5 Insane Ways People Trolled the System (And Won)
We all have to deal with rules we think are stupid now and again -- like the inexplicable wolf skull-loincloth ban at Applebee's -- but for the most part there's nothing you can really do about them. People who make the rules got that power in the first place by being the kind of tough hombres you don't want to mess with. The only thing you can do is cross your arms and, if you're feeling daring, blog about it. Unless you're one of the following people, who exploited loopholes so hard, the system walked funny for a week ...
People Are Wearing Their Luggage to Get Around Airline Baggage Weight Limits
Getting financially screwed over by an airline is as much a part of air travel as eating terrible airport food and then immediately regretting eating a bunch of terrible airport food right before your six-hour flight. But without a doubt the most obnoxious rules are the baggage weight limits -- none of us believe that the difference between 25 and 30 pounds of luggage is going to impact the flight enough to warrant a $25 fee, but not all of us go so far as to lose our shit, rip open our bag, and put on 70 items of clothing right there in the luggage line. No, that was just this one noble bastard in China.
Although we imagine that $25 fee was looking a lot more reasonable after the first hour of swamp ass.
And he's far from the only one: The most common strategies involve some common sense (if incredibly embarrassing) travel hacks, like wearing all your heavy stuff instead of packing it, opening the stitching of your jacket and stuffing it full of miscellaneous small stuff, or draping a beach towel around your shoulders and wearing it like a cape under your coat. We have no idea how American airport security would react to a jacket stuffed with phone chargers or a guy pretending he's store-brand Superman, but at least one dude seems to be able to bounce around Europe using these strategies with no problems.
"My cheapness is fueled by Earth's yellow sun."
Dutch "Robin Hood" Finds Coupon Loophole, Gets Over $60,000 in Electronics for Free
You probably don't think of coupon exchange as the kind of thing you can be good at. It's not exactly a martial art; there's no belt system for advancing through the ranks of being a cheap bastard. You hand the cashier a piece of colorful paper, she knocks 15 percent off the market price of your Nakatomi Scrotum Shaver, and everybody goes home feeling slightly worse about themselves.
Albeit significantly better groomed.
And it's precisely that kind of defeatist thinking that separates you from the mad genius of Norbert Verswijver, the Norwegian black belt of coupon-fu. After poring over the small print of some coupons in whatever the Norwegian version of the Penny Saver is (Flubenhoffer, we want to say?), Verswijver realized that there were no rules saying he couldn't combine that week's coupons at Blokker. A "20 percent off!" coupon pairs quite well with a "$15 off!" after all. He collected as many as he could and carefully arranged them like a miser's Pokemon deck until he was able to pick up high-end electronics, totally legally, and basically for free.
But how much could you possibly get away with before the Blokkens realize you're bluffing them out of an entire store? Well, Verswijver successfully bought 50,000 euros' worth of electronics ... for 60 cents. That may be his most impressive maneuver, but it's not his only one: He's also purchased shipments of frozen food for free using similar systems and donated it to the poor, earning him his reputation as "the Robin Hood of couponing." We imagine it may have had something to do with the hat as well.
Not to mention the citywide rash of sale flyers hung on arrows.
Grape Juice Companies Get Around Prohibition by Telling You How Not to Make Wine
When the United States briefly tried to ban the consumption of alcohol at the beginning of the 20th century, the entire country whole-heartedly embraced the temperance movement by engaging in sober, thoughtful reflection on how badly they wanted to get hammered. If you didn't want to risk your life dealing with Al Capone and the other bootleggers, you could always get blotto on some good old-fashioned homemade wine, just like grandma used to make. Man, grandma had her problems, didn't she? But thanks to some clever loopholes, at least it was completely legal.
Which can't be said for the rest of her spring break.
