and robbers. My mom and the teen neighbour were on the same team as the cops, while little me and my kid neighbours were the robbers.
All of my team were caught, so I ran behind my neighbours bush, but got cornered because they blocked my exits. For some reason, I was thinking of all those crime shows on how they have cool stunts. I decided to try one. I ran at my teen neighbour, slipped under his legs and made a break for it. It worked. I got all the robbers out of jail.
41. Follow the orange
I went to Tokyo for the first time many, many years ago, long before smartphones with GPS. I was visiting friends who wanted to take me to a Taiwanese Buddhist vegetarian restaurant somewhere in the middle of the city. We got off the subway, started walking around, and soon realized we had no idea where we were going. After more than half an hour of wandering in circles, we were hungry and ready to give up.
Then I saw a man with a shaven head and orange robes. “Aha!” I shouted. “That is probably a Buddhist priest. It’s dinner time, so he’s probably going to dinner. Let’s follow him, because he’s probably going to that restaurant.” So we followed him for five or six blocks, and he did indeed walk into the restaurant we’d been searching for. Tada!
42. Thinking on the fly
When I was 15 decided to have a shower with my GF. No one was going to be home for a while. Not long into our shower, I heard a noise downstairs in the kitchen. My mother was home. I instantly came up with a stupid plan. I went to Vo-tech for electronics and worked with solider and acid quite often. I said to my girlfriend: “stay in the shower and I’m going to tell my mom we were horsing around and knocked over the acid.” I said that my girlfriend jumped in the shower and I dove in the sink to wash it off. My mom bought it, at least I thought she did. Two decades later she brings up the story and laughs her head off on how stupid of a story it was.
43. Faking an injury
I was once super late for school and the watchman never let anyone who was more than 15 minutes late enter the premises. The late students standing outside would get lectured by one of the teachers afterwards as well. While crossing the road, I saw a pharmacy shop and got an idea. I bought a crepe bandage, bandaged up my legs, then parked my bicycle a little farther from school and pretended to limp till the school gate. The watchman saw me coming and opened the gates hurriedly and the checking teacher in fact escorted me to my class till I was comfortable on my bench. My friends were giving their condolences only to find out later that I was actually faking it all.
44. Mail in break-in
I was up very early, about to go on a long road trip to Comic-Con. I get in my car and realize I left my badge in the apartment. I go to my front door and realize I left my keys and phone in the car. I walk back to my car, and the door to the garage is locked. I’m locked out of the apartment and the garage. I could wait for someone to use the gate, but I was worried I’d hit horrendous traffic if I was stuck waiting around for a few hours. So instead, I go to the mailbox and grab a letter. I proceed to break into my garage with a piece of mail. I do it! I get my keys, return the letter, and grab my badge. And then I proceed to never leave anything valuable in my car ever again.
45. Could a right-hander do this?
There was also a really bad snowstorm my junior year and we had this one teacher that was insisting on making us take a test instead of just letting us have a break. The teacher gave us a take-home test and we had to get a sign off from our parents stating we didn’t cheat. Me being me, I forged my dad’s signature and turned it in.
It wasn’t perfect, but he’s a lefty so it was hard to replicate. I ended up smearing the signature from left to right so it looked like a lefty wrote it. Sure enough, my teacher said it looked funny and called me out on it. I looked at it for a few seconds and said “How could I have signed this? You can see it’s smeared to the right and I’m not a lefty.” He bought it and I passed without studying.
46. All you need is a palindrome
I did a course on basic C++ while in school. For the final exam, I had to make a program that would detect a palindrome when typed in the program and upon pressing enter, would state that the said word was a palindrome. I had no idea how to do this. My mother tongue is Malayalam (a palindrome) and I made a program which, irrespective of what I entered, would just state “MALAYALAM IS A PALINDROME” when I pressed enter. I showed it to the teacher and she didn’t really go through the entire program, she just saw that ‘Malayalam’ was typed in the program and pressed enter and the magic words popped up on the next screen. Worked like a charm and I ended up getting an A for the course.
47. A wasted trip, saved
When I was a teenager I needed to go to a doctor to pick up some documents, but being a lazy teenager I didn’t go when I was supposed to. So, my mom asked me if I went and I said, “Um, I went but… um… the doctor is on vacation”. Later that day my mom comes into my room and goes, “So, I called the clinic…”, and I’m already thinking “oh no”, and then she continues, “And seems like you were telling the truth, after all. The doctor is indeed on vacation.” I still can’t believe this really happened.
48. Taxi for lashes
We were flying to Germany with my girlfriend to start a new life there. Since she does lash extensions for a living she took the lash glue and other accessories with her. TSA decided to confiscate the glue and my girlfriend started to flip out cuz it was like 100 dollars worth. I quickly asked for it back, saying that I would give it to someone outside. We didn’t have anyone with us at the airport, so I went out and figured I’d try to give the glue to a taxi driver with our friend’s address. We paid five bucks and the glue reached its destination within ten minutes.
49. Real carpet, fake celebrities
I was on tour with one of my old bands around 2003 or so and we went to an awards show for a pretty big magazine to stand in the crowd on the red carpet. We noticed that it would be pretty easy to get to the carpet entrance as it wasn’t guarded. We thought it would be funny to try and get in so said to some people in the crowd what our names were and we would try and walk down the red carpet and could they shout and scream and whatnot. We had no faith in it working but it did and we all got into this super swanky awards ceremony with rock stars and free booze/goodie bags with expensive stuff in.
50. Animals in the attic
So I had been hearing animals scratching upstairs in my attic. I thought I had squirrels or something like that. Every time I went upstairs I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. So one evening I thought to use my two laptops on Skype – put one upstairs in the attic and then watch from downstairs. I was thinking the whole time I wasn’t going to see anything.. but about 5 minutes go by and this creature starts walking right in front of the laptop.
It took me a second to realize it was a black and white cat, since I don’t own a cat. There was some random neighbourhood cat that had figured out a way to get into my attic from the roof. I tried to get her to leave and coax her out with tuna, but no dice. Eventually, she left on her own and I have not heard her up there since. I am still surprised that the dumb laptop idea actually worked.