Introduction: Refrigerator Handle Switch Prank - Make a Fool Out of Your Coworkers!

Picture of Refrigerator Handle Switch Prank - Make a Fool Out of Your Coworkers!

Ahh yes, the saga of the Squid Labs downstairs refrigerator...

It all started one day when someone decided that the refrigerator door should swing open from the right instead of the left. It was a reasonable enough assumption, the door would often get in the way as it was and opening towards the wall is far more practical than opening towards the middle of the already small kitchenette. So that person changed the hinges. It's a strait forward switch, the over-under refrigerator/freezer combo is meant to be modular in that way. It's got hinge bolts for both sides and everything.

The best part is when that person neglects to move the handle to the right side. It's like running a marathon until the last 100 yards and deciding "Eh, I made it this far....good enough." Or like a lot of French films. Why even try?

Anyways, at roughly the same time the person leaves the job unfinished with a technically working refrigerator but non-intuitive handle placement a comic shows up right smack in the middle of the fridge door. You've seen it before; the Far-Side comic where the "gifted" kid is pushing all his weight into the door that says "pull."

How ironic, right? All these scientists and engineers pulling with all their might on the fridge door that has the handle on the same side as the hinges. This shennanigans lasted for about a month. Apparently you get tricked enough times by the same stupid door you tend to get motivated.

The handle was switched to its rightful side of the door and everything was merry for about a month. Until today...

Step 1: Hatch a Plan

Picture of Hatch a Plan

Andrea, Mike and I were making lunch one day and decided that we needed to pull an April fools joke on our coworkers. We happened to be in the kitchen and somehow the refrigerator was brought up. Brilliant! We would switch the hinge back to its original place on the right side of the fridge, but keep the handle in its new place on the right side.

This was classic! It would be a mirror image of the hassle we had with the fridge previously but in the opposite configuration so it would be non-intuitive even for someone who was potentially prepared for the fridge's previous non-intuitive configuration!! Yes!

There was little more thought put into the plan outside of ways to document the torrent of drama that would unfold in our little kitchenette.

Step 2: Try to Execute Aforementioned Plan

Picture of Try to Execute Aforementioned Plan

It turns out switching the hinges on our particular model of fridge requires you to switch the freezer door too which makes a total of 3 hinges (the fridge and freezer share a hinge in the middle). It also turns out that I am lazy.

I switched the top hinge from the left to the right. That part is easy, a total of 6 lag bolts. As I surveyed the remaining hinges, it became apparent that more foresight was needed to execute the plan as intended. What I should have done is moved the hinges starting with the bottom most and worked my way up. Also it would require removing the fridge and freezer doors entirely.

This is where the lazyness comes in.

With the top hinge switched and the rest requiring more effort than I was willing to exert for a prank, Andrea and I decided to leave it.

Step 3: Bask in the Glory of the Unopenable Fridge

Picture of Bask in the Glory of the Unopenable Fridge

With my inability to finish what i started I left the top hinge on the opposite side. That makes the fridge now in a cross-hinge situation a.k.a. impossible to open.



ewilhelm (author)2008-04-01
Derin (author)ewilhelm2008-06-17

well everything does(does not mean to offend anybody)

ToggleSwitch (author)2014-04-07


jimdkc (author)2011-04-05

Reverse hinges = good prank...

Cross-hinges = GENIUS!

soggymushrooms (author)jimdkc2012-08-10

I don't know if it's still considered genius if it's an accident. People wouldn't have considered Einstein a genius if he came up the theory of relativity by accident.

notwally (author)2012-06-29

I'm 51 years old and have been pranking and boobytrapping things for 46 of those years. 20 years in the military, plus some college. I held my own with some of the best and brightest pranksters in the world and have never seen this one.

Kudos! This is AWESOME!

Rishnai (author)2008-04-08

You have no idea ho hard I am laughing.

evilmadcow (author)Rishnai2011-07-09

same here bud.

dave68 (author)2011-03-28

So, let's see - After about 5 (five) minutes my wife SHOULD get really frusterated... If I DON'T tell her, she'll shoot me, and if I DO tell her, she shoot me twice... Oh, well, it'll be worth it!! Dog house for me... Hilarious! man, and my friends, can't wait... :D

overblast (author)dave682011-04-03

So how did that go???????? I thought about that too.... :D

dave68 (author)overblast2011-04-04

She got a chuckle out of it...

