Some say rules are meant to be broken, but sometimes you can break things even harder by following them to the letter. Here are 14 such examples of rules that were either exploited to disastrous effect or that resulted in the exact opposite outcome they intended.
1. Cobra Effect.
Let's take a trip back in time during the British colonial rule of India, which began in 1858. The English, concerned about the number of cobras slithering around Delhi, decided to offer bounties to people who presented them with dead cobras.
Initially, the proposed solution to this problem proved successful. People were killing cobras by the boxful, presenting them to British officials, and collecting their money.
There was just one problem: human beings are a slick bunch. Once word got out that you could get money for dead snakes, people decided to stop working so hard to find them in the wild and started breeding and murdering them at home instead.
Once the British government caught wind of this tactic, they called the whole bounty system off. The massive amounts of homebred cobras, now useless to their owners, were released in the wild.
A postulated remedy to a problem ultimately resulted in making said problem worse. And that is, the Cobra Effect.
2. Not so happy hour.
This gentleman regaled Reddit with a tale of a college bar's 50-cent beer promotion. The ridiculously low-priced happy hour had one catch, however: it only lasted until the first customer went to the bathroom.
No one wanted to be "that guy," so customers would resort to wearing diapers and peeing in the corners and trash cans of the bar. Unsurprisingly, this caused the owner to end the promotion. Thanks for ruining it for all the early bird drinkers, nerds.
3. Lunch times.
An employer, suspicious that its workers were abusing their lunch times, decided to enact some personal accountability rules. Employees were required to text their lunch start and end times.
One nameless hero, probably unhappy about being treated like they were under house arrest, decided to fight back by texting not only his lunch start time, but where he purchased his food, what he ordered, the address of the location he picked it up, and the price. They even included snacks they munched on throughout the day, which, according to this Redditor, must've looked a little something like this:
"POPCORN (1pc) sent 11:52am
POPCORN (1pc) sent 11:52am
POPCORN (1pc) sent 11:52am
POPCORN (1pc) sent 11:52am"
Even if you're too young to remember the "30 minutes or it's free" promotion, you've still probably heard of it. The problem with the Domino's promotion is that delivery drivers, obsessed with getting food to hungry customers on time, started speeding and getting into really bad accidents so that free pizza wasn't taken out of their paycheck. You know how many pizzas you'd have to deliver in order to cover the cost of a broken bumper? Domino's did, and that's probably why they canceled the promotion.
5. No booze party.
If you're planning on throwing a no-alcohol event like the owners of this hotel did, you might want to check out what your workers are doing in the parking lot beforehand.
Because they decided they didn't want to attend a party sober and elected to get smashed beforehand. Problem was, they all underestimated how drunk they would get and, wouldn't you know it, the whole party ended up being a disaster.
They all should've just done ecstasy instead, like the people who attended this dry wedding.
6. Macy's mayhem.
Have you ever shopped at a Macy's and been utterly gobsmacked by the alarming lack of salespeople standing behind registers? If you're like me, this inevitably has you walking around the store for a few minutes until you eventually give up, put what you were planning to buy on the nearest rack or shelf, and peace out.
Someone decided to work there one holiday season to finally get to the bottom of this great retail mystery and found out that the whole register-ghosting protocol was intentional.
The reason? They don't want to intimidate customers.
7. Trash trouble
Once upon a time there was a middle school that was sick and tired of cleaning out the trash around the school grounds. So they thought that they'd create their dream "trash-free environment" by removing all of the trash cans from the cafeterias (big mistake), parking lots, and school hallways, leaving only classrooms with trash bins.
It took only one day for the amount of garbage on the school's floor to accumulate at alarming levels and week before they brought the cans back.
8. The Dazexiang Uprising
During the Qin Dynasty in China, laws were unforgiving for military personnel and government workers being late or missing appointments of any kind. When flooding prevented Chen Sheng and Wu Guang from reaching a post with their soldiers on time, they opted to start an uprising rather than face execution. To argue on their behalf, that is a pretty stupid law.
9. Kindergarten genius
In order to get kids to stop wasting food, this kindergarten class implemented a "you have to eat whatever you touch" policy. Inevitably, this led to the children touching all the food they came across right away in order to call dibs on them. Clever little monsters.
10. This epic Barbados vs Grenada soccer match
Reddit user Hyphz explains this 1994 game between Barbados and Grenada really well, but here's what happened in a nutshell. Due to a tournament structure, goals scored in overtime counted as two goals for the purposes of moving on in the tournament.
So when Barbabos was up 2-1 at the end of the game, they knew they weren't going to advance with just the one goal lead. So here's what they did: they scored on their own goal in the hopes of improving their standing in the tournament. Grenada caught on and started scoring on their own goal too, they went back and forth so much kicking the ball in their own net that the goalies of the teams switched posts and started defending each other's goals. You can't make this stuff up!
11. No more heated classrooms.
When Washington State mandated all schools drop the temperatures in their classrooms in order to save money on heating costs, teachers started bringing in their own space heaters to stay warm during the cold winter months. Electricity bills went up and the state ended up paying more in heating than they did in previous years.
12. Greece's Air Pollution problem.
Old-school cars weren't exactly known for being emissions-friendly, and Greece, in the late '80s and early '90s, decided to do something about the rising levels of pollution in their country. So they implemented a law: if your license plate number ended with an even number, you could only drive your car on even days. Odd, then odd days. Sounds reasonable, hopefully it would promote people to ride-share and half the number of cars would be on the road as a result.
It ended up doubling the amount of pollution and congestion, because people just bought second, old-beater cars with an odd or even plate number. Congestion got worse and finding parking for your car, in addition to pollution, became next to impossible.
13. Korea's adult film ban.
If you wanted to check out some skin flicks in Korea, getting a hold of the stuff legally won't end well for you. However, due to the ban, the black market adult movie scene absolutely exploded and is one of the biggest in the world.
14. Ambiguous school uniform rules.
This school's dress code required all students wear clothing that had the school's name or emblem on it; that's what it said in the handbook. A lot of kids took that vague writing and ran with it. They'd wear whatever clothes they wanted, and pin a paper cut-out of the school's emblem to their outfit. Pretty genius.