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People Share The Worst Examples Of "We've Always Done It That Way" Fails--And We're Fuming

People Share The Worst Examples Of "We've Always Done It That Way" Fails--And We're Fuming

Why are people so incapable of adapting to change? We get it--change is scary. But more often than not, it's a necessary step to growth.

u/shaky2236 asked:

What are some of the worst examples of the "We've always done it that way" mindset?

Here were some of their answers.

One Little Adjustment


A Hungarian doctor named Ignaz Semmelweis ran experiments in 1846 that indicated that if doctors washed their hands before helping women give birth it would reduce the death rate from 5 to 1.

That said, he was rather strident in how he voiced his support for hand washing and doctors disliked the idea. As a result, women continued to die at the higher rate due to infections for decades.



When I moved from PA to Washington, I had to register my car. No biggy, except the title was still held by the bank since I was making payments on it. Now for some reason, even getting a copy of that title is a bit of a shit show, involving quite a few fees and a long wait time.

I didn't want to deal with that, especially when PA's DOL and the bank with my title we're making everything difficult. So I went to my local (Washington) DOL and explained the situation. They looked up the process and said "well this is dumb... let me take care of it. We just need a single number off that piece of paper anyways. Should take like 5 minutes. What state is your title held in?"


"Ffffff.... you might want to sit down."

2 and a half freaking hours later, the bank finally says they will release a copy of the title if they get an official request from the Department of License in Washington State.

Great! They get put on hold, DOL lady types up a quick request and faxes it over. Takes it off hold.

All I see is her look like she's about to start screaming. She puts them back on hold.

"So apparently, they need a hand written request. A typed copy isn't something they can legally work with."

"Wha- but, why?"

"I've no idea! They just thought it was incredibly unprofessional that we sent them a typed document..."

So there it was that I had to send a hand written document that had to be explicitly polite asking for a single number off the top of my title to please be released.

On top of requiring a hand written note, apparently this is not unusual for PA-> WA transplants since PA is one of the few states that still issues paper titles, and is VERY protective about who is even allowed to look at that title.


Once Again, Try A Little Harder


Decades ago, anybody who obtained your bank account number and the bank's routing number could make an unauthorized withdrawal of money out of your account.

But now, thanks to much better technology, anybody who obtains your bank account number and the bank's routing number can make an unauthorized withdrawal out of your account.

Banks say there's no way to prevent this, such as by delaying withdrawals by a single day until the customer explicitly grants permission.


We Like It Harder

My most recent job was as a developer at a small software company. When I started there was no source control, the programmers would sit behind a computer and compare their code line by line with a file compare tool.

When I brought up that there was a tool to fix this, they didn't trust it. "We don't want to change how we do things just because it's easier"



My company has offices in a few countries. I recently went to one of these offices for 2 months (was meant to be 3 but I had to get the out of there!) to retrain them because the office was clearly struggling and on the verge of being shut down. Now, I'm not saying I'm amazing at my job but I know what I'm doing. When I'd try telling them about any small change they needed to make, I'd get 'but this is how we do things here. The clients won't like change!' Yes but you're clearly struggling. Have you asked the client if they're ok with change? No. So how do you know they won't like it? Anything is better than the sh-tshow currently kicking off in that office. But nope. They don't want to change.

Half of them are likely to be fired soon because of this so it's their loss!


Why Not Just Not


We use stock pickers where I work.

Prepare for hell if you use a picker that a first shift guy wants because 'they've been using it for the last X years!'

I've gotten threats to my property, job, and self because my shift just so happens to overlap theirs sometimes and I'm on some random piece of equipment.


Por Que

I have two coworkers, our admins, who print an email, and scan it back to themselves as a PDF.

Yes. I've shown them how to save the original digital file as a PDF. Yes, the keep printing and scanning.



Maybe not the worst but I think this story is worth sharing.

Banana farmer Doug takes his future son in law and my friend Jim out to pick bananas. Bananas are grown on steep slopes around here with roads winding back and forth up the hill.

So Doug parks the truck at the top, walks down the hill and starts cutting bunches that weigh 25-45kg and then hauls them back up the hill to the truck. Jim takes one look at this setup and and says "why don't we park the truck at the bottom of the hill and start picking there so we are carrying the bananas down the hill instead of up? Then we can move the truck up the rows as we go"

"Because we always do it this way" is the reply.

So Jim says "humor me. Let's try it my way, just for today". Doug reluctantly agrees.

End of the day comes, bananas are picked and they're back at the house enjoying a cold beer. Doug says "you know what Jim, your way was a lot easier".