BtheBike (author)dave682011-04-07

good one dave68. hidden cam is a nice touch.

old_code (author)dave682011-04-03

Ah, the wife conundrum; know it well.

I think my treat would be a sound knee-capping, and then a swift kick in the family jewels.

But it would be worth trying this on co-workers, instead of family.

Maxaxle (author)2011-04-04

*evil laugh*

griddle (author)2011-04-04

I did this 25 years ago when we moved and needed to reverse the hinges to fit our new kitchen.We still have friends that could'nt open the door and laugh about it.

flamekiller (author)2011-04-04

Isn't it ironic that someone who works for a company that describes itself as a "do tank" admits to being too lazy to finish even 1/3 of a fridge prank job? :p

BtheBike (author)2011-04-03

Great White collar prank .
Any blue collar gig will have a tipped over refrig or a separated handle.
Not to mention ,the union rep with lawyer on tow =/

p.ingenhoff (author)2011-04-03

lol...super ;-)

TheCrazyB133 (author)2007-08-03

i totally have that calendar!

CherylTX (author)TheCrazyB1332011-04-01

CrazyB, great profile pic!!

CheeseMcGee (author)2011-04-01

Love this idea... just switched up the office fridge and setup a hidden camera - woohoo!

dave68 (author)2011-03-28

*EDIT Button missing*
I have a Moffat, so you just have to switch the hinges around, bc the holes are on the other side just for that purpose. No need for me to move the handles. And, the hinges are so small, they'll never notice, unless my astute kid points it out...

RoKuS (author)2008-10-10

I've been meaning to swap out my fridge doors for months now. I gotta do this and *not* swap the handles. Outa throw my daughter for a bit of a loop!!
Hey, and that calendar? Dang, but December 30, 2007 was my 50th birthday!!! awwwww......

royalestel (author)2007-04-02

Hah! You guys are funny with a capital Q!

deansep (author)royalestel2008-04-05

What does q have to do with anything?

casey321b (author)deansep2008-05-21

dont you get it? Q has nothing to do with it thats why its funny

reeding (author)deansep2008-04-07


ck01 (author)2008-04-07

That's great! Now I need to do figure out how to do this to the walk-in coolerwalk-in cooler at the restaurant where I work!

F1X0R (author)2008-04-04

James Randi has a similar thing on his front door

KD7WHQ (author)2008-04-03

To reverse doors, you start with the top hinge. To reassemble, you start with the bottom.. Just has to do with the way fridge doors go together ;) Two years in the appliance biz, so.. Otherwise, evil ;) I like it ;)

pyro8 (author)2008-04-02

this prank is awesome!!! that's all i have to say.

W8del4 (author)2008-04-02

great prank! im going to have to try this!

nature223 (author)2008-04-02

the only problem arises... which way did they route the coolent pipes on assembly? maybe drilling new holes for the hinge will hit the pipes.. that is very funny though..

most refrigerators these days give you the ability to easily switch the doors to open one way or the other. also the coolant pips are on the back...

ich bin ein pyro (author)2007-04-03

i wanna do this so bad but i know my parents will never let me also its past april fools

do it to your friend

lawizeg (author)2008-03-27

hahaa I got a laugh outta this. Nice one.

ScienceWiz (author)2007-08-05

That is totally horrible, I like it, very Devious... MWAAHAAAhaahaaa

Lindie (author)2007-04-07

Very funny!

VelvetElvis (author)2007-04-05


your mom (author)2007-04-02

my god, all of those comments are pathetic

ewilhelm (author)your mom2007-04-04

This is a nonconstructive comments. Please make it your last.

Vertigo666 (author)your mom2007-04-02

you're pathetic... no wait, you might have a point... good instructable

Sgt.Waffles (author)2007-04-02


Kiteman (author)2007-04-02

"Please sir, my brain is full."

crapflinger (author)2007-04-02

title of this one should have been "how many geniuses does it take to open a refridgerator" hehe nice..

trebuchet03 (author)2007-04-02

That's hilarious :P

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