Vine-Glo and a handful of other companies sold cans of grape concentrate or compressed grape bricks, sometimes including yeast pills, which could, we suppose, be used to make wine -- but whoever would think of such a thing? That would be violating the nation's newfound vow of temperance, so Vine-Glo included instructions to help their customers avoid this terrible sin, which read:
"Warning. Do not place this brick in a one gallon crock, add sugar and water, cover, and let stand for seven days or else an illegal alcoholic beverage will result.
"... included hose and funnel should only be used for lubricating machinery."
During Prohibition, people were allowed to make 200 gallons of "nonintoxicating" grape juice a year without taxation. "Nonintoxicating" basically meant juice, but was also loosely interpreted to refer to wine used in religious ceremonies or medicine (side note: pretty much all of our hard drugs were over the counter "medicine" back in the day). Because the term was never properly defined, people took it to mean that you could ferment up some eye-watering fortified "nonintoxicating" wine that would knock your ass in the dirt like a prizefighter, and all on the up and up. It didn't, of course -- they don't call it Prohibition because it's really in favor of hibition -- but with a wink and a nudge, companies exploited the loophole to sell huge quantities of DIY wine, complete with instructions. Because, much like life, getting blitzed always finds a way.
Credit Card Users Get Infinite Airline Miles from Poorly Thought Out Government Program
After minting $1 billion in dollar coins, the U.S. government was desperate to get people to actually use the damn things instead of forgetting about them in the change jar for the next infinity years. So they decided to offer a special program: If you traded your dollars for coins, they'd be delivered right to your door with no shipping charges. Finally, trading in your lame old paper money for shiny new metal was easier than ever!
"Fuck you, vending machine! Try rejecting me now!"
Of course, no one did, because we love our hilariously impractical and outdated paper dollars. Come on! Our wallets are paper-shaped, we're practically helpless here! But a few people saw a golden opportunity to con their way into some free airline miles. You're familiar with the system: Lots of credit cards come with reward plans that give you free stuff (most commonly airline miles) in exchange for using your card for purchases. But by using their reward cards to buy actual, physical money, these clever scammers could just turn around and immediately use the coins to pay off their credit card. In this fashion, people were able to rack up theoretically infinite flights for free. One guy, going by the name Mr. Pickles, claims to have bought $800,000 in coins, earning 2 million frequent flier miles and lifetime platinum elite status. He now gets to board the plane early for the rest of his life, and all without paying a cent. Even as a child, we always knew Mr. Pickles was destined for greatness.
Of course, this meant that the coins weren't actually going into service -- the government was dumping money on shipping to get the coins to people's homes, only to have them immediately deposited right back into the bank. Then folks would just order more, and the government had to pay for them to be shipped again; repeat ad infinitum. They closed the loophole as soon as they found out about it, we all forgot about dollar coins, and our wallets continue to be full of crumpled up germ sheets to this day.
Fighting Athletes Find Common Ground to Make Punching Each Other More Painful
There are two things everyone knows about hockey: bitchin' mullets that time forgot, and intensely awkward fistfights.
Meanwhile, you can't even stand on skates.
The NHL has long since accepted that fights are a key part of the sport's appeal, so instead of outlawing them entirely, they just try to limit the damage done. For example: One rule states that you're not allowed to remove your helmet during a fight, or else you receive a two-minute penalty. However, it doesn't count if the helmet comes off "in the course of and resulting from the altercation." Do you see where this is going? That's right: Punching dudes in the face is the mother of invention, and it didn't take long for fighters to spot the gaping loophole that allowed them to rip each other's helmets off for more efficient pummeling.
"Oh, no. I infist."
Sports journalists assume that this loophole will be closed soon, because if there's any business that deeply cares about the sanctity of its players' skulls, it's professional sports.
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Related Reading: While we're on the subject of "trolling", check out what Galileo did to the Pope. But hey, at least mockery isn't as bad as payday lenders who use Native tribal sovereignty to charge unfair interest rates. And just in case you don't believe the justice system is broken, read this.