21 People Who Followed Instructions Way Too Literally

Robin Zlotnick - Author

Feb. 10 2020, Updated 11:03 a.m. ET

instructions too literally
Source: Twiter

We all mistake the meaning of instructions every once in a while. "Watch children" signs mean "Watch out! There are children around who might do unpredictable things." But that sign could easily be mistaken as a directive to actually watch the children. Examples like this — and all of the pictures in this list — are why it's so important to be extra clear when giving people directions. 

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OK, Cullen here does own some blame here because his order was worded confusingly. I suppose there could be people who want pepperoni pizza without cheese, such as somebody lactose intolerant. What they should have asked for is a half plain (or have plain cheese), half pepperoni pizza. Still, the pizza parlor definitely should have double checked.

Name the quadrilaterals

This is amazing. I particularly like the green rectangle named "Tedison." Look, you told her to name the quadrilaterals. You didn't tell her specifically how to name them. The creativity here is second to none.

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Oh boy, this is dangerous. I think it is imperative to state that "hands-free" doesn't refer to your hands on motorcycle handlebars or car steering wheels. All it means is that you shouldn't use your cell phone while you're on the road without a hands-free device such as a bluetooth.

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Cold hard cash

This is amazing. This kid told his parents he wanted "cold hard cash," so that's exactly what they gave him. They made it cold and hard by freezing it in a big block of ice. I think his expression says it all.

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"Happy Birthday" on both

Obviously, when this person ordered two cakes and gave instructions on what to write on them, they didn't mean "write 'Happy Birthday on both'." They meant "write 'Happy Birthday' on both." The placement of single and double quotes here is important. I kind of like it better this way, though.

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This kid is a genius, or, as his parent points out, maybe a future lawyer. He was told he couldn't go outside, and he's technically not! This is like that annoying thing my brother used to do when I was like, "Stop touching me!" so he would hold his finger half an inch from my face and say, "I'm not touching you!" on repeat for hours.

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Simple equation

Here's the thing! X=7 is an equation. So when you tell students they can come up with an equation "as simple as you want," you can't fault them for following the rules. I hope this kid got all the credit.

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A little bit of everything

This person's poor brother had to work during Thanksgiving, so he told them to save him "a little bit of everything" from the meal. Their sibling took "a little bit" way too literally. Although, this one made me laugh a lot. I kind of can't get over "PEA." Too funny.

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Flip me off

This doesn't result in saving the environment at all! Flipping off the light switch only results in light switches with low self-esteem. And no one wants that. 

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No engraving

Let this be a lesson to anyone who's filling out a trophy order form online. In the "Engraving" box, if you don't want any engraving, just leave it blank. Don't write anything, especially three lines about how you don't want any engraving. 

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The difference between 8 and 6

I know this teacher is probably trying to teach their students about the language surrounding addition and subtraction, but when you ask for the "difference" between two numbers, you're going to get some creative answers. 

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Pet area

I think this sign was designating an area for pets like dogs, but I'm not mad at this guy petting the grass. Mother Earth doesn't get nearly the respect she deserves, so this is actually kind of lovely.

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Pick it up

The thing is... All dogs poop. So not only is this sign unclear about what to pick up, but it's unclear about the timeline too. It could very easily be read as, "If your dog ever poops, pick your dog up."

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Selfie stick pictures

This is the best. His girlfriend wanted him to take pictures with his new selfie stick throughout the day, and he did just that. I think he and his selfie stick are really cute together. 

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In the bathroom

She told her son to put the shampoo and conditioner bottles in the bathroom... Technically, he followed her instructions. He just did the least he possibly could while still doing exactly what she said. 

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Dude Chilling Park

If you're in Dude Chilling Park, you better be a dude chilling. There are no uptight ladies allowed in Dude Chilling Park. Vancouver knows what it has to do to get only the coolest people in its parks.

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Steal This Album!

System of a Down knew exactly what they were doing when they released an album called Steal This Album! It just looks really funny when it's a burned version of the CD because it definitely looks like whoever made it is telling people to steal it.

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Keep an eye out

This guy saw the sign that said "Keep an eye out for motorcycles" and literally took his glass eye out for motorcycles. Amazing. This is probably the most badass photo that has ever been taken.

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Clock hands

The instructions were to "draw hands" on all the clocks, and this little kid totally nailed it. These clocks all look like they want to give me a hug now, and I'm here for it. Time is a flat circle. These clocks are really jolly friends. 

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One word

This is from one of those guided journals that gives you instructions on each page. It would be really fun and funny to buy one and willfully misinterpret ever single rule like this woman did with this page. This might be my next project.

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Keep Portland Weird

Portland has "Keep Portland Weird" as their motto for a reason. It's because people all over the city are working hard to keep it true every single day, like this guy dressed as Darth Vader, riding a unicycle, and holding what I believe are flaming bagpipes. Cool.

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