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11 Great Ideas That Went Horribly Wrong

Word to the wise: Don't rob a bank while disguised as yourself.

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Bank Sign over Entrance DoorKevin George/Shutterstock

Good idea …

A serial bank robber in Pittsburgh was known to police for his red beard. So for his next heist, he wore a disguise.

2 / 22
Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock

… Too bad it didn’t work

The disguise he chose was a red beard to cover his red beard. The robber was arrested after his getaway car was recognized as belonging to a bank robber with … a red beard. These are 21 things a burglar won’t tell youSource:

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Good idea …

Someone in Iowa City, Iowa, bought a sculpture made of “found” items—discarded electronics—and placed it in a space where art is left for public consumption.

4 / 22

… Too bad it didn’t work

Authorities thought it was a bomb and blew it up.  Source:

5 / 22
stack of cozy knitted sweaters on wooden background. Autumn-winter conceptUximetc pavel/Shutterstock

Good idea …

To avoid paying a $50 luggage fee, a passenger flying to Glasgow, Scotland, chucked his suitcase and wore all his clothes—six T-shirts, four sweaters, three pairs of blue jeans, two pairs of jogging shorts, two jackets, and two hats—onto the plane.

6 / 22

… Too bad it didn’t work

He passed out shortly after takeoff from heat exhaustion and was taken to a hospital upon landing.

7 / 22

Good idea …

An agoraphobic conquered her fears of the outdoors and left her house in England for only the third time in ten years.

8 / 22
Manhole cover open on the foot bath near streetnbriam/Shutterstock

… Too bad it didn’t work

She fell down a manhole while helping a friend park her car. Source: 

9 / 22
Close up of attractive sexy serious caucasian girl with dark long hair in casual gray shirt and jeans holding hand near mouth, looking aside with thoughtful and sneaky expressionCookie Studio/Shutterstock

Good idea …

In an effort to promote Life Savers Ministries, which helps disadvantaged children, the organization posted a billboard featuring the quote “He alone who owns the youth gains the future.”

10 / 22
Body language. Portrait of young attractive charming caucasian girl with dark long hair in casual gray t-shirt and jeans clothing mouth with hands, looking in camera with raised eyebrows and shockedCookie Studio/Shutterstock

… Too bad it didn’t work

The quote is Adolf Hitler’s. “We are pulling the billboard and certainly never intended to cause confusion,” said the founder.  Find out 8 hysterically bad ideas that actually worked out well. Source: 

11 / 22
Sea eagleVaclav Sebek/Shutterstock

Good idea …

To the cheers of bird lovers everywhere, conservationists reintroduced white-tailed sea eagles to East Scotland, where they haven’t lived for 200 years. As a safeguard for the raptors, they were placed on the protected species list.

12 / 22
Herd of Nelore cattle grazing in a pastureAlf Ribeiro/Shutterstock

… Too bad it didn’t work

These protected birds now have free rein to attack livestock and civilians alike—an activity they seem very much to enjoy and, apparently, are quite good at. Source:

13 / 22

Good idea …

When Lorean Simmons locked herself out of her Pittsburgh home, she sought help from the authorities.

14 / 22

… Too bad it didn’t work

First, she set her house on fire. Then she called 911, expecting the fire department to put out the fire and unlock her door. As planned, the fire department responded, but so did the police, who charged Simmons with reckless endangerment. To stay out of trouble, make yourself familiar with these 45 secrets police officers want you to knowSource:

15 / 22
Woman reading book, close upAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Good idea …

In an effort to help rehabilitate inmates, a prison in England offers adult education classes to its convicts.

16 / 22
close up portrait of female hands typing on laptop computermimagephotography/Shutterstock

… Too bad it didn’t work

One prisoner, Nicholas Webber, used his class time in an IT course to hack the prison’s computer system. Why was Webber incarcerated in the first place? Oh, yeah, for hacking computers.  Check out what a former Alcatraz inmate revealed about what living in the prison was really likeSource:

17 / 22
Closeup photo of red rose lying on white pillow at bedkryzhov/Shutterstock

Good idea …

A man from White Rock, British Columbia, was so smitten with his lady that he booked a weekend holiday for just the two of them.

18 / 22
Red armchair in red roomVladimir Jotov/Shutterstock

… Too bad it didn’t work

His wife found out. After throwing all his belongings into the yard, she advertised a “Lying Cheating Sale” on Craigslist. “I want the house empty on Monday when he returns,” her ad stated. Included in the sale were his favorite red leather recliner and “lots of tools, which he didn’t have a clue how to use.”  These are some more of the worst real-life vacation disastersSource:

19 / 22
Chimp chimpanzee monkey ape sad (Pan troglodytes) great ape monkey common chimpanzee resting looking sad emotion hand to mouthLorna Roberts/Shutterstock

Good idea …

Zoo life is a dull life. So in an effort to liven things up for their chimp Gina, zookeepers in Seville, Spain, installed a TV set in her cage and then taught the little simian how to use the remote. Gina took to it quickly!

20 / 22
TV remote control buttons closeup. Channel change buttons.SV Production/Shutterstock

… Too bad it didn’t work

While channel surfing, Gina discovered the porn station, to which she is now addicted.  Zookeepers reveal the craziest things they’ve ever seen at workSource:

21 / 22
Students hand holding pencil writing selected choice on answer sheets and Mathematics question sheets. students testing doing examination. school exam NaMaKuKi/Shutterstock

Good idea …

Johns Hopkins University professor Peter Froehlich announced to the students in his computer-programming class that their final exams would be graded on a curve. That meant that the highest score would automatically be 100 percent, and everybody else would get a percentage relative to that grade.

22 / 22
Handwriting Grade A Plus on NotebookPachai Leknettip/Shutterstock

… Too bad it didn’t work

His students refused to take the test, which meant they all got a zero, which meant they all got the lowest and highest grade, which, in turn, meant they all received an A for the exam. Source:

Andy Simmons
Andy Simmons is a features editor at Reader's Digest.