It's Your Skin


I work in the construction field as a safety/QA/geotechnician and sometimes our older subcontractors will do trenchwork as deep as 10 feet without any sort of protection from collapse.

When I stop work and tell them that it's dangerous and they could die, they get heated and tell me that they've never had any problems with trenches and "it's how we've always done it."

We politely ask them not to come back until they take a trench safety class.


Once Again I Would Like To Present You: An Easier Method

When I worked at the camp front desk we had a really bad system. It was sort of ok for checking people in but for everything else it was just horrible. Even check outs were a chore to do. Anyway, I was thought that I need to search for the parcel number, lets say 202. I had to scroll down to 202, right click on it, choose check in guest then press F4, TAB and then I could check people in.

I soon figured out that I can type the parcel number by keyboard and if pressing Enter, it jumped straight to check in page. No F4s or TABs. So thats what I did and told every one of the ''new'' way. Until that ''one'' guy said that screws up the process, that by doing it ''my'' way it can mess with everything else and blamed me for some mistake that was made by him at the check out.

Like I said, even check out was a chore and you had to be really careful when doing it otherwise you could mess things up which he did. He told the boss about it and we had to go back to left clicking and what not. Nobody did it of course because it was time consuming.


The Sciences Suffer

I'm a scientist. In my lab I will either ask "why do we do it this way, what is the point?" or I will suggest the proper way to do something because they have been doing it wrong or inefficiently. I get this response all the time, "Well, we've just always done it that way".

This is the sh*ttiest response a person in science could have, it just shows that they can't think critically and shouldn't be a scientist to begin with.


The US Does A Ton Of Weird Things


Everywhere but the US and Canada use the A system of paper sizes where each size is twice the size of the previous size. This means you can blow up an A4 document to A3 and have it fit. Similarly you can print A4 two up on one A4 sheet where they will effectively be two A5.

Because the ratio of width to height is root two it also means that the long edge of one size is the same as the short edge of the bigger size, or folding a big sheet in half gives you the smaller size.

US sizes are purely arbitrary and have no relation to each other.


The Digital Age

Used to work for a city councilman & he insisted that anything that was sent to him electronically must be printed out. Every single email, a new email in a previous thread + that thread also...literally everything. Our printer used to have to get replaced all the time bc it couldn't handle the sheer amount of printing. I used to feel so bad about how much paper we were wasting & I even offered to teach him how to use his phone for this kind of stuff but he insisted it's just how they've always done it. He didn't want to admit he was a senile old man who doesn't understand technology therefore decides to hate it. Lmao


I was a few times in a company where our family's friend works as a head (director?), to check on students while they are taking exams to make sure they aren't cheating (I'm pretty sure there is one job word description which sums this whole paragraph, I just can't find out how this position is called).

I was teaching there once in a while with their employees. They send 20000 e-mails every third week and 10000 every week. They do it by hand in MS Outlook. They have an excel with 30000 entries and they copy it from there to "Mail To" option and send the same e-mail to everyone (newsletter, not personalized), it takes them 2 days to do it. Their main work is always behind and they can't get on top with the amount of important work they have.

I was asked to help them out when I was there watching students if I had time. Oh man I did not have time for that.

Just to be sure it's understood. If you put 30000 e-mail addresses in the "Mail To:" form and send it, their server would send about 100 e-mails and then just scratched the rest.

Their IT technician told them to send it by 100 every once in a while - that's a regular practice in IT, it's fine. They do it by hand :0.

I offered them to make a simple script to do this for them (to automate the process). It would take them seconds to send it every week/few weeks and cost them zero (because we are friends). They refused because they were doing it that way forever.

The people who refused my offer were 35 and 39. ;)


Help Me Help You


Every time there is a scheduling conflict at work, I offer to make a calendar. I offer to do this for free (I'm paid hourly) and to go to everyone in the office once a week, and ask them what new stuff they have upcoming. Every time I offer, the response is, "well, nobody is used to co-ordinating schedules, so it probably wouldn't work." and I die a little inside. (Yesterday there were 3 events, one that went 2-4, one that went 5-6:30 and one that went 2-6)



I work with contracts, I have a coworker who refuses to review them on her screen, so she prints out several 20-50 page documents per day, reviews them manually, and tosses them in the recycle bin.

She probably goes through 1-2 reams of paper a week. I tried to explain to her that you can review them without printing them off but "that's the way I have has always done it".

So for all that work that you do every day to try and recycle and be responsible, she is out here making enough waste to make up for it.